A caution for new student teachers

Discussion in 'Debate & Marathon Threads Archive' started by swansong1, Jan 13, 2010.

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  1. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    I am also going to point out that some people just seek to make changes for progression/improvement sake. As long as it' not done in a way that is insulting to others, then I don't see what's wrong with it. I can't tell you how many ideas/proposals I have sent to my coordinator, and at times unsure how those ideas/proposals will be accepted. I submit them anyway because I strongly feel that we should constantly seek to improve, and if I have an idea that might help improve the quality of a student's education, then I will run the risk of upsetting my coordinator. To me, it's worth it. And, a couple of my proposals have already been implemented at my current school, and that makes me feel like I am actively making a difference.
     
  2. Lindager

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    I am not saying new ideas or suggestions are wrong. I would have liked the chance to have explained why the idea was not good. It is the way new ideas are handled by the inexperienced that is an important lesson. Know who and how to propose changes.

    I agree new dogs may be able to teach old dogs new tricks, but you can't just shove it down their throat. You need to make it look and taste like candy.
     
  3. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    I agree about not shoving the ideas down someone's throat. I am not sure that, that was (or wasn't) the case of the ST mentioned in the post. Of course delivery of the idea is huge; however, it doesn't sound like the ST made the suggestion in such a way that it was shoved down the VT's throat. Or at least, I didn't read anything in the post that suggested such a thing. I think we must always be open to changes. The day we aren't, that's a sad, sad day. Just because you're new doesn't mean you don't have anything to contribute, and just because you're seasoned doesn't mean you have all the answers. We're humans and we don't have all the answers.
     
  4. sunshine*inc

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    I'm currently student teaching and have been left alone with the students many times in the classroom as well as outside for duty. I know many of my classmates have as well. Most of my classmates have had to do their CT's duties.
    I've been left with the class without the CT or the sub, too, which really was out of compliance since I was not on that district's sub list.
     
  5. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    When I did my ST, I had to be with my CT. Perhaps it depends on the district.
     
  6. sunshine*inc

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    So, even when you did solo teaching and duties your CT was with you?
     
  7. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    Ours had to be legally. Someone got in BIG trouble about that a few years before I graduated, so it was a big deal.
     
  8. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Since I was not a hired employee I was a liability and could not be alone with the class, or on duty.
     
  9. Auter12

    Auter12 Comrade

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    When I did my ST, the CT wasn't with me all the time; however, I was signed up as a sub in that district. We were allowed to sub for out CTs up to 3 times, too(if we were signed up) - and ACTUALLY get paid for working the day.
     
  10. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    When I ST, my CT never let me teach except the 4 times I was observed by the university, so, yes, my CT was always there...
     
  11. SunnyGal

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    When I student taught, it was a gradual process. I observed for awhile, took over parts of class, and eventually worked up to where I was teaching everything. Towards the end of my student teaching, I gradually "handed back" parts of the class to my CT. When I was doing the majority of the teaching, she would leave me alone, but only for a few minutes at a time, and she usually just went up the hall. I literally could poke my head out, call for her, and she'd be right there. She also left the room during my university observations, which I appreciated.
     
  12. sunshine*inc

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    Now I'm wondering what my university's official policy is on this. I can tell you that during one student teaching placement my CT left campus. Also, my friend who is also student teaching was told to sub in a room for another teacher (not her CT) and she is not on the district sub list nor does she have a sub permit. This I know is definitely out of compliance.
     
  13. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    I don't understand why it would be out of compliance just because you're not on the district sub list. :confused: If you don't have your sub permit (like the friend you mentioned), that is a different story, but if you do have a sub permit, then I think the CT would be in compliance whether you're on the district list or not. Maybe I'm wrong about that. I know each district has their own rules. I just don't see the fact that your name isn't on the list being a mitigating factor (by itself).

    Like some of the others, I already had my Sub Certification before doing my student teaching, so it was never a problem for the CT to leave me alone in the room with the kids. She didn't do it often, but after I was teaching all the classes full-time, she would take time to run copies, meet with other teachers (briefly) or make a trip to the office.

    I never worked cafeteria duty by myself. I worked with my CT when her turn came up and I often helped during breakfast as well, but there were other teachers helping out as well.
     
  14. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    Getting back to the original post, I still say the student teacher overreacted and learned a valuable lesson (on many levels) for his actions.

    I do find it hard to believe he was placed in charge of the cafeteria by himself. While that does make him "in charge", the fact remains his authority IS still limited because he is still a student teacher and only placed at the school temporarily.

    Being in charge of cafeteria duty means you handle any situations (like bickering) that come up and stop them before they can escalate. It is just a ONE TIME intervention, unless the bickering escalates into a fight or throwing food or something more serious. It does NOT require assigning seats for the entire class, especially since it is not HIS class he is dealing with. It's also not like he is introducing any new and innovative ideas on behavior management to the school. I'm quite sure the other teachers HAVE thought about assigning seats during lunch, but that is not an action you take over one incident of bickering. The ST should have stopped the bickering between the kids, then approached the VT and explained what he saw happening and how he handled it. The VT could then decide if the individual students needed further punishment for their actions.

    I'm not condemning what the ST did. I DO agree he did what HE thought was right in the situation (although it was an overreaction) and I support him for having the courage to step up and take charge of the situation. But I also agree with the OP that he learned a valuable lesson that there is a right way and a wrong way to handle different situations. That's why we all do student teaching, so we can learn from these mistakes just as this ST hopefully did.

    I also agree the VT could probably have been a little easier on the ST in her response, but it sounds like the CT addressed that and did so in the appropriate manner. For those criticizing the VT, I just suggest you place yourself in her shoes and view it from her perspective.

    As great as the members here are, I have a difficult time believing that, if an ST from a different class told you at lunch on Monday he had designed a seating chart for your class and gave you diagram showing where your kids would now be allowed to sit, your response would be "THANK you for making this suggestion and taking the time to work out the logistics for me. I appreciate the effort you have made." :lol:
     
  15. sunshine*inc

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    In both cases it was against my university's policy. Even with a sub permit we are supposed to receive permission from the university prior to subbing for the CT if the district and school allow it. They even stated that when a sub is present that they are to lead the class. I always took the lead, but some of my friends did not. It just depended on the CT's preferrence.
     
  16. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    If you're not on the district sub list, then you haven't applied for and been approved for hire by the district. They don't know that you meet their particular qualifications. Just because I am licensed to teach in one state does not mean I can waltz into another state and start taking over a classroom.

    My university's policy was that STs could be left in charge of a classroom alone, but the CT had to be present nearby and check in on the ST. If the CT was absent, they still had to arrange a real sub and everything, because the classroom needs a licensed individual to be around.
     
  17. TeacherGroupie

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    Even before the economic crash, it was already common for a suburban school district in California to insist that its substitute teachers already hold full credentials, rather than merely holding a substitute permit. A student teacher by definition lacks a full credential, so in those districts there's no way that a student teacher COULD legally be the teacher of record - and no one who cannot be a teacher of record in California is to be left in sole charge of a classroom, ever.
     
  18. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    That's how it worked with me also. I had total control of the class or situation (recess duty, etc.) but legally my ct had to be there, even though she was just sitting there. I suppose if something went terribly wrong she could have jumped in, but I never had any major problems. It's a legal issue with leaving an uncertified and non-employee teacher in the room alone with students. At one point, my school randomly had like 6 teachers out and my ct was extremely sick at school. She tried to make it the whole day but ended up having to leave mid morning. The principal came in and told me I would just be alone with the class (which I was comfortable with, so I didn't make a big deal about it) and he would pop in whenever possible to make sure everything was going ok. However, as soon as they found out that my university supervisor was coming to observe me that day, they suddenly were able to find a sub, haha.

    Back to the original post, I think the idea that student teachers or new teachers should just sit back and do whatever the veterans do is completely ridiculous. Any teacher that is not willing to listen to new ideas and thinks that she knows everything because she's older shouldn't be teaching anymore. The same goes for student or new teachers that think they know everything and that older teachers are just teaching the same way they did 20 years ago. People need to learn from each other! I'm new at my school this year and I have no problem sharing my ideas with older teachers, or asking them for advice. We swap ideas all the time. It doesn't matter how old or experienced you are!
     
  19. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I don't think anyone said that student teachers or new teachers should blindly follow and mimic veteran teachers. I think the point here has been that student teachers need to do more observing than anything else.

    Student teaching is a time for learning (hence the "student" part). While student teachers may think that they know a lot from all their university coursework, the fact is that there is plenty they don't know. Student teachers know a lot of theory and they know about teaching, but they don't necessarily now what it's actually like to teach or to be a teacher or what it's actually like to work in a school or what it's actually like to navigate the politics within the school and district. Student teachers can't know those things because those are all things you need to experience before you "get it". In this case, it absolutely matters how experienced you are! That's why student teaching exists, so that student teachers can spend time with a veteran teacher and see all that theory in practice.

    An open exchange of ideas between the student teacher and the veteran teacher should definitely exist. The student teacher needs to know, however, that there are limitations to the student teacher's knowledge. If the student teacher spends too much time trying to out-teach and out-theory the veteran teacher, he will have missed the point of the entire experience.
     
  20. mrachelle87

    mrachelle87 Fanatic

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    AMEN!!! We have a first year teacher that thinks she can do no wrong. If things don't go her way, she whines. We changed duty 4 times for her this year, but when she asked for the fifth time to change I said no. Then I proceeded to tell her why. She went to another teacher and cried. The other teacher pointed out that we had been very laid back, but enough was enough. She then made a mistake going to our principal...but what she didn't know was that about five poeple had made a point of going to the principal to complain about her. She talked down to the secretary in front of parents. Our principal knew about it five minutes after it happened and not by the secretary. Several people expressed concern. She also treated the cafeteria staff like slaves and their manager complained. Her little meeting with the principal did not go her way. We hired four new teachers this year. Chances are only three will come back next year. Our principal has already decided who isn't coming back...the other three came in with a smile, kept their mouths closed, didn't talk down to staff, and worked with parents. Who do you think our principal will fire? We all know and are loving it. (By the way, I offered to help her at the beginning of the year and she told me she didn't need my "old fashion advice". ):rolleyes:
     
  21. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Update: As far as the original situation, the ST was only in charge of my class and one other ESE class that we shared lunch with at the table. There were plenty of other teachers in the cafeteria with their own classes.
    As far as the ST, I had him removed from my class after several weeks and he was given the opportunity to try student teaching at another school. Due to his actions while he was under my supervision, I did not feel that my children (or ANY children) were safe in his care. He was removed from the next school after three weeks.
    Ultimately, he was allowed to graduate with a degree in education, but was not given certification.
     
  22. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Can you expand any on your feelings that students weren't safe in his care?
     
  23. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    I think the biggest issue was that he couldn't see the big picture. He would generally focus on one favorite student during the day and forget that there were other students in the class. During one lesson he was teaching to this student while another child tried to poke himself with a pair of scissors, 2 other students shot rubber bands at each other, and a third student left the classroom. He used inappropriate language with the children and raised his voice so often that teachers in other classrooms complained. He was not punctual and would leave the classroom while children were there to go run errands. He left them alone on the playground and two of them wandered out to the main road (about 500 yards away). He was never prepared to teach, he took home many of our supplies and materials and never brought them back. We spent hour after hour counseling and trying to teach him but he was going to do things his way and no other way. My assistant and I tried to give him opportunities to practice with the class, but, we couldn't ever leave him alone.
    One of the other issues was bringing his personal life to school (ie, there was a reason he didn't have a license and I don't think it was just coffee in his mug!)
    Some of the issues, by themselves, would be chalked up to inexperience. Cumulatively, the issues and his unwillingness to improve his performance, led to his downfall.
     
  24. porque_pig

    porque_pig Comrade

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    When I was a student teacher, I often spent the entire day without my CT. She would sometimes stay with me during duties outside the classroom (lunch duty, hall duty, selling tickets at athletic events, etc.), but for the most part, I was the sole instructor of the class. She was rarely in the room with me. One day, she didn't come to school, and I didn't even know it. This was typical for student teachers in the area. One of our greatest objectives was to learn confidence and independence in the classroom. We took a few weeks to observe before we took over the classes, so we weren't thrown to the wolves or anything.

    I would have been frustrated if I had been the ST. While I would NEVER have been so direct with the veteran teacher (I would have asked the other teacher for her opinion first), I would have been frustrated if I had been expected to handle all these situations myself and then be reproached (harshly) by another teacher for taking the initiative that I was supposed to take. While the ST may not have made the best decision, he should never have been treated like an idiot.

    Also, I don't think most STs come in thinking they're the best thing since sliced bread. I was incredibly nervous and withdrawn, and being in charge of the classroom without the CT supervising on a regular basis was the only way I could build the confidence I needed to be an effective teacher. Where there things my CT did in her classroom that I didn't (and still don't) agree with? Sure. Did I learn a TON of strategies from my CT that made me a better teacher? Absolutely. Being new to teaching doesn't mean I don't have useful ideas--if I'm willing to learn from other teachers, other teachers should also be willing to learn from the new blood.

    In short: STs and veteran teachers should treat each other with the utmost respect and be willing to learn from one another. While the ST most likely has a lot more to learn from veteran teachers, he/she may have a lot to contribute to the department. No matter how long you've been in the business, be considerate (not bossy) and be willing to try new things.
     
  25. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    This ST came in from day 1 like that. He introduced himself to me with these actual words " Hi, I am Mr. -. I am fully ready to take over your class tomorrow. Why don't you plan to take the day off. I can handle everything."

    AND, he wasn't joking.
     
  26. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Are you serious? Well, sounds like he did not deserve to have that certificate. The scary thing is he'll probably go through another round of student teaching and eventually get his credential. He sounds like a real piece of work. Thanks for updating.
     
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