Impossible Situations

Discussion in 'Student & Preservice Teachers' started by skyline, Mar 14, 2019.

  1. skyline

    skyline Companion

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    It's impossible to plan lessons when my CT is not allowing me to borrow curriculum materials, doesn't stick to the pacing guide, and changes content to be taught last minute.
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2019
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  3. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    It is time to have a heart to heart with your supervisor. They need to know that this CT does not need to be used again. Be really specific like you were in this thread and try to give as many concrete examples as you can. A disorganized, unhelpful CT is almost worse than none at all.
    Are you almost finished with student teaching, or can they possibly move you to another class?
     
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  4. skyline

    skyline Companion

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    Thank you for responding and the advice! I'm not sure what to do since my supervisor has ignored what I've told her. Or, she's made excuses for my CT.

    I have about 8 weeks left.
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2019
  5. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    I don’t find it unusual for a supervisor and cooperating teacher to be friendly. One of our supervisors has worked with us for years. We all know him well. I’m not a hugging type person, so he hasn’t hugged me, but I’ve seen him hug others.

    Who is related to whom?
     
  6. skyline

    skyline Companion

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    I decided to PM a response to your question since it contains more details than I want to share publicly.
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2019
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  7. skyline

    skyline Companion

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    Does anyone have any ideas about what would be the best way to approach the situation?
     
  8. skyline

    skyline Companion

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    I feel like I'm in the Twilight Zone! I really don't know how to deal with a situation like this.
     
  9. skyline

    skyline Companion

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    Well, it's Sunday evening, and I'm starting to feel overwhelming anxiety about what this week will bring in a dysfunctional placement.
     
  10. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    I don’t know what else to tell you that hasn’t already been said. I mean, if you have tried the suggestions with no success, then your only options are to make the best of it or quit, even if both options stink.
     
  11. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

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    What advice has your supervisor given you? Is your supervisor going to observe you teaching a lesson any time soon?
     
  12. skyline

    skyline Companion

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    My supervisor has been less than supportive. She hasn't offered advice for the challenges I spoken with her about. I don't want to share specific details publicly in the thread in case one of them is on the board. I would share details privately if it was okay and the PM option was available, but I don't think I have enough posts to initiate a private conversation.
     
  13. skyline

    skyline Companion

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    If I quit, I don't have the money to do student teaching again in the near future.
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2019
  14. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    How much longer do you have? Two months or less?

    Stick it out, and never look back.

    I never even thought to ask my cooperating teacher for a letter of recommendation.
     
  15. skyline

    skyline Companion

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    Thank you! Yes, I'm trying my best to stick it out.

    I had another bad day. My supervisor completely shocked me with the way she spoke to me.

    So, you were able to find a job without a letter of recommendation from your CT? I'm worried about how this will effect my job opportunities if they don't give me a good reference!
     
  16. skyline

    skyline Companion

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    I have close to 2 months left.
     
  17. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    I didn’t have any letters of recommendation. I had references, but no letters.

    There wasn’t a high school English job available in the district I wanted, so I agreed to sub. I subbed all but 5 days the entire year. Most were at the high school, and I did a 12+ week job for a teacher who left part way through second semester. That next year they had a job available, and I took it. I still didn’t have any recommendation letters, but I did have a whole year of working with them. That job included one class at the middle school which is how I ended up where I am now.
     
  18. skyline

    skyline Companion

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    I'm glad it worked out for you! It gives me hope that I'll still land a job if they don't give me a good reference. I may need to sub in order to build references. I do have a good reputation in several schools where I worked before going back to college, so hopefully. I just worry they could bash me when prospective employers call, and I may not know it.
     
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  19. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

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    Is this your only student teaching placement? I had 2 placements in 2 different schools (10 weeks each). The first placement was something like what you're dealing with right now (cooperating teacher didn't really care and not much guidance) but the 2nd was great and very helpful. Do they now only put student teachers in one placement? Or does it depend on which college you attend?
     
  20. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    I did not get a letter from my cooperating teacher. I did get a letter from my university supervisor. I found a job my first year out of college. I did move back home to a new state first, though.
     
  21. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    Here high school candidates get one placement, as do middle school candidates with one subject. Elementary and two-area middle school do placements in two schools, two grades, or two subjects. I was high school English, so I did February to May with the same teacher.
     
  22. skyline

    skyline Companion

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    Unfortunately, I only have one placement that will last into May. I think in my neck of the woods, it depends both on the college and also on major, like Ima Teacher mentioned. People who get certified in the older grades, major in 2 subject areas (e.g. math and science), so they do two placements. Some colleges do a year long in the same placement, but the first semester isn't full-time and considered field practicum hours, while the 2nd semester in the same placement is labeled student teaching and is full-time.
     
  23. skyline

    skyline Companion

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    I had a bad day yesterday. My supervisor told me that maybe my mentor doesn't think I'm capable of teaching on my own as the reason she's not taking the time to plan with me.
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2019
  24. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    I'm sorry. I think that a sit-down with your supervisor and your mentor is essential. If that is how your mentor feels, you deserve to hear her concerns directly. The three of you will also need to work together to come up with a plan so that you can demonstrate that you possess the required skills.
     
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  25. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    How have your evaluations been?
     
  26. skyline

    skyline Companion

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    I was hoping we all would sit down together, but my supervisor has been taking us off individually. When I asked my supervisor if that's what my mentor told her (about not being capable of teaching on my own), she didn't give me a definitive yes or no, then said, "maybe" that's why she's not handing more over to you.
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2019
  27. skyline

    skyline Companion

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    The only one I've had (even though my supervisor has observed me several times), has been okay with mostly meets expectations, a couple above expectations, and a couple emerging (which is related to my supervisor not seeing it yet, which at that time she said is common). Since this happened, I'm not sure.
     
  28. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    How many evaluations are you supposed to have? I was observed formally three times by each person. The more observations, the better, IMO.
     
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  29. skyline

    skyline Companion

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    I only get two formal evaluations by each person, but my supervisor comes in about 8 times just to observe.

    What I found interesting though about my 1st and only evaluation was:

    My supervisor took my mentor off by herself and helped her fill out her evaluation forms when I wasn't present. How objective is that? I don't know, but that's not how it's supposed to work. They are supposed to fill them out separately before we meet, then we all sit down together and go over them. Instead, my supervisor just listed where I met, exceeded, or was emerging.
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2019
  30. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

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    It's too bad you can't do 2 different placements. In my college my housemates and I were always in 2 different schools whether elementary ed, special ed, or secondary ed. I guess, in general, try to be on good terms with your supervisor and CT so at least you can have some positive experiences until May.
     
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  31. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Email both (and perhaps cc the P or whoever oversees the placement of student teachers in your building) asking for a meeting with both together (" I have some questions and concerns about the requirements of my placement that I would like to discuss. I feel that it will be most effective if the three of us are able to sit down together to be sure that we are all on the same page as far as the expectations of this placement are concerned. I can make myself available at any time that will work for you.").
     
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  32. skyline

    skyline Companion

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    I wish I could do a 2nd placement! I've done student teaching for preschool a couple years ago, and I passed with flying colors. My mentor was great!

    I've been trying my best to be on good terms. I've told my mentor I'm willing to help do anything to just let me know what she wants. I've been nice, polite, the kids like me a lot, and tried my best to ask for what I need many, many times. I don't know what else I can do. I'm more than willing to meet her halfway, then go above and beyond, if she'll work with me.
     
  33. skyline

    skyline Companion

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    Thank you very much for this! I've never had to write such an email, so it really helps to have a template. I rarely see the P. I've introduced myself and made small talk briefly only on a couple occasions. He hasn't visited the classroom while I've been there. My mentor goes to his office and speaks with him sometimes though.
     
  34. skyline

    skyline Companion

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    My supervisor made the comment that, "maybe your mentor doesn't think you can do it," and that's why she's not handing more over for you to teach. I'm wondering if that's what my mentor told her for an excuse when my supervisor wanted to know why I'm not where I need to be as far as taking over. My mentor may not have wanted to admit her habits and lack of working with me adequately is causing problems.

    So, if she already misrepresented what's happening privately to my supervisor, then I'm worried she still won't come clean in a formal meeting. If she doesn't, then it becomes a she said-he said situation. Who's more credible? A student or a teacher?

    That's why my supervisor shouldn't be meeting with us separately all the time. We're not all sitting down together. I think it's important we all can hear each other so that we can find ways to work together productively. She should be bringing everyone together, instead of taking a divide and conquer approach. I'm concerned by how one-sided my supervisor has been. She's never once asked me how my mentor is working with me, but she asks my mentor how I'm doing multiple times when we've spoken altogether (a long time ago; it's been separate the last few times). She even after asking my mentor that about me multiple times at the end still said to my mentor, "Are you sure everything is going okay with her?" It's like she's looking for problems. I don't understand it!
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2019
  35. skyline

    skyline Companion

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    My mentor hasn't given me a chance to show what I can do. She's been making it impossible for me to do much in her classroom
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2019
  36. skyline

    skyline Companion

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    The lessons my supervisor have observed went well. She had things she liked about them, and only gave a couple minor suggestions. They were lessons that my mentor would typically do. I did add a mini-lesson that I came up with for higher order thinking. She said she really liked that part of the lesson. So, I thought it was going fine other than the problems with my CT making it possible for me to be doing more.
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2019
  37. skyline

    skyline Companion

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    I have a question, could you walk in as a student teacher and take over if:

    1. Your mentor was not physically handing over the classroom to you?
    2. Your mentor doesn't communicate important information, like what content needs to be covered? She will not give you an answer even though you are asking directly.
    3. You weren't allowed to borrow curriculum materials that she said must be used?
    4. When you did get to plan some lessons, she completely changes the content to be taught last minute?
    5. Your mentor doesn't make the time to sit down with you?
    6. Your mentor when you ask for things, you get body language that shows frustration (such as hurrying around, grabbing things in an aggressive way, sighing, and being short with you)?
    7. Your mentor keeps excessively interjecting when your leading?

    Suggestions on how I can make this work?
     
  38. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Unfortunately, it's pretty apparent that your CT does not want to work with you. I see two choices:

    Quit and ask for a new placement next semester

    Since you have already earned passing grades, keep going and teach what you can, don't worry about taking over, and let your supervisor continue giving you passing grades until you are finished.

    Then, when you have graduated and received your first teaching assignment, remember these lessons and use them to guide you in the future.
     
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  39. skyline

    skyline Companion

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    My supervisor said I have to take over everything for 4 weeks in order to pass my last evaluation.

    What I do know is, a couple weeks ago in my seminar class, a couple classmates were reporting that their CTs were having a difficult time stepping back and letting them take over. Our professor told us that it's common for CTs to have anxiety about handing their class over and gave us an article that addresses the nature of the relationship between a CT and student teacher. It described the stages of the relationship and how it typically evolves over time. The main focus was on the initial anxiety many CTs feel handing their class over to a student teacher and how that evolves and changes. Our professor told us to keep working at it, that most of the time CTs are reluctant at first, but come around. But, if we continue to have problems, then we should speak with our supervisor, that it's their job to serve as a liaison and help us work together.

    So, that is exactly what I did, told my supervisor my CT is having a difficult time handing the class over to me, that's when I got the response, "maybe the reason insert CT name isn't having you do more is because she doesn't think you can do it." I think anyone would be shocked and dumbfounded with such a comment. I don't understand where it came from and don't know if I should ignore it or do something? I don't want to make the situation worse, so it's thrown me for a loop on what's the best way to move forward to ensure a positive outcome?
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2019
  40. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    This is why I suggested a meeting between the three of you. Your supervisor needs to make the requirements of your program clear, and your CT needs to explain her reluctance about allowing this to happen, and a plan needs to be put into place. You are all adults and need to sit down together to hash this out no matter how uncomfortable it might be.
     
  41. skyline

    skyline Companion

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    Mar 23, 2019

    Thanks
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2019

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