Scared to death!

Discussion in 'Student & Preservice Teachers' started by Megan_1983, Dec 19, 2007.

  1. Megan_1983

    Megan_1983 Rookie

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    Dec 19, 2007

    I just finished my semester last Wednesday, and I have begun to really start panicking. I will begin student teaching on January 7. I know that I have taken all the classes, but still, I have never felt so unprepared and scared of anything in my life. I don't feel ready. I have subbed for three years, and most have been great experiences, but there is so much riding on the next couple of months - and it will be WAY different than subbing.

    I have already met with my cooperating teacher, and she is so nice and helpful, and the school I got into was my first choice, so those aren't the problems. The problem is me. Like I said, I feel so inadequate, and I have all of these questions floating around... what if the kids don't like me? What if I totally just FAIL? What if the kids don't listen to me? What if my lesson plans aren't good enough? What if I don't know my content area good enough? What happens if my cooperating teacher or university supervisor decide that I need more college classes before I can teach (and does that even happen???) What if I just freeze during my evaluations? What if my clothes aren't deemed 'professional' enough, or if I am perceived by others as frumpy? I am just so, so, so afraid of failing. I want this so badly, and I want to do a good job, but over the past year I have been waiting for that 'teacher' feeling to finally click, and here I am, ready to student teach, and I don't feel like I have clicked into the role of 'competent teacher' yet. I literally spend three hours on a single lesson plan, trying to make it perfect, and then I still can't leave it alone.

    Is this normal, or have I completely lost it?
     
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  3. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Dec 19, 2007

    Take a deep breath and relax.

    What you're feeling is entirely normal, in fact it's a good sign. It means you care enough to worry. It's the newbies who are confident that they know it all that find themselves in trouble.

    I think you need to realize that no one is going to throw you into a class of kids and say "OK, now teach." You're going to start off observing and then gradually take over some control. The discipline system will be in place, in fact it has been since September. They'll try hard to place you with a Cooperating Teacher who will show you the tricks of the trade. And we'll be here to hold your hand.

    Your lessons WILL be OK. And if they're not, then you'll go back in the next day and fix them, just as we all do when a lesson doesn't go as planned. One of the many wonderful things about teaching is that the kids are incredibly resillient. If you go in on Tuesday and say "I thought of a better explanation" they'll be delighted to hear it.

    You'll also find out why you've spent so long searching for that perfect lesson: for the most part, it doesn't exist. The same lesson that has one kid jumping for joy with "I GET it!!!!" has the kid next to him still baffled. So for him, you try explanation B or C or some combination of D and E. But eventually he too has his "AHA!!" moment.

    So try to relax Megan. You'll do fine!! Ask Santa for Harry Wong's book (Which I must admit, I haven't read. But it's earned rave reviews.) And get some comfy shoes and professional wardrobe-- whatever that means in the school in which you'll be working. And try to relax. You're in for the ride of your life!
     
  4. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Dec 19, 2007

    WOW!!! Nice answer Alice. I can't say it any better!
     
  5. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Dec 19, 2007

    Completely agree with Alice. You will do just fine. Congrats! You are almost done.
     
  6. Megan_1983

    Megan_1983 Rookie

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    Dec 20, 2007

    Thank you so much! :hugs: I wrote that after a seminar, and I always leave them with more questions than answers. I know that my university sends out 30-45 secondary student teachers per semester, and as far as I know, they have all come back in the end alive.

    I went out and bought some pretty pens in different colors (nothing in this world makes my day like a cool pen...:rolleyes: ) and I dug out my educational psychology and my intro to inclusion book again to refresh.

    I just have a quick question about lesson planning - on average, from start to finish, how long does it take you to build a plan? Mine have to include a title, duration, type of plan, standards, objectives, opening set, procedure, independent practice, closing set, assessment, and adaptations. Then I have to create all my handouts, transparencies, rubrics and powerpoints. And mine are VERY detailed. I worry that I will lose it during discussions, so I include every question and starter I want to say/ask. Then I get overwhelmed, the overwhelmed-ness (is that even a word?!? :eek:)
    leads to worry, and then I start going back and picking the lessons apart.

    Don't even get me started on my classroom management plan...:lol:
     
  7. Briana008

    Briana008 Companion

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    Dec 20, 2007

    Hi Megan, I just wanted to say that I too will begin student teaching on January 7. Actually, it is a teacher workday and the kids come in on the 8th. Anyway, I just wanted to say that if you ever want to chat with someone who is going through the same sort of thing, I'm here for you (as are many others in the forum)! I met with my cooperating teacher today and got a couple of textbooks, and outline, and one of his sample lessons from last semester. It helped, but also made this whole student teaching thing a lot more real!!!

    I'm sure you're going to do a great job; it sounds like you're really preparing yourself as much as you can. Don't stress so much that you forget to enjoy the holidays! :hugs:

    ~Briana~
     
  8. WindyCityGal606

    WindyCityGal606 Enthusiast

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    Dec 20, 2007

    Student teaching is such fun!! It's when you FINALLY get to spread your wings and try things out with real -live students! So much better than presenting lessons to your peers in college ed classes! As far as the kids liking you, don't even fret. They will respect you if you go in confident and expect a lot from them. If you are wishy-washy and try to be their friend, they'll eat you alive. You are there to be a role model so they might not all necessarily "like" you but they do need to respect you.The 4 months I student taught were terrific!! I was hired right into a position by the way!! Remember, it really is a long interview!! They are watching and sizing you up so be prepared for a job offer when you are finished!! I got my offer a month into student teaching!!
     
  9. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Dec 20, 2007

    Hi Megan,

    As far as the timing goes, you're better off asking a 1st or 2nd year teacher. After 23 years in the classroom, it takes me no time at all. And most of my planning gets done over the summer (then I cross my fingers and hope that they don't call and change what I'm teaching.)

    At this point, my lessons involve a topic and some homework problems, along with a list of problems I've already thought out over the summer.

    But it took me over 2 decades to get to this point.

    It's kind of like driving. In the beginning there are SO MANY things to be aware of and to remember at once. After a while, it becomes second nature.
     
  10. Megan_1983

    Megan_1983 Rookie

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    Dec 20, 2007

    Remember, it really is a long interview!! They are watching and sizing you up so be prepared for a job offer when you are finished!! I got my offer a month into student teaching!!
    ---
    It would be great if I could get into the school I am student teaching at - when I met with my cooperating teacher, she mentioned that they would have an opening after I am finished! So maybe if I plan well and do a great job, they will offer it to me.


    Hi Megan, I just wanted to say that I too will begin student teaching on January 7. Actually, it is a teacher workday and the kids come in on the 8th. Anyway, I just wanted to say that if you ever want to chat with someone who is going through the same sort of thing, I'm here for you (as are many others in the forum)! I met with my cooperating teacher today and got a couple of textbooks, and outline, and one of his sample lessons from last semester. It helped, but also made this whole student teaching thing a lot more real!!!

    I'm sure you're going to do a great job; it sounds like you're really preparing yourself as much as you can. Don't stress so much that you forget to enjoy the holidays!

    ~Briana~
    ---
    Yay!!! What subject are you teaching? I am Language Arts, and I get to teach four sections of English 11 and two of English 11 Honors. It's nice because my cooperating teacher said that I would pretty much be teaching the same content, but that the honors classes would be more enriched.
     
  11. Megan_1983

    Megan_1983 Rookie

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    Dec 20, 2007

    And most of my planning gets done over the summer (then I cross my fingers and hope that they don't call and change what I'm teaching.)
    ---
    That's what I would like to do when I get a teaching job! I think it would be so nice to have some of the planning done so all I have to do is teach.
     
  12. athena_wannabe

    athena_wannabe Rookie

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    Dec 20, 2007

    Don't worry if you feel nervous ... even after I graduated with my degree I was still terrified that maybe teaching wasn't my forte, and worried that I was incredibly awful at it (my final student teaching practicum was not a good experience, and really shot my confidence waaay down).

    However, once I actually got my own class and was responsible for my students day-in-and-day-out, I finally started to relax, and now have no worries!

    Student teaching is not fun. I think its even harder then "regular" teaching bc everything you do is observed by another person(s), your tactics and techniques are often questioned, and its just plain terrifying to be thrown in front of a class of kids when you're not used to it! But keep in mind that EVERY SINGLE TEACHER you will ever encounter had to do it at some point, which means they should hopefully empathize with your feelings.

    It sounds like you have a good partner supervising teacher to work with, which is honestly half the battle. You will do fine, the kids will like you, and a year or so from now you will be teaching on your own!
     
  13. Briana008

    Briana008 Companion

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    Dec 20, 2007

    I will be teaching two advanced biology classes and an environmental science. The cooperating teacher told me that last year the ES class was the class from you-know-where, which didn't reassure me too much! Since the school is on the block, I'll be starting from the very beginning with the students, not jumping in mid-year which I like.

    Funny that the topic of landing a job from student teaching came up--that was really what I hoped to do. Three teachers in the district I'm interested in wanted to have me student teach with them, but my school sent my application to my third choice school (where I was ultimately placed) and then told me there was nothing I could do about it. :down: But, I hope your student teaching experience ends up getting you that job offer!

    ~Briana~
     
  14. Megan_1983

    Megan_1983 Rookie

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    She is amazing. She told me which unit I will be covering (American Literature 1850-1914) and told me that I could pretty much plan how I wanted. I also think she may let me take over much sooner than I actually have to, which would be nice because the more experience I can get, the better. She is super organized, and from what I can tell, she is pretty tough on her students (high expectations, etc), which is exactly how I am. I think we will get along great.
     
  15. Megan_1983

    Megan_1983 Rookie

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    Dec 20, 2007

    What year do students take environmental science? You never know - a new year, new bunch of kids - they may turn out to be your best class.

    That stinks about your placement - does your CT seem to be nice? You said he gave you some books and an outline - is he friendly? One of my biggest fears going in to this semester was, "what if she doesn't like me?" And then I met her, and it made me feel a lot better.

    Block schedule means 85-90 min. classes, doesn't it? Lucky. Mine meet every day (all six of them) for 48 minutes at a time. I have only subbed in schools that use the block schedule, so I have no experience with classes meeting every day.
     
  16. Briana008

    Briana008 Companion

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    The ES class is sort of a catch-all. The CT says he isn't even quite sure of the make-up of the class next semester and that we'll have to feel it out as we go. He seems really nice and that makes me happy even if it wasn't my first choice. He teaches two classes of oceanography in the fall and that's what I originally thought I would be teaching, but unfortunately that won't be the case. I'm finishing up a masters in marine science, so oceanography is right up my alley(and one of the teachers in my top choice district who was interested in me will be teaching oceanography in the spring :mad:).

    Yes, the block is set up as 90-minute classes, but they meet every day for a whole semester instead of alternating every other day for an entire year. 90 minutes sounds like such a long time but when I taught a few lessons during my practicum it seemed to breeze by. I did some observations in a school with 50 minute periods and there was hardly any time to do anything, especially in a lab!

    ~Briana~
     
  17. cd4298

    cd4298 Rookie

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    Dec 21, 2007

    Megan - You said it sister! I also start my student teaching on January 7th (also my birthday - so I hope it will be a great day!) I'm excited to finally get started teaching, but also scared to pieces even though I'm in my mid thirties. I guess I am most afraid of letting my family down since I am switching careers and taking a pay cut - not to mention the debt we are incurring because of my student teaching.

    But.....I'm going to take a deep breath, smile and leave it in God's hands! Good Luck!
     
  18. Megan_1983

    Megan_1983 Rookie

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    Dec 22, 2007

    My birthday is on the 15th! What is your content area?

    I have been going through such a range of emotions the past few months! I am exited and ready to go one day, and ready to call my Office of Ed in a state of mental breakdown. I started buying 'teacher' clothes today. I also decided to let my nose piercing close. My CT told me that the diamond stud was not a problem at all, but I still want to make myself as professional as I possibly can. I also took out all but two earrings per ear (standard double piercing) and a cartilage piercing. Before I had a triple piercing in each ear with the cartilage. I don't know why I all of a sudden got the urge to do this. I would just hate to miss a job opportunity because of a piercing. I am still wondering if I should take out the cartilage - I can't decide. In a way, I am leaning towards removing it.

    I also have a tattoo of seven little flowers on my foot, and I will buy trouser socks to wear with my flats so it is completely covered. Once again, CT said it wouldn't be a problem, but for me it really is an issue of professionalism. I got the tattoo placed on my foot because it would be easy to cover it up.

    I just want to look nice. I am buying separates so I can mix and match. I have two pairs of navy blue dress pants, a pair of robin's egg blue dress pants, a pair of chocolate brown dress pants and a pair of black dress pants with thin yellow pinstripes. For tops, I have several nice knit tops, and then some button up type shirts that I will wear shell under. How does that sound? It's not a lot, but I tried to buy pieces that I could mix and match for a lot of combinations. I figure that if I buy a new piece here and there, I can start building up my wardrobe, but for now, what I have will have to do.

    Wow. I wrote a lot. :sorry: I guess I write like I talk: a lot. :lol:
     
  19. Bridget

    Bridget Rookie

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    Dec 22, 2007

    I finished my student teaching a year ago. I am now in my first year of teaching. Student teaching terrified me! My first year of teaching terrified me even more! But it really does eventually just "click" and all of the sudden you are feeling more and more comfortable and confident in yourself. My whole first week of school this year I had to take a sleeping pill. Otherwise I'd never sleep because I was so scared! Wednesday was our last day before Christmas break...when the kids finally left the other new and young teachers and I breathed a sigh of relief! Back in September we didn't think we'd make it through the first week, let alone until Christmas break! You will make it! It seems almost impossible now, but you'll soon realize that you are actually teaching and its going well!!!

    Also...good idea about slowly building your professional wardrobe! You never know what kind of school you'll end up in for your first job. The schools I student taught in were very casual and had air conditioning! My classroom now is on the 3rd floor of an old Chicago school building with NO air conditioning...and we are expected to dress professionally. Meaning, I didn't prepared myself too well since my student teaching clothes were much more casual and not appropriate for the first two VERY hot months of this school year....So I've been slowly buying more professional clothes. It was difficult at first, especially when it was so hot in Sept. and Oct. One of my students even said "Miss. X, Why do you always where the same clothes???" I just had to laugh and am now slowly buying more and more professional clothes.
     
  20. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Dec 22, 2007

    If your budget and the climate permit, invest in a blazer or two. For some reason, blazers just add an air of authority.

    I'm a big fan of suits, but I know I'm in the minority here. (And I teach HS, so I'm not crawling around on the floor or doing recess duty in a playground.) JC Penneys almost always has some suits on sale.
     
  21. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Dec 22, 2007

    And there's always second hand - one can find some very nice blazers in consignment shops and even in thrift stores.
     
  22. Yank7

    Yank7 Habitué

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    Dec 22, 2007

    Megan relax,
    Don't ruin your entire holiday. There is no such thing as a perfect lesson. I have taught lessons which I thought would be great and they were very disappointing,and lessons which I were skeptical about that went great. Some lessons work better with some classes than others. You are not expected to be a great teacher during your first year of student teaching. I wish it was that easy. Watch your cooperating teacher,listen to their advice,ask questions,try out your ideas. Student teaching is a learning experience which will go on every year you teach. You sound very committed,but don't make yourself crazy with worry,before you even begin. Good Luck in your new career.
     
  23. cd4298

    cd4298 Rookie

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    Dec 22, 2007

    Bridget - thanks for the reassurance! My wardrobe is also one of my greatest concerns! I will be student teaching in elementary school, so recess duty and floor time with the kids are a must. I currently work in a large corporation where suits are the attire of choice, but the schools I will be student teaching in are VERY casual. I'm having a hard time coming up with outfits that are casual, but still professional. I'm afraid if I wear my regular business clothes that I will be too dressed up.

    Shoes are the hardest obstacle for me. I've worn high heels to work every day for the past 14 years, but there is no way I can teach all day wearing heels. Still trying to find cute flat shoes that don't look like a teenager. Any suggestions??
     
  24. Briana008

    Briana008 Companion

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    Dec 22, 2007

    Amen to that one!

    ~Briana~
     
  25. alpha1123

    alpha1123 Rookie

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    Dec 23, 2007

    I'm jealous that nobody else starts student teaching until January 7th. I start student teaching on the 2nd of January! Seems like I just finished the semester and now have to get ready to student teach.
     
  26. DaveF

    DaveF Companion

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    Dec 23, 2007

    I enjoyed my every minute of my student teaching. My master teacher was someone who taught one of my credentialing classes. I chose her. I didn't wait for a placement from my school.

    Not every lesson goes as planned. That is a good thing. You will soon learn to recognize when things are not going well and change your plan in midstream.

    I also learned a lot from the students. Every kid in that class will teach you something. You are learning just like they are. Go in open minded and enjoy it.
     
  27. mommyre

    mommyre Comrade

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    Jan 1, 2008

    I wear Clark's almost every day. They are mostly clogs but have some closed back shoes too. They are SUPER comfortable and look nice. Also to the post about thrift stores, THEY ARE YOUR FRIEND. Goodwill was having a Dollar days sale several months ago before they remodeled. I got a long black wool coat for $1 and a blazer and several shirts and a few pairs of corduroy pants. I only spent $20. The local thrift store has 1/2 price Mondays, any guesses where I will be this Monday.

    Also, if any of you have a Hamricks (South East Mostly), they have really nice clothes cheap. I got a moleskin ankle length dress for 7.98. It was on sale then, but it's regular price is 9.98! I got Navy and Brown because they are neutral and I may go back for the black and purple.

    I just wanted to give my :2cents: on a few places to shop on a ST budget!
     
  28. curious

    curious Companion

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    Jan 5, 2008

    This thread is awesome!

    I do have a question. Would a nice pair of sneakers be acceptable to wear in a first grade classroom, or is that generally a big no-no?
     
  29. monsieurteacher

    monsieurteacher Aficionado

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    Jan 5, 2008

    honestly it depends on the school... I know some people have said that their schools are very formal, whereas at my school, I was surprised to see that one of the teachers wore crocs!
     
  30. mommyre

    mommyre Comrade

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    Jan 5, 2008

    Curios,

    It really does depend on the school as dfleming said. The school I will be doing my STing at prefers their teachers wear sneakers or other comfy shoes so that they may get on the playground with the students, but my university will not allow it.
     

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