My Cooperative Teacher Threw Me Under the Bus!!

Discussion in 'Debate & Marathon Threads Archive' started by Teacher41, Nov 8, 2012.

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  1. Teacher41

    Teacher41 Rookie

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    Nov 14, 2012

    You know, I thought about doing that. But would that make me seem to pushy since I emailed them this week with my questions? Thanksgiving is next week and my meeting with my academic dean and dept chair is scheduled for after Thanksgiving. Should I just wait until that meeting to get answers to my questions?

    I don't want to do anything to alienate myself, which is why I would only go so far as to file a formal grievance if I need to, without a lawyer involved. I just want to finish my student teaching and my two capstone courses.
     
  2. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Nov 14, 2012

    Good luck to you.
     
  3. Teacher41

    Teacher41 Rookie

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    Thanks.
     
  4. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Nov 14, 2012

    I guess ultimately it comes down to the question: does paying a university tuition automatically entitle someone to a degree? I don't think it does. There has to be a way to filter out those who shouldn't be in the classroom. I am not saying YOU shouldn't be, but it's a possibility. I say that only because I don't know you and don't fully understand the situation being I wasn't present. It's possible those with decision-making power for whatever reason feel you are not a candidate for graduation in their teaching program.
     
  5. Teacher41

    Teacher41 Rookie

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    Well technically they have to let me finish student teaching, since I passed and passed my field experiences. All of my previous CT's from my field experiences had positive things to say about me. And things started out on a positive note with my CT as well, until the parent-teacher conference.

    My student conduct in the CT's classroom as well as my program with my professors has always been professional. If my personality clashes with a higher-up, does that warrant my dismissal from a graduate program? No, I don't think it does. That is why there is a grievance process and policies in place, esp. codes of conduct for students and for staff and faculty.

    I could see how my over-reaction to the parent at the parent-teacher conference, then again at the final meeting when my CT lied would give the higher-ups in my program some concern. I over-reacted twice and both times acknowledged that yes, I overreacted and it was a mistake.

    In one of my field experiences, the teacher screamed at her students before the bell rang because they were joking about a brand of beer, in a Catholic school. She really yelled at them too. She's been a teacher for 11 years. Did she loose her job or get reprimanded? Nope. She was my CT for a 40 hour field experience too.

    In another field experience I had, I visited a social studies teacher's classroom. This teacher seemed like an unhappy person because he actually insulted the students who took extra time to finish their group activities that I observed. He said things like, "you should be in special ed you're so slow." And he has a teaching license? This was at a public middle school too.

    If a higher-up doesn't like me, or doesn't think I'm suited for teaching, that is just his/her opinion. To reiterate, aside from my two overreactions, I've always acted professionally in my MAT classes with my peers, my professors and in all of my field experiences. This is the first time where I have felt that my 3-year investment of a teaching career is at risk because of the way the higher-ups have not been straightforward with me. I was told I could finish my student teaching placement. But that's all the information I have at this point. And the financial aid piece is a huge concern. If I can't get financial aid, then I can't complete the program because I'll have no way to financially support myself while I student teach. An elective class that is a Pass/Fail should be an easy "yes" from the higher-ups. It allows me to register for financial aid so that I can defer my loan repayments and get a refund that I'd use to pay 3 months of rent with.

    If my sensitive nature is a concern, then I'm willing to discuss ways to keep that in check this next round of student teaching. But I also need confirmation from the higher-ups that they will support me if I run into issues with whomever my new CT is. I don't want to be thrown under the bus a second time. And if I have to attend parent-teacher conferences in the spring, I'm going to request that the assistant principal sits in on those with myself and the new CT.
     
  6. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Nov 14, 2012

    Good luck to you.
     
  7. Teacher41

    Teacher41 Rookie

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    Nov 14, 2012

    Thanks.
     
  8. Mathemagician

    Mathemagician Groupie

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  9. Teacher41

    Teacher41 Rookie

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    Nov 14, 2012

  10. Cobalt_Waves

    Cobalt_Waves Rookie

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    Nov 17, 2012

    I read all of your posts, and I have to say you DID NOT deserve to have this happen to you. Not to mention the way that parent treated you was simply horrible. This would not have happened at a public school.

    During my student teaching, I also had a cooperating teacher throw me under the bus. She did not fail me, but she wrote horrible, unjustified comments on my evaluation - pretty much forcing me to move to a different area for work. She never wanted a student teacher, had never had one before, and was more interested in texting while I was teaching and planning her vacation than giving me constructive feedback. She would scream at the students and scream at me in front of the students. The students would ask if I could teach them instead of her. I knew I was screwed the first time I heard one of them say that. I became very depressed throughout the entire process. She would tell you that I was not cut out to be a teacher and that she intended to derail my career before it started. Well, I am a successful teacher today in spite of her.

    GOOD LUCK.
     
  11. charlottesome

    charlottesome Rookie

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    Nov 17, 2012

    Hi,
    In a perfect world, the university would have had your back since the CT was wrong in letting you conduct the parent teacher conference by yourself. However, colleges need to keep a positive relationship with schools so they can continue to place their students.
    I sympathize with you because to do one semester of student teaching w/o pay is hard enough, let alone two. I bet that the student teaching coordinator is really busy finalizing placements right now. If I were you, I would just ask the coordinator when you should call back to finalize your placement. I know that waiting is the hardest part of this process.
    In the spirit of personal growth and development, what is the most important thing you've learned from this whole situation?
     
  12. Teacher41

    Teacher41 Rookie

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    Nov 17, 2012

    Thanks Cobalt_Waves. I agree. I didn't deserve what happened to me. I appreciate folks like you who post about your own experiences where you had terrible CT's because it shows that I'm not the only one. Your CT sounds like she was an awful teacher - texting during her own class, screaming at students and screaming at you in front of students? How do people like that keep their teaching jobs? And why do people like that go into teaching?

    I'm glad you survived. At least your teaching program supported your completion of your teaching degree and license. How did you maneuver around your former CT's crazy-making behavior successfully?

    I have no faith that the higher ups in my MAT program plan to let me finish my teaching license degree. Otherwise they would have placed me again this semester. They haven't even provided me with a written explanation of why they didn't place me again this semester, or why I can or can't take an elective in the spring. So I'm very suspicious of their motives at this point.

    I'm really disappointed that this happened to me. I really want to be a teacher but it doesn't look like this MAT program's higher ups will support my career goal. I don't want to start over somewhere new because that would be foolish. Even if I were to file a formal complaint, I doubt I'd be approved to finish my program. I've lost complete faith in higher education because of the way the higher ups are treating me.
     
  13. Teacher41

    Teacher41 Rookie

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    Nov 17, 2012

    Had the higher ups treated me with more respect and emailed me an explanation as to why my student teaching is delayed until spring, and took the time to respond to my email requests for information then I would never have come to this forum to post about my situation because I would not doubt their motives. When you withhold information from a student, you create distrust and uneasiness. Graduate students are no exception. If I ask a question, I expect an answer. So far, I haven't been given the courtesy of answers and that shows that the higher ups in my program don't respect me.

    As far as your last question, that's a little insulting to ask me don't you think - considering what I've been put through by my own program, and what I'm dealing with right now: no answers.
     
  14. Cobalt_Waves

    Cobalt_Waves Rookie

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    Nov 17, 2012

    My supervisor at the university pretty much raked my cooperating teacher over the coals when she called on the eve of my evaluation to express her 'concerns' about me. My supervisor took offense to much that was written on my evaluation and she had a lot more clout than my cooperating teacher. I had a very successful final practicum after my bad experience and was able to use that teacher and my supervisor as references. I moved to an area of the country that did not require disclosure of practice teaching evaluations. In some of these situations with cooperating teachers, you really have to 'be there' to understand the dynamics of what is happening and how easy it is for CTs to abuse their power. My CT was so tightly strung that she would flip out if one of her posters fell off the wall. This happened once during class, after I had previously re- secured the poster and she totally flipped her lid at me. The worst part was that she badmouthed me to everyone at the school including the administration. I kept hearing things about her in turn, that she had really lost it the previous year, and that her classroom management left a lot to be desired. She used to insist on driving me home after school somedays and then turn around and say "I'm not running a taxi service" to others. I NEVER asked her for a ride home, and trust me, I would have much preferred taking public transit!!! Anyway, those were probably the worst three weeks of my life, and I'm glad they are over.

    My teacher education program was actually horrible in general, in terms of stress. People were getting kicked out and dropping out constantly. Some people ended up voluntarily checking into mental health facilities due to the stress; it was that bad. I know several people who ended up coming back an extra year to redo a practicum. The whole experience would have made a good horror movie, frankly.

    It is so much better once you get your own teaching job and actually have rights (however minimal) and get paid for your work ( however little).

    You can rise above this experience. If you can make it work financially, I would do another practicum - that way you can get a good reference from it and just write this one off. It is by no means fair but these situations happen more than you would think.
     
  15. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Nov 17, 2012

    I'm sorry to h ear that some of you guys had such a hard time. I don't understand why would a teacher take on a student teacher if they clearly hate having that job. I know they don't get paid much (barely anything) and they have to supervise the teacher and fill out paperwork. I'd think a teacher would do this because they want to help out someone, to be a mentor, to contribute.
    They should not abuse their powers, and if they're such control freaks, they shouldn't be doing it.
    I had a good time during student teaching, I've learned so much - I still remember pretty much every advice I've ever gotten during those 5 months. That's how it should be.
     
  16. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    I've never been paid or gotten any perk from having STs.


    I just do it because I want good teachers in the system. It's a lot of extra work but when you see your ST teaching and doing well years later, you can't help but feel a bit proud that you helped in a small way to help that teacher become who he/she is in the classroom.
     
  17. Cobalt_Waves

    Cobalt_Waves Rookie

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    In my district, CTs were paid a stipend but the problem appeared to be that STs were being forced upon teachers who did not want them.
     
  18. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    Nov 17, 2012

    That happened a lot in my program too. We did practicums every semester starting freshman year, so the local school district was literally inundated with us. Almost every time I arrived in the classroom I got there to find out that the teacher hadn't even known I was coming ahead of time. Once in a kindergarten practicum, the teacher literally asked who I was and then said, "Oh no...they must have assumed I wanted one of you because I've taken someone on in the past, but I didn't want a student teacher this year. How long are you here for?" I ended up having to stay there for the semester...luckily she did give me a good evaluation. I had another CT for a practicum experience that was simply awful. She really had no business being in the classroom and I honestly think she felt threatened by the other ST and I (we were paired for that experience). On top of that, my prof for the class was brand new and therefore didn't know anything and sided with the CT. Thankfully I'd gone to my adviser and explained the situation right away and what I was doing on my end to rectify it. The CT and the professor both ended up giving me and my teaching partner really bad reviews and saying we did "nothing to change the situation", which I had documentation wasn't true. The records were removed from my file and I had a wonderful full time student teaching experience the next year with a fabulous teacher. The professor wasn't asked back after that semester. My CT from my full time experience and I still keep in touch- I really, really lucked out with her!
     
  19. SCTeachInTX

    SCTeachInTX Fanatic

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    Nov 18, 2012

    I would go in with a positive attitude and have any and all assessments on hand that SHOW that you had been doing a good job. I would begin by explaining that you understand that YOU made mistakes and have learned from them. I would stick to the FACTS of the events that unfolded. It would not be wise to discuss feelings or emotions because you WILL lose on all counts any footing that you may have. That is about all you can do. Was the mentor teacher wrong in leaving you to conduct conferences? Absolutely. But, you are to going to be given curve balls in the teaching profession. It is important to learn how to handle these with professionalism and tact. You should have said to the parent, "I understand your concerns. I will have Mrs. absentfromourmeeting call you or reschedule a conference for you so you can further discuss these concerns." That would have been the end of the story. The parent may not have been happy, but she would have gotten a call from the teacher and the teacher may have been able to clear up any misconceptions before this became a real issue involving administration. Of course, hindsight is great. But in reality, we make mistakes. Own yours. Stick to the facts. Bring proof of your good evaluations and ask for a second chance in a humble tone. All the best!!!
     
  20. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Nov 18, 2012

    I'm sure no insult was meant. While i understand you are still smarting from this experience, it might be valuable to eventually do a bit of self-reflection. There were missteps taken by your CT and others, but thinking about your own actions in this situation and finding a lesson from all of it WILL help you in your next placement. You might be too stunned right now to do this reflective piece, but do consider taking some quiet thinking time over the next few months. It will be worth it. Good luck to you.:angel:
     
  21. Teacher41

    Teacher41 Rookie

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    I agree. Hindsight is always 20/20. While I did apologize to the parent at the parent-teacher conference that wasn't enough to subdue her. Even my CT tried to explain my role as a ST in the classroom to no avail, then later when my CT called the parent per the principal's request, the parent was still wrathful. So there was no pleasing this parent. I think the end of the story still would have been my dismissal as this parent was a top donor to the school even if I'd had the foresight to bring the principal over to our table while this was happening.

    How do I "stick to the facts" at this upcoming meeting in a week (its not my action plan committee meeting which I really dread) with the academic dean and dept chair? I'll bring my evaluations, sure, but I want to address how inappropriate the dept chair's comments to me were, in front of her supervisor - the academic dean - as the comments were truly inappropriate and would fall under my university's code of conduct as verbal abuse. The purpose of this first meeting is for me to address her inappropriate comments and tell my side of the story.

    Why is my side of the ST story irrelevant? After all, I was there for 7 weeks every day. MY CT left me alone at parent-teacher conferences, she didn't get me a substitute teacher to be with me in the classroom when she took a day off for personal reasons, and she did some other things as well. Not getting a substitute teacher to be with me in the classroom was again, not my fault.

    That's the CT's responsibility and it was clearly outlined in her CT handbook which she received in a thick folder with all the paperwork she was required to read through.

    It's even outline in my student teacher handbook, and I told her this fact as well. The fact that she didn't get me a substitute for the day she was gone, is also factual proof that she didn't do her job. But will the higher ups believe me when I tell them this? I highly doubt it.

    I have no idea what my CT told my program higher ups about me, other than the blatant lies she said about my teaching performance in her classroom at the last meeting, before my clinical practice was ended this semester.

    How am I supposed to "own" my mistakes which the higher ups will 100% likely throw in my face (not sticking to the facts themselves as you suggest I do)?

    The higher ups will each give their opinion of my character which doesn't have anything to do with my observations that were given high scores by former CTs and advisors.

    How are their opinions credible if they're not based on facts related to my teaching performance in the classroom?

    Picture this for the "action plan committee meeting": 5 people and myself seated around a conference table. Each of them take turns attacking my character, my disposition such as my communication style as far as their interactions with me.

    None of them, with the exception of my teaching advisor, have seen me teach in a classroom as they are program staff, with administrative roles.

    How do I "keep the emotion out" of this meeting, if their critique is based on their opinion and not actually on fact? Will my evaluation scores be enough to show them that their personal opinions are wrong about my teaching skills in the classroom?

    If I have technically passed all the requirements to be permitted to finish my clinical practice - will these administrative people's personal opinions be permitted to trump my academic right to complete the MAT program?

    I can stick to the facts, sure. But how do I get THEM to stick to the facts too? That's the most important question. How do I get THEM to treat me with academic fairness at this meeting?

    I'm sure no insult was meant. But the poster charlottesome's lack of empathy is what I found insulting. To assume I have not self-reflected because this just happened is short-sighted. I would NEVER ask someone who'd just been attacked, "so what's the lesson for you in this experience?" Can you see the lack of empathy there?

    Of course I'm still stunned BUT...I have self-reflected on how I could have prevented this from happening. My CT still threw me under the bus based on her actions. That is a fact. If someone in power breaks the rules and then blames someone without power, that's injustice. That's unethical. I made a mistake and apologized for it as that's all the power I'm allowed. That still didn't change the negative outcome.
     
  22. LouiseB

    LouiseB Cohort

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    Nov 18, 2012

    I'm sorry this has happened to you and I can feel that you are concerned about the injustice that has been given to you. I also can feel/hear your anger towards those people who happen to be the ones making the decision as to whether you continue or not. If they also hear/feel your anger, you very well could have a negative outcome. I do know that we have to stand up for the injustice that we see but at this point, I'm not sure this will help you at all. Again, I'm sorry that this has happened.
     
  23. kpa1b2

    kpa1b2 Aficionado

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    Nov 18, 2012

    Personally, as much as I would want to talk about how unprofessional someone else was to me, I wouldn't bring it up. Going back & rereading what you wrote, about how this meeting is to address the comments, I would very carefully plan out what I wanted to say. Probably to the point of having notes to bring with me. I would rehearse what I wanted to say so that I could say it without being angry.

    I remember a couple situations that were very emotional for a lot of people. I was much more successful getting what I wanted when I left the emotion out of it. When I couldn't leave the emotions out I didn't get what I wanted.

    Good luck
     
  24. charlottesome

    charlottesome Rookie

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    Nov 18, 2012

    :beatdeadhorse:
     
  25. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

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    Nov 18, 2012

    I can't read this thread anymore.
     
  26. Teacher41

    Teacher41 Rookie

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    Nov 18, 2012

    I agree with you and all the posters who said to leave the emotion out of the meetings as that will do my no good, and will make me look worse (and just reinforce what the dept chair already thinks of me).

    I agree that I need to get my anger and frustration out of my system before my first of two meetings with my program's higher ups. I definitely need to write down what I want to say and spend time rehearsing it so that when I go to the meeting, I will be able to maintain a professional demeanor and remain calm.

    I appreciate everyone's input (criticism included, despite my complaints about it) to my situation. It was good to hear of other posters experiences with bad CT's during their student teaching, and I will post an update after each meeting in case anyone's curious to the outcome.
     
  27. SCTeachInTX

    SCTeachInTX Fanatic

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    Nov 19, 2012

    Write down the facts. State what happened. Leave any and all emotion out of the discussion. Show your transcripts and your evaluations as proof of your willingness to go above and beyond. Have a list of the comments that were said to you that you found disparaging. IF they bring up negative comments that were made, clearly state your version of the events and make sure that you begin with... I know that I could have handled this differently. I have learned a lot from this experience and will be a better teacher in the end if given the opportunity to continue. Be humble. Do not get emotional because YOU will look like a crackpot. You want to appear reasonable and worth their efforts of allowing you to continue in the program. Explain your situation (facts only) and how this student teaching experience will be a culmination of your goal of becoming a classroom teacher. You may not like having to swallow your pride and sit quietly while others question you, but that is the reality of the situation you are in. Best of luck!
     
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