Tips for Hosting a Student Teacher

Discussion in 'General Education' started by CFClassroom, Jul 20, 2013.

  1. CFClassroom

    CFClassroom Connoisseur

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    Jul 20, 2013

    Hi Everyone,
    I've welcomed several student teachers in the past and have always enjoyed the experience. I'm preparing to host another one this fall and have been preparing things for him as I prepare for myself.

    Does anyone have tips to share to make the experience successful?

    I would love to hear from those of you who have recently student taught as well.

    Thanks in advance. :)
     
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  3. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    No tips, just wishing you good luck.

    I'm so glad there are teachers like you out there willing to do this. I can't imagine me ever taking the leap.
     
  4. Myrisophilist

    Myrisophilist Habitué

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    I student taught in Fall 2012 and had a positive experience. Here are some ideas off the top of my head:
    • introduce the ST to your department members (or whoever you work closely with)
    • be friendly (no brainer, but it goes a long way :) )
    • Point out the appropriate bathroom and lunch area
    • allow time for observation; don't put the ST on the spot early in the game
    • give feedback REGULARLY (this is where my MT slipped)
    • offer to let the ST accompany you to meetings (RTI, GT, IEP)
     
  5. Croissant

    Croissant Comrade

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    Treat the ST like a colleague. I had a split assignment when I student taught. One cooperating teacher allowed me to teach in the classroom, but pretty much relegated me to a shadow position during anything that involved other teachers (PLC, field trip planning, etc. ). The other CT counted me in as another teacher. She asked my opinion, included me when handing out team responsibilities, etc. It made all the difference in the world.

    Also, make sure your ST know about seemingly unimportant things that may make him/her feel uncomfortable not knowing. Knowing things like what to wear to inservice, if there's a different dress code in Fridays, or of the cafeteria has a special lunch menu for teachers can really put a nervous ST at ease.
     
  6. Mrs.Giggles

    Mrs.Giggles Companion

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    :yeahthat: This is all wonderful advice. I just finished up my student teaching in May 2013, so I still have very fresh, fond memories of it.

    What I loved about my CT is that she always pushed me further. Meaning, she would never just allow me to settle. She was fantastic at giving me praise, but she also did a great job at offering constructive criticism. This really helped me grow in the 16 weeks I was in her classroom, and as an educator.

    The best thing she ever did was five weeks into my internship. She gave me a science unit and said "You have 10-thirty minute sessions to teach this unit. The standards are included in this folder, and I also have many resources that you may use. You may also use any resources of your own. You have about a week and a half to create this unit along with assessments. Teach." She gave me time to ask questions (I didn't ask any as I wanted to try this on my own), but this was her way of making me grow. Trust me, it worked wonders.

    She also allowed me to be extremely independent during my three intensive weeks. She worked on stuff in the hallway, and let me know that she was there if I needed her, but she really did not enter the classroom much. This allowed me to truly manage the classroom without the students looking at my CT for a reaction. However, I liked that she was so close if issues ever arose, which they didn't.

    My CT was very patient with me as I made many silly mistakes. I always forgot to give out certificates for birthdays and accomplishments on multiplication tables. I could tell that this slightly annoyed her, but she was always patient with me.

    My CT allowed me to create the weekly newsletters and send parent emails home (with her looking at all of these before hand). She gave me all of the responsibilities that she could possibly give a ST.

    I'm not sure if this is a possibility, but she put in an order for me to have my own teacher desk in the classroom. This gave me my own sense of space and place to organize my belongings.

    She would praise me often to administrators and other staff in the buildings. It was also quite normal for her to compliment me in the biweekly WOW emails that went out. I know that sounds like a small thing, but it meant the world to me!

    I have such fond memories of ST, and she was actually the second person who I called when I landed my teaching job. Good luck!
     
  7. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Groupie

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    I really like the advice I've seen so far. I would add that if appears your student teacher is not going to cut it, make sure you document all you do to try to help him. I had a ST who was so weak, he couldn't look students in the eye, talk to adults or figure out if a group of words was a complete sentence.

    His college supervisor couldn't believe he'd made it so far into the system; he was so unsuited to be a teacher. I flunked him. She flunked him. He sued me and the university and got his credential. My attorney looked at my notes, and said I would not be harmed by his lawsuit. I'm sure the kids in his classes were harmed.
     
  8. jpablot

    jpablot Rookie

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    1. Introduce them to as many people in the school as possible.
    2. Be sure to introduce them to the class as soon as it starts for the day (seems obvious but I've heard some teachers who didn't)
    3. If there are any issues or any concerns, bring it up with the ST first before going to their supervisor and so on.
    4. Help your ST know what they should be doing rather than just having them sit there and have no clue what they are supposed to do.
    5. Try not to jump in on discipline issues while the ST is teaching and let them handle it themselves (unless it is an obvious situation where you HAVE to step in).
    6. Give regular feedback.
    7. DON'T try to turn them into a clone of you. Give them the help and support they need while still allowing them to become their own teacher.
    8. Let the ST use your teacher desk during their full time teaching.

    Just did my ST last semester.
     
  9. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Great advice, everyone!

    I think it's important to ease the ST into things. The first few days I observed and got to the know the students by working with them in small groups.

    And Tyler, that's crazy. Not enough "confidence" to look at students directly but enough to sue you?!
     
  10. Ms.TeacherLady

    Ms.TeacherLady Rookie

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    My CT was very nice and always told me what a great job I was doing. While this was great to hear, I got very little feedback on what I could be doing better. I rarely received any constructive criticism on how to improve. I'd recommend a balanced approach to feedback that includes areas of strengths and areas of improvement. My CT was also out of the room frequently. She would help out in other classrooms. Sometimes, this was a blessing because it forced me to think on my feet but I often had unanswered questions and wished she was in the room more. Her absence was another reason I rarely received constructive feedback. I'd recommend staying in the room with your ST frequently, particularly in the beginning, and offering as much constructive feedback as possible- reflect on his lessons while teaching him to reflect on them himself :) Good luck!
     
  11. EiffelTower

    EiffelTower Comrade

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    To add to what has already been mentioned ... provide he/she with their own space (table, group of desks) to house their items, work with small groups, conference, etc.
     
  12. Rabbitt

    Rabbitt Connoisseur

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    When I was a ST, I also spent a day with others in the building...library, aides, Title 1, specials, guidance, etc. It helped me understand how the school functions as a whole. Maybe it was just half days for some?
     
  13. Croissant

    Croissant Comrade

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    Oh, just thought of a big one...

    Don't allow your school to use your ST as a last minute babysitter or substitute. It may be tempting and easy to pull the "extra body" in an emergency, but that's not what he/she is there for. I think most universities have a rule about this, but it may need to be pointed out to whomever assigns subs.
     
  14. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Student teachers are also students, so sometimes they need to make mistakes in order to learn from them, rather than just be told the way to do something. If you give them advice, and they still want to do it their way, let them try it, and learn from it.
     
  15. Teacher_Coach

    Teacher_Coach New Member

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    I love all of these suggestions! I just finished my student teaching in May and had an incredible experience! My Co-op and I know had a great relationship. I think he was such a good cooperating teacher because he...

    1. let me make the class my own-this went really far because I was comfortable and he gave me my own space to work, my own bulletin boards EVERYTHING. It make me feel like a "real" teacher
    2. He introduced me to everyone and anyone! It was great because there was always a friendly face and a helping hand!
    3. He had my back! When a student challenged me (I had 11th and 12th graders) he always supported my decision! If he had differing ideas we wouldn't discuss it in front of students. It gave me credibility in front of the students.
    4. Constant feedback! We reviewed every lesson I taught what was good, what could use improvement. He also complimented me! That really helped my confidence!
    5. He stepped out of the room. (Depending on the district this may not be possible) Sometimes my coop would leave. This was actually GREAT. I felt so at ease and like the class was really mine! Some of my favorite memories were when I was in there by myself, and I was acting completely relaxed.

    He truly did an AMAZING job at preparing me for teaching and I cannot thank him enough! Good Luck!
     
  16. Crono91

    Crono91 Rookie

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    Jul 31, 2013

    Sighhhhhh!!! I still have a little while until I even start Student Teaching. (I'm going into my second year of college). It sure seems like a numbers game when it comes to these stories. Some are amazing, some aren't, and some are horrid!

    I hope I won't be anything like Tyler's ST!

    Also, @Teacher_Coach, I know everyone has their preferred grade, but I still can't imagine how a ST could survive in a high school! I give you props.
     
  17. bros

    bros Phenom

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    Even I with my severe anxiety can look students in the eyes.

    Now other adults, on the other hand are a different matter.

    I can understand where that student is coming from if they are in a similar situation to me. They may feel caged in and fight back with the first response. If it were to happen to me, I would react somewhat similarly, but with a more calculated response. I would hit the university and the supervisor with any complaints (I would most likely start complaints at the state and federal levels consecutively) and leave the cooperating teacher and district out of any such complaint, as they would not be anywhere near as culpable as the university in such a situation.

    Can you tell I'm overthinking my student teaching over a month before it begins?

    Yeah i'm pretty much having anxiety spikes daily about it.

    I worry every day as to the extent to which my disabilities will affect me in the classroom, in particular with regards to math, as I am... rather rusty with most mathematical concepts, as I am simply not good at math (around a 7-8th grade equivalency, but I have some gaps in knowledge)

    I'm so happy i'm avoiding this with my placement because I do not have a substitute certification.

    There was a student teacher in my 9th grade earth science class (2004-2005 school year).

    She did well. I saw her again this past spring when I was repeating my pre-professional field experience. Passed me in the teacher's lounge my first day of field experience, looked at me for about five seconds, then was like "You look familiar, where do I know you from?"

    I told her, she was like "Oh my god! I remember you! You are so smart!"

    She proceeded to tell my cooperating teacher how great I was.
     
  18. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Obviously I don't know this student teacher, but Tyler said he was "so weak, he couldn't look students in the eye, talk to adults or figure out if a group of words was a complete sentence". Some people simply shouldn't be in a classroom. If you can't communicate with your students...well, that's a major obstacle to teaching and learning. I know of a couple other circumstances in which student teachers or first year intern teachers should not have been granted full certification, but since they sued they are now in the classroom. I think that sucks.
     
  19. Croissant

    Croissant Comrade

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    By my understanding, that doesn't matter. As a student teacher, you are insured to be in a classroom alone because, well, you need to be every once awhile. My university actually put a limit in place to protect ST from being used as free subs.
     
  20. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    I can't believe someone could sue in order to gain a credential. This isn't peewee soccer-not everyone can get a trophy.

    I'm scared to death of heights-so I won't become a roofer. I wouldn't sue a roofing company to become one, even though I don't have the skills necessary. Ok, maybe that's not the best comparison, but jeez!
     
  21. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    From someone who's had about 1.5 truly good cooperating teachers (CTs) out of a total of 4 (I earned 2 credentials), please be GENUINELY interested in their success & take the time to show them all you can. Offer to give advice or talk even during your lunch hour sometimes, whether they take you up on your offer or not. It shows that you're there for them. A lot of teachers who have a ST think, "OK, it's my break & they mean also abreak away from their ST." I'm not saying you have to have lunch together all 5 days a week because people need a little break from each other too, but just extend yourself. I'd say something like, "It's totally up to you, but if you want to discuss something at lunch a couple times a week, then I'm here for you."

    For my CTs, I had 2 who were not effective, another was OK I guess, but only one who was truly outstanding. She really seemed to care & do the best she could! The sad thing about a lot of CTs is, they think they're good, but they're really not, but there's no one around who's going to tell them they're bad. I guess if the ST really thinks their CT is bad, they'd tell their university observer who comes to the school to observe/evaluate them.

    Have fun with your ST!
     
  22. bros

    bros Phenom

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    Suing to get in the classroom makes no sense.

    If it were me, i'd pursue a discrimination charge and get them to allow me to retake student teaching, as they only allow one repeat field experience every two years in my program.

    It matters in NJ or at least with my university. You cannot be a sub at any time during student teaching. The cooperating teacher is not allowed to leave the classroom alone with the student teacher (unless it is for a really short period like a quick bathroom break) because someone hired/paid by the district is legally responsible for the students in case of an emergency.
     
  23. DizneeTeachR

    DizneeTeachR Virtuoso

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    There's a lot I may repeat.
    1. Please introduce your ST as a teacher in your classroom. I was just introduced as like a helper which made the transition for me to teach on my own a little weird.
    2. Go over some of the rules and things you think the ST will know. My example is writing I ball and bat (even when I subbed), but this school did D'Nealian. So when I was asked to teach writing (Yes within first couple of wks) I did ball and bat.
    3. Like others Just because we are there doesn't mean you can wonder to talk with friends (Yes mine did this). I think mainly because she knew that I had been subbing for sometime.
    4. Your supposed to ease into it, then on our own, then ease back out to help the kids transition as well. On the ease out see if there are some other grade teacher that would allow the ST to sit in for a couple hours or something. I LOVED this part of STing.
    5. Good Luck.
     
  24. futureteach24

    futureteach24 Companion

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    I had my student teacher in spring 2012. I would say the most important thing would be to talk to him/her about things they wouldn't learn in school. Classroom management is one thing that comes in mind. I had tons of content area courses, education classes, and even a whole class on how to prepare lesson plans. However, I never took a class management course. Also, give him/her tips on how to find a job. Lastly, be honest with them about their strengths and their weaknesses so they can become a great teacher.
     
  25. bros

    bros Phenom

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    My college requires a classroom management course before student teaching and you take it while you are in the field once a week teaching a lesson.

    It doesn't help much.
     
  26. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Can you clarify how you see Tyler's ST as a discrimination issue? I'm not understanding.
     
  27. bros

    bros Phenom

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    It would all depend on if the student were identified with their college and receiving accommodations and if their college supervisor were made aware of the accommodations (and if they were implemented properly/appropriately in the classroom)
     
  28. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Don't be afraid to hand over control of the classroom to your student teacher. Obviously you will want to keep an eye on things and check to make sure everything gets done correctly, but certainly give your student teacher a chance to do things on his or her own. My own cooperating teacher was very good about most things, but she never let me handle the "housekeeping" sorts of tasks, like taking attendance. It was those silly little tasks that gave me the most stress as a new teacher because I had never had the opportunity to juggle them before.

    If your student teacher is doing the wrong thing, let him or her know in a constructive and clear way. Don't beat around the bush and expect that he or she will pick up on your hints. You need to be straightforward and clear. Being kind and sensitive is also important, but not when doing so will cover up the real message. Too often I think we as teachers are so inclined to be nice that we forget to be honest. You're not doing your student teacher any favors by not correcting his or her mistakes.
     
  29. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    bros, I see where you're coming from, but I also think that you're being incredibly unrealistic about what your career will actually be like as a teacher. If you can't function without certain accommodations and supports as a student teacher, how will you do so as a full teacher? Your accommodations and needs probably won't make a lick of difference to your administrator. I'm not trying to be harsh, but I am trying to be realistic. Do you have plans in place to address the supports that you're going to need once you get into the classroom? Have you considered that the supports you will need might be so extensive that you might have difficulty getting hired or maintaining a position? Have you considered a different track within a school/academic setting, such as a parent advocate, special ed facilitator, or social worker? I would think that any of those positions would be much easier to handle as someone who needs a lot of support.
     
  30. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    There was no indication there was such an issue. Some people are just "awkward". My first line of thinking isn't to press charges of some sort.

    But, and maybe I'm just horrible, I think there simply ARE some professions people are not suited for, and yes, maybe even because of a disability. If this person had some sort of severe anxiety issue that kept him from communicating with students and families, and it didn't seem as though it was something he could "conquer", I don't believe a school should be required to hire him and then, I don't know, provide therapy services or excuse him from parent-teacher conferences...or whatever might be necessary given the anxiety. There are sometimes non-negotiables.
     
  31. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Certainly these struggles described by Tyler could be due to conditions for which accommodations and modifications were made in a student's own learning situations. However, unless said ST has some other amazing classroom skills that make him a compelling candidate, he's going to have a VERY DIFFICULT time getting hired, even if he does complete student teaching. Not impossible, but more difficult than swarms of other candidates who had sucessful ST experiences and who are already having difficulty finding teaching jobs.
     
  32. MzMooreTeaches

    MzMooreTeaches Cohort

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    WOW! The memories of my student teaching experience! Silly mistakes that I made was an understatement. I had great days... then I had days where two of my prek students were near fighting. I like much of the advice that has been posted. Only further advice I can offer is be sure to PUSH, Challenge, Motivate her and provide real life experiences that can happen.
    Perhaps host a parent conference, make phone calls to parents etc.

    Good LUCK!
     
  33. Croissant

    Croissant Comrade

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    I don't know that it's appropriate for a ST to make a parent phone call, but they should definitely be present for them. One I my CT's made at least two phone calls a day. When I made my first phone call as a teacher, I realized I was modeling my call after what I had heard her do. I felt much more confident than I would have because I had seen someone else do it.
     
  34. Pisces_Fish

    Pisces_Fish Fanatic

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    ^^ Great idea about the phone calls! When I started my first year I found the phone calls home so, so, so scary!
     
  35. HorseLover

    HorseLover Comrade

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    I recently finished my student teaching and had a great experience; here would be some suggestions that I would have....

    -Make sure the student teacher knows where all the supplies, lesson books, etc are and give him/her the freedom to use them and even (as long as the school allows it) take them home to help with lesson planning and familiarizing themselves with the content

    -Allow them to ease into the process, but don't be afraid to push them a little if needed :)

    -Give constructive feedback on how they can improve!

    -If you're allowed, leave them alone with the class once in a while (once they are used to the kids and into more of the teaching part vs just observing).

    -For classroom management; Help them out a little when needed, but also give them time to see how they manage various events so they can learn from mistakes.
     

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