Mentor Teachers

Discussion in 'General Education' started by ShellBeWoo1970, Jul 26, 2007.

  1. ShellBeWoo1970

    ShellBeWoo1970 Rookie

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    Jul 26, 2007

    I completed my student teaching in May and although my mentor teacher was very experienced there seemed to be several problems that she never spoke to me about.

    During ST I was also doing a research project with my mentor. We were suppose to pick a topic and research it along with the other ST duties. Basically I ended up creating and implementing 3 of the 4 centers in the classroom along with writing the entire research paper AND presenting the results ALONE, twice! She seemed to think that this was okay, although the syllabus clearly said it had to be a team effort with more falling on the mentor. Basically she received 3 FREE grad credits for my work, whereas I received one grad credit that I had to pay for! All of this on top of ST.

    Now I never complained to any of the profs or my supervisor nor did I ever allow it to prevent me from doing my best in ST (I was nominated for class Valedictorian) but she was taking another class at our university and told that prof some half truths, this happened to be one of the profs in charge of overseeing our research project. My mentor told the prof that I would not come in to ST every time I had a seminar, which was half true. I came in for all except two when I received permission from her and my supervisor about coming in to the university early to use the computer lab for ST related things!! My mentor not only okayed the time away she said it only seemed fair b/c I had came in to teach on times and days student teachers were excused! I went above and beyond b/c I love to teach.

    Of course I didn't received this phone call until after ST was over and I did tell the prof everything that happened and why I stayed silent. I guess I feel let down about all of this, I most certainly would never have wanted this to end on a bad note. :(

    Anyone want to share their experiences?
     
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  3. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    Jul 26, 2007

    My mentor teacher was very "set in her ways". I had 1st graders and they never did anything fun. So, in my first week of partial lesson planning, I inserted a video about the water cycle which they were learning about. Apparently, that was not an appropriate time. If I wanted to show a video, I had to do it during their "free choice center" time (they got back from their special 20 min prior to the end of the day, so they had 15 min of free time). They LOVE that time, and I couldn't possibly take it away! I tried changing a few other things, too, and they were all shot down as well. Then came evaluation time, and I was marked down for not being creative enough. :confused: :unsure: :huh: I pretty much was forced to duplicate her lesson plans, and then received poor marks for doing so.
    Overall, it was not a pleasant experience!
     
  4. ShellBeWoo1970

    ShellBeWoo1970 Rookie

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    Hopefully you were still able to take some good experiences with you. It is tough to walk into someone else's classroom and please everyone, ugh.

    My mentor was great to my face and I scored well on all my observations but appearently she didn't feel the same way about me to others. :(

    My supervisor raved about me in our seminars and I scored very high on all her observations...I guess I was taken completely by surprise that a mentor teacher could be like that. <sigh>

    Recently I talked to the prof who originally asked me about what the mentor said, the prof said to let it slide off my back and not worry but unfortunately some people are like that on a personal level and she hoped the mentor would at least remain professional when it came to referrels and references b/c according to all the paperwork I did very well in ST. I just hope my mentor remains professional if contacted by a perspective employer. Sad to think that she could just hurt all my hard work like that.
     
  5. teachingmomof4

    teachingmomof4 Groupie

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    Jul 26, 2007

    Unfortunately, sometimes the mentor teacher isn't always a great mentor. Mine was a good teacher but during my student teaching, she was going through a divorce and was busy with writing letters to whoever about getting sole custody of her kids and whatnot. Luckily, I was with her from Sept. -June because I did all of my practicums there and knew the layout of the room. I almost liked it better because I was able to do it myself, without having someone following my every move. I understand your frustration, however, with her getting grad credits while you did the work. I am sorry that this happened to you. Put it behind you and realize that you are done with student teaching, you are now a teacher. Great job!!
     
  6. FarFromHome

    FarFromHome Connoisseur

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    Jul 26, 2007

    I LOVED both of my cooperating teachers. They were both great for me, and in completely different ways. I guess I got lucky!

    Hopefully you didn't get a bad recommendation from her.
     
  7. ShellBeWoo1970

    ShellBeWoo1970 Rookie

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    Thanks for understanding and you're right I need to put it behind me. I guess I was just thinking how nice it would have been to share things with her along the way but at least I found out sooner than later how she is, sigh.

    Yes, yes, yes! I *am* a teacher now!! WHOOHOO!! I am so pumped about teaching too! :)

    Thanks again!

    Oh and thanks for sharing giraffe326 and teachingmomof4! :)
     
  8. Weazy

    Weazy Comrade

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    Jul 26, 2007



    I had a very experienced co-operating teacher and she could be intimidating at times, but she was very good tome. So far, I haven't heard of anything she has said since the experience.

    When my student teaching experience was almost finished, I asked her for a letter of recommendation. I kept the original and used copies with each resume I sent.
     
  9. ShellBeWoo1970

    ShellBeWoo1970 Rookie

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    I hope not either! ;)
    Glad your experiences were good! :D

    I really loved all the other teachers I worked with in the past and this mentor appeared to be nice too. Ah, the lessons we still learn in life.
     
  10. ShellBeWoo1970

    ShellBeWoo1970 Rookie

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    Me too! She actually wrote a very good letter of recommendation for employment and for class Valedictorian! I mean I was really sideswiped by this.

    Glad you had a good experience too!
     
  11. mrachelle87

    mrachelle87 Fanatic

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    Jul 26, 2007

    I would like to suggest that you send a letter to the principal about your experience. I have been in schools where teachers are picked on number of years in district. If the principal had felt that there were problems with this mentor, they would avoid using them in the future. In my old school the same three teachers got student teachers until one complained to the principal about several incidents that had happen. He changed the policy to allow others to share this experience. He might not have done this if he hadn't received the letter from the student teacher.
     
  12. Weazy

    Weazy Comrade

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    I guess we need to keep these things in mind when we have student teachers in our rooms someday. I don't want to get a "big head" and I need to remember that I looked up to my co-operating teacher and respect that, not put myself on a pedastal.
     
  13. ShellBeWoo1970

    ShellBeWoo1970 Rookie

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    Yes, I agree.
    Maybe she did put herself on a pedestal, I didn't really think she thought she was all that but it may have been the reason why she barely helped with the research project and I wrote the entire paper alone. I am a very humble person and was almost embarrassed by the limelight my supervisor and university shined on me. I had a realistic experience in an urban setting and loved it. My mentor let me navigate my course and take over, it was just a shame she felt the need to tell half truths and ignore certain facts.

    Of course I'll always remember this experience and use many of the techniques and strategies I learned from a 23 year veteran, the rest I'll have to let go and pray she realizes her mistakes.

    I believe you never stop learning, so when I do have the chance to have a practicum student or student teacher, I will look forward to mentoring them as well as learning from them.
     
  14. ShellBeWoo1970

    ShellBeWoo1970 Rookie

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    After much thought, I think the Principal already has a clear idea of how this mentor teacher operates. Looking back on certain situations I have realized that my mentor was known as a 'big mouth' and 'troublemaker' by administration...but I really don't think this was a bad thing, she really does love 'her' kids and wants them all to be safe. I actually admired her dedication to their safety. She often referred to herself as a 'boat rocker' and advised me to wait until tenure to ever 'stand up on the boat'. She really did give good and realistic advice, I just wish she would have handled whatever it was she thought was wrong by saying something to me...but then again she knew it wasn't the truth. sigh..I'm sure I'll never really know why and I must grow thicker skin. :)
     
  15. Weazy

    Weazy Comrade

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    Where are you in Ohio? I'm in southern Ohio.
     
  16. ShellBeWoo1970

    ShellBeWoo1970 Rookie

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    I live next to Lake Erie in Northeast Ohio...we are at the opposite ends of Ohio, lol! I graduated from Cleveland State University, go VIKINGS! :woot:
     
  17. teacherece

    teacherece Cohort

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    Jul 26, 2007

    My mentor was amazing and she is now my best friend! I not only did my ST there, I now teach there and just finished my 1st year and ready for year 2. I'm so fortunate because were close in age. She has been teaching for over 30 years and I learned so much from her. Not only did she open up her room, she handed everything over to me and gave me so much reign. She was so quick in reviewing my lesson plans, etc. and her critique was so welcoming. She also learned so much from me (who would have thought). She actually thanked me for renewing her faith in teaching. I am so lucky and I know it.
     
  18. Weazy

    Weazy Comrade

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    I love it on the lake!! I would love to live in northeast Ohio. I grew up in Tuscarawas County and miss it a great deal. My brother (He went to Case Western) and his family used to live in Bay Village, but have since moved, and I have a sister-in-law in Westlake. I love it up there!
     
  19. ShellBeWoo1970

    ShellBeWoo1970 Rookie

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    Wow! Small world!! We just recently bought a house here on the westside, I live practically next door to Westlake, Bay Village area in Lorain County!! We love it here. :)
     
  20. ShellBeWoo1970

    ShellBeWoo1970 Rookie

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    Very lucky and I am happy for you!! Enjoy! :)
     
  21. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Jul 27, 2007

    On the other hand, I have 'mentored' student teachers (we actually call it being a cooperating teacher- mentoring is something different) but anyway here's the other side of the ST story...I've had 3 STs- only one of whom I would recommend for a job (which I did and she got it!!) Number one dressed inappropriately (think Friday night happy hour-belly shirts, thongs showing...) which I addressed MANY times with her and she did NOTHING about it plus she really wasn't bright- she didn't carefully research her lessons, gave out misinformation (misnamed geometric shapes, parts of speech) but she was sweet and funny but definitely not someone I would call PROFESSIONAL.... Number 2 was more mature, came into teaching after having a child who had just started kindergarten in another district. She really wasn't ready to teach- she was distracted by getting her son out the door in the morning, the time it took away from her family to plan and she was just not ready to 'jump in' and teach- she sat back a lot and watched despilte my pushing lessons on her and saying "teach this..." She was lovely, thoughtful, not ready for a classroom of her own but eventually became a decent sub for a while and now I haven't seen or heard about her in about 2 years...Number 3 (the 3rd times the charm) was great!! Just finished her masters degree, energetic, creative, fun but firm with the kids, every lesson was carefully and thooughly researched. She attended faculty meetings with me, got involved with other teachers and special classroom projects- she went above the requirements. She was a PROFESSIONAL...she had it, she knew how to find out what she needed, resourceful...she was the one I recommended and she got a job within weeks of finishing her ST... Out of all these experiences, I did not gt paid ONE cent, I really wasn't offered anything from the ST's schools except for a one-credit voucher for classes that weren't useful to me from ST #1... I would do it again because I love what I do, love sharing, and love the synergy of working with other educators.
     
  22. MissFroggy

    MissFroggy Aficionado

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    Jul 27, 2007

    I really loved my mentor teacher. There were a few times it was HARD and I didn't want to go in the morning. There was a time when I was feeling really bad about the placement, mostly due to management issues.

    He had a very relaxed management style and didn't offer too much advice for that. It was very hard for me to gain control over the kids. He was male, used a mic system and had taught for 30 years. All he had to do was begin talking in the mic and they listened. They listened well to him, but he also allowed A LOT of freedom. It was hard to see what was managed "chaos" as a new teacher. I understand what was happening much better now.

    I still remember him saying, "if you want their attention, turn off the lights." I was always running toward the light switch. During one lesson, which was being observed by my faculty advisor, I was using the overhead... in the dark. Bad plan, as I couldn't turn OFF the lights. Well, I survived it. I even visit him sometimes if I get the chance!

    Overall, I really admire him, and he let me have SO much freedom. I had my own math group, and developed my own unit study which I taught myself, and a few weeks into student teaching, was basically teaching the entire day.

    Another teacher I know had him as a Mentor and she had a terrible time... she didn't give me many details, but later I found out she quit midway through and got a new placement. I know it had to do with his "loose" style! It takes a lot of work to get past that-- but his loose style is also what allowed me to basically take over the class, which really did prepare me for my own classroom.

    I wish I could be a cooperating teacher (mentor teacher) because I am so excited when I meet people who are going into teaching. A friend of mine begins her program this year, so I am hoping to invite her to visit the room before her school starts. We don't really have student teachers anymore-- mostly because requirements changed and the universities only want placements in public schools... which does make sense! Also, our head of school says it's not fair to parents who pay tutiton to have an inexperienced teacher for 12 weeks. I think out of the 12 weeks, it's required that the ST teaches 8... I'm not sure, but this is what i recall.
     
  23. kimrandy1

    kimrandy1 Enthusiast

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    Jul 27, 2007

    Around here, teachers don't get the choice about hosting a student teacher or not. Student teachers are placed only in "professional learning centers." These are schools that are designated as student teaching posts, and all student teachers from college x are together at that school, along with one professor. They take college courses at the school while there, and the professor is their supervisor. However, if you are assigned to teach at a PLC, you cannot turn down student teacher placements. I know one friend who teaches pre-K - and is the only pre-k teacher at her PLC - and because of that and the number of student teachers wanting experience in PK, she has a student teacher ALL the time. Literally. She has 4 a year. And she doesn't enjoy it all of the time - it is a lot of additional work. She's looking to switch schools...

    I supervise pre-service teachers, but not during their student teaching time...I usually get them the semester before that. They come into my classroom 1-2 times a week for a total of 15 visits, and the college is very clear about what they are expected to do during their visits. I've had a huge range of students - from those that are excellent, to those that are immature and far from professional. I'm not in a PLC, but I would love the opportunity to host a student teacher every once in a while....but I don't want to be in a PLC, either, because I don't want to have someone else in my room ALL of the time!!!

    Kim
     
  24. DaveF

    DaveF Companion

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    Jul 27, 2007

    Both of my master teacher's were great. My 1st semester was 2nd grade. The first 2 days were spent watching. She began to work me in on day 3. At the beginning of week 3, the class was all mine. She asked me to use her as a classroom aid. I didn't have any real idea how to use an aid, so I did almost everything by myself. We talked a lot about how everything going during the day. She was always ready to throw me a life preserver, but not until I had already swallowed some water!

    My student teaching in that class will always be looked upon as a great experience.
     

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