Student teaching

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by Elena3, Aug 12, 2017.

  1. Elena3

    Elena3 Rookie

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    Aug 12, 2017

    Hi everyone. I am starting a credential program in a few weeks that includes spending two days a week in an elementary classroom as a clinical experience during the first term. The program info says my job will be to "support" and "assist" the teacher among other things. Can anyone give me some advice about what to expect or how to best "support" the teacher? Obviously I want to make a good impression and gain some experience. I can imagine that taking me on as a student will mean some extra work for this teacher. How do teachers feel about having credential students in their room?
     
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  3. justwanttoteach

    justwanttoteach Cohort

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    Aug 12, 2017

    Can you meet with the teacher before you start working with kids? Talk to them and find out what they would like you to do. Ask them what support and assistance looks like to them. (Believe it or not it can be different for everyone) BE FLEXIBLE
     
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  4. Teacherhere

    Teacherhere Companion

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    Be flexible. You are in there to get a feel for being an elementary teacher. I wouldn't worry too much about it, just go with the flow. I would be observing the teacher and how they manage their class. What procedures are in place, how they transition between activities/subjects, how does the teacher interact with students. This stuff is learned by doing it, but if you try to focus on it while observing you can pick up on things that will be helpful to you.

    One thing to keep in mind is that the teacher creates the climate of the classroom 100%, whether it be calm and orderly or chaos. Try to notice this climate and find the things the teacher does that maintains this climate(this is CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT).
     
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  5. bella84

    bella84 Fanatic

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    Will you be in the same classroom every time? When I did my clinical experience, we were expected to observe in many different classrooms. I'd only spend a few weeks at a time with a certain teacher. My primary responsibility was to observe, but I'd occasionally work one-on-one with a student, if the teacher asked me to. Honestly, to make it easiest on you and the teacher, I'd just show up, thank the teacher for allowing you to learn in his/her classroom, and offer to help in whatever way he/she would like. The teacher will let you know what you need to do if it's anything beyond observing.
     
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  6. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    I agree with the advice to ask the teacher. You'll save yourself a lot of headaches if you're on the same page! The teacher's version of "supporting" may not be what your college program considers "supporting." My college program made us start with observing, and I ran into a lot of teachers that were upset that I didn't "jump in." I thought it would be inappropriate to "jump in" because I was told I was just going to observe. I definitely wished I would have talked to the teachers beforehand about how to mesh their expectations with what my college program required.
     
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  7. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Phenom

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    Ask if you can walk around and help monitor during independent practice. Most teachers would welcome that as it's a way to participate without extra work on their part.
     
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  8. Elena3

    Elena3 Rookie

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    Aug 13, 2017

    Thank you everyone, for your responses. To start I'm going to be in one classroom for 7 weeks, two days a week. In the spring my understanding is I'll be in an upper grade classroom student teaching everyday. I'm also not one to just "jump in" unless I know more or less what I'm supposed to be doing. The program says the mentor teacher's job is to "engage" the student teacher. So yes, without talking to the teacher ahead of time it's not possible to really know what the expectations are. I was just wondering what was typical. Has anyone here ever mentored a student teacher?
     
  9. Mshope2012

    Mshope2012 Companion

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    Aug 13, 2017

    I've had a few student teachers and many, many student observers. Sadly, a lot of my observers the last few years have been less than stellar.

    My number #1 rule is to dress appropriately. I once had a college student who wore low cut clothing and the boys could not take their eyes of her.
    #2 Don't sit in the back and play with your cell phone. Yep, had this happen also. The kids were mad because they weren't allowed to do this.
    #3 Ask questions and act interested. I had a nice girl in last semester, but she really didn't seem to care about anything. She never asked a single question.
    #4 Do what you are asked.
    One guy would not get off the chair. I constantly tried to prod him to interact with students and he never would. His supervisor talked to him. No improvement!

    Also, my coworkers at my grade level always say no when asked if they will take someone. I end up getting a lot of them. I'm sure I had more good ones, but the bad ones tend to jump out in my mind.

    Luckily, I've had wonderful student teachers. They really couldn't wait to jump in and teach. They were very professional and got to know student names and personalities quickly. They asked for help, but still liked to put their own spin on lessons. All of my student teachers really wanted to teach as soon as possible and take over the classes. I did this when I was student teaching and let them. At times, they all were like, "I tried this and it was harder than I thought." It's okay to try and fail a little during student teaching.

    I think just the fact that you were interested enough to come here and ask is a great sign. I really agree that having a great attitude is everything. It is stressful and hard work but terrific experience.
     
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  10. Elena3

    Elena3 Rookie

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    Aug 13, 2017

    Thank you Mshope. These are exactly the kind of candid thoughts I am interested in!
     
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  11. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Aug 13, 2017

    I agree, the teacher will best be able to answer this question. Each teacher has different expectations. I would just make myself available and willing to do what the teacher needs. Ask him or her what exactly you could best support in. Also, teaching is very fast and a lot happens second by second. Be alert and aware. Listen to all the instructions the teacher is giving. There's nothing worse than the teacher explaining instructions and then the other adult (in my case my TA, in this case the student teacher) asking for instructions because he or she wasn't listening. Just be aware of what is happening, see what needs to be done and do it. The teacher is going to be super busy with limited time (as you will be as well), so when you can jump in where you see needed, that will be a huge help (I don't mean interrupt him or her, I mean when you see a student needs help, or someone can't find a certain material, or something needs to be done, etc.).
     
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  12. bella84

    bella84 Fanatic

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    I would recommend that, in addition to asking what your responsibilities are with the students, you also ask how early the teacher would like you to arrive and how late he/she would like you to stay on the days you are there. I once had a student teacher who was great with the students, lesson planning, asking questions, etc., but she would get to school so early (probably to make a good impression). There just wasn't much for her to do in the mornings, so she would make conversation with me the entire time that I was rushing to get ready for my day. I appreciated her effort towards being on-time and her enthusiasm, but I found it really annoying that I couldn't concentrate on the things I needed to do because she was talking to me. I ended up having to come in extra early while she was with me just so that I could get work accomplished. So, be on time or even early, but be aware that, just because there isn't much for you to do, your mentor teacher may not have time for random chit chat or explaining things to you.
     
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  13. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    That's an excellent point! I think sometimes others aren't aware how critical that before-school time is. I get to school an hour before school actually starts, and I need every second if that time.
     
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  14. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Connoisseur

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    Aug 13, 2017

    I did a vlog about student teaching and what to expect. I give tips about how to be the best you can, which address your questions (and more.) Check it out!

    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCd_rEYYlzcT5C8vkTZXJSTA
     
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  15. Elena3

    Elena3 Rookie

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    Thank you, everyone, for your sincere comments. And yes I did see the vlog! According to the "guidelines" which were sent from my program, I'm supposed to be there 30 minutes early and remain for 30 minutes after school. Whether that is the teacher's preference or not remains to be seen. I can totally understand the points that everyone has raised about this. I started wondering how the mentor teachers felt when I was not given a placement at my preferred schools. Maybe the advisor had a hard time locating someone willing to take on a student teacher? I know a big part of this experience is to observe and write "reflections." Maybe some teachers don't like being observed?
     
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  16. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Phenom

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    If they are a tested subject, it's hard sometimes to let go. It's our name on the report and part of my evaluation is test scores. Having a student teacher is a big unknown. Sometimes you get stuck with awful STs. I've had about ten and there are some who should have picked something else.
     
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  17. bella84

    bella84 Fanatic

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    I would ask your mentor teacher is he/she actually wants you to follow those 30 minutes before/after guidelines. Often, what the college programs require is different from what the actual school/mentor teacher desire.

    Having a student teacher or observer is like having an extra student to differentiate for in the classroom. Even if only observing, having a visitor is an added stress to factor into the day. That's probably why you could not get into your preferred schools. Either that, or they were already full with other students.
     
  18. Obadiah

    Obadiah Habitué

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    I have had 2 student observers/aides and welcomed them with enthusiasm because I remember how influential this experience was to me when I first began teaching. (I was in a private school, so aides or student teachers were rare). Personally, I tried to plan specific times for direct observation of the classroom. I had the aide grade papers for me and assist some students one on one; this was also great experience for the aide. I let the aide perform some basic duties such as walking the class through the hall; (I monitored this from a distance and offered tips and suggestions). Eventually, I allowed the aide to plan and teach a lesson. Both of my aides were stellar in my opinion. Obviously, I did not expect perfection. (I'm still not perfect). I did expect and saw good effort put into all tasks and determination to learn and succeed. I suppose what I enjoyed the most was discussing my lesson planning and implementation with the aide. One quick extra note, I agree with Mshope2012, there is no such thing as downtime in the classroom. Teachers don't take breaks and neither should student aides or student teachers. If I saw an aide playing on a cellphone during class, that aide would not even come close to a good evaluation from me!
     
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  19. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Connoisseur

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    But I feel like the college AND teachers play a role and need to take some responsibility. We shouldn't just pass them along "just because.'' The problem is that many ST's easily fly through the ed classes (which are a joke anyway,) and then think they can just waltz into the classroom and do whatever. Many are unmotivated, unenthusiastic, can't manage a classroom or even have a lackluster command of the academic content (seriously, when I see them teaching WRONG it shocks me!) The colleges (and teachers) can do a better job at cutting off the bad ones early in the program. However, many colleges just want the money... they don't seem to care about sending off bad ST into the world. It's really sad. And you should be able to recognize the signs early. For example: I'm taking classes where a lot of my classmates show up late, talk/ text during class, or don't complete the assignments, etc. Those are pretty good warning signs of how those people will be in a classroom and it's frustrating for ME who is a serious student, because they ruin my experience. And of course the professors don't do jack when you express these concerns. If I had my way, I'd be way more selective of who is accepted into education programs to help make sure that the very best are out there!
    Some day...
    :D
     
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  20. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Phenom

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    Two of my former ST did not become teachers.

    I don't feel my ed classes were a joke. I felt very prepared for my first classroom. But I did graduate quite some time ago. All of my friends from college are still teaching, which seems to be rare based on statistics. We were all in the top ten percent of the university so perhaps that had something to do with it.
     
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  21. Obadiah

    Obadiah Habitué

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    I agree! That's absurd, if not just plain rude. I can see someone who might have difficulty managing time or a new schedule, especially with today's pressures; things can happen. But at the same time, these situations can eventually be ironed out. But talking during class? Texting during class? If they become teachers, will they allow their students to do so? And refusing to do assignments? Do they expect to learn by osmosis, perhaps by putting the textbook under their pillow at night and hope it seeps through?
     
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