Preschool teacher mentor.. overwhelmed

Discussion in 'Preschool' started by puff5655, Oct 15, 2012.

  1. puff5655

    puff5655 Cohort

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    Oct 15, 2012

    I'm the K teacher at my school, and after our wonderful experienced prek teacher retired, a teacher aide with no teaching experience at any grade level was hired in her place. I was given the responsibility of training her during my preps (as if I have the time).

    She's trying but has no idea what she's doing, and it was obvious when I went in to help today. Her current schedule:

    1. calendar stuff for almost a half hour -struggles to keep the kids attention (obviously)

    2. reads any old book she can find (usually a boring one because she doesn't know how to look for books that will hold kid's attention)

    3. they do a worksheet (again, kids are bored. many refuse to work or cry for a while)

    4. they play for a half hour (running around wherever and dumping out toys)

    5. they clean up and practice flash cards or listen to another story

    There isn't really a behavior management system besides being threatened to go to the office or to their chairs.

    I've given the teacher and her helper some advice but gosh, I don't know where to start. I taught preschool a few years but am rusty. Where to begin!!???

    I'm thinking I need to give her a clear schedule to follow and some themes to follow (we have lots of teacher books). I'll go in and model a day for her next week (dreading how exhausting this all will be).

    PLEASE give me some suggestions on a good 3 hour schedule and what she should be doing every day? Why isn't there a crying emoticon? That's what I want to use right now..I have to get these kids next year! :(

    Thank you!
     
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  3. scmom

    scmom Enthusiast

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    Oct 15, 2012

    First of all, thank you for caring enough to put the effort forth to improve the situation. Who is supervising this person? Can you talk to the supervisor and suggest this wasn't the best placement and the person should be replaced?

    My situation is a little different, and it sounds like she wouldn't be ready for it, but here is my schedule (times are approximate as I go with the flow):

    9-920 - free play while kids come in they sign in to practice writing their names, put a clip on their name for name recognition, put their stuff away and play

    920 - morning meeting - review what we are doing, some songs, calendar (about 5 minutes or less), and a good book worth reading

    940 - (or earlier if needed) - centers - a craft, writing, math, alphabet, fine motor, science, etc.

    1030 - music and movement

    1045 - snack

    1100 - sharing circle or music or read or whatever you want to do

    1115 - outside time

    1145 - come inside, get our act together, sing a few songs, review the day, etc. while parents come to pick up

    Hope this helps.
     
  4. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

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    Oct 16, 2012

    I am sorry, but my suggestion will not be well received. You need a teacher who knows what she is doing. The children deserve a teacher who can teach and work with the children. It sounds like she has no idea about ECE. There are so many aspects of ECE that a bit of mentoring is not going to be sufficient.

    Rant over.

    I would give her an ECE text to read. At least she will have a quick overview.
     
  5. Loony

    Loony Rookie

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    Oct 16, 2012

    I'd like to throw my 2 cents in because I am in the same position as that teacher you're talking about. I was hired exactly one week before school started as a lead Pre-K teacher. I am working on my Bachelor's in ECE and have the appropriate accreditation to be in the classroom, but no teaching experience besides my 4 years as a nanny and some volunteer hours at a preschool. To top it off, I have 2 classes, which consist of all the kids who are new to a preschool setting AND the kids who have learning delays, etc. I hate to say this but it looks like I just got the bunch that nobody wanted. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely adore my kids, but it is challenging a lot of the time.

    Now, I'm not dumb, I know that a big factor in my hiring process was desperation. It was a few weeks before school started and they probably needed someone to fill that spot ASAP. But the same day I interviewed for the job, a few other people did, which means the principal saw something in me that she didn't see in the others. Think about it, had you been given the same job offer, wouldn't you have thought that if your employer thought you could do it, you probably could? Wouldn't you have taken it, even if you didn't have the experience?

    Even with all the challenges I've faced and I'm still facing every day in my classroom, our curriculum director has told me that it's the best the class has been run, which gives me a lot of hope that I'm doing a good job. In your case, this new teacher has big shoes to fill, but please don't judge her by that. She may not know what she's doing, but if teaching is her calling, a bit of guidance will do wonders to her. I thank my lucky stars every day that I have an assistant in one of my classes who has helped me SO much, and has even modeled a few lessons so I can get the hang of it, and I usually then get to practice it in my other class. I don't think I could've made it through the first month of school without her.

    Give her some ideas of activities, model a lesson or two for her, and hopefully she'll use that to her benefit. Help her come up with a behavior management plan. We use a school-wide system with a traffic light and clothespins and we also use a "treasure box" with little toys and trinkets which works wonders in my classroom. Does your curriculum have a teacher guide? My teacher guide has been a great help!! Encourage her to come up to you with questions and concerns; if you know any of the children, tell her a bit about them so she learns how to deal with them. Help make her feel welcome; besides having a classroom full of little ones who she has to get to know and learn how to deal with, she probably doesn't know any adults there and has nobody to turn to.

    Remember when you first walked into a classroom. She's probably feeling more overwhelmed than you are.
     
  6. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

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    Oct 17, 2012

    Loony, since you are studying ECE, you have some ideas about how children learn, and what is Developmentally Appropriate. The above teacher sounds like she is drowning.

    I certainly hope the teacher can pull a great class out with some mentoring. I know I would be overwhelmed in the same situation. I was called upon to teach first grade for a week. I had no idea what to do. My goal was to keep the class alive for the week.
     
  7. puff5655

    puff5655 Cohort

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    Oct 23, 2012

    I've had to distance myself a bit. I'm really passionate about teaching ECE the "right" way, and going in there just stresses me out. The last teacher also left the room a mess, so it really needs a good 8-10 hours of organizing for it to be workable. The shelves are packed with good stuff that never gets used! Drives me nuts.

    We're in a small town far from anywhere and there weren't many options. She's the only one who was willing to take the job. It doesn't pay much. My principal now tells me he doesn't think the new teacher will do it more than a year. So I'm putting in all this time training her for nothing? He says there's another lady who's interested now.. one with NO experience in a school ever! That will be even worse :(

    I'm committing a half hour every Friday to helping her develop lesson plans, so at least we can save those and have them used consistently each year with each new teacher :(
     
  8. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Oct 23, 2012

    It's hard, but writing the lesson plans is a great idea!

    Don't think of this as a waste of time. You are helping all the students in the classroom to a better education (and the parents thank you even if they don't know) and you are helping yourself for next year (these students will be much better next year with the help you are providing).
     
  9. pabef

    pabef Comrade

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    Oct 26, 2012

    I agree with lesson plans. Also, a good classroom managment system is to set the room up in learning centers. In my class the children use name tags to rotate through the centers. Only a certain number can be at each center and they must clean up a center before moving to another. For example only 2 children may be in the reading center, 4 in the art center etc.
     

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