Discouraged soon to be student teacher.

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Pierce34, Jun 15, 2016.

  1. Pierce34

    Pierce34 Rookie

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    Jun 15, 2016

    Hey everyone, this is my first post here although I've read conversations for quite a while so bare with me as I'm not quite sure how this all works. I recently posted in a Chicago forum about affordable places to live and to keep in mind schools because I will be a teacher. Everyone was very kind and helpful until my race was asked, and this guy flipped out on me. He went into this huge rant about a non-minority not being able to make a difference in urban school settings. He basically told me I am a clueless white young woman and to retrieve to the suburban schools where my skills and background can be put to use.

    I felt so attacked and discouraged. I have not started my student teaching yet but planned to do so in either inner city Cleveland or Akron. He said something about children will never learn when you think you are superior or trying to save them. I have never felt that way and would never walk into a school thinking I was better than any student or teacher. I have always wanted to work in urban schools as I've spent years volunteering with inner city Akron youth and have always felt I thrived in that environment. I was apart of my professors research team for three years on his project of inequalities among the richest and poorest public schools across the country and it really motivated me that much more on wanting to teach in an urban environment or low income. I don't plan on trying to save anyone, I just want to go where good and caring teachers are needed most. From personal experience with observations and shadowing of teachers in Cleveland, I've overheard gossip among the teachers and it's horrifying. They call their students stupid behind their backs and say they will never amount to anything. My teacher I observed in Cleveland declined to meet students an hour early in the morning when they practically begged her for extra help. I was shocked. That is why I want to teach in urban schools, to respect the students and treat them like adults and just do anything I can to get them whatever future it is they want whether it is college or a minimum wage job, not to force a future on them that they don't want. Looking for any advice or encouragement from all of you teachers or future teachers. Did anything that guy say have any truth about "You have to be from a rough background and be able to relate to these kids to get hired." I took on a lot of the teacher's work when I was supposed to be observing, she practically forced it on me because she didn't care about it. I loved doing it though, I'd stay late and tutor them and there attendance and scores truly improved over the three months I was there. Just feeling confused now after I thought I did so well in an urban school.
     
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  3. msleep

    msleep Rookie

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    Jun 15, 2016

    I believe whomever told you that a different race would not be helpful is showing their ignorance. This is one of the existing issues in urban education.

    Also, as for your experience with previous observations, you are on the outside looking in. It is quite different when you have your own classes and are responsible for the students. I know when you begin to teach you are full of wonderful ideas of how you will help the students. Believe me, not all want to be helped. And unfortunately you will hear teachers complain about their students in any type of location (urban, suburban, and rural).

    In addition, the teacher you observed has a life outside of school. Teachers have families and other commitments. This teacher may not have the time to come in an hour early. Please do not criticize what you do not know.
     
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  4. Pierce34

    Pierce34 Rookie

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    I do now realize I should not have criticized her for not coming in an hour early. But the child did ask if there was any time at all for him to get extra help because he did not understand the material, I figured most teachers would have found a time whether it be before school, after, or even during lunch. She wrote him off and said she was too busy. As a student I've never had a teacher turn me away when I came to them for help when I truly felt so lost and confused on a lesson. I am trying to see it from her side though, as I do not have a significant other, children, or a family where I go to school. I do see how having a family could interfere with meeting students, but I still feel strongly that she should have helped him during lunch or whenever instead of saying no and dismissing him.
     
  5. renard

    renard Companion

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    Jun 15, 2016

    I'm afraid I'd have to agree with the others. You don't teach respect by sacrificing yourself in such a manner, and that's the naive part showing. Teachers command respect through long-term expectations and set consequences for a child not engaging in their lessons (and that absolutely means allowing failure, not offering help, or dismissing them when asked for help).
     
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  6. Pierce34

    Pierce34 Rookie

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    I really needed msleeps and your comment. I think I have had this idea of a teacher devoting their whole life to their students which is completely unrealistic. I like to be alone and have no interest in a partner or family anytime soon if at all, I think because of that I thought hey I'll just pour all of my energy into the students. I've just always had teachers that went out of their way to help me in not only their class but all aspects of life even though it was not required of them. I'm beginning to realize though that is not healthy or realistic and I will need to find a balance. Thankful for everyone's opinions, you have no idea how much it helps for us who are new to teaching.
     
  7. renard

    renard Companion

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    Jun 15, 2016

    There's nothing wrong at all with having the drive to help people, which it sounds like you do. The problem arises when you cross from help to enabling or saving them - our jobs, ultimately, are not only to teach content but to give them the tools to help themselves.

    I'll give you an example - I work with severe high behaviorals. I had a 3rd grader, with severe fine motor problems, demand I tie his shoes. Nope. I printed off a practice guide from the OT and gave it to him. His disability will not be a crutch.
     
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  8. Pierce34

    Pierce34 Rookie

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    Thank you for this comment! I had not thought of it crossing a line to where it becomes enabling and doing everything for them. Definitely going to remember this comment when I start teaching.
     
  9. tchr4vr

    tchr4vr Companion

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    Jun 15, 2016

    "I really needed msleeps and your comment. I think I have had this idea of a teacher devoting their whole life to their students which is completely unrealistic. I like to be alone and have no interest in a partner or family anytime soon if at all, I think because of that I thought hey I'll just pour all of my energy into the students. I've just always had teachers that went out of their way to help me in not only their class but all aspects of life even though it was not required of them. I'm beginning to realize though that is not healthy or realistic and I will need to find a balance. Thankful for everyone's opinions, you have no idea how much it helps for us who are new to teaching."

    I glad you recognize this. There is nothing wrong with wanting to help the kids, and with giving up your time to help; however, if you think you can save everyone, you will end the year very unhappy. Some don't want to be saved, and don't realize they need it. We have one right now. Graduation is this Friday, and she insists that somehow, she will magically be able to walk. She failed a core course and she still has to EOC tests to pass. And she's not bothering to come to school to take those tests. However, I can guarantee that she will show up on Friday and be outraged when she is not allowed to walk.

    Personally, I don't tutor in the morning--I need that time to get ready for the day. I don't tutor at lunch because I don't have one. I will tutor in the afternoon, if given enough warning, but generally, the students want me to stay right then--they don't care that I have a doctor's appt. or a rehearsal or something else--if it's not convenient for them, it's not good enough.

    I know I'm sounding negative, but unfortunately those are some of the realities. I work in a low-income school. This entire year, I've tutored 4 kids, 1 time each. And none of them truly needed the tutoring. The ones I begged to come, that I set aside time for, that I had announced to come stay, never stayed.

    GO into your field with a positive attitude and be driven, but don't allow yourself to get beaten down by the failures.
     
  10. Pierce34

    Pierce34 Rookie

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    You don't sound negative at all, everything you're saying is realistic and things I'll have to face. I want to hear everything, from the positive to the negative. Hearing everyone's experiences is so helpful. I think mysef and a lot of college students or fresh teachers coming out of college have this madeup image in their head, that sometimes leaves out the negative sides and paints only the positive.
     
  11. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Jun 15, 2016

    It sounds like you are being given accurate advice for the beginning of your career.. I'll give you advice from a 40+ year career. That teacher you spoke about who refused to tutor may very well have had other obligations. Or, the teacher may be burnt out and just didn't want to put forth any additional effort. There will come a time in your career when you get burnt out, as well. Try to recognize those feelings when they come and do something to alleviate the feelings. Change grades, change jobs, whatever it takes to recover your passion. Don't become the teacher who doesn't care anymore. Our teachers need teachers like you who want to make a difference.
     
  12. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Jun 16, 2016

    Your race or background and upbringing will not have anything to do with how you relate to kids. It's all about caring, empathy, the willingness to help and the willingness to be around them.
    I've had a wonderful childhood, I'm white, I'm from Europe, (lived there until after I graduated high school) so I couldn't be any more different from any kid in America. 90 % of my students are Latino, and 100 % of them are in poverty, with lack of parenting and messing up their lives in so many ways. Yet, I never had any problems connecting with them.
     
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  13. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    You have to find a balance. I teach in a rural, high-poverty school. I set aside an hour after school on Tuesdays for kids to work. Someone on our team stays after or comes in early every day. I post missing work so kids always know what's not been turned in. I'll still have kids (and parents) who demand I stay additional time at the last hour before grades are due. Nope. Not happening. We also have issues with athletes using "I was at practice/game" to turn in late work. That doesn't fly either. "I have *insert issue here* so I can't". Nope. You must work harder.
     
  14. John Lee

    John Lee Groupie

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    Jun 16, 2016

    I'm not really in that circumstance that you present, but there are a couple of observations that I've made that I think are relevant here:
    1) Teachers are just like you. As a new teacher, you have all these ideas of what you will do when you get your own classroom. For example, I used to look at teachers, when the bell rang they were gone, and I used to think to myself that they didn't care as much about their job as I would (if I were teaching). I now know that is simply not true. The bottom line being: If you see good teachers (in that setting) acting a certain way (e.g. talking about kids), it isn't because they aren't good teachers.

    2) You should think about how the job will affect you personally. I'm not trying to dissuade you, as inner-city needs passionate, great teachers. I give those people unbridled props for having that passion to work in that environment. For me, I would choose not to, if given a choice. I think it wears on you more. I think it takes a toll physically, mentally for sure, and socially (changes your personality). I kind-of like like where I'm at in all of those regards, so I wouldn't want it (the job) to make me any different.

    I had a friend, one of the nicest guys I know, who became a cop. He ended up working in the jails for a while. I noticed that it changed him... he very much lost his happy, go-lucky, personality and became more short-tempered, less flexible mentally. I think the same effect applies here.
     

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