Student Teaching

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Hokiegrad1993, Aug 7, 2018.

  1. Hokiegrad1993

    Hokiegrad1993 Comrade

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    Aug 7, 2018

    I start my first semester of student teaching in a couple of weeks. I will be there for the teacher's planning week and onwards. I am super excited and nervous. Asking for advice or heads up on what to expect. The way my grad program works is I will graduate in May and the next two semesters will be in a title 1 school and a standard school.

    What should I expect? Is there anything special I should do to stand out?

    I just bought a lot of nice "teacher" clothes to wear as well as shoes.
     
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  3. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Groupie

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    Aug 7, 2018

    I student taught last year and I had a good experience! It's great that you'll be there for the planning week. I'll share a few things that I learned:
    -Ask to be a part of meetings whenever possible! This includes faculty meetings, IEP meetings, etc. I wouldn't say anything at these meetings but bring a notebook just in case. I know a lot of mentor teachers bring student teachers to these meetings, but mine didn't, so I asked and I got to go to some of them.
    -Ask your mentor teacher what time she usually arrives at school and try to arrive around the same time, or earlier. Mine came to school very early to beat traffic so I couldn't, but I still went in one hour early. Also communicate to your mentor in advance about when you will have to leave early due to classes.
    -Talk to your mentor about any assignments you have as early as possible so that you can plan in advance. I had to teach specific types of lessons, interview students, interview my mentor teacher, videotape lessons, etc. and she always liked to know well in advance!
    -Ask your mentor teacher when she will want your lesson plans by and what format she wants them in. I never had to write formal lesson plans but I sent her my handouts, etc. 2 days in advance.
    -Eventually, ask if you can help with things like walking the kids to their next class, attendance, lunch count, etc. She might appreciate the help! I regret that I never got to do these things!
    -Remember that you are a guest in your mentor teacher's classroom. My mentor teacher had a specific lesson structure in mind and she didn't like group work. I did some partner work but I didn't feel comfortable with group work when the structure wasn't in place. I mainly followed her lead and it worked well. It's easy to want to share all the ideas you've learned in college, but I would start by learning about how your mentor structures her classroom. There were things that I didn't like about my mentor teacher's class that I wouldn't do in my own classroom but there were also things that she did extremely well that I learned a lot from. My mentor teacher also has a specific way of grading that I had to follow as well.
    -Don't forget to ask both teachers that you will work with for letters of recommendation! Provide lots of notice and time for this. A few of my friends asked late, which made for a stressful job search. You'll have job interviews in the spring as well so give your mentor teacher as much notice as possible if you'll be absent. You may be required to send in a lesson plan.
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2018
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  4. ssgirl11

    ssgirl11 Companion

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    Aug 7, 2018

    ^^ Ms. Holyoke has some great advice.

    I just want to add to the point about you being a guest in you cooperating teacher's classroom. For the second half of my placement, I was with a miserable teacher. I did not agree with a lot of what she did in her classroom. Student teaching is not the time to voice your opinion, if you have this kind of teacher (unless they are doing something unethical.) Just silently take note of things you would not do in your classroom, and do whatever your cooperating teacher tells you to do. I just sucked it up, and killed her with kindness. She ended up writing me a wonderful letter of rec, before I even asked her! You just have to make your situation work, and learn as much as you possibly can!
     
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  5. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Groupie

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    ^^^
    Agreed! I remember when my mentor teacher had me put each kid's name on a sticky note and had them put their name under their MCAS score on the wall. I would never do this in my own classroom, but I did what she wanted. She also didn't have the kids raise their hands so we would always have the same person call out or have no participation. I didn't like this, but I taught the same way because I didn't want to introduce new routines that would make it hard for my mentor teacher. I also co-taught so I had to work with her procedures for the kids.
     
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  6. RSA1984

    RSA1984 Rookie

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    Aug 7, 2018

    I 100% agree with this. Overall I enjoyed my student teaching placements, but there were some things that my cooperating teachers did that I know I would probably never integrate into my own practice. Regardless, while student teaching, I tried my best to emulate my CTs simply because I could tell they had success with their students and, also, essentially as a sign of respect for the situation. Someone is opening and basically turning their classroom over to you for X amount of weeks. Basically, unless you are being asked or given suggestions that seem way out of line or extreme, just do what you're told and suggested. Hopefully as the experience progresses, your CT will allow you to try things in order see what works best for you.

    The thing to understand is that there isn't 1 right way or a be all-end all way to teach. Having 2 separate placements, hopefully you'll get to see 2 different teaching styles, and 2 different ways that teachers approach certain situations (e.g. homework, late assignments, bathroom policies, etc.) which will help you develop your own style going forward.

    Best of luck.
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2018
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  7. Hokiegrad1993

    Hokiegrad1993 Comrade

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    Aug 7, 2018

    Thank you all! :)
     
  8. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    This is so important for all of us to remember--no matter how much experience we have.
     
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  9. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    Agreed. I have a colleague who routinely gets frustrated with me when I don’t want to do things exactly her way. We all have to do what aligns our own philosophy and beliefs, and we have to be respectful of those who have differing beliefs.
     
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  10. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    Don't be afraid to ask to try different things, especially if you have a pretty good relationship with your CT. I'd much rather a ST try something during their student teaching and start to figure out their own style than have to figure everything out during their first year teaching. There are lots of things I do or don't do just because it's my personal style. It's not that they're wrong or right. Plus, I love learning new ideas!
    Ask the principal to do an observation and write a letter of rec if he or she is willing. I did this during my ST, and I think it really helped!
    Ask lots of questions! Don't be afraid to ask questions if you don't understand something! I kept a little notebook handy to always write questions down in throughout the day.
    Don't get caught up in any negative talk you may hear in the workroom or with other teachers. It's easy to get caught up in the negatives sometimes. I find myself especially irritable around February. It's cold and dark and the year seems like it will never end. Try to do something fun if you find yourself having a similar time of year!
    Most of all just soak it all in! Keep a list of things that went well and things you'd like to change. I still do that every year! I start creating my "things to change" list basically on the first day of school lol!
     
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  11. Hokiegrad1993

    Hokiegrad1993 Comrade

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    Aug 8, 2018

    Thanks again, just got confirmation I am teaching 4th grade! :)
     
  12. RSA1984

    RSA1984 Rookie

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    Aug 8, 2018

    This.

    I heard a lot of chatter while I student taught, mostly when I was in the teachers' room. Teachers would bash one another for various reasons as well as talk negatively about administrators, etc. It can be difficult to not get involved in it, especially once you get comfortable at your placement and feel as if you are really a part of the faculty. Just remember that this is a temporary placement and no job is guaranteed to come from it. Do your best to steer away from it. If someone is talking to you about another teacher or admin, just do the simple, "yeah" to show that you're paying attention to what they're saying, but don't go any further than that. As quickly as they are to talk about their fellow colleagues, they can and may talk about you as well. Simply put, "stay in your lane."
     
  13. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Groupie

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    Aug 8, 2018

    ^^^
    My school had very low morale and I knew that a lot of staff didn't like the administration. My mentor teacher did not like the English teacher on our team and was very vocal about it with me. My mentor teacher and I had a good relationship and it was tempting to join in on the gossip! Once I got to know the other staff, they would also complain about the administration, etc. I 100% agreed with everything they were saying but I didn't respond or join in. I basically just listened and told myself that this is probably not the type of school I would want to work in!
     
  14. ssgirl11

    ssgirl11 Companion

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    ^^^
    Staying out of the drama and gossip should be a rule in everyday life, so it doesn't carry over into professional life. I watch reality TV to get my fill. ;)
     
  15. Loomistrout

    Loomistrout Devotee

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    Aug 8, 2018

    It's hard to say exactly what to expect as programs and CTs vary. I liked to involve STs right away by having them "work the crowd" during guided practice answering questions and helping students. I asked STs to stop at students' desks and say things like "Show me what you are working on" or "Teach me how you got that answer" etc. That is, don't wait for a student to raise hand for help; dive right in. It's an ice-breaker activity for both ST and students.

    You will have questions. Your CT will have questions. Discuss with your CT "how" you should communicate. Things can get busy in a classroom. We used Post-it notes left on teacher's desk to discuss later. If you take notes when observing try to have a specific teaching skill to observe. For example, I had STs observe what students were doing when entering the room and, at the same time, what I was doing. Then I had STs go to other rooms (OK in advance) and observe (notes) the teacher's procedure for entering the room and what they were doing. In other words, try to observe as many teachers as possible the first week(s) for specific teaching skills; not a whole lesson. Another example: I give STs a seating chart to mark "Who Gets Called On" during a discussion. Another seating chart is used to mark where the teacher moves during a lesson or activity (Teacher Movement). Theme is to break teaching into manageable, observable chunks (just like a lesson) versus "Take notes on everything you see from 8:00 am to 3:00 pm."
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2018
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