Be Careful--Burning Bridges

Discussion in 'Debate & Marathon Threads Archive' started by MrsC, Apr 27, 2010.

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  1. indigo-angel

    indigo-angel Companion

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    Apr 29, 2010

    In this situation, it sounds like hac felt it was very obvious the STs were there ONLY to observe. Given that situation, I still feel he handled the situation professionally by simply asking the ST to stop assisting the students.

    I know I keep repeating this, but the ST overstepped his bounds in this situation and he should be mature enough not to get his feelings hurt when he was asked to stop.[/QUOTE]


    That is exactly why when I was doing my observations, I always asked if I could help. Sometimes taking initiative is not the right thing to do.
     
  2. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Apr 29, 2010

    I don't think anyone is saying that.

    But the classroom teacher DOES have an eye on the big picture in a way that a guest does not. The teacher knows what happened yesterday and the day before that and last month and in September. He knows how much help the kid is getting at home and all the other issues that affect every large and small decision we make all day long. Our decisions rarely take place in a vacuum. The overwhelming majority of the time they're based on what we've observed and come to know about our kids over a period of time-- information that those guests in our classroom haven't been privy to.

    So what may seem like a capricioius decision to a guest may very likely be the response to a pattern of behavior.

    A guest, particularly a guest hoping to teach some day, should be aware of that and not assume that his snapshot of the classroom is more valid than the teacher's long term knowledge of the classroom and the kids in it.

    So, yes, today I let Cathy put her head down during my class. Her mom is battling breast cancer and undergoing radiation and there's a lot of stress at home. And I really got on Alex's case about not taking a full set of notes today-- he's in danger of failing my class. And Ed is getting a detention the moment I see him tomorrow-- he was in trouble today, was supposed to see me after school, and chose not to show up. Any of these decisions might be second guessed by an observer to my room who didn't know the backstory. That's OK-- ask and I'll tell you what I can without violating the kids' privacy. But don't automatically assume that you know better than I about kids you've never met.
     
  3. mrachelle87

    mrachelle87 Fanatic

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    Apr 29, 2010

    Amen Alice
     
  4. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    Apr 29, 2010

    I totally agree Alice.

    I have one student who is, for lack of a better term, a whiner. He doesn't like to ask questions, he prefers to sit and do nothing, then claim "she won't help me!" Well, he knows the procedure for receiving help when it is needed, and he knows that next year in junior high he won't have one teacher watching his every move. It has taken us 34 weeks of school, but he is finally to the point where he will raise his hand, or sign up on the help board, or ask a question.

    He also knows that answers don't come for free from Mrs. kcjo. He has to put forth the effort to at least try for an answer. He has to be willing to read the question to me, and talk to me about what the plan is for figuring out the answer.

    I think in the past, it was easier for teachers to just tell him "42" when he wanted to know what 6*7 was, rather than giving him strategies for finding the answer. And he HATES it that I won't do that.

    But....as I said, we're making progress. This far into the school year. He doesn't cry every day any more-that was HUGE.

    But the SECOND a para walks in the room, or another teacher, or the principal, he regresses right back into the "give me the answer" mode.

    So I would be-and have been-VERY upset if someone just gave him his "42". All of our paras know the situation, and the right questions to ask him to lead him to an answer.

    About a month ago, right around the time that I was starting to see break-throughs in his effort, our principal walked in one morning doing his daily stroll through each classroom. This kid IMMEDIATELY latched on, and before I knew it, basically had the P doing his math for him. I marched across the room, gave him my "look", and politely and professionally asked the P to stop. Yep. He was, um, surprised to say the least.

    I did explain to him the situation later, and of course he understood. He also now knows Mrs. kcjo's procedures for getting help in the classroom.

    So I guess if I don't have a problem telling my boss to cut it out, telling a ST would not be a problem either. Like Alice said, the teacher knows the situation and the big picture-visitors do not.
     
  5. hac711

    hac711 Companion

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    Apr 30, 2010

    Sorry to STs but your job is to observe, unless otherwised requested. If your CT doesn't mention something to you becuase they have a million and a half things on their brains, just what??? ASK!! That's right! Say, excuse me, would you like me to get involved or just observe quietly? We will be more than happy to help you. Guess what? If we don't want you to teach a new way to do things to the kids? Don't do it. We have our reasons for them to do it a certain way. You don't have high-stakes tests to answer to, your job is not on the line, ours is. Until your name is on the door, respectfully do as your told. We all did it, you have to do it too. The day will come when you have your own class and you can do what you want.
    As far as the ST in MY class, I work in a progressive school where answers are not given to students. They work, struggle and use their peers to figure out the answer. In our school, that's how they learn. Teachers are there as a guide, not an answer machine. When STs come to our school, they are told explicitly to sit in the back and watch. What he did was out of line. I told him respectfully to stop, he mouthed off, thinking he knew better. He has not been invited back, nor will he receive a letter asking him to teach. #1 rule of any job is, follow the rules. I think that's a huge drawback to the generation coming in. They think rules do not apply to them. Wake up. :eek: This is the real world now. You are not the boss. You don't get a say. Harsh? maybe. Reality? You betcha.
     
  6. monsieurteacher

    monsieurteacher Aficionado

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    Apr 30, 2010

    I most certainly hope you don't have an ST again if that is what you think their role is. Certainly, I don't disagree with your whole post, but a ST's role is most certainly NOT to observe. Otherwise, we wouldn't be calling them STs, they would be SOs. They are student teachers, and your role as the CT is to make sure they develop into Teachers. That involves taking time out of your busy schedule with a million and a half things in your brain and sharing your expectations with the Student Teacher. If you're not comfortable with that, then perhaps you shouldn't have a student teacher.

    Before anyone tries to argue with me over something I didn't say, let me be very clear: STs should be respectful and understand that it is ultimately the CT's classroom. I don't think for a minute the ST should run the show. I also agree that one PART of student teaching IS observing, but that when I was required to do my "observation" I was also involved in assisting students who needed help.

    As far as the issue of a student relying too much on someone giving them the answer (as kcjo suggested) my approach would be more of "Mr. Principal, Johnny is working REALLY hard at becoming independent with his Math skills, so we are working at not giving him the answers when he asks." Then not only is it clear to the principal (or Student teacher, or para, or whoever else comes into the classroom) but it's also clear to the student what your expectations are.
     
  7. hac711

    hac711 Companion

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    Apr 30, 2010

    In my school, that's what they do. I didn't mean to make a blanket statement on all STs. The STs at my school come for 1-2 weeks at a time to learn and watch our methodology and to participate in lectures. My apologies.
     
  8. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    Apr 30, 2010

    During my student teaching, I had to visit the classrooms of 3 teachers besides my CT and observe each teacher's style and strategies. I was a guest in their room, so I sat quietly in the back or to the side and just observed. I didn't offer to assist the kids. I took notes and talked with each teacher after class, asking questions about his or her style and why that method worked for them.

    Sometimes, the best way to learn is to simply watch and listen.
     
  9. hac711

    hac711 Companion

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    Apr 30, 2010

    cerek, your way is the what I am use to. Observation and questions afterwards.
    Again, all schools have dif. ways of doing things...
    But I don't think any STs have the right to tell the CT what to do..
     
  10. lsho

    lsho Rookie

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    Apr 30, 2010

    This is exactly why I was very humble during my student teaching. I followed direction, asked questions, and always, always, always remembered it was not my classroom. I was a guest and a student. My cooperating teacher was fantastic. He taught me more in the time I was with him than I learned in 4 years of college.

    Because I was very receptive to him, his suggestions, and his teaching style (and was just thankful to be there!), when I was "courtesy interviewed" (the building I was in interviews all student teachers to get a feel for whos in their building and for potential), I ended up getting a job. The admin liked me and went to my cooperating teacher who talked very highly of me. A position opened immediatly (weird circumstances) in the district but different building and I was asked to fill it. I left student teaching a month early to start teaching (with permission from my university).

    You have to be careful in these situations. I've had friends in college who didn't exactly mesh with their cooperating teacher. When they applied for jobs, some districts contacted the CT for reference and to see how it went. Some of those friends didn't get jobs because of things the CT had said. Its a sticky situation.
     
  11. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    Apr 30, 2010

    As I was reading this, I'm getting the idea that we don't have a standard definition of ST. I think that the term is being used by some to loosely refer to both the actual student teaching and the pre-student teaching observations that are sometimes done. I know that the college where I taught had "service learning" requirements LONG before the student's actual student teaching begins. The student, usually enrolled in 100 and 200 level courses are also assigned to observe in an approved classroom for 10-15 hours. Those hours ARE for observation, at least at the beginning. That's not; however, true student teaching, though it can be a very enlightening part of a teacher's education.

    Nonetheless, no matter whether you're doing student teaching or observation hours, respect is non-negotiable. If you don't like the rules set down by the teacher, bite your tongue and do what she says. If you REALLY don't like it, stay quiet, and politely ask your university for an alternate placement. Badmouthing and being rude to the people who could potentially make the difference in your being employed or not is just simply bad form.
     
  12. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    Apr 30, 2010

    My situation sounds a bit different than the procedure at your school, hac. Maybe it is more like the situation mmwsm is discussing.

    I was assigned to a CT and spent the first couple of weeks observing her and getting to know the students, then I took over teaching the classes full time. I did assist the students during my observation time, after the CT told me it was alright to do that.

    The other required observations came at the end of my student teaching. I had been teaching ALL the classes (grades 7-8) for over 10 weeks at that point, but my role in these other classrooms was to just observe, so that's what I did.
     
  13. Kindergarten31

    Kindergarten31 Cohort

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    Apr 30, 2010

    We have all different levels of what we call 'interns'. At the beginning of their internship, they totally just observe. As they progress to different levels, they are given more and more responsibility, until the teacher leaves them alone in the classroom to be on their own (for a short while anyway). But different classroom teachers have different ideas on just how much control to allow their interns to have. Some never let go and others just dump their interns right into the fire.
     
  14. Sagette

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    Apr 30, 2010


    Thank you, thank you, thank you!! This was exactly what I was trying to say! I think there is a huge difference between "Mr. Principal, Johnny is working REALLY hard at becoming independent with his Math skills, so we are working at not giving him the answers when he asks." and "Go sit down." I also stated several times that I did feel the ST was out of line in saying what he did, but I just felt that hac could have approached the situation more diplomatically as well. After all whether we are the classroom teachers or the ST's aren't we all lifelong learners and should be open to different ways of doing things?
     
  15. Sagette

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    Apr 30, 2010

    I don't think anyone here has stated differently. I posted several times that I did not agree with how the ST questioned you and felt the ST was way out of line. However, I also felt you could have handled the situation more diplomatically as well. I think dfleming had a wonderful way to let any guest in the classroom know the situation in a way that would be diplomatic and conducive for good reflection on the part of the ST. That's all I've been trying to point out.
     
  16. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    Apr 30, 2010

    I understand what you are saying, Sagette. My point is that, when a new learner goes into the room of an established teacher and crosses the line regarding what they are there for, the teacher doesn't have an obligation to be "diplomatic" at all. If it's the principal, yeah. If it's an ST - not so much.

    Could hac have been more diplomatic? Possibly, although we have no indication he told the ST to "Go sit down". All we know is that hac asked the ST to stop assisting the students. It's HIS room and HIS right to do that.

    Did it hurt the ST's feelings? Maybe. But maybe that will also make the ST think twice before doing that in another teachers' class (although I have my doubts). Sometimes you have to learn lessons the hard way.
     
  17. hac711

    hac711 Companion

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    May 5, 2010

    My problem with what everyone is saying that my ST was told explicitly what he was suppose to do. There was a chair and a clipboard for him and training beforehand. Then he openly started giving answers to the students which is 100% against our methodology. All I needed was a child to go home and tell their parents. Parents pay $30,000 a year for our way of teaching. I am not going to jepordize the child's education for the ST's feelings. Sorry. Children come first.
     
  18. Chalk

    Chalk Companion

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    May 5, 2010

    Well I can see some of these ST blew it. Especially the ST that called her Mentor Teacher a Bitch.

    Of course some of these situations could have been handled differently but as my mentor teacher told me.

    "Teachers eat their young, so do your best and try not to let the teeth marks show"
     
  19. mrachelle87

    mrachelle87 Fanatic

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    May 5, 2010

    I feel that I am a supportive teacher. I have had numerous ST and OT over the years. Except for the two young ladies that were so rude, I have never had a problem. I don't like the generalizations that some use.

    I have a question:
    One of the last ST I had was a wonder sweet girl. She had a problem with being late, but we addressed that issue. She had a tongue piercing, a nose ring, and tatoo on her arm. She were clothing that showed the tatoo. I never said anything to her, but I felt that she would have better success as a future teacher at interviews without the piercings and by covering the tatoo. Did I do her a disservice by not talking to her about it? She had a split ST experience. The first half with me and the last with a teacher of older grades. They had a history, so I left it to him. Was I wrong not to share with her my thoughts?
     
  20. Chalk

    Chalk Companion

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    May 5, 2010

    As the Mentor you should say what you feel is important. Not in front of the students but in the exit interview and final eval. Bring it up with empathy and a look towards true caring and you will see true appreciation from your apprentice.

    My mentor was a VET like me so he had no trouble balling me out, in private, if I blew it. I don't ever want a Mentor who doesn't care enough to tell me what they think appropriately nor do I want one who expects me to be seasoned and perfect, I am still in training after all, if I had perfect craftsmanship I would already be teaching.

    "Any Mentor teacher who does not understand that they are just as responsible for the education of the ST as they are of the students has no business mentoring" (another good quote from my mentor)

    Some ST will not have "it" and it is a Mentors job to either straighten them out or recommend them for dismissal.

    I am very grateful for my Mentor, we were told to do two hours a week but he inspired me so much I ended up going over and staying at the school anytime I could between my own classes. I learned almost all 130 students names and he handed me the reins several times so I could get a feel for the true work involved and passion it takes.

    I liked teaching when i started with him, I love it now, there is noting else in the world I want to do , that is the power of a good mentor.
     
  21. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    May 5, 2010

    Actually, hac, I believe this is the first time you've mentioned the ST was told explicitly what he was supposed to do (observe only), given training beforehand and still chose to openly give answers to the students. Before, you just mentioned that, at your school, ALL ST interaction is supposed to be "observation only" and you said the student was "assisting" the children, which could have just been explaining the problem or helping the child think his/her way through the problem.

    I've supported your actions based on the general information you gave and support them even more now that you've given more details about the situation. :thumb:
     
  22. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    May 5, 2010

    I think it would have been very appropriate for you to tell her the piercings and tattoo should be removed/covered up if she ever gets an interview. You're not infringing on her rights for personal expression, you would just be giving her solid advice for getting a job.

    She does have a right to have piercings and tattoos if she wants, but admins have the same right to say "We don't want our teachers looking like that".

    You have to put your very BEST face on for an interview. Any job counselor will tell women that means NO perfume (at all), NO piercings or tattoos, NO excessive jewelry (maybe 1 or 2 rings at most and very conservative earrings) and NO excessive makeup.

    Did you do a disservice by NOT telling her? That's hard to say. Maybe the 2nd CT will mention it, although it sounds like it won't be received as well. Her University Contact should also be giving her advice about how to dress and conduct herself during a professional interview. So it isn't necessarily your job to tell her these things, but it probably wouldn't have hurt to do it.
     
  23. hac711

    hac711 Companion

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    May 5, 2010

    One of the last ST I had was a wonder sweet girl. She had a problem with being late, but we addressed that issue. She had a tongue piercing, a nose ring, and tatoo on her arm. She were clothing that showed the tatoo. I never said anything to her, but I felt that she would have better success as a future teacher at interviews without the piercings and by covering the tatoo.

    Haha! Sorry for laughing, but it could have been me, minus the tatoo! When I walked in my ST classroom, the teacher took one look at me and promptly asked me to remove those "things" from my face (she was old time). I was at first offended, but I had an epiphany that not all parents were "cool" with piercings and I was a role model to little kiddies...needless to say, earrings, gone, tongue bar, gone and bye bye nose ring. It was hard, but it was time to go since I was entering the adult world. If you didn't say something, don't worry about it, someone will.

    (funny note, I always dress very modestly, with neat hair etc...and I was working one on one with a student and he looked over and asked me why I had so many holes in my ears, and one in my nose...I froze, pannicked, and told him I was stung by bees...face slap)
     
  24. mrachelle87

    mrachelle87 Fanatic

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    May 6, 2010

    I know that she was told in class that she get rid of them. I also know that she was told by fellow ST that she should take them out. I basically knew that she wouldn't be hired at our school, so I just let it go. I do feel guilty, but I know that her mother and her fought about the piercings. I just didn't want the conflict that I knew it would probably cause.
     
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