Ever had student teacher problems?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Kaley12, Dec 9, 2013.

  1. Kaley12

    Kaley12 Companion

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    While I'm a fairly new teacher, I think once I get more settled in to my career I'd like to take a student teacher sometimes. The only thing that worries me is the possibility of getting one that does quite poorly. I think I'd find it hard to give a low evaluation, because I know how much those evaluations are valued when it comes to getting hired to our school board. It definitely wouldn't be pleasant.

    I was wondering if anyone who's taken a student teacher ever had a hard time with them? Maybe they were lazy and unprepared. Or worse (in my opinion), they really tried but were simply not cut out for it. I was curious how you dealt with it. For example, did you have to have a lot of discussions with them? Did they take any of your advice to improve? Did you ever have to fail them?
     
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  3. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Yes. I had one who truly had difficulty wrapping her head around grade 2 curriculum. She couldn't help kids with vocabulary they came across in their reading,misspoke often, and dressed inappropriately (we saw either a belly ring or her thong on a daily basis). She was as sweet as could be, loved the kids but really didn't come across as incredibly smart or serious about the 'work' of teaching. We had discussions...didn't really go anywhere in terms of her changing. I just couldn't hand over an entire day/weeks of teaching to her...it would have been a disservice to my students.

    Fortunately, I've had the pleasure of hosting two very good STs as well.
     
  4. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    Some are better than others, but I've never had anyone fail. Sometimes people just need more help. I have had practicum students, student teachers, and interns. Interns are my favorite.

    I had a rough practicum session this year. She was late, left early, complained about the work load. She ended up leaving the program.
     
  5. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    I haven't had a student teacher yet (waiting to find out if I'll have one in spring...) but I'd be honest with them, precisely BECAUSE these evaluations are so important. If I wouldn't want my student teacher teaching my daughter, I'd darned well make sure they knew it.

    I think the key to any successful student teaching placement is constant communication though. I would nicely suggest to any ST I have that I come in before school and generally stay after, and if they want to get the most out of the placement, they should be there when I am there.
     
  6. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    Understand that it is a TON of work to be a CT/Master Teacher/Whatever they are calling it now. I've had excellent ones and far-less-than-excellent and frankly I'm ready to never have one again.
     
  7. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    If she had a hard time with grade 2 curriculum, how in the world did she make to student teaching in the first place?
     
  8. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    Really? Why? You are being paid and choose to come in early/leave late. Your ST may be still taking courses, is paying their university to student teach and may have other responsibilities (like a real job).

    I don't see how suggesting your ST come early and stay late simply because you choose to is fair to them. Especially since they may believe you will mark them down if they don't do this since you told them to.
     
  9. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Coming early/staying late is part of a teacher's life. Obviously if they have a class, that's a completely different issue, but if they want the teaching experience, they should keep a teacher's hours. I wouldn't expect them to come hours in advance, but it's typical for most teachers in my building to be there at least 15 minutes before contract hours start and to stay at least a bit after contract hours end. I wouldn't mark them down if they didn't keep those hours, but I would make it very clear to them that if they don't keep a teacher's hours, they aren't getting a true picture of a teacher's job... particularly since, obviously, anything I do when they aren't there, they aren't seeing or participating in.
     
  10. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    That's also coming from my college days, where all our profs recommended that we keep the same hours as our CT. My profs all recommended that we be there when our CT got there, and we still be there when the CT left. I always left with my CT, but I generally tried to get there about five minutes before my CT. Showing initiative, and what have you.
     
  11. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Then there's the unfortunate reality of weeks like last week, this week, and next week. Because of snow days, required meetings, an assembly, and the other things, me and my teammates are getting a total of about 2 hours of on-contract prep time in the month of December. If I haven't sat down and prepped with a student teacher (if for no other reason than to make sure they had a clear objective in mind), they wouldn't be teaching a lesson in my classroom. Now obviously this is an anomaly... normally we get 2 hours a week, plus 2 hours of CLT time... but all of us go through times without prep, and the work still has to get done.
     
  12. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    This is what is expected of our student teachers as well. They are also encouraged to attend staff and divisional meetings that their host teacher attends and to shadow all supervision duties.

    I've had some wonderful student teachers in the past and would be interested in hosting again. This is my first year with this teaching assignment, however, so feel I need to get more of a handle on it before hosting a student teacher.
     
  13. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    I have had both kinds of student teachers. One was given a job at my school...great teacher!

    I did not pass 2 st over the years...both colleges passed them anyways and neither is in the education field anymore.
     
  14. Reality Check

    Reality Check Habitué

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    YOU don't fail them.........it's up to their college professor to grade them. And you wouldn't want that responsibility anyhow.....if they're student teaching, that means they're probably in their senior year and have 3+years of completed coursework behind them. Who are we to take roughly $100,000-already-spent tuition money away from them???

    :huh:
     
  15. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Groupie

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    I've had some spectacularly great student teachers and 2 failures. One failed due to emotional and academic problems: he was too shy to talk to adults and had no idea how to write a paragraph.

    The other failure was unable to tell if she had the class's attention or not. She would continue through her lesson even as most students would wander around the class, read or play board games.

    The mistake I made with the second one was not to document all her weaknesses. When I didn't pass her, she brought a suit against me and her college. They caved and gave her the credential anyway.

    If you get a bad one, contact the college to end the relationship quickly. I did this with an immature young man who routinely lied about why he wasn't prepared or why he didn't show up.

    I believe that good teachers owe it to the profession to train student teachers from time to time. It's a noble contribution to society, and quite rewarding. I have life-long relationships with several my former successful student teachers.
     
  16. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I think that you have to be willing to be honest with any student teacher who works with you. Trust me, you aren't doing them any favors by passing them along when they're not performing adequately. You're not doing their potential students any favors either. If you can't be honest, which includes sometimes issuing failing grades or unsatisfactory evals, then you shouldn't take on a student teacher.
     
  17. Go Blue!

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    Preach! When I read people talking about failing student teachers and making sure they KNOW they should never teach; my only response is "Please.":rolleyes:

    If we did this to all "poor" ST or first year teachers, there would be few teachers left. Especially in difficult districts like mine. Most first year teachers in Baltimore City struggle with classroom management/discipline.
     
  18. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    I think there's a difference between an "undeveloped" teacher and a lazy or unmotivated teacher, though. I would never tell someone to find a different career because they struggle with classroom management during student teaching. I would tell them to find a different career if they skipped days, didn't want to teach lessons, weren't willing to write plans, etc though.
     
  19. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    Of all the student teachers I've hosted in the past, only one was subpar. Thankfully, she realized early-on that she wasn't the right fit for the primary grades. I heard that she ended up doing very well with the middle school kids, though! Good for her!

    I had one last spring. A younger guy in his early 20s--very hardworking, super dedicated, and great with the kiddos. The only thing that frustrated me was that I felt like I never got a moment to myself from January-May. He'd arrive when I arrived, left when I left, and always stayed in the classroom during recess and lunch. Heck, he'd even follow me to the copy room, the library, and the office. If one of my next door (teaching) neighbors happened to see me by myself, they'd usually joke, "Hey! Where's your shadow?"

    I guess I'm the type of person who needs alone time during lunch. As a classroom teacher, I enjoyed being able to have a 50 minute duty-free lunch. I'd listen to music while grading papers, put my feet up while inhaling my meal (haha!), or run to the lounge to (briefly) catch up with my colleagues. I couldn't do these things last semester because my student teacher was always by my side and I felt like I had to entertain him/keep him busy.

    Anyway, I did give him a glowing recommendation (he earned it!) and he's currently working in my district (either 1st or 3rd grade...not really sure).
     
  20. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I completely agree with gr3. I would never expect a student teacher to be perfect or to not need guidance and support. In fact, the whole purpose of student teaching is giving someone a chance to try something new while still within the safety net of a veteran teacher who can offer support, guidance, advice, and constructive criticism. Student teachers who function well within that system, who strive to make improvements, and who actually do make improvements are not the student teachers who should be receiving unsatisfactory evals. The ones who should be getting unsatisfactory evals and failing grades are the student teachers who aren't trying, who are painfully lacking in content knowledge, who don't put forth their best effort, and/or who are performing in an unsatisfactory way regardless of their intentions.
     
  21. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    The college shared my concerns, yet they continued to accept her tuition money for 4 years....hmmmm.
     
  22. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    I guess $$ > ability.
     
  23. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    I don't know how that particular ST fared in her final grades. I did not rate her highly despite her entertainment value.
     
  24. 1cubsfan

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    When I was applying to be a ST, we had to treat it like a job interview. We sent a cover letter, did a phone interview, and send in our grades and portfolio. The teacher got to choose whether or not to accept us.
     
  25. Bridgebuilder

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    Lord knows, teachers don't need extra worries, like what's going to happen to a student teacher's career if he can't teach. For a bit I was a student teaching coordinator and supervisor, arranging placements for my teachers to be, and certainly, there was wide variability in quality. Sometimes it seemed like some ST's would "never get there", and occasionally improved a LOT by the end of their ST'ing.

    But it wasn't up the the hosting teacher to decide on whether the ST's were to be passed. It was up to "us", and even the "us" sometimes got over-ruled.

    It's the same model of peer development and supervision as in medicine and law, and to my mind, ensuring new teachers are as prepared and competent as possible by the end of ST is just as important as in those other professions. Perhaps it's worth remembering that often students in law, medicine, and nursing can fail at first, but later succeed when having another chance.
     
  26. Honest_Teacher

    Honest_Teacher Comrade

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    Education programs are, unfortunately, the programs that many sub-standard college students end up in due to GPA requirements in other majors and/or the fact that the education classes (whether we like it or not) are much more blighted by grade inflation. It gives the education programs a bad name and makes students with good academic records even less likely to choose education.

    If the programs/universities had more academic integrity/honesty when it comes to the abilities of university students, we'd have less of these situations.
     
  27. Emily Bronte

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    When I student taught, it was expected that the student teacher kept the same duty day hours as the cooperating teacher. I have not had a student teacher, although, I have been asking for one. I always keep in mind that for these student teachers that come in this is their first "full-time" experience in a classroom. And, for many, a big learning experience. There will be some that will discover that teaching is not really for them, through this experience and there will be some who will grow from it a great deal. Like with anything, there are some great ones and not so great. Maybe I am just too forgiving. Many of those tools of the trade come with time and experience.
     
  28. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    I feel exactly the same. It takes time to develop as a teacher and to write someone off during ST seems unfair.
     
  29. Pencil Monkey

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    I have never had an issue. I've had three ST's in some form 2-18 week placements and they were all good.
     
  30. teacherbatman

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    I feel the same. It is extremely unfair. I feel like it is just another way that many potentially good teachers are lost to the profession.
     
  31. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    If someone is not doing well with student teaching, that should be noted. They can repeat. I think it is educational negligence to give the benefit of the doubt to people that are that weak because it takes time to grow. Time for them to grow to an acceptable level is not when they will have a class of students relying on their ability. The time for them to grow more is in a repeat of student teaching.


    I believe it is worse to subject students to a teacher that had a highly questionable student teaching experience.
     

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