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Old 06-25-2011, 01:01 PM
BookButterfly's Avatar
BookButterfly BookButterfly is offline
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 38
Denver, CO
Middle School Teacher
How was your student teaching experience?

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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Old 06-25-2011, 01:31 PM
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BumbleB BumbleB is offline
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 866
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.
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Old 06-25-2011, 02:51 PM
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ami6880 ami6880 is offline
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 196
4th Grade Teacher
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!
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Old 06-25-2011, 03:00 PM
TeacherShelly TeacherShelly is offline
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 3,464
California, USA
2nd & 3rd Grade Multiage
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.
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Old 06-25-2011, 09:16 PM
christine89 christine89 is offline
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 128
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!
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Old 06-25-2011, 10:18 PM
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teacherintexas teacherintexas is offline
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 2,931
Third Grade Teacher
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. Since you are still in college, take advantage of your library.

Visit several teacher stores and buy a Mailbox idea book.
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Old 06-26-2011, 07:02 AM
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mopar mopar is offline
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 10,977
Kindergarten Teacher
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.
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Old 06-26-2011, 01:48 PM
soleil00 soleil00 is offline
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 444
1st Grade Teacher
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.
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Old 06-26-2011, 02:55 PM
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BookButterfly BookButterfly is offline
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 38
Denver, CO
Middle School Teacher
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?
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Old 06-26-2011, 03:06 PM
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mopar mopar is offline
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 10,977
Kindergarten Teacher
You seem to have the right attitude. Just keep with the positive attitude!
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