Questions to ask future Mentor Teacher

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Ms.Holyoke, May 17, 2017.

  1. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Comrade

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    May 17, 2017

    I am student teaching soon and I am getting in touch with my mentor teacher. It is an 8th grade math placement. What are some good questions I can ask my mentor teacher over email?
     
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  3. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Comrade

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    May 17, 2017

    So far, I want to ask:

    1. What curriculum do you follow?

    2. Is there anything I should know about the school before I start?

    3. What is your teaching philosophy?

    4. Is there anything you would like to know about me?
     
  4. rpan

    rpan Comrade

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    May 18, 2017

    is there anyway you could schedule a face to face before you start, it would just be more personable. That way you could just have a chat and the questions will flow. Personally, I always want to meet my student teacher before they start, give them my expectations and tell them what to expect. So your MT may wish to meet you too, couldn't hurt to ask.
     
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  5. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Comrade

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    May 18, 2017

    Should I ask for a meeting early the next school year or this year? (Before summer starts?)
     
  6. geoteacher

    geoteacher Habitué

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    May 18, 2017

    Ask to meet yet this year, if possible. I've done that with student teachers in the past.
     
  7. Tulipteacher

    Tulipteacher Rookie

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    May 18, 2017

    I'd be very put off if my new student teacher asked me my teaching philosophy. The last time I was asked was maybe at a job interview, if ever. To be asked that from a ST would just be odd.

    Ask me specific questions. What's my grading policy? What's my discipline policy? What do I do when kids don't do the work? What do I do when kids are below grade level? How do I differentiate?

    All of my answers will show my philosophy much better than some platitudes and jargon.

    But it would be a little overly intense to get that list of questions in an email from a ST, especially at this time of year when things are already crazy.

    I think it is much better to send a brief email that you are looking forward to working with her and is there a time you could come by and meet her and have a few minutes to chat. Your questions 1 and 2 are good. #4 I would probably rephrase because it is a given that she will ask you questions if she needs to.
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2017
  8. rpan

    rpan Comrade

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    May 19, 2017

    Ask to meet this year if she is available, so that you have time to prep things that your MT may want you to prep. It's good to build a relationship with your MT early. The questions Tulipteacher has asked are really good, those are the things you'll want to know and make a difference in your ST experience. You might also want to ask how technology is used in the classroom so you can possibly prep some things before hand.
     
  9. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Comrade

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    May 19, 2017

    Good advice!! Thank you! I definitely think that my questions were a bit much and thank you for letting me know. I unfortunately will not be in the area until after school lets out. Should I ask for a Skype meeting or should I ask for a meeting early next year?
     
  10. Tulipteacher

    Tulipteacher Rookie

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    May 20, 2017

    Although I consider my self pretty tech savvy, I don't Skype or have a Skype account. Given your situation, I think you should email, convey your excitement, and say that you'd like to do some reading to be as prepared as possible for the fall, so ask her if she uses any programs like Daily 5 and if she has a preferred classroom managment style like Responsive Classrroom or Love and Logic. Then tell her again you're looking forward to the fall.
     
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  11. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Comrade

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    May 20, 2017

    Thank you all so much for the advice! I did pretty much what you said. I said thank you for reaching out to me, I am looking forward to working with you and the students and ask if there is anything I can do to prepare. When she replies, I may ask what curriculum she uses and tell her I would like to do readings to prepare. This is an 8th grade math placement so I may just leave it at that.
     
  12. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    If you're going to be teaching math, I strongly recommend reading Mathematical Mindsets by Jo Boaler.
     
  13. AmyMyNamey

    AmyMyNamey Comrade

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    May 20, 2017

    These questions are not necessarily intended for your mentor, who may have her own agenda which does not place your best interest ahead of her own. Rather, these questions should be asked of someone you trust, who is not in a position to either judge you or directly influence your immediate career:
    • Does the district have a graded pay scale based on seniority and education? Does the pay increase every year you teach to offset inflation?
    • Is there a union presence and is it able to bargain for working conditions?

    If the answers to these questions are negative, change your major and do ANYTHING else.

    Hopefully, you are on the ball and already know that your state provides adequately for its teachers.

    I realize this advice differs from most, but these are the BIG questions many would prefer you not ask or think much about. However, I cannot delude a prospective teacher in good conscience. Please forgive my forwardness.
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2017
  14. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Comrade

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    I live in Massachusetts which has a strong public school system and a union. Salaries are very good in the district I will be student teaching in. My main concern is that I am committed to teaching in a low income school for two years. I would love to work with this population but I am worried about support from admin. I do believe that the public school system I am working in is very good!
     
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  15. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Comrade

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    I will look into it; thank you! Do you have any book suggestions for classroom management? A lot of the books I've seen are about elementary classroom management.
     
  16. Rabbitt

    Rabbitt Connoisseur

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    May 20, 2017

    policies such as homework, late work, behavior
    See if you can get a copy of the math book or teacher's edition (online?)
     
  17. rpan

    rpan Comrade

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    I teach middle school. Make sure you set your expectations of the class from day 1. (Check with your MT first).
     
  18. AmyMyNamey

    AmyMyNamey Comrade

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    May 21, 2017

    Fantastic! States can target teachers in a number of ways, often in combination. Anti-teacher activity goes beyond defunding and pushing for-profit educators into the mix. Legislators will also target a state's teachers by interfering with school discipline directly. They can pass legislation tying a school's grade to suspensions and absences, which has the intended effect of encouraging administrators to ignore discipline issues or blame teachers for students' behavior, thereby creating a more hostile work place and driving seasoned teachers from the profession. Worse, legislators absolutely do not care what these policies do to children. Where administrators are reduced to bribing children with candy and video games for a moment's peace, there you have a school failing to provide an adequate education for anyone.

    At-risk populations are routinely targeted by legislators, because their parents do not tend to vote. Fortunately for you, it would be expected that you ask a lot of questions about discipline before you show up; you need to know what to expect and how to best react.

    Ask what types of misbehavior are most frequently experienced. Ask how teachers react, if they are able to write referrals when needed, if administrators tend to back teacher decisions, and how often students are suspended. I'd ask if teachers ever feel afraid to enforce common-sense rules.
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2017

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