Who's On Second?

Blog for second grade teachers, but all are welcome!

Do It YOUR Way!

Left HugIn the past several years I've had the opportunity to work with many student teachers.  It's always a lot of fun watching them grow during their short time with me, and I get a lot of personal satisfaction in knowing that I may have helped them achieve their goals.

One reason I work with these students is because of my own wretched student teaching experience!  My supervising teacher gave me her plan book and told me that under no circumstances would I be allowed to do anything other than what she had put in her plan book.  She said she wanted the class to be exactly where she wanted them to be after I left, and that there was no time for me to add my own ideas. Although I loved the kids and made my A, I left at the end of the term feeling very unprepared and incompetent.  I lost all confidence in my abilities. I didn't teach for 8 years, and it wasn't until I had my own kids that I realized that I could teach and do a good job at that!

Because of that time, I love working with student teachers. I know what NOT to do, thanks to my own supervising teacher!   I always go over the subject matter that needs to be covered, but I let them know that I regard them as professionals and that I trust that they will succeed.  I encourage them to do things the way they are most comfortable.  I serve as a mentor and guide, offering advice when needed, and praising all the good things that happen. They all tell me that they appreciate being treated more as  co-teachers than students, and all have gone on to establish their own classrooms. 

I hear of other supervising teachers who treat their student teachers as badly as mine treated me, and all I can say is, what a waste of good talent!  With a growing teacher shortage, we should be doing our best to help these students develop skills that will enable them to be successful and happy as teachers.

Posted: Tuesday, July 24, 2007 10:26 PM by sellen
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mimi said:

I had a similar experience with my cooperating teacher.  She was the devil!!!  I have had several student teachers also and have mixed feelings.  First of all, the university that our school partners with (which is one of the best, if not the best, school of education in the country) only requires their student teachers to be in the classroom three and a half days a week.  Most of the time they are there, the student teachers and totally stressed about their outside classwork and often look to me to plan every lesson while holding their hand.  After a few weeks of scaffolding how to plan a good lesson/unit, I want them to be more independent.  I've found that it is the fairly rare gem that comes in full of ideas and the ability to take risks and suggestions constructively.  What's worse, they usually walk in the door five minutes before the kids and ALWAYS leave before I do...maybe I'm just jaded and remember myself as a total rock star, but I remember working way harder than that!

# July 25, 2007 6:51 AM

sellen said:

I have been lucky with most of my student teachers in that they are willing to do what's necessary to get the job done. The university requires a full 14 weeks, Monday-Friday all day, so they get plenty of time with hands-on teaching. I do think they are stretched way too thin, since they often have required class sessions after a full day with me. I see what you mean, though, about some of the little things, like walking in at the bell.  They usually figure out that in their own classrooms, they aren't doing themselves any favors by doing that. I've had a couple who liked to leave ASAP, but the majority of them use the after school time to meet with me without any disruptions.

I tell my students from the get-go that I expect them to be prepared, ask questions, work hard, and try being as independent as they possibly can.  I don't mind lighting a fire under them to keep them going if they need it. I also make it their responsibility to keep up with important dates when they have to complete something.

# July 25, 2007 2:33 PM

Newbie said:

Thanks, cooperating teachers out there! If it wasn't for you, us new teachers would be lost! I had a great cooperating teacher who let me be creative and give feedback at the end of every day. It kept me on my toes and ready to work hard!

# July 25, 2007 5:57 PM
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