What Is A Host Teacher?
Many host teachers wonder what the designation means and what it will entail for them as they take on the role. This extract of characteristics is written to assist in clarifying and responding to the many queries from university as well as school faculty as to what it means to be a host teacher.
Host teachers are inquirers of teaching. They wonder, question, create ideas, test, and confirm and try again. They systematically look at the perturbations inherent in acts of teaching in order to make meaning of those perturbations. It is important that host teachers model their skills of reflection and try to make explicit for the teacher candidate the many variables that affect decision-making. This does not mean that host teachers have everything “right.” In fact, effective host teachers are well aware that they will continually refine their practice in response to new data; “right” is to be weighed within the context of the teaching act. Effective host teachers would understand the teacher candidate is not necessarily to mimic the host teacher’s practices, even when they are successful, but the candidates are encouraged to engage in inquiry themselves as students of teaching.
A host teacher is a coach who can both encourage the teacher candidate as she works to achieve goals, and hold her accountable for reaching those goals. The host teacher would probably be involved in helping the candidate set those goals and they would engage in frequent and regular dialogue about the goals. Observed behaviors would be recorded and become the basis for evaluations he makes of the teacher candidate. The host teacher needs to be able to discern what approach is necessary and communicate the appropriate feedback to the teacher candidate be that praise or constructive criticism.
A host teacher is a collaborator with the teacher candidate. In this relationship the knowledge and skills of each is valued and brought to bear on the common situation they face—teaching the students. The process of collaboration is synergistic and throughout it leadership roles continually shift. In collaborative products, one is unable to pick out each precise contribution of individual collaborators and so ownership, responsibility, control, and success are mutual. Because they are collaborators, the host teacher would not correct the teacher candidate in front of the students unless the students were suffering great harm.
A host teacher is a leader who is committed to the improvement of the profession of education. He gives of his time and talents to assist in inducting new professional educators into the field.