Student Teacher in search of help!

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by Alison, Aug 18, 2011.

  1. Alison

    Alison New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2011
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 18, 2011

    Hello everyone, I am new to the boards, and this will be my very first post, extremely sorry if I am posting in the wrong forum. I searched for a student teaching forum, but might have missed it.

    With that said, I will get to the meat of my issue. I am about to start my 12-week student teaching. My orientation is next week, and I start my student teaching the 29th. I still do not know which grade level, school, or district I will be in and I am stressing about that a little, but my main concern comes from the feedback I am getting from friends who have previously gone through the student teaching program. Most of these people have nothing but negative things to say about their coop teachers, and even by my program director's own admission, many of the coop teachers simply want "free labor", but because of the high volume of student teachers, these teachers are taken on as coop teachers.

    Now, I don't expect to go in and be the teacher, but from my understanding, the coop teacher is suppose to help guide you, be there to answer questions, and work with you, eventually allowing you to teach each subject until eventually you're teaching full days. This is how it was explained to me by my director, but from actual feedback it seems that isn't the way it works. Most student teachers sit in the corner of the room grading papers, make copies, organize projects, and basically all of the grunt work for the teacher. Almost all of the teaching time was during the time when observations took place. While I don't mind doing the "grunt work", might as well get a good feel for it, since it is part of the job, I am hoping to actually get a chance to teach while under the guidance of a seasoned teacher. Granted, I don't think people can actually teach you how to teach, but I do feel that people can help you improve on how you teach. That is what I am really hoping to get out of it.

    Another thing I am uncertain of is the program we will be using, C-Scope. In an e-mail from my director I was informed that my student teaching group will be the first group to go through the school districts while using C-Scope. It was explained in the e-mail that the teachers will be using C-Scope in the classroom for the first time, and that this will affect our prior curriculum knowledge. However, they didn't explain what they meant by that. It almost sounded like it was a program that gave you the lesson plan and you simply followed it (i.e. it gives you everything you need for the lesson and you really don't have a say in the planning). Is this a correct understanding of C-Scope? In all honesty, I am not sure how much I will be dealing with C-Scope, but since I believe I am suppose to write lesson plans and teach them, I assume I will be dealing with the program at least a little.

    So just some general advice, such as - how to make the best out of the situation if, say I do get a difficult coop teacher? I've read the advice on this site offered to student teachers, and most of them seemed to have really good coop teachers. I really do not want these 12 weeks to be a "let me just get by" time, and I am hoping the teacher will use me in small groups. When I did my observation hours, instead of just observing, I was able to get in with the students and interact with them. My observation teachers actually let me teach, deal with behavior issues, lead guided reading, and other aspects of teaching, such as teacher meetings - they even asked me for MY input. In fact, I enjoyed myself so much, I ended up volunteering at the school for most of the semester (when I didn't have class or homework). They really enjoyed my help, and I enjoyed the oppertunity to participate with the students. I even had one little girl run up to me in Walmart and hug me, telling her mom that I was "the best teacher ever". Though I am sure she has had many "best teachers ever", it made me feel like I was really making a difference. I specifically asked for this school, but according to my director, very rarely do students get a say in where they go, it is decided on where they have availble space.

    So help me, please. I am a nervous wreck. I want to enjoy my student teaching, I certainly do not mind going above and beyond to make it so, but I am afraid that whomever I get will just see me as a burden and be hesitant to task me with anything more significant than making copies. Thanks.
     
  2.  
  3. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2007
    Messages:
    17,362
    Likes Received:
    46

    Aug 18, 2011

    First off, breathe!! :lol:

    I would sit down with the coop teacher and talk about the expectations each of you have for the other. I know in most programs, the student teacher will gradually take over (a couple of weeks teaching one subject, adding a subject a few weeks at a time until they take over everything) and then gradually giving over the class back to the coop teacher.

    My district is using C-Scope but we're not tied to it like other districts are. It does line out exactly what to do and aligns with the TEKS. From what I see, it really is a good resource. You can always add in your own things to their lessons if you see its needed.

    Just like with teaching and any other profession, you're going to have good and bad coop teachers. You just have to pray you get a good one!
     
  4. bunches3614

    bunches3614 Rookie

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2010
    Messages:
    46
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 18, 2011

    I agree with the above poster, take a breath. I also didn't know until about a week before my student teaching where I would be, although I was in a small district so I was comfortable going anywhere. I actually was put in with a teacher that I observed multiple times, and she was a good teacher. She was also one that had a hard time giving up control of the classroom. I did take over teaching one subject at a time, but I didn't get to plan my own lessons. I would take on one a week and then I had the whole class for three weeks and then we transitioned back. I am not going to lie, it was rough. It was completely different than I imagined, but I learned a lot. I learned about my strengths and weaknesses. I learned what I would and wouldn't do in the classroom because I had to follow her rules, and it didn't feel natural to me. I felt bad at the time, I was one of those that was counting the days, and just getting through, but looking back, I can see it was a valuable experience.

    My advise is talk to your coop teacher. Find out her expectations and talk about what is required of you by your school. Make a plan from the beginning, but realize that you are going to have to be flexible. Learn the classroom management plan, and follow it to the letter. Also, if you feel comfortable use your advisor for any and all questions that you don't feel like you can go to your coop teacher about. Most of them have been in the classroom and know what is normal, or abnormal. Mine saved me multiple times, and handed me plenty of Kleenex in our meetings.

    Just be strong and know that you can do this. Don't lose confidence in your abilities, and when you have a bad day, remember that little girl in Wal-Mart. That is what will keep you going. Good Luck!
     
  5. suebee

    suebee Rookie

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2005
    Messages:
    9
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 18, 2011

    Communicate with your coop teacher from the start about whatyou both expect to take away from this experience, so that you're both on the same page.

    Personally, I got my assignment 4 weeks into a 10-week quarter, but my coop teacher ended up being one of my bridesmaids. So... you never know what can happen :)

    Good luck!
     
  6. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2006
    Messages:
    27,534
    Likes Received:
    6

    Aug 18, 2011

    I think you're borrowing trouble; anticipating an issue where the odds are that none will arise. The overwhelming majority of Cooperating Teachers take on the extra work of having a student teacher because they genuinely desire to help a prospective teacher learn what he or she needs to know. Sure, there are some bad apples, just as there are in the pool of student teachers. But, unless and until you find yourself faced with one, don't worry about it.

    As to whether or not someone can "teach you to teach"-- I think a good teacher can show you a LOT about how to be a good teacher if you're receptive to it. There are an awful lot of very concrete things I do each day that bring me success in a class. Sure, some of it is intuitive, but there's a LOT to be learned before a prospective teacher is skilled at teaching.
     
  7. Joy

    Joy Cohort

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2011
    Messages:
    579
    Likes Received:
    6

    Aug 18, 2011

    I think things will go better than you are thinking. I loved my student teaching experience even though I was the complete opposite of both of my cooperating teachers.

    If you end up doing any busy work, it tends to be towards the beginning or end of your experience when you do less teaching and more observing. I helped my teacher out with busy work but I usually asked if she needed it done. She never just handed me a pile of busy work.

    Are you able to request the teacher that you would like to work with? Are you able to student teach with one of the teachers that you observed and enjoyed so much?
     
  8. CFClassroom

    CFClassroom Connoisseur

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2008
    Messages:
    1,726
    Likes Received:
    1

    Aug 19, 2011

    I would relax and go into it with an open mind.

    You will be doing busywork when you start. It's part of the evolution. Student teachers usually begins with taking on some of the easier responsibilities so that they are not just sitting and observing. As you become settled you should slowly start taking over more teaching and more teacher responsibilities. Ultimately, you should have a window where you are in charge and then a period where you rerelease the control back to the teacher as you transition out.

    I also had peers in college who had bad experiences, but in my experience as a teacher, I have never known a colleague to take on a student teacher for "free labor." It's hard to have another person in the classroom and having a student teacher is A LOT of work. It's rewarding to help teachers prepare for their careers. Try to relax, go in with an open-mind, and have lots of fun!
     
  9. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2006
    Messages:
    27,534
    Likes Received:
    6

    Aug 19, 2011

    Can I respectfully disagree?

    You already know how those teachers do things. Student teaching is your one chance to step outside your comfort zone and work without a net.

    I say that, if it's still possible, you go with a different school, a different setting, as far from your comfort zone as you can get. It will strenthen your people skills, give you more contacts for future networking, and stretch your teaching abilities.
     
  10. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2011
    Messages:
    2,653
    Likes Received:
    232

    Aug 19, 2011

    Hi Alison :)

    I am in a situation similar to yours right now - I start student teaching sometime in the next 2-3 weeks (I don't even know the day), but I don't know what district, school, grade (just that it has to be at least 2 years below my last placement), or teacher. We are not allowed to request any of that. I may find out literally the day before I need to report to the school.

    However, my situation is different in that this will be my second placement. I student taught last fall in a 6th grade class (elementary level), and it was a FANTASTIC experience.

    I, too, had heard the horror stories, and I continued to hear them from other people in my cohort during our student teaching. But something I have learned in life is that those with bad experiences (and those who like to complain) are usually the LOUDEST. Meaning you're going to hear a lot more from the people with terrible experiences than you are from the people who had good experiences. Right now, just don't listen to what they say. I know that's hard to do. Even though I had a fantastic CT last time, I still worry about this placement based on the horror stories from my friends. However, I can't control it, and there is something to be learned in EVERY situation.

    I agree with what previous posters have said - sit down and talk with your CT about expectations. Make some kind of timeline for when you will take over small groups, whole class lessons, the whole day, etc. If you both know what to expect, things will go much more smoothly and be less stressful for everyone involved. Like others have said, it is likely that you will start out doing a lot of grunt work and finish up doing a lot of grunt work. You usually taper off towards the end so that the class can be slowly transitioned back into having your CT teach all day again.

    I really think that you will most likely LOVE your student teaching. No matter what, there will be a class of students there for you to build relationships with, bond with, and teach! It's such a rewarding experience, and you will learn and grow SO much from it! I absolutely can't wait to start my second placement this fall!

    Oh, and you SHOULD be planning lessons and you SHOULD have a time where you take over the whole day for awhile - a few weeks, or whatever your university recommends, or whatever your CT feels you are able to do. Keep in mind, though, that some districts follow the "boxed" curriculum more closely than others. I was in a district like that. This does restrict you, but it doesn't keep you from having some autonomy.

    Good luck and I hope you enjoy your experience!!! :)
     
  11. Gracie44

    Gracie44 Rookie

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2011
    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 19, 2011

    Hi! There is not doubt that student teaching can be tough, but it can also be great and I speak from experience. My student teaching experience did not start well. In fact, it got so bad my University insisted that I leave the school (my teacher was super unprofessional) and they moved me to another school. I ended up with a teacher that was not perfect, but she was amazing all the same.

    Look for chances to jump in with the kids. If you have free time, walk around and help kids. Take the initiative. Be willing to take feedback and open the door by asking for it. I also learned so much from my negative experiences at the first site. Instead of letting it ruin my view of teaching, I decided to just turn all of the negative teaching practices I saw into reminders if things I did not want to do.

    I also know that you are probably raring to go with those creative juices. However, if you get a canned program, learn how to use and make it interesting. It is a good skill to be able to teach a program with enthusiasm and passion. Make it come alive for the kids, and if you train your kids well, you can always squeeze in time for the above and beyond cool stuff. Good luck!
     

Share This Page

Members Online Now

  1. vickilyn,
  2. waterfall
Total: 178 (members: 3, guests: 159, robots: 16)
test