Having a horrible experience as a co-teacher...anyone else?

Discussion in 'Student & Preservice Teachers' started by NewCoTeacher, Mar 10, 2007.

  1. NewCoTeacher

    NewCoTeacher Rookie

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    Mar 10, 2007

    Hi there, I'm 26 and a co-teacher in third grade at a private school.

    This all started this school year. Lets rewind to this past summer.

    I'm taking classes for an education masters degree, and I end up finding a bunch of the current co-teachers, a bunch of them invite me out to have drinks.

    During these drinks I find out that the head teacher I'm working with HAS NEVER had a good experience with he student teacher (my job). Last year apparently things were very sour in her classroom and the year before that as well.

    So now eight months after this conversation took place, I find myself here, on the first day of spring break absolutly angry and upset about how things have been going.

    The S hit the fan yesterday. I made a mistake grading a test (I must grade in pencil on orders from her) and she actually said to me "Are you an adult? I don't know what else I can do to stop this!"

    After the kids left I told her I don't appreciate her talking to me in such ways. This one little example is just that, a tiny peek into how she treats me. She doesn't ever really talk to me other then when forced to yet she will talk to any of the other interns and be so nice. However when she sees me her frown comes back and so on.

    She also said yesterday in our argument, that after 8 months of working in the class room I should pretty much have a solid understanding of teaching and should not be making 10 mistakes a day (I challenged her to provide me with 10 mistakes I made that day and she came up with 3, one was I hung a paper on the wall and it was not straight).

    Ontop of all this she basically told me "You don't have the common sense I think you need" (ie. she called me stupid) because of things like the paper on the wall not being perfect and that I stapled a rough draft behind a final draft on one assignment as well as the fact that I caught a kid lying right to my face and told him we're calling his parents about it (she's mad that she has to have a conference with the parents now because of how I said that). She told me that I need to think ahead and that I should have just told the kid to get his coat and not worried about how he basically LIED to me saying "It's ok I was told I don't need a coat" when he was never told this. The reason I decided to say "we're going to be calling your parents over this" was because this very child lied to his mother about something that he said I told him he could do (leave the room during a test) and the mother was very upset with me over this, which of course I never did.

    So now here I am wondering what to do, yesterday I said to my head teacher that we need to have a meeting about if I am going to return to the classroom after break or not. Of course my HT said "No you are not quitting this class room with 6 or 7 weeks left, you just need to bring more of yourself to work."




    Bottom line: Of course this is just my side of the story and I admit I do make mistakes. I just don't know how to feel, is it my fault because I'm a dumb person? That's what it feels like when I'm told I don't have enough common sense.

    I've already decided I'm not returning to teaching the lower grades next year because this has been probably the worst 8 months of my life. Instead I'll be working in a tech class room with 7/8/9th graders.

    I teach 22 kids all of science (she doesn't help, she sits and grades papers) 11 of them math, 11 of them reading, and I assist in Social Studies and Writers workshop.

    Am I in the wrong when I feel "like a victim" (she said that what she thinks I do) to a horrible wench of a teacher?
     
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  3. tinafirstgrade

    tinafirstgrade Rookie

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    Mar 10, 2007

    I just wanted to tell you that you are in a situation where you are being made to feel this way. Well, of course you choose your feelings but the teacher is being very stern with you. Unfortunately, without expereince and the confidence in yourself, what tends to happen is that you start believeing this teacher. I'm not saying you or I can't improve but she is really riding you for some very picky and nonimportant mistakes. Who cares if the papers are not hung straight? How I learn and how 99% of this population learn is through making mistakes and reflecting on how to change to improve. Right now your just under the direction of a pretty petty teacher with type A personailty. I saw you mentioned that you don't want to teach the younger kids anymore because of this. However, it is very important NOT to judge this grade level through this one bad expereince. Get through this experienece, we are not meant to get along with everyone in this world! Have respect for yourself, improve and work hard to improve for yourself. Also, find someone else at the school or someone in education taht you can vent to and get support from. DO NOT look for support or guidance from your teacher because it sounds like she does not have your best interest in mind. Sorry you are having a bad expereince. I had something similar happen in my life and I've learned quite alot through the expereince about myself.
     
  4. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

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    Mar 10, 2007

    I'm not understanding. You have to spend a whole year as a student teacher in the same classroom! That is stupid. What state are you in?
    When I did my student teaching it was for one semester and I after 8 weeks I was allowed if I wanted to stay in the placement I was in or try another placement. I stayed in the one I was at but now wish I had tried a different one. Is there anyway you can get into a public school. Public schools are run so differently than private. My placement was in a private school, and I wished I had public school experience.
    You are not wrong to not like this woman. She sounds evil. But if you can't find another placement for the last 8 weeks, I would stick it out even if she is a horrible person.
    Best of luck.
     
  5. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Mar 10, 2007

    For starters, she sounds like a very nasty non-professional. You don't correct another adult in front of the kids. When you do correct someone, you address the behavior, not the person.


    That said, we can't change her. She's a nasty person and will remain so.

    The one line that really jumped out at me from your post was you saying that things had to change or you wouldn't return. That has me wondering whether perhaps you do need to think things through before you act. Thinking that was fine; actually saying the words is a different story though.

    You have 6 or 7 weeks left. Trust me: we've all taught classes of axe murderers where we counted every single day until June. Your situation is roughly the same-- you've got to find a way to get through this.

    I can't address the particulars of your conflicts, since, as you said, we've only seen one side of them. But you can certainly learn a lot from them, even if only what NOT to do when you have a class of your own. For the time being, you have to find a way to get along with this woman. If you're the student teacher, it's HER class-- you need to find some middle ground.

    Of course you're not stupid. But if these mistakes are causing her problems, then you need to find a way to slow down a little and cut down on the mistakes. Challenging her on the actual number of mistakes you made was childish. Telling one of her students that you would call his mom was over the line too--ultimately it's her class and you're the visitor. She's the name on the roster; she's the one who has to deal with the parents.

    So, no, of course you're not stupid or wrong or any of those things. But you do need to find a way to navigate this minefield.

    Best wishes
     
  6. NewCoTeacher

    NewCoTeacher Rookie

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    Mar 10, 2007

    Yes, it's a co-teaching experience for a year, not really Student Teaching, as it is to refered to from other schools and such.

    Basically I'm getting a ton of experience, but at the same time I think this teacher has no interest in having me in the classroom.
     
  7. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

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    Mar 10, 2007

    Do you have a professor at the college you can discuss this with?
    So someone else don't end up with this horrible situation again next year.
     
  8. NewCoTeacher

    NewCoTeacher Rookie

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    yeah, the reason I challenged her on the ACTUAL number of mistakes was because she constantly makes things bigger then they are.

    For instance, we have a Binder FULL of lesson plans in my supervisiors office. Again yesterday she came in saying the the other third grade interns have never seen this binder because I have had it. This is absolutely NOT true. The binder is not allowed to leave the supervisiors office.

    So she came in all hot headed about it when I've never even removed it from the office. I did send an email to the other co-teachers "Just so you know, the 3rd grade binder is always in the office and is not allowed to be removed"....

    In this case I think it's just my head teacher taking a situation and blowing up over it.

    The reason I said the line about not returning after break is because honestly, the classroom enviornment for me is miserable and I would be filled with joy if I never had to work with this teacher again.

    Yes I'd miss the kids and feel bad for THEM, but I wouldn't feel bad about never seeing the teacher again.


    About the mistakes, I do want to add that this teacher is constantly making errors on math tests.

    We were teaching Volume, and she taught them that Cubic volume has a little on 2 it, (which is incorrect it's a 3) and then since she did it one day, she continued to teach them this way, and then marked MY KIDS wrong (my 11) for putting a 3.

    She also has made mistakes IN PEN on grading tests in simple division and I had to do it TWICE on the board before she believed that she made a mistake.
     
  9. NewCoTeacher

    NewCoTeacher Rookie

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    Mar 10, 2007

    We will be having a meeting with the Head of the school, the head of the lower school, and my co-teaching director on the first day back from spring break.

    I have worked with other teachers on "swapdays" this year and each one of them end up emailing these people positive reviews about me. I've also had three parents (that I know of) that sent the head of the school letters about how much their kids like me, which of course I never even had knowledge of until it was brought up to me by the head of the school.
     
  10. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Of course you're right there. Area is measured in 2 dimensions, so it's square units with an exponent of 2. Volume is 3 dimensional, so it's cubic units with an exponent of 3.

    The pen thing-- I make errors in grading all the time. It's a function of having too many papers and too little free time. If I catch the error (or the kids do and it's costing them points), I'll cross out the old grade and re-write it. (If I've given them too many points and they're kind enough to admit it, the points are theirs. I can't see penalizing a kid for honesty.)
     
  11. NewCoTeacher

    NewCoTeacher Rookie

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    The thing is, when I see her mistakes, I DONT ask her "are you an adult?"

    I say "I think this answer isn't right" and I ONLY do it if I see it on a test. I have seen her do math wrong on the boards infront of the kids and I honestly just let it go, as I'm sure it would be very bad to correct her infront of the kids and she'd prob flip on me if I did.

    I just feel like she expects sooooooooo much from me....

    I've NEVER been inside a classroom before and have JUST switched into the education major this past summer (4 class are under my belt) and she expects me to not only teach a majority of the class, but DO a majority of her work just like she does, after her 6+ years of teaching, and I only have 8 months to do itin.
     
  12. cmorris

    cmorris Comrade

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    Mar 10, 2007

    Those "mistakes" are very minor. I had two teachers when I student taught. The first one was great. She said that student teachers need to experiment and find what works for them. Some things won't, and that's okay. She was just fabulous!

    The second one sounds like the one you have. She constantly implied that I was stupid and ruined things that "she had worked for all year." Here was the reason: ALL the kids were begging to go to the restroom after lunch. They hadn't been all day. So I took them before we got back to the room, on time I might add. That's it. She screamed in my face over that. Even said she wanted to choke me. I did finish and talked extensively with my university supervisor. She also tried to lie to my US, but I had my paperwork to prove I was the one being honest. If I made it through her, you can also make it!
     
  13. NewCoTeacher

    NewCoTeacher Rookie

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    Thank you, I can't imagine if she told me she wanted to choke me, I'm 6'2 and 180lbs, I'm a guy I dont know if I ever said that before...

    8 weeks to go......sigh......
     
  14. eduk8r

    eduk8r Enthusiast

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    Ouch!!! That's terrible! To NewCoTeacher--this advice you may dislike, but--do anything she says and get through that 8 weeks! At least she's not asking you be removed or something! Don't argue, sounds like she believes she's right and you won't win. You wouldn't want to appear insubordinate to a potential future principal. I think almost everyone teaching has experienced someone like this. Are you supposed to get a letter of recommendation from her at the end? 'Cause here, we student teach in 2 grade levels, then we're asked for LOR's from both master teachers. You're almost done, hang in there.
     
  15. NewCoTeacher

    NewCoTeacher Rookie

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    I don't want a LOR from her, that's for sure, I think I would have to laugh at myself if I asked her for that.
     
  16. Grammy Teacher

    Grammy Teacher Virtuoso

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    I didn't read all the posts, but are you documenting all of this? When you have the time and she is not around, jot down everything. You might need it .
     
  17. cmorris

    cmorris Comrade

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    I didn't ask for one from that horrible teacher either. No one I interviewed with cared or questioned it. I had three other LOR: from my first cooperating teacher, the principal at my first placement, and my university supervisor. I was hired on the spot at my second interview. The first interview also led to a job offer, but it was too late then.

    I agree about just doing what she says so long as it is legal. Otherwise, she may just make it that much harder for you. Best of luck to you.
     
  18. NewCoTeacher

    NewCoTeacher Rookie

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    Yea I will be keeping a very detailed record of what's going on from here on out.

    I already have a list of "issues" that I can refer to in the event of the meeting.

    These issues are just direct quotes right out of her mouth "Are you an adult?" "you need to bring more of yourself to school, you've been here for 8 months and that means we expect you to be very solid by now" etc.
     
  19. Grammy Teacher

    Grammy Teacher Virtuoso

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    Meanwhile, keep your chin up and be the best teacher that you can. You can only give your best. It takes a while to become comfortable in the classroom so hang in there and it will happen with experience.
     
  20. teacher333

    teacher333 Devotee

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    Don't let this experience make you become disillusioned about teaching in general. In any job, there are always those who are miserable and feel it is their right to make others feel the same. It was good that you spoke to her, so she is aware she cannot just overpower you in the classroom. I agree with keeping detailed records that you can present when you meet with your advisor. Hang in there!
     
  21. eduk8r

    eduk8r Enthusiast

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    No kidding! That would be scary. Wonder why they keep sending teachers to her?:eek:
     
  22. Grammy Teacher

    Grammy Teacher Virtuoso

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    Because they don't care and they are idiots.
     
  23. MissFrizzle

    MissFrizzle Virtuoso

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    Don't let this experience make you bitter. It happens to all of once, get back on that bicycle and try again:D

    You are not bad...... her attitude is the pits.
     
  24. MissFrizzle

    MissFrizzle Virtuoso

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    Mean people suck
     
  25. NewCoTeacher

    NewCoTeacher Rookie

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    thanks for all the advice, I appreciate it all.

    I already have a job at this same school next year but in the tech lab......and I really REALLY like the teacher/head tech guy.......so I really do have to keep it together here.

    I've NEVER had a problem working for or WITH anyone. Sure i've met people who I wouldn't hang out with outside of work, but it has never been such a rough time.
     
  26. Grammy Teacher

    Grammy Teacher Virtuoso

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    I have had your experience.I can work and get along with ANYONE too, but once in awhile you get stuck with a lemon. I just hung in there and developed the attitude that it didn't matter how stupid or miserable they were. I decided not to let their negative energy destroy me and became as positive as could be. It takes time, but things will work out, so remain composed and strong.
     
  27. NewCoTeacher

    NewCoTeacher Rookie

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    How did you not let their negative energy get you down?

    It's really upsetting when the person you work with is nice to all the other teachers, but hardly talks to you at all during the day.

    It's like inside her brain a switch flips when an adult enters the room, big smile, "Ohhhhh hiiiiii!" etc.

    When I enter the room in the morning I look right at her and say hello how are you, and not only does she not answer the question she just says a quick and low tone, "hi"....

    So I feel like i could say "hello groucho, how are you today" and she'd say "hi"
     
  28. Grammy Teacher

    Grammy Teacher Virtuoso

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    You are right about how that makes you feel, but sometimes we just have to push ourselves to rise above people like that. When you see her, think in your mind how pitiful she is and pathetic. Be glad you are not her. That alone will make you smile and feel better. There will always be miserable people to deal with and you can't change them. All you can do is make sure you are the best you can be at all times. Fighting with her will only make matter worse. She doesn't like you. Big deal. YOu don't have to live with her, you just have to make it through this small portion of your life, so make up your mind to do it right and with integrity. You are better than her.
     
  29. eduk8r

    eduk8r Enthusiast

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    I know exactly what you mean. I use this, for one thing, I heard someone say before, "I don't let people like that rent space in my head." :) In other words, as much as possible keep them out of your mind, think of all those other good people and remember who you are. I really liked it, 'cause it helps your perspective.

    Also, I have two other ways I get through difficulties. One, I ask myself if this is going to matter to me in five years. If not, then I pass it on. If so, I do something about it. Two, I have found that I can live through anything that's not permanent. So I keep telling myself, "I can get through this next two months" or whatever the time period is.

    But I agree it is really, really difficult to think about going through such rude encounters every single day. The other thing that I always do is pray about it. That's not last, that's first. And somehow, the situation is always alleviated, even when you think it's impossible. We'll be praying for you over here, you sound like a considerate person and you don't deserve that.:angel:
     
  30. NewCoTeacher

    NewCoTeacher Rookie

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    Thanks alot, I really do appreciate it.

    I do just want to survive the next 2 months, I've already seen where I'll be working next year and it's a dream. The person I'll be working with is really REALLY cool and as far as I can tell everyone likes him.

    I am a nice, considerate person. I just am not a professional teacher right now, and I think that is what gets this head teacher so angry.

    I wish she would realize I'm 8 months in and I've NEVER done this or anything like serious teaching in my life before.
     
  31. eduk8r

    eduk8r Enthusiast

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    Just remember you said the other teachers before you had the same experience, so it's not you, she's just that way. You already have a job there for next year, so they know you're good. In two months this will be history. So hang in there.
     
  32. NewCoTeacher

    NewCoTeacher Rookie

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    I also have to give my HT credit, she is a REALLY good teacher, the kids in my classroom are ahead of the other classrooms in the same grade, and she really does know her stuff.

    I'll be hanging in there :)
     
  33. Lab Lady

    Lab Lady Rookie

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    My student teaching experience has been the pits but I've been through worse in my life.

    I figure what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. If you have a lousy placement maybe in the end its for the best. It'll give you a better appreciation for the good things yet to come.
     
  34. eduk8r

    eduk8r Enthusiast

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    So, how did this week go?
     
  35. NewCoTeacher

    NewCoTeacher Rookie

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    It went Great!



    Because we're on spring break for last week and this week and I haven't had to deal with her at all!
     
  36. eduk8r

    eduk8r Enthusiast

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    Wow, that's good to hear...:) so, only 6 or 7 weeks to go. You can do it! :)
     
  37. NewCoTeacher

    NewCoTeacher Rookie

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    Sigh.......going back to school on monday!

    I'm going to go back with a new "can-do" attitude....

    Whatever she wants, I'll give her.

    I'm going to try even harder because obviously before spring break, my hardest was not good enough.

    I feel like I'm about to ship off to war or something......see you in 8 weeks, putting on my helmet now!
     
  38. eduk8r

    eduk8r Enthusiast

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    I know, believe me.:(
     
  39. NewCoTeacher

    NewCoTeacher Rookie

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    Well, it's been a week and a day back.....and things are back to normal.

    She spoke to me exactly THREE times today.....the rest of the time she was either teaching or during breaks on her email........or paying bills online.......or doing something else.


    I came in saturday and sunday and really worked hard on my bulletin board, but I didn't hear ANYTHING out of her about it.....I guess that's a good thing? Right? :)

    Either way, I really think she is just a miserable person and it doesn't have much to do with me, because it seems like she's just never happy to be there.
     
  40. eduk8r

    eduk8r Enthusiast

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    Sigh...There you go.
     
  41. NewCoTeacher

    NewCoTeacher Rookie

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    What's your story, tell me what is going on with your classroom.
     

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