In the Department of Education at Humboldt State University, we deeply value our collaboration with mentor teachers and the contributions they make to the professional growth and development of our students. It is our partnership that provides students with the opportunity to attain both a strong theoretical base and the ability to translate that base into practical application, in short to put theory into practice in their professional lives.
Because we are committed to excellence and on-going growth, we will continue to strive to select the best qualified candidates, provide the highest quality instruction, and forge increasingly solid and varied links between the schools and HSU.
Thank you for your contributions to the profession through your hard work with the students in our programs, our mutual future colleagues.
Program-specific information can be found in the menu on the right (coming soon).
For general information about being a mentor teacher for HSU, watch the video below or check out our FAQ’s.
The mentor teacher (also called cooperating, master, partner, or resident teacher) is a key player in the apprenticeship experience, serving as a model of effective teaching.
The mentor teacher observes the candidate interact with students, parents, and colleagues and helps the candidate prepare and present lessons. These activities put the mentor teacher in the best position to assess the apprentice’s strengths and areas needing improvement.
The CCTC requires mentor teachers to be:
a) certified and experienced in teaching the subject(s) of the class;
b) trained in supervision and oriented to the supervisory role; and
c) appropriately evaluated, recognized, and rewarded by the institution.
If you are interested in becoming a Mentor Teacher, you will need to fill out and return a Mentor Teacher Service Declaration. Contact the Field Coordinators of the credential programs for these forms. These forms are sent to participating schools each year and need to be returned to the Field Coordinators.
What are the selection criteria for mentor teachers?
With the support of administrators in cooperating schools, mentor teachers selected to participate in the credential programs at Humboldt State University:
are credentialed teachers with a minimum of three years of successful teaching experience, and at least one year of successful experience at the assigned grade level(s):
achieve and effectively model the six standards of the California Standards for the Teaching Profession, presenting demonstration/application lessons for student teachers to observe and providing regular opportunities for them to practice and receive feedback;
demonstrate excellent communication skills in working with students, families, colleagues, and community members;
are committed to providing support for their apprentices’ ongoing reflection and professional development through regular communication about curriculum, instruction, classroom management, parent/family involvement, and other professional concerns; and
are committed to their own ongoing professional development in clinical supervision with in-services provided by HSU credential programs.
In addition, mentor teachers working with English Language Learners must:
possess valid Language Development or (Bilingual) Crosscultural, Language and Academic Development certificates or credentials;
model effective English language development (ELD), specially designed academic instruction delivered in English (SDAIE), or development and instruction in the language of emphasis; and
present ELD, SDAIE, and/or bilingual demonstration/application lessons for student teachers to observe, and provide regular opportunities for them to practice and receive feedback.
How does the program meet the Standard for the Preparation of Teaching Credential Candidates for Reading, Writing, and Related Language Instruction in English?
The California Commission on Teacher Credentialing Standard for the Preparation of Teaching Credential Candidates for Reading, Writing, and Related Language Instruction in English requires verification that all mentor teachers are utilizing specified reading practices. The program meets this requirement through the use of a verification form signed by the administrator.
What are the requirements of all mentor teachers?
Mentor teachers are required to attend an orientation meeting. Mentors will receive the updated Handbook which will aid in clarifying roles, responsibilities, forms, procedures and program changes. Mentors will be given an opportunity to ask questions of the program and also answer questions from student teachers, and administrators. The orientation also provides an opportunity for the administrator to address apprentices regarding expectations and pertinent school site information.
In order to support mentor teachers in providing helpful feedback to their apprentice, new mentor teachers are given access to training materials including an instructional video, handbook and mentoring guidelines at teh beginning of fall semester. A clinical supervision video is also available for use by mentor teachers and supervisors. Viewing and discussing the video with mentor teacher colleagues and the university supervisor can be helpful .
What are the mentor teacher’s responsibilities to the apprentice?
As in any classroom, apprentices have a wide variety of backgrounds and experiences. While some will easily adapt to the teaching role, other apprentices will be under stress in this new situation; all will appreciate support and guidance. Mentor teachers should strive to establish a positive professional relationship with the apprentice. Leading the apprentice into the role of a "junior partner" in a common enterprise, equally interested in and responsible for the progress of the students in the classroom, provides helpful support for the apprentice.
Mentor teachers are required to:
a) Orient the apprentice to the school site, classroom, and curriculum.
b) Create an atmosphere of acceptance among the students by introducing the apprentice to the class as a co-teacher and by providing personal space (desk, counter space) for her/him to use.
c) Introduce the apprentice to fellow teachers and site personnel; monitor/assist student teacher with letter of introduction to parents or other appropriate communication with parents.
d) Set a specific time for conferencing with the apprentice. This will allow for open communication and discussion and usually helps prevent or solve problems that arise. Conferencing may be done in person, by phone, e-mail, written notes and/or journal.
e) Be aware of the teaching competencies which apprentices need to acquire before they are recommended for a credential.
f) Share planning strategies (daily, weekly, etc.) throughout the year.
g) Provide the apprentice with professional advice and models of current instructional techniques (e.g., a balanced approach to reading instruction, GESA).
h) Require written lesson plans for your review and suggestions before a lesson is taught.
i) Keep the principal and university supervisor apprised of the apprentice’s gains in proficiency. Please inform the HSU supervisor of any difficulties that are not being resolved in a satisfactory manner.
j) Complete all university required assessment forms in a timely manner.
k) Mentor teachers are strongly encouraged to provide a small amount of bulletin board space in early fall where their apprentice(s) can display photos of themselves and things they enjoy.
l) Be present on the school site and available for conferencing with the apprentice as needed.
How can mentor teachers integrate apprentices into the classroom?
The apprentice may have a checklist of activities provided by the instructor(s) of credential course(s) designed to articulate coursework with fieldwork experiences. In general, the sequence of activities is:
Apprentice observes mentor teacher teach particular lesson and debriefs with mentor teacher.
Apprentice teaches similar lesson using mentor teacher’s lesson plans and debriefs.
Apprentice writes lesson plans for similar lesson and after approval of lesson plans, teaches the lesson and debriefs.
An example of guidelines for early-stage apprentice teaching: (This may be useful for the apprentice-mentor teacher debriefing.)
For additional integrating activities, the apprentice could: observe specific students; read aloud; help with "getting to know you" activities; lead students in/out to recess, library; take anecdotal records; work at centers; work with students one on one; read answers to math facts, homework; lead brief sponge activity; be in charge of the class for a few minutes while the mentor teacher takes a student out or makes a phone call; take running reading records, one on one; become familiar with district’s curriculum and safety expectations; begin thinking about a central focus for mathematics learning segments (as related to PACT in EED and SED); explore ideas for lesson plans/unit plans; attend after school activities and meetings (PTA, IEP, staff, student study teams, in-services).
How can the mentor teacher build on student teacher skills and help apprentices prepare?
a) Plan together with the apprentice. This can include field trip planning.
b) Give the apprentice gradual responsibility for teaching a lesson, building to half-day and then whole-day teaching. The apprentice needs to feel comfortable and be capable of teaching all areas of the curriculum. When ready, have the apprentice do most of the teaching. Provide written feedback to the apprentice.
c) Ensure that the apprentice has a good grasp of your management/discipline system. Discuss with the apprentice the management/discipline plan to be used.
d) Discuss the role you will play. As much as possible, allow the apprentice to work independently. Some teachers prefer to be out of the classroom all of the time. Others plan to be in the room at specified times. Some teachers (usually in primary) assume the role of an aide. We encourage apprentices to invite you in at designated times to enable you to state that you observed specific strengths during their teaching. We also encourage apprentices to invite the principal, vice principal, or another teacher to observe their teaching.
What are the mentor teacher’s responsibilities to the supervisor?
a) Provide time (at mutual convenience) for conferences with the supervisor. These should follow each of the supervisor’s clinical supervisions. Brief contacts may follow other visits, as appropriate.
b) Document apprentice performances to share with the supervisor and apprentice on a regular basis.
c) Provide time (at mutual convenience) for three-way assessment conferences at the end of each fieldwork phase.
What are the mentor teacher’s responsibilities to Humboldt State University?
a) Attend a required university-sponsored orientation meeting. Other training in clinical supervision may be substituted.
b) Complete university-required evaluation forms promptly.
c) Inform the EED fieldwork coordinator of any problems between the apprentice and supervisor that are not being resolved properly.
How are mentor teachers evaluated?
At the end of fieldwork placement, the apprentice, mentor teacher, and university supervisor are all evaluated. Set aside an adequate amount of time to discuss the apprentice’s progress as well as effectiveness and quality of guidance provided by both the mentor teacher and university supervisor. Formal evaluation also occurs at the end of each semester; the university supervisor and the apprentice, independently, evaluate the mentor teacher.
How are mentor teachers rewarded?
Mentor teachers’ greatest rewards come from the satisfaction of helping to mentor new teachers. They also receive HSU privileges, including HSU library privileges during the year of service, and in some cases, the opportunity to purchase a computer through the HSU bookstore with an HSU employee’s discount.