Feeling intimidated

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by SpringGirl14, Nov 1, 2010.

  1. SpringGirl14

    SpringGirl14 Rookie

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    Nov 1, 2010

    I am on my second placement for student teaching and am in a CTT classroom. I didn't request this and thought that STs would always be placed in a regular classroom. Before this, I was in a 1st grade class with a veteran teacher. I loved working in that grade, it's the grade I would love to teach, and me and my coop. teacher got along great. I always felt comfortable around her, we would make small talk all the time and it was a tough classroom. I had great reviews by my supervisor when I was observed and received all 4s on my evalutaion from my co. teacher.

    My new class is a CTT classroom, upper grade, which makes me nervous and well I really just love the lower grades. The first days there were akward. It's also weird with the kids too bc they don't really eve notice I'm there and I also have no clue how I'm supposed to learn any of their names. It's like here I come in, after 2 months of school. I don't know much about co-teaching but the way they brake it up is one teacher teachers certain subjects and the other does the rest. Also, while one teacher teachers, the other will leave the room sometimes. I thought the whole point of co-teaching was for both the general and special ed teacher to be there at the same time.

    I also, for some reason, feel kind of intimidated bc both of these teachers are around my age, maybe only a few years older but both have been teaching for ages so by the time I'm their age I'm lucky if I will have like 3 years under my belt. I'm in the grad. program whereas most student teachers in the school are all in the undergrad. I know student teachers these days come in all ages, I have a few women in my college classes in their 40s and 50s, but for the most part I always think of some 22 year old student teacher. I'm still in my 20s, but late 20s, but everyone thinks I'm younger. It's weird that I felt more comfortable around older teachers and never really was worried about them scruntizing me but I have in my head because these teachers are closer to my age, they're going to do that. These 2 teachers also talk to each other alot throughout the day so sometimes I feel weird like butting into a convo. Any advice?
     
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  3. Kate Change

    Kate Change Companion

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    Nov 1, 2010

    It sounds like the best thing you can do is stick it out. I guess you are shadowing the gen ed teacher? Co teaching is hard, at least it was for me, so if they have some tips on how to do it well, I would LOVE to learn those. It's always harder to break into a new social group, especially if it's small. Keep us posted on how it's going.
     
  4. newteacher26

    newteacher26 Companion

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    Nov 1, 2010

    I agree, stick it out. I felt the same way as you do when I began student teaching. I've been in the same placement for 9 weeks now, but I started a week after school began. At first I felt intimindated by the teachers and the students. My cooperating teaching didn't talk to me much and I thought the team teacher didn't really think too highly of me; the students would just look at me as if asking "what is that lady doing here?" Looking back, it was all me. They are the greatest people and we get along great now. Both my CT and team teacher are around my age (my CT is 30, team teacher is 27, and I'm also 27) and the kids are awesome! It's hard not to feel this way but give them a chance and make the best of it while you're there =).
     
  5. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Nov 1, 2010

    Learning to co-teach is a valuable skill and will help you out with interviewing (many districts look to people who can work on a team and co-teach with others). I suggest asking them to give you something to do right away (work with a small group, teach grammar, complete the math warm up, etc). This way you feel that you have a job to do.

    I suggest asking the team to sit down with you and discuss what is going on in the classroom (but don't feel like you need to be in every conversation). Also, to learn names, ask for a picture seating chart or take pictures of the students with their names (very helpful).

    As for co-teaching, yes the two teachers should be in the same room, but sometimes there is something that needs to be dealt with. For instance, today I had two students fighting in the cafeteria. My co-teacher began class and I talked with the two students. This is helpful so that we do not need to involve the admin as often. Also, my co-teach will sometimes take a small group to another room to work more individually while I work with the larger group. So, it can be very different.
     
  6. Em_Catz

    Em_Catz Devotee

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    Nov 2, 2010

    I wanted to address your intimidation because I was very young when I started teaching and even more inexperienced than you (I majored in Mass Communications. I became a teacher through a special program my state offers which gave me three months training then threw me into the classroom :eek:)

    I am 27 and on my 5th year of teaching and I find the thing that has given me confidence above EVERYTHING else is being good at what I do.

    It takes time. I made LOTS of mistakes, asked LOTS of questions (like you I feel more comfortable talking to/buddying up with older teachers because I feel like they're less judgemental and there to help)

    I tried lots of different things and I tried my best to be kind to myself if things did not always go as planned. I found that overtime, my confidence grew and I could hold my own when dealing with teachers my own age who might judge me.

    Plus, I keep in mind that no one is perfect and if younger teachers closer to my age (i'm 27 now) are talking about me or saying I'm not as good as them, they can kiss my butt because I am the one who is with my kids all day, NOT them.

    However, I know it's still hard dealing with other teachers and you would probably feel more comfortable if you could talk to them kind of how they talk and bounce ideas off one another. Here is what I suggest for that -

    Since three's a crowd, in situations like that, I try to talk to/relate them one on one. A lot of people are more open when they're alone and not with their buddy.

    Take for instance my new team. They're friendly, but they've all been working together for the last three years, so they're super tight. They have a bunch of inside jokes, history, etc.

    So what I did was listen to stuff they'd say while they were all chatting away in the group and I felt too shy to butt in, then later when they were on their own, I would talk to them about something I could relate to.

    ie:
    Teacher One: Loves dogs and is sad because hers had to be put down recently. I talked to her about my own dog.

    Teacher Two: Has a little girl. I ask her questions about her daughter and how does she balance being a teacher with being a parent.

    Teacher Three: Loves stamps and is engaged. I asked her how she got into them, how long she'd been engaged, how she met the guy, etc. Told her about the guy I'm dating

    And so on.

    Sometimes they still get together and talk and I feel kind of left out, but now because I've related to each on some level, I do feel comfortable enough to ask questions so I can understand their history and jokes.

    If that's not an option or they're still being knuckleheads, then I would observe, learn as much about the craft of teaching as you can and concentrate on teaching well.

    :hugs: you can do this!
     
  7. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Nov 2, 2010

    I don't know anything about co-teaching, but I do think it is normal to feel a bit awkward, at least in the beginning. Just do what you are there to do, and really this is your observation period so just soak everything up. Once it's time for you to start teaching, you should have a better idea of what is expected of you. I hope you start feeling more comfortable soon!
     
  8. SpringGirl14

    SpringGirl14 Rookie

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    Nov 3, 2010

    Well, so far it hasn't gotten any better. The two teachers pretty much don't acknowledge me during the day, don't try to make small talk or say anything to me unless they are asking me to mark something. I'll come in, ask them how their night was, I mean attempt to say something to them. During the preps, they sat there working on something together and said not one word to me, so I just read a handout akwardly. When they leave the class to pick up the kids, they don't even say where they are going, what they are doing, to come with them, so I just follow and then they walk about 10 feet ahead of me. One of the teachers actually said a whopping 2 sentences to me today during the day lol. They don't explain the lessons, what the kids are working on..nothing.

    The really ODD thing is my 2 other friends who are student teaching in the same grade at my school also have teachers who don't talk to them and feel the same way I do. One teacher told my friend she would start teaching tomorrow..talk about throwing someone in, and the other didn't say 2 words to her either other but threw a stack of paperwork for her to do and then told her what subjects she would be teaching and what subjects she would not be teahching bc only SHE teaches it. What is it, something with all the teachers at this grade level? I couldn't sit in the back bored outta my mind anymore, so I took the initiative and started walking around helping students with their work. I don't even think my 2 teachers noticed or cared lol..
     
  9. clarnet73

    clarnet73 Moderator

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    Nov 3, 2010

    I'm sorry this isn't working out as well for you as your first placement.


    I have to wonder if those tachers actually wanted a student teacher, or if one was "thrust on them." In my district, I don't think you can be assigned one unless you agree... but I bet it's not like that everywhere.

    have you tried directly asking them what you can do? You might mention the assignments you need to complete, etc. and ask if together you can come up with a schedule to make sure those get completed.
     
  10. Em_Catz

    Em_Catz Devotee

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    Nov 3, 2010

    Wow, talk about obnoxious. Some teachers really make me sick because all of us were new and trying to learn how to become a teacher in the beginning.

    My thing is so long as the person has a positive attitude, I'll teach them whatever I can and have the same patience with them that I was shown by my grade level chair when I first started teaching.

    How long do you have to work with them? It sounds like they're a little lame clique of two. I would continue to be cordial to them, but I don't know that I would go out of my way to try and be friends.

    It sounds to me that you put yourself out there and they're being immature. Some people we just aren't meant to connect with.

    There's a particular teacher at my school that I have never dne anything (at least not that i know of) too. She's friendly to the other teachers, laughs and jokes with them, but when I try to talk to her, I barely get two words.

    She doesn't even say hello to me when we pass in the hall unless I say something first.

    So...I just continue to be cordial but keep my distance. I know it's hard to do that when you are being forced to work with these people. Too bad you don't have the option to work with one of your girlfriends.

    Unless they would consider pairing you guys up so at least you would have someone to work with because it's very difficult (at least for me) to work with a team that isn't working with me.
     
  11. mrachelle87

    mrachelle87 Fanatic

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    Nov 3, 2010

    Ok here is my two cents...I have a hard time opening up to people. If you approach me and talk to me, I will talk your ear off...but I will never approach you. I was the principal's daughter, so we moved a lot and I had trouble making friends. But once I am your friend, I am your friend for life.


    I team taught at my first job. It is hard. You are constantly watching bounderies so that you can share the room and not dominate the other person. I suggest that you come in tomorrow with a game plan. If you see a child struggling, ask if you can work with them. NEVER just assume that you can. The teacher might have a reason for saying no.
     
  12. texteacher

    texteacher Companion

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    Nov 3, 2010

    I fine this to be really sad. If I had an eager student teacher in my class, I would be elated! It's only my third year teaching so my student teaching experience is still very fresh in my mind. I had two placements, much like you. I remember how both of my cooperating teachers said they really enjoyed the experience because it gave them an extra set of hands and gave them the opportunity to sit back and watch their students learn from a different perspective. They got a lot out of the experience too, because they had decided that they would make it a good experience for both me and them. I hope that your mentors will wake up and realize that you can be a great addition to their class, rather than a detriment.

    In the meantime, I would be proactive and ask for specific things you can do to help. Ask them to explain the lessons and what specific strategies they are using to help their students. Hopefully they will see that you are very eager to jump in and do your part and they will open up more to you. I wish you luck.
     
  13. Em_Catz

    Em_Catz Devotee

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    Nov 3, 2010

    I think that's a good idea. Even the most obnoxious teachers, and don't get me wrong, these ladies sound QUITE obnoxious, normally come around at least when it comes to talking about the kids.

    Maybe you'll never be able to make a personal connection, but like my Mom always tells me when these sort of situations get me down -- you're not there to make friends, you're there to learn your job, and learn it well so you can get the heck outta there to a better place. :angel:
     
  14. Muttling

    Muttling Devotee

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    Nov 3, 2010

    I don't have much to add, but I can help you with learning names.


    Offer to hand back papers. That's the best way in the world to learn student names. Of course, you have to do it at a time when they're doing class work so you don't interupt the instruction.

    You can also offer to grade for the teachers. I don't know of anyone who wouldn't jump on that. Give detailed written feedback to the students on their papers and they will quickly engage with you.
     
  15. SpringGirl14

    SpringGirl14 Rookie

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    Nov 4, 2010

    Thanks for all of your adivce. The teachers at my school don't ask for st's, the principal just places you in the class. Also, my last cooperating teacher commented "oh I didn't know I was getting a st" when I first walked in, so wasn't expecting me and I had no problem with her being resentful or anything. Well, today one of them at least told me what she would be doing tomorrow and that I could help and shadow her. I'm only there for 6 weeks, thank god, and this month we have a few days off so it will go faster. I'm going to be respectful and cordial, but not go outta my way like some of you said. I mean neither one even asked what school I go to, when I graduate, like normal questions you ask your st...oh well. I just want these weeks to go by quick.
     
  16. Em_Catz

    Em_Catz Devotee

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    Nov 4, 2010

    YAY! I'm glad at least she told you what she was doing and tried to include you. Must have been all the positive vibes and prayers being sent your way from the A to Z forum :D

    The time will fly by. Once you start concerning yourself with the kids and trying not to worrry about the childish, petty behavior of the adults around you, things move by quickly.

    For instance today I had a sitatuon with a coworker that would have gotten me down when I first started teaching,=. But I reminded myself I'm here for the kids, not to worry about her stupidity.

    So, I did some fun math activities with my kids, read them a story etc, and when I got home I graded some papers and chilled out.

    Do like me and continue to work on being like a duck and letting all the negatively just roll off your back. Keep us posted about your situation! :hugs:
     
  17. John Lee

    John Lee Groupie

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    Nov 6, 2010

    I find this dynamic to be so familiar and all too common. Actually, one of my MT's was very much like that with me at the beginning. And like a lot of people, I'm definitely not outgoing. But just from doing what you say, talking informally (about last night), and just showing a personality... at the end of it, she bought me a school yearbook, a school t-shirt, and we're facebook friends. And like I said, she was totally standoffish to me at the start.

    It is kinda weird how, people like this are in the business of teaching (i.e. helping others). But I guess they don't see ST and the like as part of their job or whatever...
     

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