16-week or 8-week student teaching?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by frtrd, Nov 29, 2013.

  1. frtrd

    frtrd Rookie

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    Nov 29, 2013

    I'm training to be a high school teacher, and the teaching credential I'm in has us do a full semester of student teaching. We can choose to do a single 16-week placement, or break it up into two 8-week placements (and different locations).

    I really want to experience student teaching in both an inner city school, and also a school on one of the Native American reservations in my state. However, I don't know if it's a bad idea to do two short student teaching experiences instead of a longer one. One one hand, I would make more contacts (more reference letters!), but on the other hand, with 8-week placements I won't really get to "settle in" and get to know the students and the school.

    What do you guys think? I absolutely can't decide and would really appreciate your advice!
     
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  3. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Nov 29, 2013

    If you know you want to experience two different placements, then I think that's a great idea.
     
  4. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    I think two placements would be great!

    In my state, elementary student teachers have two placements...one on the younger end and one on the older. For my middle grades certification, I only taught one grade at one school and I think that was a disservice to me. Especially because it was only one of my two subject specialties. I student taught history but ended up teaching language arts with no experience.
     
  5. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    I did two eight week placements--one at each end of my certification. I'm certified K-8, so 8th grade math was vastly different than 2nd grade! I'm glad I did both because it really helped me decide what level to teach. (5th grade--perfect!)
     
  6. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    I had to do two to get my secondary degree - one MS and one HS placement. Having to do two placements was great especially since each environment was so different from the other. Gave me lots of food for thought ... which I didn't think about when I took a job in my current district. :haha:
     
  7. Myrisophilist

    Myrisophilist Habitué

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    I think it's good to see as many classrooms as possible. It will not only help you decide what kind of school (or grade level, or subject) you want to be at, but what kind of school you want to avoid. Eight weeks is long enough IMO to get a feel for the classes. For me, I had decided to teach high school, and a middle school placement cemented that decision in my mind.
     
  8. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    Our elementary and middle grade teachers both complete two placements, and they are often at different schools. My student teacher did 8 weeks teaching in my 7th grade room, then did 8 weeks with freshmen at the high school.

    I'm secondary, so I just had one 16 week placement in the same class. We did not have an option to work in two schools.
     
  9. amethyst

    amethyst Companion

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    Well, at my school, we do two placements in the same school. The first one is two days a week for 10 weeks and the second one is 5 days a week for about 4 months. I am just finishing up the first one, and I can tell you I definitely was able to learn a lot in just the 8 weeks, 2x a week. And I would also say that the more different experiences you have the more you will learn! So I would go with the two 8 week placements if I were you.
     
  10. FarFromHome

    FarFromHome Connoisseur

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    I did two placements and would recommend it. I have two certifications, so one was in 2nd grade and the other was in junior/high school vocal music. They were definitely completely different experiences!
     
  11. Pencil Monkey

    Pencil Monkey Devotee

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    Nov 30, 2013

    I also vote for two placements. It would make you more marketable since you would have two different background experiences. Also, I would love to work on a reservation.
     
  12. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

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    I had to do two 7 1/2 week placements, one was in 5th grade, one was in 1st grade. Are you elementary? If so, I would definitely do two and look into possibly getting to teach in 2 different grades. Here it's mandatory.
     
  13. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    I did two 7+ week placements... one in a low-FARMS 2nd grade class, one in a high-FARMS 5th grade class. The 5th grade class was an "integrated special ed" room (which basically meant that almost half the grade level qualified for special ed, so they put 11 IEPs in a room with 3 non-SPED kids). I'm definitely glad I was able to do both settings. If I had only done the first setting, I may have actually tried to teach in an inner-city, which would have been a disaster.
     
  14. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    There is absolutely no way 8 weeks is enough unless they have you teaching all day every day within a couple weeks of each placement. Personally, I wouldn't even take a student teacher for just 8 weeks. I don't even feel that having them for a semester is sufficient. Just about the time they start getting good they are done. It depends, of course, on the rest of your program but your time in the classroom is more valuable than anything else you'll do in preparing to become a teacher.

    Without knowing more I'd recommend doing the 16 and then perhaps doing some volunteer work at another site so you can get a feel for it.
     
  15. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    There's a difference between high school and elementary though. A high school teacher has different groups of kids and can have different age groups. An elementary classroom only has one group of kids. At the elementary level, there is definite value to being in multiple settings. Every classroom is different, of course, but I'd suspect that the average freshman social studies classroom and senior social studies classroom probably are more alike than an average second and average fifth grade classroom.

    Though yes, I would agree that in a shorter setting, you need to take over the classroom quicker. My first setting started when school did... my CT and I had already worked out a plan so that I would be in a full co-teaching model in week 2 and I'd be on my own, teaching-wise for week 3.
     
  16. HorseLover

    HorseLover Comrade

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    I haven't experienced both so it's hard to say. My certification is PK-6th and I only did one placement. While it would have been kind of nice to experience different grade levels (in case I get moved around later) it WAS nice to get to spend the full time in one classroom to really get settled and get to know the kids and the school, etc. Then again, I was with a GREAT co-op teacher; if they weren't a good teacher then it might have been different. I ended up getting a job in the same school!
     
  17. Croissant

    Croissant Comrade

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    Nov 30, 2013

    I had to do two placements when I student taught, but I somehow ended up in the same grade for both. I literally moved down the hall. So, I got to do history and ELA, but I didn't get to experience different grades. It was nice staying within the same grade because I did have many of the same students, so I really got to know them. I was also able to really develop relationships with the faculty, who got really comfortable with me and treated me like another teacher. On the other hand, doing all of my student teaching in the same grade and then getting hired (in another district) in just one grade lower...well I don't feel very well-rounded. All of my clinical experience, student teaching, and now teaching experience has been within the same two grades. I think my program really did me a disservice by not varying my placements. I feel sort of lost, wondering if I'm really at the right level. I think I want to go lower, but I'm scared because I have 0 experience or knowledge of anything lower. I wish I had had a more drastic split assignment.
     
  18. Kangaroo22

    Kangaroo22 Virtuoso

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    Nov 30, 2013

    At my college if you were getting an elementary certification you had to do one placement in grades 1-3 and another in grades 4-6 and if you were secondary one placement was in grades 7-9 and the other in 10-12.
     

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