How was your student teaching experience?

Discussion in 'New Teachers' started by BookButterfly, Jun 25, 2011.

  1. BookButterfly

    BookButterfly Rookie

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    Jun 25, 2011

    Hi everyone!
    So.. student teaching is six months away, but I'm somehow already really excited and/or nervous about it. All of my professors have warned us repeatedly that it's not exactly a picnic, and the speculation of my peers hasn't exactly bolstered my confidence. x.X

    I suppose my question is this: How would you describe your student teaching experience? What types of things did you do to prepare? What helped you, and what harmed you? Did you find it as difficult as your teachers predicted?

    I've been using what little free-time I have to plan out lessons that I think are essential for every student in writing and speaking, but I'm worried that I won't be able to use them. Sure, I'm using ideas from Marzano, Noden, and Smagorinsky, but.. what if they don't conform to what my supervising teacher expects/likes/wants?

    So many questions! =) Thank you for reading; I do appreciate your time.
     
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  3. BumbleB

    BumbleB Habitué

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    I think mine was alot easier than others. I worked in inclusion, so I never had to prepare/teach lessons, which reduced the work load. It was still hard work though, being with the kids all day and trying to manage their learning styles and prepare what they needed. I feel like my student teaching experience could have been better though. I really wasn't allowed to do much, and my teacher could have done more to really "mentor" me. My cooperating teacher and I had completely different teaching styles, and that made it difficult to learn alot from her.

    There's not much that you can do to prepare beforehand. You need to get to know the kids, the classroom structure, the school itself, etc before you start your work.
     
  4. ami6880

    ami6880 Companion

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    Jun 25, 2011

    I had 2 student teaching experiences, one in 2nd and one in 4th. I think that the cooperating teacher is the biggest part of your experience. I loved my first placement, I felt as though I was a part of my classroom, she really let me lead the kids and would leave often (work just outside the room) so I could gain experience.

    My second placement I didn't have the same experience, I wasn't incorporated into the room as much and I didnt feel as though I belonged like I did in my first experience. The teacher rarely left the room and had difficulty allowing me to facilitate lessons. She would jump in and take over and overall just really had a hard time letting go.

    I found that the planning involved researching the materials they had already. Most of the time the teachers have laid out what they teach and when. It is helpful to sit down with the teacher and find out how she likes to teach the lesson. A lot of times I had trouble following the manual so I would write out an outline for myself. Now having my own room I look off the materials, but I teach it the way I like to, but when first learning I did go off the manuals quite a bit during Student Teaching.

    I agree that there is not much to prepare before, just take your time the first week and observe the teacher and how she handles routines and such, learn names, and start deciding what you will teach first. Most off all, it should be a fun experience, college instructors like to scare you with the amount of work, but I rarely stayed past 5, so don't let them scare you!
     
  5. TeacherShelly

    TeacherShelly Aficionado

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    Jun 25, 2011

    I agree that the cooperating teacher makes or breaks the experience. I have heard of student teachers being essentially office help for the teacher. Making copies, collating, stuffing folders, etc. That would not be too helpful.

    I had three placements (CalStateTEACH). I picked the schools even though we weren't supposed to be able to do that. My instructor was OK with it. I did 3rd grade, 4th, and then K/1. The first coop teacher was very laid back and just let me do what I was comfortable with. The second was ... ?? ... different. He thought of himself as cool and progressive, but his methods were very rote. I remember he'd string together a lot of buzzwords in our conferences.

    The third teacher was far and beyond excellent. She trusted me and led me out of my comfort zone. That's where my real learning took place. In this placement I also did my two week solo teaching.

    I fit in so well in that third school that I ended up getting a job there.

    Remember your experience is largely up to you! Don't make assumptions, do your very best, and don't take anything personally. You'll do just fine.
     
  6. christine89

    christine89 Companion

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    Jun 25, 2011

    Well, I had 2 student teaching experiences and I both feel they were very positive. The first was in Kindergarten and I loved it! The teacher was very helpful and supportive throughout. Until you really know the content of your classroom, I don't know that it's wise to spend a ton of time preparing lessons yet. For the grade you are assigned, definitely become familiar with the state standards.
    My second experience was in 4th grade and it was... unique. My cooperating teacher became ill in about my 4th or 5th week out of 10 weeks and was gone for the rest of my experience. So for a good portion it was just me and a substitute teacher so there was an extra workload for me! Keep in mind that this is an extremely unique and rare experience. The only thing I feel I missed out on in that experience is the feedback I would have received from the teacher.
    My advice is to simply do your best! Planning and prepping took my nights and weekends, but I actually really liked doing all that kind of work. Before I began my student teaching, I wasn't completely sure I was ready (didn't have a positive practicum experience the semester before). However, I found that as I was progressing, things just kind of fell into place and it felt right to be doing it.
    Good luck, don't stress, and enjoy your experiences!
     
  7. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    Jun 25, 2011

    Start a filing cabinet with ideas for common objectives, with ideas for multiple grade levels. You can always tweak things to match your class' needs.

    Read every professional book you can get your hands on. If it's been mentioned on this site, read it twice.:p Since you are still in college, take advantage of your library.

    Visit several teacher stores and buy a Mailbox idea book.
     
  8. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Jun 26, 2011

    Student teaching is really what you make of it. It was hard work because yes you were the teacher without all the freedom of the teacher.

    What really worked for me was being open and honest with my cooperating teacher. Talking with her about my mistakes and when I was ready for more responsibility. Ask for feedback, ask to try something, ask to plan a unit. The more you ask and are open, the more you will probably be able to do.
     
  9. soleil00

    soleil00 Comrade

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    Jun 26, 2011

    I agree with mopar - it is what you make of it.

    Mine, well... it was super easy because the district I was assigned to uses a "pre-planned" curriculum so I never had to write a lesson plan and all the lessons were basically scripted.

    I talked to a lot of my friends who did write their own lesson plans and they found it to not be as difficult as the university made it out to be.

    For me, I just went into it with the idea of keep my mouth shut, do what they ask me to, and don't do anything stupid. It worked out fairly well for me since I ended up with a job in that district!

    When I say 'keep my mouth shut' that refers to those little... student/admin/district rant sessions that the older teachers at my school tended to get into and I would guarantee there will be a few at your school as well. Nod and smile, but never agree/disagree. That's my best advice.

    If they ask you to run copies, do it. I ran copies, I ran errands, and I cut paper every day for about 3 weeks straight for my cooperating teacher. Whatever they wanted from me, I would do it. I even did little errands here and there for the other teachers in the hall, just to be more helpful and also for the personal benefit of having them as close friends.
     
  10. BookButterfly

    BookButterfly Rookie

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    Jun 26, 2011

    Wow, so many different experiences! This has all been very informative, thank you!

    I hope that I'm allowed to design my own lessons, which is what I'm doing right now. I've been using my state's academic standards, teaching books, theory books, anything I can get my hands on, really. Worst case scenario, I won't get to use them during student teaching, but I can always tweak them depending on where I eventually get a job, right? =)

    It sounds like if you go in with an open mind, a positive attitude, and make a point to do whatever your cooperating teacher says without complaint, it will be okay. Is that the way of it, would you say?
     
  11. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Jun 26, 2011

    You seem to have the right attitude. Just keep with the positive attitude!
     
  12. Emmy

    Emmy Companion

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    Jun 26, 2011

    Mine was a complete nightmare. Cooperating teacher and my personality were so different. She loved to yell and scream at the kids, and I am very soft spoken and would never dream of screaming at a Kindergartner. She made it quite clear that she didn't think I was cut out for teaching because of how soft spoken I am.
     
  13. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Jun 26, 2011

    I was in a trailer in a Title 1 school...3rd grade kids with many learning needs, but I loved it! My coop saw quickly that I could handle things and pretty much turned the class over to me.
    Take on class responsibilities as soon as you can...maybe that's one subject or unit at a time, maybe it's taking it all on...kind of depends on your coop teacher. Mine had made me a handbook with school map, an overview of a typical daily schedule, a curriculum guide of some units that were upcoming.
    Dress professionally. Learn as much as you can. Plan and overplan. Be excited...the kids will pick up on your enthusiasm. Smile. Get friendly with the secretaries and custodians. Show up early and stay at least as long as your coop. Go to meetings with your coop. Ask good questions. Take notes. Don't complain. Only speak positively of your experience. Laugh with the kids. Express thankfulness to your coop and the administration for hosting you. Have fun.:cool:
     
  14. ami6880

    ami6880 Companion

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    Jun 26, 2011

    Well said! Make sure you dress professionally for sure, also make sure that you attend all meetings! I was with another student teacher and she frequently forgot about meetings in the morning and would show up late. The teachers would talk about it, it just looked really bad! She also thought she knew everything about everything and rubbed people the wrong way. Never say anything bad about anything and just have a positive eager attitude! I know I posted before, but what was said made me want to share more ;)
     
  15. INteacher

    INteacher Aficionado

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    Jun 26, 2011

    I think I remember that you are secondary and if you are I would add :)
    *try to attend a few extra-cir's both sports and academics
    *introduce your self to the P, VP/AP, Deans, guidance
    *ask to observe teachers NOT in your content area, trust me you will get lots of ideas and info
    *don't shy away from the teacher's lounge ~ I know many people will advise you to stay away, but form your own opinion by actually go to the lounge. The teacher's lounge in my building is like having lunch with my second family :)
    *can't say enough about all the advice in keeping a binder of ideas!!!
     
  16. soleil00

    soleil00 Comrade

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    Jun 26, 2011

    Agree with all of the above.

    Go BEYOND the call of duty to get to know everyone in the school, other teachers in your grade, the principal/office staff especially, and even the janitors, librarians, art teachers, etc. They all become valuable allies later on.

    The principal had big interest in me and look where it landed me, a job with hardly any interview at all.
     
  17. PinkCupcake

    PinkCupcake Cohort

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    Jul 1, 2011

    I had a split student teaching assignment. I did six weeks in Kinder and six weeks in 3rd grade. The school I was in was overall great towards me. I really loved the school I was in.
    The teacher I worked with in Kinder was amazing. She included me in everything. I started off teaching one subject a week and gradually took over the whole day for the last two weeks. She let me incorporate my own ideas. We always had a mini meeting at the end of the day to discuss things and bounce questions off each other. She encouraged me to ask the principal to come observe me. The principal gave me name to HR, which helped me get the job I have now. I truly enjoyed her classroom. We still keep in touch.
    I was completely disappointed when I got to 3rd grade. I was excited to learn about a TAKS grade, but my teacher did virtually next to nothing with me and her students. One day I sat while she went over a Science powerpoint. She stretched it out over the entire day. She sat at her desk texting while the kids copied everything. Another day she spent trying to get concert tickets. I was barely included in team meetings. During planning period, her and another grade level teacher would leave all the time to get food.
    Good luck to you! Pray that you get a good school and teachers to work with; it makes a huge difference in your confidence and how you'll be in your own classroom.
     
  18. GAteacher87

    GAteacher87 Companion

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    Jul 4, 2011

    My student teaching experience was very trying, very difficult. I knew from the first week that it would be a long, long, LONG 16 week assignment. BUT... I got through it! And you will too! :) Stay positive, remember that you are there to LEARN (and sometimes that means learning from not-so-positive examples), and remember that the students are WHY you want to teach. (I'm assuming that this is true for you.) Remember that it will pass, whether the experience is the best or worst of your life. Put forth your best effort, be as friendly and energetic as you can, but make time for yourself when you are at home, too.

    I will say that my 5-week assignment was absolutely amazing. This one occurred the semester before my final student teaching assignment. Anyway, no matter what happens, it is a temporary moment that you will refer back to throughout your teaching career, so take it all in--all parts of it. Also, post here during your time. Other teachers who love teaching will be posting here, and you will get support and advice. Good luck!
     
  19. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    My student teaching experience was wonderful! My cooperating teacher and I got along great! The staff was very small so it was nice to get to know all the teachers and not just the English teachers. They were all also very supportive. I worked with inner city juniors and they were the best. I loved them and had a great time with them!

    My cooperating teacher was wonderful because she seemed to know just how much support to give me. She knew when to let me do my own thing and when to step in and help.
     
  20. MrsMikesell

    MrsMikesell Cohort

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    My experience was, well, totally non-memorable. I can't even remember the school or teacher's name!

    But, I've hosted two amazing intern's in my 14 years teaching. I think the key is having open communication.

    If you don't understand something, speak up!
    If you need help, speak up!
    If you disagree with something, speak up!
    If you love something, speak up!

    My best intern was the one that questioned me the most, had valid points when she disagreed, and wasn't afraid to talk.

    She's now my best friend... and co-teacher!
     
  21. geek412

    geek412 Rookie

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    Jul 5, 2011

    My student teaching was wonderful. I found out the teaching and grading components were the easiest!

    Student teaching is the time to:
    - ask questions,
    - dress professionally,
    - (please for everything lovely BE ON-TIME)
    - be courteous to everyone on campus,
    - be curious about the school's goals & focuses for the quarter/year.

    The best piece of advice I can give you is -

    YOU set the tone for "YOUR" classroom, NOT your students.

    One more thing: Be patient & humble. My cooperating teacher never had an intern before, so it took us both some time for her to relinquish control and for me to take the reigns.
     
  22. missjessica

    missjessica Rookie

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    Jul 7, 2011

    You'll find that you never know what you can get! I had one good experience and one bad experience. The best thing is to expect anything and do what you feel is best. You'll have to make so many on-the-spot decisions and you'll find it's both scary and fun!
     
  23. Joy

    Joy Cohort

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    Jul 7, 2011

    I student taught at a private school in K-12 Music. I taught K-6 vocal music, and 4-12th Instrumental. It ws different because I had two cooperating teachers at the same time but it went well and I loved it. For the elementary classes, I developed my own lessons. Instrumental music was just conducting and teaching individual lessons.

    My advice would be to try and learn everything that you can from your cooperating teachers and the overall experience. While it is important to prove yourself competent, don't be afraid to ask advice. This is your time to ask questions and grow as a teacher.

    Try and interact with the students and the other staff members. If you are friendly and professional, other teachers and staff can be a tremendous help in getting a future job.

    I had alot of things prepared in advance. While you might not be able to write specific lesson plans for your content area, having a few bulletin boards or educational games ready will be a great help for you.

    Also, the first week for me was very long and boring - Pretty well all observing. Use the time to get to know your teacher and organize your set-up of your portfolio.

    Have fun!
     
  24. smtownEngteach

    smtownEngteach Rookie

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    Jul 13, 2011

    I had two 8 week student teaching assignments, one in Social Studies and one in English. My Social Studies one was very long and difficult for me. My cooperating teacher, who was a nice person, really had little control over his classrooms, and his lessons consisted of simply putting up notes on the Smartboard and having the students copy them. I had a hard time feeling included in the classroom and school district. I had to send students to the office multiple times for cheating etc. It was a learning experience to say the least.

    My second student teaching experience I actually worked with two cooperating teachers (one taught 7th grade English and the other taught 8th grade English and Drama). Both were wonderful and made me feel welcome from day one. I got along great with the students. One of my cooperating teachers was a veteran teacher who took me under her wing and showed me all kinds of great ideas, and also let me take over classroom duties pretty quickly. Loved this experience and the school district. I will agree, a lot of your experience will be what you make of it, but no matter what situation you are put in try to keep a positive outlook, it will go a long way!
     
  25. MLB711

    MLB711 Comrade

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    Jul 27, 2011

    I also experienced two different placements within the same county, the first teaching 6th grade US History I and 7th grade US II and the second teaching 9th grade World I. I greatly enjoyed both of my placements, but I felt more successful with my middle school placement than my high school placement. I had more control during middle school. I designed, planned, and implemented my own lessons and gathered or made my own materials. In high school (which took place during March and April), my teacher used the same routine since the beginning of the year, so for the sake of consistency I stuck with her routine. Her routine worked really well for her, but I struggled with it my whole placement. My teacher definitely noticed that I tried to do what was best for the students, even though it wasn't what worked best for me.

    I had very important traits in common with my cooperating teachers that I think contributed to my feeling of success as well. I approached organization with the same mindset as my middle school teacher; every book, paper, piece of furniture, etc. had its place and those places all made sense to me. Our teaching styles differed completely, so the students got used to both of us. With my high school teacher, however, we approached teaching the same way: loud, excited, always walking around, and asking the students lots of questions. A lot of my high school students thought I "copied" her, so although there weren't huge behavior issues, they didn't have as much reverence for me as my middle-schoolers did. I felt really frustrated that my high schoolers didn't see me for me.


    You can't control the situation in which you're placed. I got lucky to have such fantastic, understanding, and friendly cooperating teachers. There are going to be negative and positive attributes to every teaching environment. Keep your students at the front of your mind no matter the situation, and you'll succeed. I second everyone that has said, "Work hard and do what your cooperating teacher tells you."
     
  26. Teachnewbie12

    Teachnewbie12 Rookie

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    Jul 28, 2011

    I had two 8 week placements, one in a 4th,5th,6th grade self-contained setting, at an intermediate school. My second was 6th and 7th instructional at a middle school. Both of my experiences were great! My first experience was with a veteran teacher, who was old school in the terms of wanting to "teach," over constantly taking "data." She was completely wonderful and cared alot about her students but mentioned once that is she not a good teacher because she constantly is not taking date, but instead teaching spending that time teaching them. I learned alot of classroom management from her, and different tricks of the trade so to say.

    My second placement was with a 4th year teacher, I was her first student teacher, and she had almost declined having one. She was really nervous about letting someone else take over control, and she had heard horror stories of bad student teachers. She was great as well, and I was able to get the data, and assessment portion from her, which my first placement lacked. She was also harder on me in terms of my lesson planning, and required me to show her every lesson in advance. (My first placement cooperating teacher never saw any of my lesson plans! She went off what I taught)

    Two similar classrooms, but differences in what the teachers were expecting of me. I think I got the best of both worlds...

    I just wish I would have had more range in grades/ and or skills in students.
     
  27. Croissant

    Croissant Comrade

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    Jul 28, 2011

    I LOVED student teaching! I pray every day I will enjoy my first year as much as I enjoyed student teaching. I had two assignments. My cooperating teacher in the first assignment was fantastic! We hit it off immediately and by the second day it was like we had been working together for years. She was very supportive and basically gave me complete control. I was so grateful b/c I remember having student teachers when I was a student and never even learning their names! She made it very clear that I was the teacher. I talk to her all the time.

    My second assignment was fantastic in a different way. My cooperating teacher was not quite so able to give up control. She immediately let me teach, but expected me to teach in her style. But she was wonderful about teaching me the administrative stuff.

    I wouldn't spend a whole lot of time planning specific lessons. You want your lessons to fit in with the existing curriculum.

    Advice based on my experiences:
    • Pass back papers as often as possible the first couple of days. This really helped me to quickly learn names.
    • If appropriate, begin by taking charge of a small group. It will help to get your feet wet and to have a handful of students "on your side" before you take over the entire class.
    • My cooperating teachers knew I was ready to take over before I did. When your CT asks if you "wanna take this one," the answer is yes. As long as you know the content, jump in. Your CT will jump in and save you if you have trouble.
    • Get to know other teachers on campus. Spend time in the lounge (even if your professors told you not to). I knew nothing of the inside workings of a school until I spent time around groups of other teachers!
    • Have no opinion about school specific problems or rumors. The teachers can talk about each other or the district's irresponsible money spending if they want to...you cannot.
    • If you don't already know, find out how to work the copy machine asap. Figure out when everyone else makes copies, so you can plan around it.
    • If your CT is late getting to class after the bell rings. It's ok for you to start class, even if you haven't taken over yet.
     
  28. jcar03

    jcar03 Companion

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    Aug 9, 2011

    I had a really great experience in both my placements. I did 8 weeks in 4th-5th ED and 8 weeks in a 5th-8th mild/moderate program. Honestly, the first 8 weeks were my favorite because I got to do a lot more instruction unlike the second 8 weeks. I was lucky both my cooperating teachers were great and my university supervisor was excellent. Some of my peers did not have the same experiences especially when it came to their university supervisor. Mine didn't require me to write full daily written lesson plans, she only wanted one when she came to observe. There was one supervisor who expected full dailies written and most students and CT's did not like her.
     
  29. MzMooreTeaches

    MzMooreTeaches Cohort

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    Aug 11, 2011

    I completed my student teaching in prek. I wish I would have done kindergarten but oh well. Overall it was good, still difficult planning, behavior management, discipline, sticking to a time schedule with things. But strangely my cooperating teacher really did give the classroom over to me. I was so nervous and hesitant. I don't think I gained a lot of confidence until this school year (2nd year teaching). Now I truly have my footing.

    I wish I would have experimented more and made more mistakes to avoid them on my first year. There was a lot of planning though.... i digress.

    You are like me, I began planning ahead of time even when I wasnt sure I could use the lessons, but it felt good to at least have some things for backup to pull from.
     
  30. WhoDatTeacher

    WhoDatTeacher Rookie

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    Aug 13, 2011

    My student teaching experience was amazing. I was placed in a first grade classroom with little experience with the primary elementary grades. It was a 16 week long experience. At first it was very overwhelming thinking about how many responsibilities I needed to take over in the classroom. My host teacher was more than accommodating and welcoming. She sat down with me and we planned a take-over plan together so we would both know what to expect and when. The lesson plans gradually increased as the amount of lessons I took over increased. But I found that for the particular curriculum I was working with I was able to easily create lesson plan templates for most lessons. I would highly recommend this. I was not allowed to teach anything that I did not have a lesson plan for, so making templates came in handy for me, all I needed to do is switch out the weekly words for some lessons.

    I also found it helpful to befriend other staff members as well. I quickly friended a long term sub in the building that just came off her student teaching experience the semester before I started. She was a good resource for me to go to in order to ask questions since she had already been through it. She even gave me some samples of lesson plans to look at, so I had an idea of what to expect. Another reason why it is important to introduce yourself and make yourself known in the building is so if there is a potential job position opening up, you could be considered and have many references.

    My supervisor was a little more on the conservative side that I am so my host teacher helped me plan lessons on the days that I got observed so that I would pass the observations. I built a great relationship with my supervisor and host teacher during my student teaching experience and I still remain in touch with both of them.

    One last tip I have for you is to reach out to the parents. The first week I was in the classroom I sent home a letter to parents introducing myself, giving them a little background information about me, where i go to school, what i like to do and how excited I was to be working with their children.

    Student teaching is going to be one of the best experiences you go through. It is important to remember to remain stress free and learn to manage time and stay organized.
     
  31. MrBiology

    MrBiology Rookie

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    Aug 13, 2011

    I will probably elaborate later, but my student teaching experience was a disaster. It was a 2-part experience (half at a middle school and half at a high school), and both of my mentor teachers were very unhelpful and I found myself doing things completely on my own without much communication with them. This partially helped me gain confidence in my own work, but it wasn't easy. Overall I'm glad I'm done with it and on to real teaching.

    On the flip side, some of my best friends had great student teaching experiences and are real close with their mentor teachers even after they're done.

    So without elaborating and making a 100-page post, I'll give you my biggest piece of advice.... make a STRONG effort to be friendly and cooperative with your mentor teacher(s), and do anything you can to prevent becoming stressed out. (ie. keep a social life on the weekends)
     
  32. themilocat

    themilocat Rookie

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    Aug 17, 2011

    I was so nervous about student teaching, but it ended up being a great experience. My college talked it up so much, that we all thought we would die! But it wasn't too bad. I did my student teaching from 7:30-3:30 and then went to a part time job until 6:30 and I still had plenty of time to make lesson plans and relax.

    I did my student teaching in a private elementary school, so I was nervous that parents wouldn't want a student teacher working with their kids, since they are shelling out big bucks for a good education. But all of the parents were very supportive and several commented on how much their kids liked me and my fun lessons!

    My cooperating teacher was awesome! She let me take control early on, which was nice. She was in charge of selecting a new math curriculum for the school, so as soon as I was in charge, she left the classroom to go work with the principal on this. I really liked teaching without having someone watching my every move. My CT had been through my same teaching program 6 years before, so understood a lot of the pressures with classes and paperwork at my college.

    I think I was most worried about my supervisor evaluations. But, again, my university supervisor was amazing, supportive, and friendly. She had only worked in middle and high schools, so all of my interactive, hands-on elementary lessons really wowed her. She always gave me great constructive criticism, and helped me work through issues I was having.
     
  33. philateach

    philateach Rookie

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    Aug 17, 2011

    My student teaching experience was great, I worked with two teachers and two different grade levels. In a word, student teaching itself is: INTENSE. You will work harder, maybe the hardest you've ever work - planning, organizing and grading. The best thing about student teaching is that you have the freedom to try some new ideas. Make the most of it and have fun! You get to teach w/o having to deal with all of the other political stuff that comes with working anywhere. My advice:

    make friends with staff
    have the principal observe you
    take pictures of your lessons for your portfolio
    learn the names of your students early, this will impress them and your CT!
    ask questions about everything - be curious. My CT appreciated this and even wrote about it in my letter of recommendation

    Please contact me or PM me with any questions or if you need to chat/vent once you start. Good luck, you'll be great!
     
  34. SingBlueSilver

    SingBlueSilver Companion

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    Aug 17, 2011

    My student teaching experience was great! I began student teaching in February (2007) so that meant I came in towards the middle of the school year. All the norms had already been established which can be viewed as both good and bad. Good because the kids were already set with rules and procedures, but bad because they weren't necessarily "my" rules and procedures. But at the same time, its my first real teaching experience so having set rules and procedures meant that I wouldn't have to think of my own and I would use what already seemed to be working for the students. (If it ain't broke, why fix it?) To prepare, I observed my master teacher for a number of weeks before he let me have the reigns. Prior to when I actually got up in front of the class though, I really didn't have any prepared lessons as I wasn't sure WHEN exactly I'd take over. I did have a few ideas of what TYPES of lessons and projects I'd like to try with the students, but no actual prepared lesson plans.

    The biggest thing that helped me was that I had a great master teacher who let me teach. He let me try different things with the students and didn't interfere. Instead he observed me and afterwards we'd discuss what went well and what needed work. He'd also give me multiple suggestions so I'd have different choices. It wasn't about what HE would do, it was about me having options and choosing what fit me and the students in the best way.

    Philateach has some great advice...Definitely get to know other staff members and teachers. Keep student work samples for your portfolio and for when you eventually have your own classroom. Don't be afraid to try different things.

    I really didn't use the opportunity to "impress" anyone which I think is what some people do. Yes, you do want to make a good impression, but ultimately you're there to teach the students and if you do the best job you can at that, then that's sure to show through.

    The worst thing about student teaching for me was staying up late at night preparing lessons and materials for the next day and learning HOW to grade papers in a way that doesn't take me all night/weekend...5 years later and I still don't have the grading thing down. :p
     
  35. Mellz Bellz

    Mellz Bellz Comrade

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    Aug 18, 2011

    Your student teaching experience is what you make of it and as others mentioned a lot depends on the cooperating teacher. I had four student teaching placements over two semesters. Two in Gen ed (5th and 1st) and two in Special Ed (1-3rd multiple disabilities and 3rd-4th LD). Three out of the four were great! One was horrible. I enjoyed my 5th grade placement. My cooperating teacher was nice, but I wouldn't say it was crazy amazing. It was a good experience to get my feet wet and I LOVED the students.

    My first grade experience was awful. The teacher and I did not get along. She would yell a lot at these poor little first graders. Basically she handed me the Math book and said, "You're in charge of Math." She let me struggle with it for three weeks before one day pulling me aside and pretty much telling me I was doing everything wrong. I needed to talk more on their level, use more visuals... When I politely asked her why she hadn't told me all of this sooner she told me that she had been too busy with report cards and parent teacher conferences. When it came down to my evaluation she had me fill out my own and she just signed off on it. Luckily, I saw the friction and spoke with my advisor about it and she took my side. I just kind of took it as an example of what NOT to do as a teacher. I remember there was a girl in the class who was VERY low academically and could be a behavior issue, but she was very loving and one day the teacher was saying in the teachers lounge, "Oh, I hope Mary Sue gets the stomach bug or something because I need a break from her. The way she always hangs on me and her breath is horrible! Does she ever brush her teeth?" I mean really? I don't think a 6 year old is responsible for their own hygeine just yet.

    Luckily my other two experiences in Special Ed were awesome and both my cooperating teachers there loved me, so I'm guessing the issue was not me. You just aren't going to get along with everyone, so you do the best that you can. In my eyes student teaching is great, but if anything truly prepared me to teach it was subbing. That was where I REALLY learned most of my classroom management techniques.

    Every program is different. As far as the work load I got by without doing a lot of planning my own lessons. Looking back I wish that I had taken it a lot more seriously, but I was also taking 15 credits and working part time, so I guess I did what I could. Unfortunately, student teaching at my college was only like 5 credits, so we still had to take other classes on top of it. To compensate we were only required to student teach three full days a week and two half days.
     
  36. Biogirl

    Biogirl New Member

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    Mar 1, 2013

    Currently Student Teaching :)

    I have been reading a lot of posts about negative student teaching experiences. I have read very few about good experiences so I would like to share my post! I am student teaching honors biology and I absolutely love it. My cooperating teacher and I have a great relationship with one another. She gave me complete control over the class and really trusts me. I love that we trust one another and have such a great relationship. I also love the material that I am covering. It is so much fun because I am doing cellular biology which is something that I am passionate about. The best part of my experience is the kids! I love my kids so much. Each and every one of them are unique and have something interesting to say. Something that I like to do is to make contact with each of my students every period. Whether it is a smile or a hello. I know that the area that I am teaching in is low socioeconomic status and some of my students really need to have a positive interaction with an adult. I have also found that becoming a positive support in the troubled kid's life is a very good thing to try and accomplish. I think that they need attention and thrive with positive comments. I have seen excellent changes in these students by being friendly with them and showing them that I care about them. I noticed the more I show them that I care, the more they care about learning. I took all of this from a classroom management class. I noticed that once you gain a students trust they are more likely to want to learn. I have had very good discussion with my students about biology but also about their lives. I am almost finished with my first placement and I am very sad to leave. I hope that I made a difference in the lives of these children that have touched my heart in such a short time. My next placement will begin in 3 weeks and I am interested to see what that holds! :)
     
  37. vivalavida

    vivalavida Companion

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    Mar 1, 2013

    Sounds like a great experience so far, Biogirl! I like that you are making the point to reach out to students, even simply with a smile and a "hello." I think that is important. I will soon begin student teaching, so I appreciate your post! Best of luck with your next placement!
     

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