Is it a good idea to take on a student teacher?

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by @ristophanes, Mar 24, 2015.

  1. @ristophanes

    @ristophanes Rookie

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    Mar 24, 2015

    Once again at another departmental meeting, a question was fronted to us by our assistant principal:

    Would any of you take on a student teacher (ST)?

    The first time it was asked- earlier in September- I passed. I did so because I was not particularly interested in having a student teacher. However, we are being asked once again because it turns out the college here is really looking to accommodate some students.

    Because I'm asked a second time now, I'm giving it some consideration- but I am on the fence. Normally, I don't care if people come to my room and we chat. We're really good with departmental meetings (they're actually constructive) and we share lesson ideas to get the science department in gear... but I really don't know what to do with an ST.

    I don't know what I should expect from him or how much I should or shouldn't ask him to do. I also don't know what to specifically look out for in terms of something going awry. It could be a good experience, but if anyone has any advice to sway me, it'd be much appreciated.

    I think I also get a free class at the college for doing so. :haha:
     
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  3. miss-m

    miss-m Devotee

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    Honestly... I think if you're on the fence, pass for now. My student teaching experience was already pretty stressful, but I think it would have been even worse if my CT hadn't been sure about having a student teacher. As it was, she told me at the end of the year that she wasn't going to have another student teacher, so I think it was really stressful for her as well.

    Being a cooperating teacher means you have to be willing to have someone in your classroom who doesn't really know what they're doing, and you have to be able to teach them to teach and give feedback on a whole spectrum of teaching practices. Most of my student teaching year felt like me being thrown into something I didn't know how to do, and then being judged and criticized for not knowing how to do it.

    So... unless you feel like you can teach a student teacher how to be a teacher and be willing to give up some control of your room to let the ST try new things and give feedback on those things... I'd say pass for now.
     
  4. @ristophanes

    @ristophanes Rookie

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    Your post caught my attention, and I was wondering if you were willing to answer what made your student teaching year so stressful? You were judged and criticized? Thinking back to my ST days, yea... I didn't know what I was doing sometimes, but I never felt judged.
     
  5. miss-m

    miss-m Devotee

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    Mar 24, 2015

    Sent you a message. :)
     
  6. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    I would really like to have a student teacher. We need five years of experience though before we can have one, so I need to get one more year done. We've had a few student teachers in our building. Some are awesome and some are not so good. We had one in my department who was pretty bad. I had to go observe her a few times when her CT was out. She had no classroom presence and no classroom management. Our kids are usually so well-behaved, but they walked all over her. Her CT ended up only letting her take over a few classes so she only had one prep to worry about, but it really burned the CT. I don't think she'll be taking one again any time soon...
     
  7. cupcakequeen

    cupcakequeen Comrade

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    Mar 25, 2015

    This may not be an option for you, but our local university (that I also attended) works to find placements for both interns and student teachers. Since the student teacher is for an entire semester it's a big commitment, but around here teachers can also get an intern with a variety of schedules. We have some that go for eight weeks, 2-3 mornings or afternoons per week. We also have some that go all day/every day for six weeks.

    If it's an option, maybe you could have an intern as a way to "get your feet wet." Interns act more as an assistant (they aren't expected to take control of much teaching- just a lesson or two. They mainly observe and help with lesson prep, room organization, copying, etc.) and if you really hate the experience it's only for a few weeks.
     
  8. @ristophanes

    @ristophanes Rookie

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    Five years? I guess I shouldn't be shocked because that only totally makes sense... yet I am shocked because over here it is three. But a question for you is: If you have done well with your kids, and she had no management and they walked all over her, how did you feel? On the one hand, you were her CT; on the other hand, you also presumably taught your kids to be more respectful toward people.

    Another reason why I brought up this post, I didn't say earlier because I would have had a giant first post in the thread, is that I kind of do want a ST, but kind of don't. We are implementing all new strategies here. I've been teaching a while, yet I still need some help with planning.. well... "Danielson" type lessons. Reading the rubric is one thing, and carrying it out is another. We are also shifting more toward socratic learning and more formative assessments.

    I don't know how true, but I heard that some ST, since they are in teaching college now, are getting the rundown on all of this and my PD's haven't been so enlightening. If I can grab a ST, can I pick his/her brain for what they are learning now?

    But I did have a friend who was a CT and taught chemistry with a ST. Let's just say someone with a chemistry BS didn't quite know how chemicals should be.... properly handled? ? :confused: And I don't want to go through what my poor friend did in his district. I don't want to regret taking a ST...
     
  9. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    It was really hard because I wasn't even technically her CT, my colleague was but my colleague was out a couple weeks so I filled in. I tried to give her some ideas, but her main problem was she wouldn't even ask the kids to behave. If they were talking over her, she just kept going. If they were off task, she just ignored it.

    I think we do five years because my state has a four year residency program so they want you through that first.
     
  10. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    I love having ST. I've had good and bad ones, the one who just finished her placement with me last week was amazing! Of course, you have no idea when you agree to it how it will go. Ultimately, it is your classroom, so if things aren't going well, you give guidelines and help your ST adjust. If they can't, then you take over. You will be given concrete guidelines from the university as to expectations, etc.
     
  11. @ristophanes

    @ristophanes Rookie

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    Was she just an amazing ST overall that got a good grasp of what needed to be done? Or was it amazing because you and her just worked well as a team? I'm wondering what would happen if I do get a smart individual with excellent class management, but we just don't mesh.
     
  12. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    I have had amazing student teachers and I have had student teachers that should have failed. I enjoy sharing with prospective teachers and many of them have taught me great things.
     
  13. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    Both. You have to be willing to work as a team, because you are always together. Planning, lunch, before school, after school, etc.--it's like having a constant house guest. We went to dinner the night before she started so we could get to know each other and go over expectations before she started. While definitely not required, it was nice to get to know her as a person outside of my classroom.

    She knew her content, asked questions if she was unsure about something, and was willing to study material at home if needed. I was her second placement (her university spread the student teaching over two placements to get a high and low grade level experience for certification), so she was already used to teaching and all the responsibilities required.
     
  14. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    I am going to give some perspective that hasn't been mentioned. When my son was a ST, the CT was a type A personality, and the more she had to hand over to the ST, the more difficult and less supportive she became. She made no bones about wanting her class back and the ST gone. Now fast forward six years, and I am working in a HS and one of the teachers has a ST. It appears that all is well, but at a meeting of the department teachers, the truth comes out and she couldn't wait for her ST to be gone so she could have her class back. I started paying more attention to that relationship, and I can tell you that she was every bit the lackluster CT that she was claiming the ST was. I had no vested interest, so I was just an observer.

    I think that there are really good CT's who will make a world of positive difference in a ST's life, but if you are on the fence, wait until you truly feel ready to share and nurture. I think that five years of experience is a good starting point - we get posts from people who can't even figure out if they want to continue teaching at only three years in.

    My son chose to do another ST for his ESL, and the CT was warm, treated him like a colleague, valued his ideas, and regularly conferenced with him about changes in plans, suggestions, and opinions. He was dejected after the first experience, but felt that this second experience was exactly what the student teaching experience should be like.

    Do some real soul searching about whether or not you would be comfortable giving up control of the class without resentment. The first CT that my son had was banned from further placements from his university due to the attitude and petty nature. Just thought I would share.
     
  15. daisycakes

    daisycakes Companion

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    Mar 26, 2015

    I was sent a student teacher last year who was a complete doofus. He was not interested in teaching my grade level and took no initiative. He would try to schedule student teaching around his insane course load and parttime job and my school was his last priority. It was a nightmare and I dumped him...his advisor agreed with my choice. I would only get a student teacher if you basically have one class you are willing to give up entirely, preferably highly proficient students who can withstand the after effects of a poor teacher.
     
  16. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    Most universities recommend that the only coursework is the ST experience, and that there should be no part time work that can interfere with the ST experience. Do they all listen? Probably not, but that would be the kind of information that you would want to know before the experience began. You are there to mentor and nurture, and their job is to follow your lead and learn the day in and out of teaching. I think it can be a wonderful collaborative experience, but there has to be input from both parties for it to be successful. There is no "typical" ST - they each come with skills and deficits. Ask yourself if you are willing to to mentor and nurture the needy ST, because it is easy to love the overachiever, a little harder to support the struggling ST who can use some guidance.
     
  17. Nietzsche

    Nietzsche Companion

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    My daughter student taught was she was playing college basketball, but I'm aware of another girl who was not allowed to student teach during basketball season. This girl had to come back for an additional semester to complete her student teaching.
     
  18. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    Our student teaching was only worth 8 credits so we had to take other classes. We took a student teaching seminar that met once a week at night and a five week tech course. We were only supposed to observe for the first five weeks so that's why they did it that way. I wish they just made it a full 12 credits though. Elementary and middle school student teaching were considered full time because they had two placements but we all worked the same number of weeks.
     
  19. rtkc

    rtkc New Member

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    IF you are not sure I wouldn't do it. My student teaching experience started out great, but turned horrible real quick. My CT was assigned to have me in her classroom and she really had no choice in the matter. On a personal level we got along great, but she started having a lot of other issues with others in the department and the administration and it carried over to how she treated me in the classroom. Had her heart been in from the start, I think the situation would have been better.
     
  20. otterpop

    otterpop Phenom

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    Apr 21, 2015

    I agree with all of this. My experience was overall positive but also similar. As a ST, it is challenging being a newbie and stepping into someone else's classroom. As a CT, I can imagine it would be very difficult to hand over your class to someone who might not do things the same as you.
     

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