first day student teaching

Discussion in 'New Teachers Archives' started by smileyd, Aug 20, 2004.

  1. smileyd

    smileyd Comrade

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    Aug 20, 2004

    :crosseyed I'm going to start my student teaching practicum on the first of september. I'm hoping that some of you have ideas of what I should do to make the best first impression on the fifth graders and my supporting teacher.
    How should I dress?
    How should I introduce myself, or be introduced?
    Whats the best way to get to know them?
    Do you have any suggestions on these scared thoughts, or on what I haven't thought of yet?

    Help!
    thanks.
     
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  3. Grammy Teacher

    Grammy Teacher Virtuoso

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    Aug 21, 2004

    I have fond memories of a young lady who did her student teaching with me many years ago. She wore nice casual/dressy pants and matching sweaters or shirts, natural looking make up, was on time, jumped right in and helped, asked questions, introduced herself by her first name, and had a great sense of humor. We got along so well I hated to see her leave. Don't worry...teacher's love to teach teachers!!!!!!!! Remember, she will be learning alot from you as well...that's the beauty of having a student teacher.
     
  4. jenniatek

    jenniatek Companion

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    Aug 21, 2004

    I have had many student teachers and the ones who were the best were the ones who got right in there, didn't shy away from helping the kids and myself, put in long hours (running out right after the end of the day bell was a big pet peeve for me as a sponsor teacher; teaching demands long hours and lots of work, so we want to see that you're willing and able). Also, 5th graders may want you to be their buddy; remember that you can be friendly and yourself, but don't try to be their pal. Don't be afraid to ask your sponsor teacher questions, we want to help you be the best you can be!
     
  5. AndreaIL

    AndreaIL Rookie

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    Aug 21, 2004

    Grammy teacher, she introduced herself to YOU by her first name, or to the kids? I'm all for teachers calling other teachers by first names -- who wants to be called "Miss Jones" by other adults? :) The kids, however, should probably call her "Miss" or "Mrs." Allowing them to call her by her first name sets her apart from other teachers, and they should treat her with the same respect as they would any other educator in the building.

    Just be yourself.... remember that you are NOT your cooperating teacher. You have a lot to learn from him or her, but you will probably have your own style that will not be exactly like theirs, and that's OK. Hopefully, you will have a great cooperating teacher and it will be a wonderful experience for you.
     
  6. clarnet73

    clarnet73 Moderator

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    Aug 21, 2004

    I completed my student teaching only a year ago. :)

    Jump right in and volunteer to do things... don't be afraid to do new things or make a mistake... A good cooperating teacher will let you stumble a bit instead of bailing you out every time something begins to go wrong (but will be there to help when you do get stuck)..

    As far as dress, see what the other teachers are wearing... I wore dressy pants with nice shirts or sweaters... nothing too tight or revealing, especially with 5th graders! I had a friend who did some once-a-week clinicals in college with 5th graders... she actually had one of the boys tell er "ms. F? You wore those shoes last week!" (So they will notice! Just be smart!) Comfy shoes are a must... you're standing most of the day.

    My best advice? Don't be afraid to throw out ideas, and remember that you don't have to be exactly like your cooperating teachers. Go in and act like you know what you're doing, even if you're scared to death (I was, the first day I took over!)... kids will listen.

    You'll be great! :)
     
  7. leslye

    leslye Rookie

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    Aug 21, 2004

    I student taught 5th grade and had a great group of kids. My best advice is to bring in a few of your own ideas and present them to your cooperating teacher beforehand to get her approval. One thing I did on my own was a reward system for positive behavior. I used tickets and let the class vote on a name for them. They picked "farkelsnart". Every time I would see someone displaying good behavior (i.e. standing quietly in line), I would touch them on the shoulder and say "farkelsnart" and immediately everyone else would copy, hoping they'd hear me say that word again. I had a store where they could spend their tickets on things like pencils, erasers, stickers, etc. They loved it and I loved it because it made classroom management a breeze! Good luck! I'm sure you'll do fine!
     
  8. Andrea L

    Andrea L Habitué

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    Aug 21, 2004

    These are all great ideas! I've only been teaching for three years, but one thing I did and still do is bring in pictures of my family to share with the students. The students loved looking at the pictures and felt a little more connected to me. The most important thing that I remember was to be prepared ahead of time. I spent hours at night and during planning times to get myself ready ahead of time--and still do. I use to type or write out everything I would say so that I was prepared and wouldn't forget anything. Student teaching was really exciting to me and I loved it. One thing I've heard mentor teachers say about their student teachers was that it really annoyed them if their student teacher wasn't prepared for the day. I actually kept a binder of everything I was teaching and kept adding to it in case my mentor teacher wanted to see any of it or to show my practicum advisor. So far as dressing goes, make sure you are professional but comfortable. I agree with others--nice pants and button down shirts and sweaters are appropriate. I never wore jeans because I was trying to make an impression. I wanted a job when I was done and I actually got my interview because the principal knew the other principal that was interviewing me. Be positive and smile! You will do great!
     
  9. smileyd

    smileyd Comrade

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    Aug 21, 2004

    Thanks for all the great advice.

    My professors had given me some advice similar, but it had been so long since they had been teaching I really wanted to hear advice from the front lines!

    You all say dress pants are best, what about skirts? I've worked at a jewllery store for the past five years to pay for my education, so I have a TON of dress suits with matching skirts. Would it be okay to wear some of these skirts do you think? Or would that look like I'm trying to hard?

    Leslye I love the idea about the tickets system, I think I might try to implement something similar here. I never thought to use a code word, the kids would really get a laugh out of that each time!

    I'm quite sure at my school I'll have to use my last name with the students, but I'm sure I'll get a lot of jokes about it from them. They'll be calling me Miss. Smiley all day long!:)

    Thanks for all the support. When I actually start in two weeks I'll let you know how it went. If I have time to post that is!
     
  10. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Aug 21, 2004

    We had a young teacher with the last name Sweet. And she was, too! One of my fellow teachers dresses beautifully each day. She actually works at a boutique one or two days a week because she wants the 50% off discount. And she looks it. She wears complete outfits with matching shoes each day - but the style of them is relaxed, not prim, and she looks like a million bucks. Other teachers wear sneakers and denim capris. I wear skirts, slacks, and capris. Skirts look great, I think. Use your great clothes.
     
  11. kramercindy

    kramercindy Rookie

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    Aug 21, 2004

    Smileyd,

    I did my internship last fall in a second grade class, and had a blast. If you have time, go in and meet the teacher before you officially start (maybe a week or so before). I did this, and it made a world of difference. Call thes school and set something up with your teacher. It allows you to go in on your first day and already kind of know where things are, etc. I let me cooperating teacher introduce me. A thing that made a good idea that she did was "This is Ms. Kramer, She is a teacher, and is learning how to manage a class." That way students don't hear the word "student teacher" and try to take advantadge (sp?) of you. Depending on how your cooperating teacher is, jump right in and circulate the class and help the students with their work. My co-op teacher had me doing their morning routine by the 3rd day, and I took over science by the end of the first week(btw, my co-op teacher was awesome). Just don't be afraid to jump in. Take charge! Good Luck!
     
  12. smileyd

    smileyd Comrade

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    Aug 21, 2004

    kramercindy,

    As soon as I found out where my placements were going to be for this fall I visited the teachers. So I have already met them both this past spring. My cooperating teachers for both placements seem really nice and eager to see my ideas. My cooperating teacher for the first half of the semester has my phone numbers and e-mail address so she can contact me when she goes in to set up. I already asked her if I could set up one of the bulletin boards, and she thought that would be a good idea. I'm just waiting to hear from her.
    I was stessing from the time my semester ended until my placements landed in the mail that I wouldn't receive them before school let out at the end of June. But thankfully they did and I met both of them!
     
  13. Andrea L

    Andrea L Habitué

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    Aug 21, 2004

    There is nothing wrong with wearing skirts or suits to student teach in. I had said pants because they are a bit more comfortable. I too have suits that I occasionally wear to school. Whatever you are comfortable in works great! I think the more professional you look the better!
     
  14. clarnet73

    clarnet73 Moderator

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    Aug 22, 2004

    I agree... I hate to wear skirts, so I wore dress pants... but if you've got 'em or you like 'em, by ALL MEANS wear them. :)
     
  15. newteacher16

    newteacher16 Companion

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    Aug 22, 2004

    i'm excited for you!

    i'm so excited for you starting your student teaching, because i just finished mine last semester and absolutely loved it. i had fifth graders too and i really loved the age group. as far as dress goes, do what the others said...dress pants and skirts. you might not anticipate it, but some of the fifth grade boys are really going to be watching you because you're young. i heard a lot of whispers from the boys, so be careful when you bend over that nothing is accidentally "revealed". but of course you already knew that.

    be willing to do anything for your teacher. take the initiative right away. i know my CT was impressed when i jumped right in and helped from the get-go.

    to get to know the kids, ask them questions about their lives in one-on-one situations. i found out which kids played on teams and made a point of asking them about their weekend games and practices. that really means a lot to them. just any little things you can pick up on personality-wise are really important and mean the world to them.

    when you introduce yourself, you might mention the fact that you have experience. fifth graders will know that you're a student and not a "real" teacher, so it doesnt hurt to let them know that you do in fact know what you're doing.

    enjoy yourself! student teaching can be absolutely wonderful. :) good luck!
     
  16. Steph-ernie

    Steph-ernie Groupie

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    Aug 22, 2004

    Good luck with your student teaching ... I will also begin student teaching on September 1st, and that is coming up super quickly! I'm a little nervous, but I am doing my first placement at the school at my church where I attended k-8, so I know everyone which has helped ease my nerves. I am planning on wearing a lot of skirts, because I prefer them, but also some dressy pants. I will have third graders. Good luck!
     
  17. mas2silly

    mas2silly Guest

    Aug 22, 2004

    Hi Smiley,

    I started my student teaching last week with a kindergarten class. You have received a lot of good advice so far! I would add in that you meet the office staff especially the principal, and the other 5th grade teachers at least before school starts. Also take a tour of the school if you're not familiar with the layout and the rooms that you'll use. Of course kinder is a bit different than 5th grade but I got to know the students names quickly as I took it upon myself to make their name tags. We also played games so that the students learned each others names. So just dig in, be creative and don't be shy. You just may have some new ideas that your mentor teacher will be excited to learn.

    Texas!
     
  18. nrhugs@mac.com

    nrhugs@mac.com Rookie

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    Aug 24, 2004

    (non) Cooperative Teacher...

    Gosh - all this sounds so great and I am jealous!

    I started student teaching last week in an 8th grade US History & Language Arts class. It was great being in the classroom and watching all the students interact but my cooperating teacher said he preferred it if I would just watch for the first month. He didn't even introduce me to the students, and there wasn't a chance for me to introduce myself. I got the vibe that this teacher is set in his ways and doesn't like change very much. I understand that just observing is part of the process but I really want to get my hands wet. Any advice?
     
  19. kramercindy

    kramercindy Rookie

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    Aug 24, 2004

    nrhugs,

    Something isn't quite right there. The teacher should have introduced you first thing in the morning. Naturally, the students are going to be wondering who you are and why you are in their room. How long are you in that room for? When I did my student teaching, we were in the classroom for 16 weeks, with being expected to have full control (lesson plans, teaching, etc) for 6-8 of those weeks. Usually, by that second week, you really should be doing something. My advice? Just circulate and help the kids with their work, etc. If the teacher sees you doing something without being directed, he might be more open to have you doing more. Also, talk to your co-op teacher. Maybe he has never had a student teacher/intern before, and needs to know that you want to do something. Just let him know that you really want to be doing something, and that you won't learn how to teach if you're not doing it yourself. If worse comes to worse, talk to your university supervisor and let him/her know what's going on. Between the three of you, maybe you could work something out. Good Luck! Post a reply when you figure something out!
     
  20. ellen_a

    ellen_a Groupie

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    Aug 25, 2004

    I was in a third grade placement in the inner city and I was also never introduced to my students. The first time I taught something (I didn't have to wait a month, only two weeks or so to be able to teach a very brief lesson), I introduced myself and explained that I was another teacher.

    Depending on the school, not introducing the student teacher may actually be the norm (bizarre as it sounds); I had done a previous placement in this school where I was also never introduced (with a different teacher) and had just introduced myself to the kids whenever the chance arose.

    Ellen A.
     
  21. AndreaIL

    AndreaIL Rookie

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    Aug 25, 2004

    When I student taught a few years ago, I had 2 cooperating teachers. One was a real nice guy, very helpful, and the other... well.... she wasn't so great. Ironic, too, since she was the department head.

    This was in a high school, and my main cooperating teacher had a scheduling problem, so I was put with Crazy Teacher for just one class period. She didn't bother to introduce the kids to me, and I watched her teach for a couple of weeks. After a couple of class periods, she wanted me to do mini-lessons, but still hadn't introduced the kids to me. I asked for a seating chart to memorize names, but after that day's mini-lesson, she criticized me for not knowing their names and having to rely on the chart. I'd only had the seating chart for 20 minutes! (In my other 3 classes, where I was introduced to the kids and vice versa, I knew all the names in less than a week.)

    At this school, they did all their grades and attendance on Grade Quick, but Crazy Teacher refused to give me her password. She would log me in for the class period, and she wanted me to enter all their grades during class-- not like I planned on TEACHING or anything! Because this was block scheduling, they had a short 15-minute lunch in the middle of class, and she expected me to use my lunch time to enter grades while she went off and ate. (Apparently, food wasn't a necessity for me...) I did have a plan period at the end of the day, but I could never do work for that particular class because she wouldn't give me the password. Who knows, maybe she worried I would sell the password to the kids or something. At any rate, I only had a 15-minute block every other day to enter in multiple grades for 32 students.

    What finally happened was that I was a few days from finishing student teaching, and I still had a major backlog of work to enter for this particular class. I ended up telling her very matter-of-factly, "I need to have your password for the grading program. Doing it all in 15-minute periods is not enough time, and if I'm going to enter everything before my student teaching ends, I need the password. Otherwise, I can leave the stack of work and you can enter the grades. There are about 100 papers left."

    She gave me the password.

    Be polite, but firm. Cooperating teachers get a little money for having a student teacher, and sad as it is, many of them do it for this reason only. Don't sweat it too much, though, this is only a temporary situation!
     
  22. nrhugs@mac.com

    nrhugs@mac.com Rookie

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    Aug 25, 2004

    Thank you all for your help. Today's was a completely different day with my coop teacher. He had me stay in during his prep period to explain things. He basically told me that he's been teaching for 15+ years and since the school got rid of elective classes (of which he taught a couple) last year as a way to increase test scores he's been really jaded towards "the system". I guess the school is about to be taken over by the state because of low test scores. So he's decided to teach straight to the standards and not do anything outside of the box. His reasoning was that he couldn't personally handle putting so much in to helping his students when the school wasn't willing to do anything positive for them as well.

    He apologized to me for the first day and said he is actually a little refreshed to have new blood in the class. He is going to let me teach one of the standards and encouraged me to help during group work. So I guess I just needed to wait it out and not take the first day so personally.

    Thanks again for your help!
     
  23. smileyd

    smileyd Comrade

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    Aug 25, 2004

    I'm glad you're having a better time now, I hope I have a good cooperating teacher, just like yours looks like its turning out to be! I'll find out a week from Today!
     
  24. katerina03

    katerina03 Devotee

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    Sep 7, 2004

    also student teaching

    I am so glad I found this site. What a comfort. I begin student teaching tomorrow. I have 6th grade LA and SS. I will have two different teachers for each subject. They had a student teacher from my university last year and this girl told me these teachers are wonderful. I am excited but scared to death. I don't have any management methods planned, I just figured I would use my cooperating teachers', this is ok isn't it?
     
  25. clarnet73

    clarnet73 Moderator

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    Sep 7, 2004

    Definately OK. :) The first few weeks, you'll be probably be mostly observing anyway... by the time you take over, you'll really be able to see if the classroom teachers' methods of management work for you, or if you want to add/tweak them to make them effective for your style. :)

    Good luck and have FUN!
     
  26. smileyd

    smileyd Comrade

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    Sep 8, 2004

    Well, I have now done a full five days in my first placement, and I love it.
    I did the spelling lists with the fifth graders, and have helped out everywhere else that my cooperating techer has asked me to.
    I nearly have all the names memorized, although a few keep getting stuck at the tip of my tongue, and I just can't get them off.
    I have found that the teachers at the school dress very casually, much more casually than they ever did when I was in Elementary school!
    I am preparing now to start presenting my own lessons, and a social studies lesson, as it is required of me to do an entire unit over the course of each placement.
    THANK-YOU for all your advice, it sure made the first day less scary! :)
    xxx
     
  27. katerina03

    katerina03 Devotee

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    Sep 8, 2004

    I just finished my first day and I told one of my co op teachers that I was ready to teach some lessons next week. So I will have 3 classes back to back Monday through Friday. I like the teachers a lot and the kids were great. It was a good day. :)
     
  28. katerina03

    katerina03 Devotee

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    Sep 8, 2004

    Smileyd how long do you have to student teach? I have to teach for 11 weeks.
     
  29. smileyd

    smileyd Comrade

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    Sep 9, 2004

    Katerina, I have to do 15 weeks total, 7 at one placement, and 8 at the other.
    I get to teach on the computers tomorrow, I plan to do social studies!
     
  30. smileyd

    smileyd Comrade

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    Sep 27, 2004

    Katerina, I am now as of today 3 weeks into my practicum.
    I have to complete 15 weeks ( a minimum of 75 days).

    I am still enjoying my practicum, and have calmed my fears down a lot. I am currently "stealing as many ideas" as I possibly can, and recording everything I think will be useful into my journal (as required by my University).

    Good luck with the remainder of your practicum!
     
  31. katerina03

    katerina03 Devotee

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    Sep 27, 2004

    Thank you very much. My student teaching began` on Sept. 8. I only have to teach until Nov. 16. I am enjoying too, but it is soo exhausting. I am trying to get on a better sleeping schedule. By the way, how long does it usually take you to plan one lesson. I think I "over think" things. I am obsessive about being perfect, and I know I should just relax. How much time does it take you? Thanks.
     
  32. bko2

    bko2 Guest

    Sep 27, 2004

    i understand how you feel. I'm also going to be starting my student teacher in couple of weeks and i'm scared to death. My professor told me to dress professionally even if you are uncomfortable for the first couple of weeks. I'm scared to come up with ideas and to do lesson planning. I perfectly understand how you feel...I'm sure you will do fine...
     
  33. smileyd

    smileyd Comrade

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    Sep 28, 2004

    My lesson planning time varies because many if the activities I am planning with my cooperating teacher, and because the three teachers in grades 5-6 team teach, so many lessons can be reused. the longest I have so far spent planning a lesson was about two hours, but most of that time was spent navigating the internet for research.
    I also obsess about it being perfect, because I know I am being observed by Her! However, she also knows that I am still learning!
     
  34. katerina03

    katerina03 Devotee

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    Sep 28, 2004

    You have helped me realize most of my time is also spent researching on the internet. Thank you for your response.
     

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