Student Teacher Frustrations

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Ms.Holyoke, Apr 9, 2018.

  1. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Cohort

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    Apr 9, 2018

    I only have a few more weeks of my student teaching left but I have been feeling extremely frustrated. Part of it is the stress of job searching but there are a few issues that have been stressful:
    -My mentor teacher regularly interrupts me during teaching. I was ok with this in the beginning but now it throws me off. She might ask a question or step in the lesson. I totally get that it's her kids/her class but this has happened 3-4 times during my lesson. She also sometimes tells me to go faster or increase my pacing during the lessons which is again stressful for me. I think it's because she can get a better sense of where students are when she is not teaching. Sometimes a kid will ask a question and she will answer it instead of allowing me to answer it. Maybe I'm overreacting but I still feel frustrated by this because this doesn't happen to other student teachers. I got a very good evaluation from her and my supervisor so it's not like I'm doing a bad job.
    -One of my students HATES me for no reason. He won't accept help from me and I have no idea why. I've dealt with middle schoolers long enough to know how to react to this type of behavior but it's still very frustrating and it makes me sad.
    -I'm also tired of inconsistent behavioral expectations between me and my mentor. We have a period where we have about 8 kids to remediate. In the beginning, we were both strict about having only those 8 kids in the room. Now, it seems like anyone comes and goes and she doesn't care. I used to enforce this rule but now I feel like I can't and it doesn't matter. In terms of behavior, we also have students with some behavioral challenges. When my mentor teaches a lesson, I expect that kids are focused on what she is doing so I redirect behavior to help them focus. Today, during my lesson, she allowed a kid with a behavior problem to start the classwork and then gave him a private lesson when he couldn't do it rather than redirecting him to focus on the board...and many incidents like this. She always allows a girl to work in the hallway every day but she often gets stuck and needs help. She came back today for help with a problem that I just went over and it was annoying that she was allowed to work in the hallway anyways.Maybe it's wrong to be frustrated by these things because it is her classroom but I still feel like behavioral expectations are not consistent.

    Can anyone provide an insight? I'm not sure if I'm just overreacting or having a rough day. I really hope things get better when I have my own classroom.
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2018
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  3. Been There

    Been There Comrade

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    Apr 9, 2018

    What you describe is soooo familiar - brings back many disgusting memories! IMO anytime you put two teachers together in a classroom - especially with dissimilar teaching styles and standards for behavior - there's bound to be conflict. Over the course of my teaching career, I've had to contend with individuals like your "mentor" who would interrupt, interject or otherwise intrude anytime they felt a need to impose their will or way with my students. In the worst situations, I had to politely tell them to back off ("Thank you for your help, but I think I can manage.") while holding one hand up in the stop position. The teaching profession seems to attract people with strong personalities and strong opinions which can present interesting challenges for both administrators and student teachers!

    Unfortunately, mentor teachers are no longer selected for their ability to serve as exemplary role models. Hopefully, things will improve when you have your own room. If I were in a position to do so, I would probably hire you over your mentor teacher!
     
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  4. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Cohort

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    Apr 9, 2018

    ^
    My mentor teacher is actually really good teacher. I'm just feeling frustrated by some of the recent situations.
     
  5. CherryOak

    CherryOak Companion

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    Apr 9, 2018

    While the interrupting and all didn't bother you that much in the beginning, it does now. Perhaps part of this is because you are becoming more confident in the role of teacher and therefore itching to do things your way. That's a good angle to think of as you find the patience to deal with it for just a little bit longer. Hang in there!
     
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  6. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Cohort

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    This is a good way to look at it!! Thank you.
     
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  7. rpan

    rpan Comrade

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    Apr 10, 2018

    These are things that are frustrating but with only a few weeks to go, I personally wouldn’t make a big deal out of it. At the end of the day, it is still her classroom, whether you agree with what she is doing or not. Think of the big picture - you want a good evaluation to pass student teaching. When you have your own classroom, these things wouldn’t be an issue. Continue to work on your classroom management, learn as much as possible and finish off student teaching successfully.
     
  8. TrademarkTer

    TrademarkTer Habitué

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    I agree with all of the above. And I found student teaching to be SIGNIFICANTLY harder and more annoying than having my own classroom. I was trying to be someone I wasn't based on my cooperating teacher's input, and it did not go as well as it could have.
     
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  9. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Connoisseur

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    Apr 11, 2018

    But at the same time I think it's a GOOD thing to have those experiences because you can learn a) how you want to be as a teacher and b) how to interact with your colleagues (e.g. not just stepping all over them if you are team - teaching, collaborating, etc.) I didn't really bond much with my second placement mentor teacher, but I definitely learned how to interact with colleagues (especially in team meetings) because of her.
    All these experiences -- good and bad-- are learning opportunities.
    :)
     
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  10. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I agree.

    My student teaching experience was a mixed bag. My cooperating teacher was experienced, friendly, helpful, and a great teacher. She was also very old school and seemed to have a lot of trouble handing me the reins, especially when it came to administrative/housekeeping tasks. She trusted me with lessons and grading, but she never once let me take attendance or enter grades into the gradebook. She may have felt nervous about those things because they are legal documents with her name attached, but it was frustrating for me. I had already had some teaching experience at the college level, so I was already somewhat familiar with writing and delivering lessons and assessments. What I really wanted to practice was the day-to-day stuff, all the many tasks that teachers have to juggle. I felt like I didn't get to experience any of that.

    Even so, I did learn a lot. I observed other teachers who had very bad classroom management and lesson delivery, which was as helpful to me as watching seasoned, effective teachers.
     
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  11. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Connoisseur

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    Apr 11, 2018

    Even now... I still LOVE to go in and watch teachers after I've developed a rapport with them. I even watch teachers outside of my field just to see their management, interactions, delivery of instruction, activities, etc. I want to see it ALL! That's what I used my student teaching experience for and I still do it now.
     
  12. Been There

    Been There Comrade

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    During my tenure as a site administrator, I would sometimes seek refuge from the stress of administration by sitting in the back of classrooms where I could watch skillful teachers practice their craft. Teachers knew how much I enjoyed being a fly on the wall which contributed to their receptivity to my unannounced visits - I like to think there was a mutual benefit!
     
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  13. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Aficionado

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    Apr 11, 2018

    I'm actually glad I had zero subbing or classroom experience prior to student teaching (other than required field work observation hours for my undergrad degree). I soaked up whatever I was taught because I didn't know what I didn't know. Everything, and I mean everything was brand new to me!

    Reflecting on my experience, I think she was a really good mentor. She was calm, kind, and had strong classroom management. I believe she was very reluctant to hand over the reins because I was so incredibly green! I'd say we had a good relationship, though!
     

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