How important is student teaching?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Kat., Aug 4, 2016.

  1. Kat.

    Kat. Companion

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    Okay, so I posted this question on another forum so some of you may have read it if you're on that one as well. Unfortunately circumstances have changed so I'm back to square one.

    I'm currently working through an alternative teaching program. Most of my stuff is done - just have to pass the content test and get a few more observation hours, then I'll have my probationary cert. With the program I'm in, I have two options. The first is unpaid student teaching for a semester, the second is getting hired as a full-time teacher and have that year be my intern year.

    Financially things have changed as my husband quit his job as it was interfering with his schooling, which at the moment is more important. While we likely *could* make it work, it would be really hard for me to not be bringing any money in for a semester. He gets a bit of money from the VA while he's in school, but it's really not enough to live by on its own.

    I've been hired on as a sub for my district this year. I was wondering if this would work well enough for experience so that I could get hired and go the internship route? The consensus on the other forum was to try to stick it out and do student teaching, since the experience is more akin to full time teaching. I am however planning teaching high school biology, which I understand is in high demand...I'm not sure how much of a difference that would make in me getting hired.

    Sorry for the novel! I'm just looking for any advice on this. Thanks in advance!
     
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  3. miss-m

    miss-m Devotee

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    I think if you can get a paid position that still provides some mentorship... go for that. It will be hard, but the first year is hard regardless (or so I've heard - I'm starting my first year so we'll see) so you might as well get paid for it.
    I found that I was much more comfortable teaching when I was subbing than when I student taught because I was the only adult in the room. Student teaching offers a lot of great learning experiences, but I would say it's still pretty different from being the actual teacher in the room.
     
  4. Teachertimes

    Teachertimes Rookie

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    I think student teaching was invaluable. It was such a huge help.
     
  5. mckbearcat48

    mckbearcat48 Cohort

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    It's valuable if you remember one thing: positive evaluations do NOT help you at all. I got a lot of those, and they did nothing for my "career".

    I enjoyed student teaching and think I got some good "experience" (mentor teacher was out of the classroom the whole school day from Week 4 on)...so I hope you have a good experience no matter how you choose to do it.
     
  6. novalyne

    novalyne Rookie

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    I went through an alternative certification program that did not have a student teaching option - only the intern year as a full-time teacher. I was able to sub in several districts the spring semester prior to my intern year. I got a lot of experience that way, and I had a very successful intern year. I do not think that I would have been nearly as successful if I had no experience in the classroom prior to interning. Subbing gave me a start in classroom management, interacting with students of all ages, and just learning how it felt to "be" a teacher.

    Since you are able to substitute in advance, I think you'll be just fine doing the intern year. I would definitely consider your finances when making the decision - you don't want to be stressed out about money while trying to student teach!
     
  7. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    I have very strong opinions here, but to make a long story short, I'd recommend doing student teaching if it is a viable possibility in any way.
     
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  8. Special-t

    Special-t Enthusiast

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    I did not do student teaching but I got invaluable experience (and recommendations) from long-term subbing positions. I also think that being in my 40s gave me enough life experience to develop a certain level of expertise via internship vs. student teaching.
     
  9. Kat.

    Kat. Companion

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    May I ask what those opinions are? I'm really trying to figure out what the best course of action would be for me.

    I want to make sure I have the experience to not only get hired but to allow me to succeed as a teacher.

    Thank you all so much for your responses!
     
  10. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    If my student teaching had been from start- to finish for an entire school year it would have been more beneficial I think. I had two placements which were crammed into chunks from January - May. It's not really a lot of time to see as much as I would have hoped. It also depends on what you DO during the experience. In my first placement, I got to observe and actually teach. She trusted me. By the second, it was testing time so there wasn't much to do. But I still enjoyed it and learned from what I did have.
     
  11. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Okay then... I would not allow my daughter to be in the classroom of a first-year teacher with no student teaching experience, and I would not want such a teacher on my team. There are too many things you wouldn't know yet, and I'd rather you didn't learn with my own kid's education. That's not to say that first year teachers with student teaching would know everything. They don't. But there's something powerful about actually being in the classroom, day after day, for several months, with an experienced teacher helping and guiding you. You get to make some of those new teacher mistakes in a way that can be fixed. One of the hardest parts about student teaching is that you don't even know what it is that you don't know yet.

    As far as a teammate, any first year teacher is extra work, but at least it's somebody that has seen it done before. A good student teacher is constantly asking questions, but I don't have the time to answer that amount of questions from a colleague.
     
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  12. Bunnie

    Bunnie Devotee

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    I agree that student teaching is the way to go. You don't expect a doctor to operate on you without having done their residency do you? Same goes for teaching in my opinion.

    I don't think there's even an option for NYS teachers get certified without student teaching, although I maybe wrong on this. Our version of Alt route is combined with a program in the city called Teaching Fellows. Even they get some sort of ST in the form of teaching summer school before the new school year. I will say many of the teaching fellows struggle the first year because they have no education background or courses, they take the education courses as they teach for 2 years. In my opinion it's equivalent of throwing someone in the deep end and water keeps going up their nose.

    The first year is hard enough, wouldnt you want to be as prepared as possible? So many teacher here are non renewed their first year because they struggled. Now I don't know if they were alt route or did ST, but it happens because the first year is hard. This career only gets easier with experience and keeping up with the latest trends.
     
  13. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Positive evaluations do help but one needs to bring more to the table than just glowing recommendations. The evals are just part of 'the package'.
    And yes,I recommend student teaching. I've been a CT for 5-6 student teachers (taking on another this fall!) so I've seen both sides-from my own ST experience and being involved as a CT- that this time is valuable in honing ones skills, getting a real feel for the day to day, and getting consistent longer term practice than subbing offers.
     
  14. monkeyrun

    monkeyrun Rookie

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    I'm SO grateful for my student teaching experience! Mine was a year-long placement in the same classroom, which I think is nice. I was there for the Meet the Teacher night before school started and during the fall semester it was supposed to be mostly observation. While I did a good chunk of my observations in that same classroom, I was also able to go in to other grades and teachers' rooms. My CT also let me work with small groups during that time. When we got back in January that when it started to transition to me being the one in charge. By that time I had a good relationship with everyone and my CT would often go around to other classes so I'd be THE teacher in the room.

    My first year was rough. I was on a team where most of the teachers were over everything but still working because they needed a few more years. My position was there bc enrollment went up just enough that they needed another classroom, so my class was the weird mash up (which was fine, just hard). I also got the MAJOR behavior problems that admin pretended to not know about (then let it slip in a convo later that they knew). I also had this rotating classroom; I had a slightly smaller class so I got ALL of the new kids during the year, most of them not speaking any English. I was NOT ready for that. Kids were moving in and out all year. My teammates were not helpful, so it was nice to have my CT to talk to, even though I had moved out of state and was teaching a different grade level.

    I also learned so much from being in her room that I couldn't have learned in classes or just talking to others.
     
  15. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    Go with student teaching if you can. There's nothing like being in a classroom with a master teacher guiding you.

    To ramble, we had a sudder opening on our team at the beginning of year before last year. Not wanting to add interviews to the plate, admin asked the assistant librarian, who was half-way through her teaching degree, if she wanted a bit more experience. She taught two years with a mentor and will fin ally have her student teaching semester this next bit of time.
     
  16. mckbearcat48

    mckbearcat48 Cohort

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    I'll agree to disagree on the first sentence. I think most people here would agree that there are a lot of benefits to student teaching. The biggest one to me is seeing the day to day dynamics of being a real teacher. Student teachers are treated a lot better than subs (student teachers are seen as still having a chance).

    If you can, do!
     
  17. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    Isn't this what Teach For America is all about? Just taking people and throwing them into a classroom? In my program you have to do practicum, which is 100 hours as an intern BEFORE you're even recommended to student teach. Then you get put into two placements for the semester. I worked in a 2nd grade classroom for 8 weeks and 6th for the second 8 weeks. Some of my experience was better than others, but I still learned in all of them (what to do vs. what not to do.) ST definitely helps! If nothing else, it exposes you to the jobs and the kids so when you do have your own classroom you're at least comfortable being around small children. I knew some student teachers who were like SCARED of the kids and would always stay in one corner. No bueno. News flash: you can't do that as a teacher! Yikes. Can you imagine?
    They're kids. They want -- and need-- attention. You need to talk with them and see them as humans. I remember my first time in a classroom I felt very awkward (why am I here? Who am I ? What do I talk about?) And then I noticed the kids had Ferbies. I had a ferby growing up, and then we talked, and ALL of the kids brought over their toys and wanted to share them with me. From then on, it just "clicked."
    :)
     
  18. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Yes... Which is one of many irredeemable problems with the TFA program.
     
  19. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    I applied. I'm a licensed teacher with 2 years experience behind me. I was looking for ANY way to get back into NYS. They rejected me. LOL
     
  20. mathteachertobe

    mathteachertobe Cohort

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    They usually don't take credentialed teachers. Credentialing is part of the process.
     
  21. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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  22. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    I had a student teacher two years ago who happened to be a former student of mine. She was awesome..always prepared, great with the kids, interacted well with my team and administration. She waited for her NJ cert and worked this past year in a daycare. This summer, with cert in hand, she started interviewing. She let me know when she had interviews in districts where I might have influence. I'm jumping up and down with her tonight to celebrate her job offer in a district where she will be working with a supe and P who know me and respected my reference and recommendation. So yeah, experience, ST, reviews, letters of rec count. Along with what you bring to the table.
     
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  23. mckbearcat48

    mckbearcat48 Cohort

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    That's cool. I don't think it's helped me at all, but good to hear that your former ST is doing well for her career.

    Sorry I'm so upset...I'm still struggling in the market.
     
  24. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    That's also a benefit of student teaching: networking. If you do a good job and really click with your mentor, that can lead to an "in" with a District. I now know about upcoming vacancies before they are even posted for the public to view. My mentor teacher told me how she was leaving the classroom and asked if I'd be interested in taking over her 2nd grade. I student taught there, I know that room. I told her that I wasn't interested at this time. But it's still good to know people on the inside. :)
     
  25. mckbearcat48

    mckbearcat48 Cohort

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    I agree with this. I figure ST contacts is how I got on the summer school list.
     
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  26. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    My ST mentor, whom I'm friends with on FB, sent me a message telling me of a Kinder opening and said she "immediately thought of me" when she heard about it. She knows EVERY administrator in the area having taught for 30 years and advising / supervising student teachers ... but I don't have a Kinder credential nor would I want to teach them.
     
  27. ChildWhisperer

    ChildWhisperer Groupie

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    I did not do student teaching. My experience came from teaching pre-k in a daycare setting and then a private school.
    I don't want to toot my own horn, but I am a very successful teacher now. I've had 2 supervisors fight to have me at their sites, I get high scores on the CL.A.S.S. observations, and I've had outside people come in and tell me, "oh I've heard great things about you!"
    So honestly, in my case (everyone's career history is different!), I didn't need nor will need to student teach
     
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  28. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    There are definite exceptions too. My team member had a degree in developmental psychology (not even education), and didn't student teach either, she got her teaching credential through real world experience working with children. She too is an A- rated teacher (she never shut up about it) which made for great convos. :roll: She definitely was a great teacher and I give her props, but DAMN!
     
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  29. ChildWhisperer

    ChildWhisperer Groupie

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    Haha! Well don't worry, I don't go around telling people how "awesome" everyone thinks I am! (Unless I'm trying to make a point that will make them feel better, not worse) :)!
     
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  30. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    I HATED sitting at planning meeting with her. It always turned into a self pity party about how hard her class was and how she didn't know if she'd be able to get the scores. She prefers to teach "enriched, smart kids" who are just easy to teach and learn. SORRY, but that's not reality. She had a lot of SPED kids in her class and she openly loathed them. I was in my first year and was struggling to just get through everything and here she was a veteran and made S & I feel inferior and lousy about ourselves. Though he ended up buddying up with her and kissed her ass... it was pathetic. She wanted things done HER way and hated when you disagreed with her. I just stopped showing up to the meetings when I found my footing.
     
  31. ChildWhisperer

    ChildWhisperer Groupie

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    What..?? That doesn't sound like a great teacher! A good teacher works with their fellow teachers and all kinds of students
     
  32. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    Great is a subjective term, of course. She got the "scores" (which ... ya know) and had GREAT management... seriously her classroom ran like an oiled machine so in that sense she was. But she had a horrible personality. She did and said things that weren't kosher. But she had been in the District FOREVER and at the school since it opened.
    She had a student who had CP and used crutches. We went on a field trip once where he had to walk across a huge lot, which of course was an issue. And she got mad at me because I wouldn't give him a piggy back ride across the yard. Weeks later she exploded at me in the hallway in front of my mentor teacher (who was shocked) because of that event. She's very narcissistic and caught in her own drama. But she definitely knew how to handle the kids. From a District stand point, on paper, she is "Great." Maybe I should have clarified. LOL
     
  33. Mr.Literature

    Mr.Literature Companion

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    Apparently almost everyone here did student teaching! I was not in a teaching program though. I have my minor in education, which means I did observations but I never did an internship like many of the people who were in an education program. My degree was in English.
    Was my first year rough? Absolutely. Was there a learning curve? Yep. But I was placed in the toughest school in my district. In one of the toughest classes at the school because I was the 3rd teacher to be with these kids. But I don't think you need to be a student teacher to be successful. I think you have to be knowledgeable about the content. Between the endorsement classes I have taken, and insight from other teachers, I've become confident in my ability to teach my students.
    So is student teaching important? Sure, to some people. My mom is a teacher, so I came into the profession not being blindsided by the reality. I'm sure there are some people that if they didn't have that knowledge coming into it, might have just quit.
     
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  34. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    I will say that sometimes -- and I've seen it -- education programs/ student teaching doesn't teach things teachers really need: common sense and critical thinking. I've met so many ed majors that, if you don't tell them exactly what to do ("spoon feed") they can't think or do for themselves, which is really sad if you're running a classroom. I think it can lead into the discussion: are teachers "made" or are they born? Because there are a lot of great teachers who didn't necessarily walk the "traditional path" and vice- versa, people who walked in, 4.0'd all the classes and left without the ability to do the most important things: connect with, motivate and teach kids. Do ED programs produce great teachers? Of course. But is it necessarily the only requirement or way of doing so? I don't think so. Truthfully I would have enjoyed my program more if there were more opportunities for hands - on learning/ apprenticeship experiences. The professors and text-books were great, but I learned SO MUCH MORE by working with actual students (who knew?) and feel like this should be more emphasized in all programs, because not all are equal, from day 1. And a lot of ST graduate and never even want to teach anyway. Or they do it, and hate it, because "what else can I do?" My friend is book smart. She aced all her classes, with little effort, and on paper is great, but she's not a good teacher. And then I've had friends who, because of family responsibilities and other circumstances, struggled to attend class and pass the tests, who are PHENOMENAL! They are so passionate and enthusiastic about connecting with kids, but will struggle to get the opportunity to get the paper in the end. It's quite sad. I never thought I would do it and was quite depressed. I kept failing the test and almost gave up. After $$$HUNDREDS$$$ of dollars (I get sick thinking of the credit card bills) and multiple test re-tries, I *FINALLY* passed everything & was granted a license on June 2014. I was ecstatic! And then shortly after, NYS passed "safety nets" to the tests. WTF?
    :rofl::toofunny::banghead:
     
  35. Bunnie

    Bunnie Devotee

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    TFA and NYC Teaching Fellows is the same thing I believe but Fellows is for NYC, run in partnership with the NYCDOE. I'm pretty sure TFA candidates can't apply to work in NYC public schools except for charters.

    In my traditional BA (I'm trying to remember exact numbers but forgive me it was so long ago) we have to do something like 30 or 50 classroom observation hours sophomore year. Then 100 hours working with students in any capacity, I worked at a summer camp. Then 2 semesters of student teaching 15 weeks each. The first semester was 2 1/2 days a week, I did 5th grade. The second semester was 4 days a week which I did 1st grade. I was one of those I'm scared of the big kids, so I opted to work with them first because I wanted to spend more time student teaching at lower grades for my second semester. And look at me now 10 years later never wanting to to teach below 3rd grade ever again in my life. :p

    All those hours working with kids before full time teaching was highly beneficial to me.

    I definitely still keep in touch with my second CT. Unfortunately that district was restructuring and their were no open positions she could help me with but she was my reference back then and was helpful to me landing my first job.
     
  36. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    If you can get hired on with a full-time position you should. Especially if it is in science it is very likely that position will roll over to the next year (at which point in most states you're already tenured.)

    I say this as someone who has been a master teacher multiple times - the system is a joke. I had a fantastic master teacher myself but he's the same guy I would have worked with if I were on as an intern anyway as he was the department chair. Having a good mentor is invaluable but you are more likely to find one on your own than the one assigned to you by the university.

    As far as the TFA hate goes, the San Diego TOTY came out of TFA and just spent a year in the classroom while battling cancer without taking any long term leave. You can pointlessly hate organizations all you want but don't forget real people exist.
     
  37. ChildWhisperer

    ChildWhisperer Groupie

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    Oh okay.. great teacher but awful coworker! :)
     
  38. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    She was definitely great compared to me (a new teacher) but yeah looking on it now, I don't think so. She was very by the book and didn't really want to experiment with any new ways of instruction. But her kids were well managed and learned. So... She once told us, "I'm a b*** to my kids but they're too stupid to go home and tell their parents." (cough)She's malleable and takes order without question so the District loved her. She had taught on the first grade team for YEARS and moved to third. Not surprising, the team she left wasn't her biggest fan. Yeah I learned why. LOL
    :cool::confused:
     
  39. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    Student teaching is the easiest way to feel more prepared in your first classroom and is typically easier to get hired, but if it's not financially feasible and you get a job, you'll just have to be a quick learner. At my last school, we got burned with a few alternative route teachers so I don't think any hired this year were alt, but there are a couple who have been morphed into great teachers.
     
  40. Kat.

    Kat. Companion

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    Thank you all so much for the replies! I'm really going to try my best to student teach next semester after subbing this fall. Hopefully that will give me the experience I need to not only feel comfortable and confident my first year but also to get hired a bit quicker!

    Thanks again. :)
     
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