Monday, October 7, 2013

Help Needed!

Do you remember when you started your student teaching?  For some of you, it was MANY years ago.  Well, this year my principal asked if I’d be willing to take on a student teacher for part of the semester.  Of course, I said yes.  To be honest, I’m a little nervous, but I’m also honored she asked.  Our campus has some very talented teachers and she picked me.  YAY, me!

  I’ve never had a student teacher before and I don’t want to make the same mistakes my mentor teacher did. Don’t get me wrong, my mentor teacher was very sweet and I know her heart was in the right place.  However, she only had 2 full years of teaching experience under her belt when I stepped into her classroom. I don’t think she was prepared or experienced enough to have a student teacher. Luckily, she had a VERY helpful teaching partner.  Much of what I did learn was from her.

No disrespect, but if I’m being honest I learned more of what NOT to do.  For example, don’t wait 8 weeks before you start grading class assignments and homework (that really isn’t an exaggeration!).  Don’t hand over your class to an unprepared student teacher before they are ready (or REQUIRED) to take over the class. And when you’ve finally taken back control over your class, be prepared with a well thought out lesson plan when your principal comes to observe you for your annual observation. This is NOT the time to fly by the seat of your pants.  I promise, it won’t turn out well.  And because of this, my mentor teacher went out on leave 1 week before my assignment was over. While my other fellow student teacher friends spent the last two weeks of school sleeping in observing other classes, I was still teaching.  My mentor teacher’s principal asked if I’d stay on for another two weeks while my mentor was out.  They wanted some consistency in the classroom & I had already developed a relationship with the kiddos.  Against the advice of my university supervisor, I agreed to stay on for another 2 weeks.  However, I do think that principal’s recommendation probably helped me land a job at another school within the district a month later. 

 I decided to put together a binder full of information that I would have loved to have when I was a student teacher.  I've included things like duty schedules, scope & sequence, road map for the grading period,  instructions on how-to "level" students, suggested lessons for small group instructions, sample lesson plans for small groups, blank planning template for small groups, technology how-to (explanation of using our online lesson planning & gradebook), word work & focus poetry.

So, after my LONG post, my point is…does anyone have any advice to give me?  Have you ever had a student teacher?  What are the “Dos” & “Don’ts” to having a student teacher?  What else should I do in preparation for a student teacher? I’d appreciate any advice.

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  1. I have my second student teacher right now. She is doing a wonderful job...but fair warning, it is hard to be a mentor teacher. Your prep times will be spent talking about the classroom, the kids, the lessons you taught, the lessons she will be teaching and eventually the lessons she taught. The nice part is, you have another adult in the room to talk to!

    Depending on your student teacher, give them freedom to come up with their own activities to meet the standard. I normally give them the topic, tell them what I normally do and invite them to create their own idea. This is their safe place to try things out (especially in the beginning.) In the beginning when your student teacher starts teaching be ready to give feedback, what worked, what they might want to improve on, (always in a kind way.)

    The school my student teacher comes from requires them to give me a write up of their lessons 24 hours in advance. I really love this because it lets me talk through any potential issues I see with the lesson they created. If their school doesn't require that you may want to implement it.

    You will be great. Enjoy it.

    Hunter's Teaching Tales
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  2. Thanks so much for the feedback. It's really helpful! I'm sure she'll be great,but she's spent the first half of the semester in kinder and now she'll be in 4th. It will be a huge jump, but I think afterwards she'll definitely know if she wants to teach primary or intermediate.