How was your student teaching experience?

Discussion in 'New Teachers' started by BookButterfly, Jun 25, 2011.

  1. BookButterfly

    BookButterfly Rookie

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    Jun 25, 2011

    Hi everyone!
    So.. student teaching is six months away, but I'm somehow already really excited and/or nervous about it. All of my professors have warned us repeatedly that it's not exactly a picnic, and the speculation of my peers hasn't exactly bolstered my confidence. x.X

    I suppose my question is this: How would you describe your student teaching experience? What types of things did you do to prepare? What helped you, and what harmed you? Did you find it as difficult as your teachers predicted?

    I've been using what little free-time I have to plan out lessons that I think are essential for every student in writing and speaking, but I'm worried that I won't be able to use them. Sure, I'm using ideas from Marzano, Noden, and Smagorinsky, but.. what if they don't conform to what my supervising teacher expects/likes/wants?

    So many questions! =) Thank you for reading; I do appreciate your time.
     
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  3. BumbleB

    BumbleB Habitué

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    Jun 25, 2011

    I think mine was alot easier than others. I worked in inclusion, so I never had to prepare/teach lessons, which reduced the work load. It was still hard work though, being with the kids all day and trying to manage their learning styles and prepare what they needed. I feel like my student teaching experience could have been better though. I really wasn't allowed to do much, and my teacher could have done more to really "mentor" me. My cooperating teacher and I had completely different teaching styles, and that made it difficult to learn alot from her.

    There's not much that you can do to prepare beforehand. You need to get to know the kids, the classroom structure, the school itself, etc before you start your work.
     
  4. ami6880

    ami6880 Companion

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    Jun 25, 2011

    I had 2 student teaching experiences, one in 2nd and one in 4th. I think that the cooperating teacher is the biggest part of your experience. I loved my first placement, I felt as though I was a part of my classroom, she really let me lead the kids and would leave often (work just outside the room) so I could gain experience.

    My second placement I didn't have the same experience, I wasn't incorporated into the room as much and I didnt feel as though I belonged like I did in my first experience. The teacher rarely left the room and had difficulty allowing me to facilitate lessons. She would jump in and take over and overall just really had a hard time letting go.

    I found that the planning involved researching the materials they had already. Most of the time the teachers have laid out what they teach and when. It is helpful to sit down with the teacher and find out how she likes to teach the lesson. A lot of times I had trouble following the manual so I would write out an outline for myself. Now having my own room I look off the materials, but I teach it the way I like to, but when first learning I did go off the manuals quite a bit during Student Teaching.

    I agree that there is not much to prepare before, just take your time the first week and observe the teacher and how she handles routines and such, learn names, and start deciding what you will teach first. Most off all, it should be a fun experience, college instructors like to scare you with the amount of work, but I rarely stayed past 5, so don't let them scare you!
     
  5. TeacherShelly

    TeacherShelly Aficionado

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    Jun 25, 2011

    I agree that the cooperating teacher makes or breaks the experience. I have heard of student teachers being essentially office help for the teacher. Making copies, collating, stuffing folders, etc. That would not be too helpful.

    I had three placements (CalStateTEACH). I picked the schools even though we weren't supposed to be able to do that. My instructor was OK with it. I did 3rd grade, 4th, and then K/1. The first coop teacher was very laid back and just let me do what I was comfortable with. The second was ... ?? ... different. He thought of himself as cool and progressive, but his methods were very rote. I remember he'd string together a lot of buzzwords in our conferences.

    The third teacher was far and beyond excellent. She trusted me and led me out of my comfort zone. That's where my real learning took place. In this placement I also did my two week solo teaching.

    I fit in so well in that third school that I ended up getting a job there.

    Remember your experience is largely up to you! Don't make assumptions, do your very best, and don't take anything personally. You'll do just fine.
     
  6. christine89

    christine89 Companion

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    Jun 25, 2011

    Well, I had 2 student teaching experiences and I both feel they were very positive. The first was in Kindergarten and I loved it! The teacher was very helpful and supportive throughout. Until you really know the content of your classroom, I don't know that it's wise to spend a ton of time preparing lessons yet. For the grade you are assigned, definitely become familiar with the state standards.
    My second experience was in 4th grade and it was... unique. My cooperating teacher became ill in about my 4th or 5th week out of 10 weeks and was gone for the rest of my experience. So for a good portion it was just me and a substitute teacher so there was an extra workload for me! Keep in mind that this is an extremely unique and rare experience. The only thing I feel I missed out on in that experience is the feedback I would have received from the teacher.
    My advice is to simply do your best! Planning and prepping took my nights and weekends, but I actually really liked doing all that kind of work. Before I began my student teaching, I wasn't completely sure I was ready (didn't have a positive practicum experience the semester before). However, I found that as I was progressing, things just kind of fell into place and it felt right to be doing it.
    Good luck, don't stress, and enjoy your experiences!
     
  7. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Phenom

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    Jun 25, 2011

    Start a filing cabinet with ideas for common objectives, with ideas for multiple grade levels. You can always tweak things to match your class' needs.

    Read every professional book you can get your hands on. If it's been mentioned on this site, read it twice.:p Since you are still in college, take advantage of your library.

    Visit several teacher stores and buy a Mailbox idea book.
     
  8. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Jun 26, 2011

    Student teaching is really what you make of it. It was hard work because yes you were the teacher without all the freedom of the teacher.

    What really worked for me was being open and honest with my cooperating teacher. Talking with her about my mistakes and when I was ready for more responsibility. Ask for feedback, ask to try something, ask to plan a unit. The more you ask and are open, the more you will probably be able to do.
     
  9. soleil00

    soleil00 Comrade

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    Jun 26, 2011

    I agree with mopar - it is what you make of it.

    Mine, well... it was super easy because the district I was assigned to uses a "pre-planned" curriculum so I never had to write a lesson plan and all the lessons were basically scripted.

    I talked to a lot of my friends who did write their own lesson plans and they found it to not be as difficult as the university made it out to be.

    For me, I just went into it with the idea of keep my mouth shut, do what they ask me to, and don't do anything stupid. It worked out fairly well for me since I ended up with a job in that district!

    When I say 'keep my mouth shut' that refers to those little... student/admin/district rant sessions that the older teachers at my school tended to get into and I would guarantee there will be a few at your school as well. Nod and smile, but never agree/disagree. That's my best advice.

    If they ask you to run copies, do it. I ran copies, I ran errands, and I cut paper every day for about 3 weeks straight for my cooperating teacher. Whatever they wanted from me, I would do it. I even did little errands here and there for the other teachers in the hall, just to be more helpful and also for the personal benefit of having them as close friends.
     
  10. BookButterfly

    BookButterfly Rookie

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    Jun 26, 2011

    Wow, so many different experiences! This has all been very informative, thank you!

    I hope that I'm allowed to design my own lessons, which is what I'm doing right now. I've been using my state's academic standards, teaching books, theory books, anything I can get my hands on, really. Worst case scenario, I won't get to use them during student teaching, but I can always tweak them depending on where I eventually get a job, right? =)

    It sounds like if you go in with an open mind, a positive attitude, and make a point to do whatever your cooperating teacher says without complaint, it will be okay. Is that the way of it, would you say?
     
  11. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Jun 26, 2011

    You seem to have the right attitude. Just keep with the positive attitude!
     
  12. Emmy

    Emmy Companion

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    Jun 26, 2011

    Mine was a complete nightmare. Cooperating teacher and my personality were so different. She loved to yell and scream at the kids, and I am very soft spoken and would never dream of screaming at a Kindergartner. She made it quite clear that she didn't think I was cut out for teaching because of how soft spoken I am.
     
  13. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Jun 26, 2011

    I was in a trailer in a Title 1 school...3rd grade kids with many learning needs, but I loved it! My coop saw quickly that I could handle things and pretty much turned the class over to me.
    Take on class responsibilities as soon as you can...maybe that's one subject or unit at a time, maybe it's taking it all on...kind of depends on your coop teacher. Mine had made me a handbook with school map, an overview of a typical daily schedule, a curriculum guide of some units that were upcoming.
    Dress professionally. Learn as much as you can. Plan and overplan. Be excited...the kids will pick up on your enthusiasm. Smile. Get friendly with the secretaries and custodians. Show up early and stay at least as long as your coop. Go to meetings with your coop. Ask good questions. Take notes. Don't complain. Only speak positively of your experience. Laugh with the kids. Express thankfulness to your coop and the administration for hosting you. Have fun.:cool:
     
  14. ami6880

    ami6880 Companion

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    Jun 26, 2011

    Well said! Make sure you dress professionally for sure, also make sure that you attend all meetings! I was with another student teacher and she frequently forgot about meetings in the morning and would show up late. The teachers would talk about it, it just looked really bad! She also thought she knew everything about everything and rubbed people the wrong way. Never say anything bad about anything and just have a positive eager attitude! I know I posted before, but what was said made me want to share more ;)
     
  15. INteacher

    INteacher Aficionado

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    Jun 26, 2011

    I think I remember that you are secondary and if you are I would add :)
    *try to attend a few extra-cir's both sports and academics
    *introduce your self to the P, VP/AP, Deans, guidance
    *ask to observe teachers NOT in your content area, trust me you will get lots of ideas and info
    *don't shy away from the teacher's lounge ~ I know many people will advise you to stay away, but form your own opinion by actually go to the lounge. The teacher's lounge in my building is like having lunch with my second family :)
    *can't say enough about all the advice in keeping a binder of ideas!!!
     
  16. soleil00

    soleil00 Comrade

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    Jun 26, 2011

    Agree with all of the above.

    Go BEYOND the call of duty to get to know everyone in the school, other teachers in your grade, the principal/office staff especially, and even the janitors, librarians, art teachers, etc. They all become valuable allies later on.

    The principal had big interest in me and look where it landed me, a job with hardly any interview at all.
     
  17. PinkCupcake

    PinkCupcake Cohort

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    I had a split student teaching assignment. I did six weeks in Kinder and six weeks in 3rd grade. The school I was in was overall great towards me. I really loved the school I was in.
    The teacher I worked with in Kinder was amazing. She included me in everything. I started off teaching one subject a week and gradually took over the whole day for the last two weeks. She let me incorporate my own ideas. We always had a mini meeting at the end of the day to discuss things and bounce questions off each other. She encouraged me to ask the principal to come observe me. The principal gave me name to HR, which helped me get the job I have now. I truly enjoyed her classroom. We still keep in touch.
    I was completely disappointed when I got to 3rd grade. I was excited to learn about a TAKS grade, but my teacher did virtually next to nothing with me and her students. One day I sat while she went over a Science powerpoint. She stretched it out over the entire day. She sat at her desk texting while the kids copied everything. Another day she spent trying to get concert tickets. I was barely included in team meetings. During planning period, her and another grade level teacher would leave all the time to get food.
    Good luck to you! Pray that you get a good school and teachers to work with; it makes a huge difference in your confidence and how you'll be in your own classroom.
     
  18. GAteacher87

    GAteacher87 Companion

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    Jul 4, 2011

    My student teaching experience was very trying, very difficult. I knew from the first week that it would be a long, long, LONG 16 week assignment. BUT... I got through it! And you will too! :) Stay positive, remember that you are there to LEARN (and sometimes that means learning from not-so-positive examples), and remember that the students are WHY you want to teach. (I'm assuming that this is true for you.) Remember that it will pass, whether the experience is the best or worst of your life. Put forth your best effort, be as friendly and energetic as you can, but make time for yourself when you are at home, too.

    I will say that my 5-week assignment was absolutely amazing. This one occurred the semester before my final student teaching assignment. Anyway, no matter what happens, it is a temporary moment that you will refer back to throughout your teaching career, so take it all in--all parts of it. Also, post here during your time. Other teachers who love teaching will be posting here, and you will get support and advice. Good luck!
     
  19. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Fanatic

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    Jul 5, 2011

    My student teaching experience was wonderful! My cooperating teacher and I got along great! The staff was very small so it was nice to get to know all the teachers and not just the English teachers. They were all also very supportive. I worked with inner city juniors and they were the best. I loved them and had a great time with them!

    My cooperating teacher was wonderful because she seemed to know just how much support to give me. She knew when to let me do my own thing and when to step in and help.
     
  20. MrsMikesell

    MrsMikesell Cohort

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    Jul 5, 2011

    My experience was, well, totally non-memorable. I can't even remember the school or teacher's name!

    But, I've hosted two amazing intern's in my 14 years teaching. I think the key is having open communication.

    If you don't understand something, speak up!
    If you need help, speak up!
    If you disagree with something, speak up!
    If you love something, speak up!

    My best intern was the one that questioned me the most, had valid points when she disagreed, and wasn't afraid to talk.

    She's now my best friend... and co-teacher!
     
  21. geek412

    geek412 Rookie

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    Jul 5, 2011

    My student teaching was wonderful. I found out the teaching and grading components were the easiest!

    Student teaching is the time to:
    - ask questions,
    - dress professionally,
    - (please for everything lovely BE ON-TIME)
    - be courteous to everyone on campus,
    - be curious about the school's goals & focuses for the quarter/year.

    The best piece of advice I can give you is -

    YOU set the tone for "YOUR" classroom, NOT your students.

    One more thing: Be patient & humble. My cooperating teacher never had an intern before, so it took us both some time for her to relinquish control and for me to take the reigns.
     

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