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Mshope's Message:

I was lucky to have had three very good student teachers. I also had excellent cooperating teachers so I was able to learn from them how to give constructive criticism. I have to admit that we are sometimes pressured to take college students. I have not been impressed by some preservice teachers who played on their phones, dressed inappropriately, and were not helpful. With an increased amount of pressure on teachers at my school this year, I'm not sure I could deal with that on top of having a student teacher who is not cooperative. Not well, I fear.

No one is perfect! However, I think the most important thing for student teachers to have is a great attitude. You must expect to work hard, keep your mouth shut, and realize that you don't know everything!

I also work with preserve teachers in a few of our school's summer programs. It's funny how some cannot take any criticism/suggestions without being defensive. The good ones are willing to learn and take advice.

I wish you the best in your future.

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Discussion Review (newest messages first)
newbie17 12-30-2018 01:02 AM

It's been 8 years since I was a student teacher and I still have mixed feelings about the experience. I had 2 CTs, one for a kindergarten placement and the other in resource special ed. Got off to a rocky start with the kindergarten one due to being in ill health. Once my health recovered enough for me to interact with the kids (about 10 days in) things went great. The problem there was with my university supervisor...she had my CT in college and they despised each other! More than a decade had passed and they still wouldn't speak to each other when my university supervisor came to observe. I remember teaching a math lesson and sitting with my university supervisor after and she told me "well, if all your lessons go like that you'll be back behind the make up counter within the first 2 months of teaching. It's not all your fault though, you just need some real guidance". (FYI: I worked at a beauty supply store before becoming a teacher) I was shocked that she'd say something like that about my CT though.Anyway, I ended up getting along great with that CT and we're still friends to this day.

My second placement was a lot harder though. The sped teacher I worked with was quiet, stern, to the point, and all business. I, however, need to know my kids before I can teach my kids. She was pretty nice to me in our meetings but wasn't so nice when my university supervisor (different gal from the first placement) came around. She basically said I talk to the kids too much, I'm not serious enough, and I'm more concerned with being their friend than their teacher. To that my university supervisor smiled, said thanks for your input and shortly thereafter ended the meeting. She told me what had been said about me and could tell I was upset but then said "you two are very different people and that's ok. The reason the kids listen to her is fear, the reason they listen to you is love. Don't ever stop being who you are with those kids. You obviously have a talent in connecting with them. Your CT doesn't see that as a priority and that's ok. You'll never be a teacher like her and more importantly, she'll never be a teacher like you." That taught me that it's ok to have different teaching styles.

Fast forward 5 years and I get a job doing exactly what she does. Guess what all my evaluations have said for the last 3 years? "wonderful rapport with students", "values student input", "obviously cares for students" and other similar comments.

Bottom line here is that you and your CT might be very different people, and that's ok. What's not ok is not completing all the assigned tasks. I completely understand not wanting to inconvenience her, but I also understand that if everything isn't done you've not completed the required work to move forward. Regardless, it's in the past and like you said, you have to opportunity to work 4x harder during student teaching. Also, ST is absolutely a job interview, no matter if you think it should be or not. Other teachers are judging you and deciding if they want you at their school, many of them have more influence than you can imagine. The admins are watching to see how you get along, how hard you work, your interaction with the kids, and your general disposition. It was the connections I made during ST that got me my job, and if you ask most teachers they will probably say the same thing. Good luck next semester!!

maryteach 12-28-2018 10:18 AM

was really good in some ways and really awful in other ways. She was a good teacher (but too willing to go along with things that weren't really the best way, or truly research-based. She moved around a lot and tended to be untenured, so you do what you're told). She had great classroom management and she was very smart.

She was also clique-y and sort of a b*****. She gave me a very lukewarm letter of recommendation at the end and criticized me a lot. I am sure she thought I was not going to be a good teacher.

Eighteen years later, I'm a better teacher than she was, by quite a bit. I know a lot more about teaching reading and writing than she did. And I stayed in the same district for 15 years, so I was tenured and could (and did) fight back against things that weren't in the best interests of kids.

I student taught for her in elementary and I've been a middle school teacher for 15 of my 18 years, so there's that difference. They are very different environments and elementary teachers in general are under greater scrutiny from the P.

I looked her up on FB and see that she just got her Ph.D. Good for her. Like I said, she was smart. I just don't have the fondest memories of my time with her.

When I get student teachers, I try to remember what I didn't like about her and try to make the experience one where the student teacher gets to try all sorts of things, and grow.

connieg 12-28-2018 07:10 AM

Some historical perspective. Okay, I go WAY back to the era when CT's were given cold hard cash when they accepted a student teacher. In today's money, it was about $400. Then, it changed where the university gave the teacher a voucher to take a free class. The teacher could use it or give it to a peer. Then, the reimbursement changed to the district receiving the courses to use at their discretion with the CT receiving no special privileges. Lesson here: the CT used to be paid for the huge amount of time a student teacher required.

My first ST was absolutely horrible and entitled. The university demanded that I give her an A and overruled my decision.

All of my other STs were great except for one. I recommended the good ones for positions and sincerely wished they could be my colleagues.

Then came a young woman who couldn't get a job that used her BA degree and she had to work "joe jobs." She tired of that and someone suggested that she could get a Masters AND a teaching certificate in just 18 months but it would be really hard work. She didn't hear the last part of that recommendation.

The biggest problem (among many other issues) was her lack of a basic education! She probably wouldn't have been able to pass a high school exit exam. This made it difficult for her to actually teach subjects like math. It was a huge revelation to her that fractions had decimal equivalents. There are lots of things a teacher may not know but we have to know at least what is in our curriculum! The university was at fault here because everything was taught at a breakneck pace. Somehow, this woman also had to learn the basics that many spent learning at the undergraduate level.

Another issue that came up was working while full-time student teaching. In my earlier years, this was strictly prohibited because your big experience was considered a full-time job with plenty of overtime! Some of my STs couldn't stay after school or do nightly prep because they had to put in a full shift at work. I understand the issues, but not giving 110% to ST is a big problem. BTW- I paid for my entire BA and MA by working part-time, but I didn't during student teaching.

As others mentioned, CTs often have no or little say in the matter of accepting a ST. With the state of affairs today, I would definitely avoid taking one unless I knew the person because my students' scores matter! I accepted a few after they had spent other experiences with me, and I knew they would be high-quality candidates.

There is a myth that student teachers bring in new, fresh ideas. Unfortunately, I have not found that to be true. Some people think that most CTs just want a ST so they have a go-for and will just take advantage of the situation. That happens upon occasion with coaches at the high school level who are forced to teach a few classes to keep their coaching positions.

So, student teachers, please be aware that only an excellent student teacher works out to the students' and the CT's benefit. A good CT puts in a huge amount of their own personal time to help you be successful.

When I was a ST, I had to submit (a hard thing for a young person to do) and work hard for a very competent taskmaster. She wanted to be a writer and was a radical feminist (that was at the beginning of the movement.) Things were quite political because she wrote about our male administrators and named names. Not an easy position for me to be in at age 23. She resigned in early summer, and I was given her position. How sweet was that?

desert flower 12-22-2018 09:27 PM

I'm sorry. I loved my last student teacher and did everything possible to make sure she was successful in the classroom. I kept in touch with her when she was hired for the same grade level in another district, and gave her many items for her classroom. It's unfortunate that some teachers are like the ones you talked about.

kerrysgirl 12-19-2018 06:26 AM


To the OP, please don't assume that a teacher with YEARS of experience is out to get you or is out to intentionally cause you grief. Most of us don't have the time or the energy after a full day of classes and duties to be out to get anyone.

Also, here's another perspective on why your CT didn't say anything negative to you: My very last ST broke down in tears or argued with me about why her plans/activities were perfect every time I had a suggestion, a question, or an idea to share about her lessons. EVERY TIME. If your CT perceived you to be some kind of a drama queen, or a problem, or a hot head, s/he may not have wanted to set off fireworks. Our jobs are tough enough with having a head on collision every time we try to discuss a lesson with a teacher in training.

AppleADayTea 12-16-2018 11:11 PM

First of all, I do agree that the host teacher should have brought up her concerns with you directly. As a mentor, yes, it would have been great if she had helped keep you on track by asking you about your plans to complete your tasks on time. I can understand how frustrated you must be right now and also have concerns about how this will impact your credits and your graduation.

However, you have hit the nail on the head with this one: "No amount of book and article reading can prepare anyone to be a teacher, most of the learning comes from the hands on experience of actually being in the classroom." You have a mentor teacher who hosts you and guides you, and hopefully you will learn a lot from her. However, just as I tell my students, you are in charge of your own learning. No, you can't control how your mentor teacher teaches or how she behaves as a mentor. Not all teachers should be mentor teachers, I agree, but some do not get a choice. And sometimes a student teacher and mentor teacher differ in their styles and personalities and it just clashes - even if he or she has successfully hosted student teachers before. You knew your assignments, and it was your responsibility to get them all completed. You didn't. That was your fault, and nobody else's. You're human, you make mistakes, nobody is denying that. But when you screw up you need to own it and accept the consequences.

If you think this year is hard, wait until you get your first classroom. You won't have college assignments anymore, but you will have a large amount of professional responsibilities to complete, some with strict deadlines. If you are lucky, you will have colleagues and a principal who are very supportive and helpful. But even then, nobody is going to be able to hold your hand through it as with student teaching. Basically you will be given a room, a class list, curriculum, and told to do your job. You will need to prove to your principal, colleagues, and parents that you are capable of behaving professionally and educating these precious kids.

Teachers who have been teaching for years DO know that someone brand new to the profession won't be perfect. Believe me, we know. How do we know? Because we have been teaching for YEARS and are still not perfect ourselves. We still make mistakes, sometimes handle situations poorly in the moment, teach a lesson that totally flop, and forget things. It happens and we understand that. However we can't let a newbie, whether that's a first year teacher or a student teacher, get by with being lackadaisical. If we let you do that, you will become complacent and not take all aspects (especially the not so fun ones) of the job seriously.

As in all professions, some teachers shouldn't be teachers. And not all teachers - even the amazing ones - should be mentor teachers. But all in all, we are TEACHERS. We work TONS of hours, we receive criticism from administrators, we question ourselves and our management strategies when students won't behave and focus, we lose sleep over our students' lack of academic growth, we cry in the car and in the shower thinking about our kids who come from abusive homes or who can't afford the basics, we buy coats, gloves and snacks for them. Do you honestly think most of us would NOT want to see your growth and development flourish!? However, teachers are often very protective of their students and classrooms. If it comes down to the growth and development of our students vs. that of a student teacher, we're going to pick the students every time. You are going to be fresh out of school and you want to make yourself look competent. But if you go in assuming that experienced teachers are out to get you, you won't last. Try to think about it from her perspective. She did make mistakes, sure, but imagine everything that is on her plate. Chances are she doesn't share EVERY thing with you. Some of it she can't and some of it would overwhelm you. But most likely, she does want the best for your growth and development.

Look, my first year was a sh!tsh*w. I was fortunate enough to have supportive grade level teammates and a principal. I got hired 3 days before school started, had several students on IEPs with severe behavioral concerns, and many others who had behavior or emotional issues, and a chunk who struggled. They were a hard class. I think I cried every day after school for all of September and October, and I swore after that year I would never teach again. I remember standing in my room during open house a few weeks into school, and it was near the end so not many parents were still around. My principal stopped by and asked how I was doing. I replied that I was doing okay but was concerned I wasn't competent enough to do this. He put his hand on my shoulder and said, "You're right where you should be for a first year teacher. This job is hard, and you WILL screw up. A lot. If you're not screwing up, you're not doing your job. Give yourself some grace."

Zia 12-16-2018 08:42 PM

It's super sad, but I am in the same boat as Emily:

I host several interns during a school year, but no more student teachers. Our accountability system is such that my salary and job security depend on my students' performance. I simply cannot risk putting their growth and achievement in the hands of someone who may be completely incompetent. I can't stand back and let them take over my classroom as long as my name is attached to their test scores.
I've never had a ST and have no plans to take one on. It's just too high-risk when student test scores affect me so profoundly. I'm fortunate my P asks for volunteers.

There is a movement afoot in my district to make NBCTs exempt from the evaluation system and instead host STs and mentor new teachers. I am 100% down with this!
Kinderkr4zy 12-16-2018 07:23 PM

I also had a bad experience student teaching so I know how hard that can be. My CT also didnt want a ST and I found out later that she was getting a ton of stress from difficult parents that made her paranoid that she would be non-renewed or put on a PIP. My situation was the opposite of yours because of this and the CT basically wouldn't let me do anything but her prep work and grading. I got very few opportunities to work with students and only got to teach lessons a couple of times and both times she tried to insist that I teach by reading a lesson straight from her TE's. I had to go to the principal to get permission to teach using the strategies that were required for my observations. It was a nightmare. She was also totally unfriendly and most days would say may 5 words to me or less.

Luckily for me my program had us work with a minimum of 2 CT because we had to do 2 grade levels. I worked with 3 because I got hours doing Extended school year. 2 were great and they really supported me, gave good direction and communicated well. Maybe you will get one like that when you go to your next placement. This could end up being a big blessing.

Emily26 12-16-2018 06:24 PM

Every year they are BEGGING for mentor teachers, but we don't take on student teachers anymore. I host several interns during a school year, but no more student teachers. Our accountability system is such that my salary and job security depend on my students' performance. I simply cannot risk putting their growth and achievement in the hands of someone who may be completely incompetent. I can't stand back and let them take over my classroom as long as my name is attached to their test scores. I don't have time to adequately mentor a student teacher in developing classroom management and instructional strategies. In addition, many of the candidates coming to us are completely unsuited to life in the classroom, and the fact that their university continues to encourage them while taking their money is heart-breaking, as they surely won't survive their first year in their own classroom.

If you do get a placement, be grateful and be willing to work hard. You sound very entitled, ungrateful, and arrogant. I hope there is more to the story than you are sharing, but please put yourself in the teacher's shoes and be more open-minded. She has a lot riding on that classroom. I would love to hear the story from your mentor teacher's perspective. Would she describe someone who is unwilling to work hard? That won't take direction or advice? Someone who disrespects children or isn't willing to learn and grow, instead of assuming she knows everything because she spent a week reading about Piaget?

Also, FYI, some teachers aren't given a choice about these things...they get an email on Friday that their student teacher starts Monday. That sounds outrageous, but I've seen it happen many times over the years.

PollyCarp 12-16-2018 01:53 PM

So, it sounds like your mentor teacher was not giving you direct feedback. If so, that's terrible! I'm sorry that happened to you. One thing to consider, though: was she offering subtle feedback that you missed? My mentor teacher was a lovely, encouraging woman who waited until I asked to give more negative feedback. This worked for me because I was fairly self-aware and went to her for help. I could see how it wouldn't work for everybody.

I've found that communication can be extremely indirect in a school setting. I think it's because it's a female-dominated profession and we ladies are socialized to be "nice" and indirect. This is a good chance to make sure you're picking up on indirect signals.

As far as ST is a job interview: you may think it *shouldn't* be a job interview, and I can understand that. But factually, it is. A large proportion of my graduating class was hired in their ST school or in schools where their mentors and/or principals had connections. They don't look for perfection, they look for potential. (Well, my first principal looked for perfection, but thankfully my teammates looked for potential.)

As far as the uncompleted assignment, I don't know how your school works, so I can't speak to that. I know in my program, I would not have been allowed to progress without all assignments completed. Learning to juggle and prioritize without getting in trouble for incomplete work is part of the profession. Good luck with that, truly! It's taken me four years and I'm still not perfect at it.

Blue Flower 12-16-2018 11:32 AM

I have had some bad experiences with CTs during my practical hours and through my actual student teaching. One teacher I worked with for a language arts credit did go around my back to my advisor instead of speaking to me about a problem I knew nothing about and would have fixed if she had told me. I put up with her yelling at me, ignoring me, and missing both of my scheduled lessons. She told me my first day that she didnít understand why I was placed with her because she had only taught for a few years. I dreaded coming to this personís classroom every time.

My CT for my STing also informed me on our first meeting that he did not want an ST and only said yes out of fear of telling the principal no. He was completely hands off and took a long break when I took over. He was also extremely unprofessional when he overshared his personal problems and blew up at me every time he fought with his girlfriend. Yes, I do know they were fighting because he would tell me! I felt like I was his counselor, and continued to rise above his blow ups. At the end he told me I did a good job and that I was the first ST he didnít make cry. I let him think that I never cried rather than admit the times I went to the bathroom to calm down.

I feel like the ongoing issue is that there are many teachers who do not want the responsibility of having a ST, but they are forced or feel forced to do so. It is a broken system in my opinion. I also place blame on colleges for continuing to place students with disengaged mentor teachers. I tried to switch classrooms during STing and was told it would look too bad. I also learned I wasnít the first ST to have a problem with that mentor teacher. I wish I didnít listen and found a teacher who was willing to mentor me, but I survived.

I try hard to practice forgiveness, and I even laugh now about the past. I also feel more pride in my accomplishments because of my hardships. You have to guard your heart and grow a thick skin. Not because other teachers are so professional, but because, for some reason, many will not be. Teaching is a stressful, subjective, and high stakes profession and some teachers will share and care, and others will criticize you and be unpleasant. Good luck with your next placement, and be sure to complete ALL your tasks this time no matter what.

anna 12-16-2018 08:48 AM

If I understand you correctly O.P. your complaint has to do with the teacher you were placed with. You did not do one assigned task from your college because you ran out of time and did not want to inconvenience the CT. While this sounds thoughtful,it also sounds like excuse making.

Now I do think the CT is partly to blame as well. When I get a ST we plan all of his/her assignments and I do make sure the message to the ST is tell me everything you need to get done . I am flexible and want to make sure you get it done.
It was unfair of the CT to complain about you to someone else . The CT should have brought any concerns to you first and allowed you time to improve. I depise teachers who behave like that. It's what I call a "Gotcha" move.

You wrote " (I'm still combing through my -entire- memory trying to find a moment where I did listen to her suggestions)." Is that a typo on your part? I am thinking and hoping it is. Best of luck on your next assignment. No matter the profession, there are those already in it that are unnecessarily negative and some of them want you to screw up. Sad but true. It is tough to be an adult in the professional world.

Myopinion 12-16-2018 07:41 AM

If the cooperating teacher was displeased with the student teachers' decision, they should have said something right then and there so that at least the ST wouldn't have been caught off guard, and possibly could have done something to rectify their mistake. Not saying anything and putting it on a piece of paper is the coward's way of doing things.

choppie70 12-16-2018 06:22 AM

Being harsh doesn't necessarily mean that the teacher is asking for perfection.

Being harsh may be the supervising teacher's way of helping you grow.

Being a supervising teacher is a huge responsibility! Yes, I agree that you should not be one if you are not devoted, but who defines what "devoted" looks like?

My first student teaching assignment was with a teacher who just wanted another body in the classroom. She was just back from a year of maternity leave and had a difficult class. She was very complacent and I learned NOTHING from her.

My second assignment was with a teacher who was very stern and serious. She almost failed me because I left my Columbus Day bulletin board up 3 days past Columbus Day! She did not talk with me about this concern , but immediately went to the college supervisor. I learned a LOT more being in her room.

I don't agree that because the poster had to hear it from another source shows the teacher is a "coward". The poster told the teacher not to worry about it. It shows a lack of commitment. It should have been a conversation. The poster should have asked the teacher what she felt about it and how they could make it work.

In teaching there is no, "I will get a few points off." You do what is required of you. This would be a big red flag to me. It is a huge lesson to learn from. Teaching is stressful, you will struggle to get things in on time, you will struggle to complete things that you have to.

As far as the demands on student teachers being hard - how do we prepare them for the sh!tstorm that will be 1st year teaching? Student teaching is a breeze compared to that! Here our 1st year teachers have 2 full observations and 2 unannounced from their P, 4 announced observations from the Superintendent, and 2 announced from their mentor teacher. They need to prove themselves for their summative evaluation, plus work toward proving and documenting they know the 10 state teaching standards (which are different from the districts standards.) That is in addition to all the regular demands of a classroom!

whiteturtle 12-16-2018 05:50 AM

Hindsight is 20/20 and I am glad to hear you say you will work 4X harder during your student teaching experience. It does sound like your cooperating teacher did not share her concerns with you, which is not okay. I wish she had been more forthright with you during your time in her classroom. Being a CT is difficult. It forces you to be responsible for the learning of your ST and your class. It is extra work and as others have mentioned, it isn't always the CT's choice to host a ST. Most CTs recognize that this is a learning experience.

That being said, your student teaching experience really can be like a job interview. It is a time of learning, but I look for certain traits from student teachers I have in my room. Are they hardworking? Do they take initiative? Do they treat the students with respect? Are they trying to teach and not just do a "cutesy-pie" kind of lesson that is more for show? As Angelo mentioned above, some things about teaching have to be learned. Improving classroom management and routines, crafting lesson plans and methods of assessing student learning can be learned and improved upon. If a person has the character traits I mentioned above and I would want that person as a teammate, the other things can be learned. Good luck with your student teaching.

teenytiny 12-15-2018 11:40 PM

I'm sorry you had a difficult experience. I will say that there is something about your post that doesn't sit well with me, though.

I am an experienced teacher, and I've had several student teachers. The last one made me never want to have another one ever again. Taking on a student teacher means a lot of extra work for the mentor teacher. I spent so much time with her, helping her with lessons, giving helpful and encouraging advice, and being supportive. The problem? She wasn't at all appreciative. She seemed to think she was helping me out.

There was no understanding of how much time I was devoting to her learning. When I had her "take over" the class, which was part of the plan to help her become a self sufficient teacher, she was annoyed. She seemed to feel that I was taking advantage of her and working her too hard. Whenever I gave her advice to help her, she felt it was criticism. It wasn't, I was truly trying to help.

Sorry, I'm just triggered now.

IAMwithAngel 12-15-2018 08:08 PM

Your very first paragraph is so spot on I just want to cry. I have realized the worse enemy of a teacher is another teacher and many of the ills and hurdles teachers go faced teachers brought on to the professions themselves. Enough said.

Angelo 12-15-2018 06:09 PM

I've worked with teachers who volunteered to take on a ST for all the wrong reasons. Most aren't like that where I come from, but a few are. There are teachers who don't appreciate that teaching is craft that can be learned, honed, and developed. They seem to think you either "have it or you don't" and that those who "don't" will never be effective teachers no matter how much coaching and encouragement they receive. Therefore, these teachers see their role as "gatekeeper to the profession." If someone doesn't pass their "smell test" on the first day, they make it their mission to keep that person out of the profession by whatever means they have at their disposal.

I've heard a few people rationalize this perspective and even try to frame "failing" student teachers as a "coup de grace" or "tough love." I was sitting at the lunch table a few years ago with a colleague who had a ST and who was callously remarking that "she's never going to pass" even though she was only a few days into her placement. The colleague shrugged and said, "If she's not cut out for it, better she find it out now when she's still young and has time to pursue another career path." I was thinking, "Gee... someone certainly has a high opinion of her opinion." What was worse was that she fully intended to string the ST along and go through the motions for the next four weeks even though she wasn't open to changing her mind about the ST. Brutal.

And I've known a few ST who had host teachers who judged them by an impossible standard. When they scored them, they did so on a scale used to judge fully qualified teachers, so the ST always came up with low scores. That's like giving someone the final exam for AP Calculus when they're just finishing their first quarter of Sophomore Algebra.

As I say, most teachers who take on student teachers aren't like this, but those who are certainly are a vocal minority. If that's what you're dealing with, you have my sympathies.

Ima Teacher 12-15-2018 05:21 PM

Iíve had great, good, and terrible student teachers & interns. I certainly understand that student teachers are still learning, but I also expect them to be an active participant in their own education. And if they fail at something, own it. Excuse making just doesnít fly.

I do know one thing for certain. Nobody passes or fails without multiple peopleís input. The building principal, the university supervisor, the mentor teacher, and the student teacher ALL have roles in the process. No one person has the ability to decide if a person passes or fails.

Myopinion 12-15-2018 05:06 PM

The demands they place on student teachers is next to impossible. The fact that this student teacher had to hear criticism from a different source shows that this cooperating teacher is a coward which is pretty much what my cooperating teacher did too.

What exactly did the original poster say that was rude on here? Because I sure didn't catch it.

If you make a mistake when you're teaching I'm sure you want people to show you grace and understand that you're human. Somehow people seem to think that student teachers don't deserve the same grace.

tyrex 12-15-2018 04:36 PM

"My professor told me that she said that I didn't care about finishing my tasks."

You finished 14 of 15 tasks. You did not finish one. The CT's statement is accurate. You did not care enough to plan ahead so they could all be done. It sounds like she offered to rework her assignments or lesson plans so you could do so and you refused.

Frankly, if I were her I'd be frustrated as well. As teachers we deal with our own students who decide that their work or effort is "good enough," or who procrastinate. As a CT I'd be very bothered that a pre-service teacher was already doing less than required.

"She even equated student teaching to a "job interview" which I whole heartedly disagree with."
You might disagree that it should not be that way, but she is right in her statement. You are wrong. If you want to get hired at your ST school or in your ST district, you would be wise to treat it as a job interview.

Being a successful teacher requires ongoing reflection. I would encourage you to try and consider the situation from the teacher's perspective.

Munchkins 12-15-2018 03:27 PM

You are a guest, and this is an amazing group of dedicated, hard working professionals. I suggest you join PT, and then join the Future Teachers group. There are many, many people who will help you every step of the way.

Your post doesn't sit right with me, and sounds accusatory. When you enter someone's home, (a.k.a. ProTeacher) be polite. We will be happy to help you, but be nice.

FCSIsBest 12-15-2018 03:02 PM

I've had this philosophy of student teaching for awhile now, but this recent event wanted me to put my opinion out there. I just (as of today) 2nd to last semester of college, so I'm student teaching next semester. For one of my classes, I had a field experience for the high school I was going to student teach at. I spent about 50 hours there (only 30 were required though). Everything was going great. My relationship, which I thought was great at the time, with my CT was great. The few lessons I did with the students were great, they were all engaged and absorbed the material very well. I was very active in the classroom, always standing to help wherever I could. Any feedback she gave to me was always positive, nothing negative. I took any advice she gave to me and used it for my lessons. There were a certain amount of tasks I had to complete but we were getting towards the end of the semester and still had 1 task to complete. I knew trying to get the teacher to complete them with me would cause her to completely rework her schedule and I didn't want her to go through that knowing all the stuff on her plate, so I told her it's okay and not to worry about it. I did 14/15 so I figured I'd only lose a fraction of points for the class. I also felt somewhat responsible as I should have made a bigger effort to get the task done sooner, which adds to the reason why I told her not to worry about it. I didn't want to stress her out because I was stressing out. Knowing all of that, I thought it was going great.

Fast forward to the other day. I had my professor message me saying we had to discuss my field experience. I spent my whole morning wondering it could be about because I had absolutely no idea. I meet with her later in the day and she told me my placement got revoked. I was absolutely shocked. My professor told me that she said that I didn't care about finishing my tasks and didn't listen to her advice (I'm still combing through my -entire- memory trying to find a moment where I did listen to her suggestions).

I could write a novel about this but TL;DR, this whole situation could have been avoided and erected if she would have told me these things to me whenever she found an issue. Like I said before, she NEVER said a single negative thing to me ever. If she would have told me what she felt, I could have figured out what I was doing wrong and fix it, but she didn't tell me until it was too late. She didn't even tell me, I had to hear it from a 3rd source. I'm not perfect, but I am committed to graduating and becoming the best teacher I can possibly be and change lives. All she had to do was sit down with me and tell me what was wrong and I would have fixed it immediately, but she didn't. She even equated student teaching to a "job interview" which I whole heartedly disagree with.

All I'm saying is, if and when I become a CT, I will be sure I'm an active tool in helping students become the best teachers they can be and develop their craft, not get angry and shut them out when they do something I see as bad. Education is a very underappreciated career and it takes a lot of blood sweat and tears, and we're all in this struggle together. I just thought teachers would be more willing to be there for one another for help. But this was a learning experience and I'm going 4x harder for student teaching next semester.

Summerwillcom 12-15-2018 01:35 PM

We are asked even if a student just needs to put in 20 hrs observation time w/ us. ( We would be considered unreasonable if we said no to this request.)

Taking on a ST though is a lot of work. You have to be in the right place physically (school/ admin) and emotionally( not stressed for time) to do a good job at it.
Plus, you have to have freedom from test result repercussions.
I guess different districts do it different ways.
I'd be beyond POed if I was just given a ST w/out being asked and allowed to visit w/ the ST before deciding.
I am like T- Rex when it comes to finding no joy in evaluating/ critiquing others. It is fun though when you get a ST who wants to grow and you watch them develop confidence. You form a unique bond.
It'd stink though if you got a ST ( I have seen a few over the yrs) that think they know everything from books, classes, and recycled programs
. I have seen some question teachers practices and cause more problems for the teacher. I guess it depends too if the 2 people click. I know still to this day I appreciate so much having an awesome mentor teacher.

Mshope 12-15-2018 01:28 PM

I was lucky to have had three very good student teachers. I also had excellent cooperating teachers so I was able to learn from them how to give constructive criticism. I have to admit that we are sometimes pressured to take college students. I have not been impressed by some preservice teachers who played on their phones, dressed inappropriately, and were not helpful. With an increased amount of pressure on teachers at my school this year, I'm not sure I could deal with that on top of having a student teacher who is not cooperative. Not well, I fear.

No one is perfect! However, I think the most important thing for student teachers to have is a great attitude. You must expect to work hard, keep your mouth shut, and realize that you don't know everything!

I also work with preserve teachers in a few of our school's summer programs. It's funny how some cannot take any criticism/suggestions without being defensive. The good ones are willing to learn and take advice.

I wish you the best in your future.

Haley23 12-15-2018 01:27 PM

I’m not saying everyone is suited to be a cooperating teacher.

However, I feel like this is a big blaming post. Maybe you weren’t ready to student teach. Maybe you aren’t cut out to be a teacher. Maybe your university didn’t provide sufficient preparation before putting you in a classroom. Maybe your CT didn’t get a choice. Maybe your CT didn’t want an ST. Or maybe he or she really is a stinker.

So many factors. Hope it works out for you.
I was going to say something similar. My college had us do tons of field experiences, so I had a lot CTs. I did have one who was really bad. Thankfully my CT for my full time ST was great.

But without knowing the situation, it's hard to determine what's really going on. I had a ST a few years ago who was simply not cut out for teaching. It didn't matter how much support I provided her. She didn't possess the necessary skills, and many of the things she was lacking in were things that can't really be taught/learned. There are many examples, but one small one is that she couldn't process things quickly, which simply doesn't work in a field where you need to think on your feet at lightning speed. When something happened in the room (mostly related to management), she took too long to process what happened to even begin to address it.

So before you jump on the cooperating teacher, realize that she may not have had a choice in hosting you
This has been my experience as well. My college would often email principals, who would agree to host us and sometimes not even tell the teachers we were placed with. More than once I walked into a situation where the teacher didn't even know I was coming.

My P also tried to force me into taking a ST for this year. It's a long story that I won't go into, but he ended up being 100% with my teammate who really wanted him (P wanted us to both work with him).
tyrex 12-15-2018 01:01 PM

Well, when I had a student teacher, I had no say in it. My principal stopped me in the hall and said that I was getting a student teacher who would be starting in 2 weeks when the new semester started.

I wasn't expecting her to be perfect, but I don't think I was a good mentor because I was too easy on her. I was uncomfortable giving her criticism. If I had been asked, I would have told my principal that I wasn't comfortable giving feedback to adults--it's why I'm not interested in being an admin--and that I didn't think I'd be a good mentor.

So before you jump on the cooperating teacher, realize that she may not have had a choice in hosting you.

travelingfar 12-15-2018 12:27 PM

What is the back story here? I'm not sure what is going on. Please catch us up.

MissESL 12-15-2018 12:02 PM

Iím not saying everyone is suited to be a cooperating teacher.

However, I feel like this is a big blaming post. Maybe you werenít ready to student teach. Maybe you arenít cut out to be a teacher. Maybe your university didnít provide sufficient preparation before putting you in a classroom. Maybe your CT didnít get a choice. Maybe your CT didnít want an ST. Or maybe he or she really is a stinker.

So many factors. Hope it works out for you.

Summerwillcom 12-15-2018 11:49 AM

with a perfectionist mentor teacher. Is that right? If yes, please know that many teachers have experienced what you are going through. I have known lots of teachers who barely survived student teaching for this reason.
I was super blessed with a mentor teacher who was kind, open, and became a good friend many yrs ago.
I have heard horror stories from STing over the yrs.
I have not agreed to take a student teacher for many years. Not because I am a perfectionist, but because of the lack of honesty and transparency of where I have been working. I wouldn't want to be put in a position of not being able to be honest w/ the ST w/out major repercussions. If a ST repeated something in a way that could be taken wrong, it would be.
I'd bet many good teachers would not take a ST nowadays due to the way test scores are tied to evals in some places. Others are way over extended time wise. I am pretty amazed when anyone around here even agrees to it nowadays.
I know there are still some schools where teachers are treated decently, have time, and are not pressured by test scores. I have a friend who went back to school later in life to be a teacher. Her 1st mentor was really mean to her too. I knew a lot of teachers in different schools and found a nice 1 for her and she switched at Christmas time.
She agreed to take my friend. Her student teaching experience in the 2 classes were like night and day. Not only did she learn a lot, she got some confidence and experience from a kind lady. She had to find someone at her U who was willing to sign off on the switch. It was not hard for her to do. Can you find a nicer teacher, be honest w/ someone at your U about what is happening, and switch teachers?
I am so sorry you are having to deal w/ such a difficult person.

FCSIsBest 12-15-2018 09:46 AM

Teachers with years of experience and decide to host student teachers, hear me out. DO NOT AGREE TO TAKE STUDENT TEACHERS IF YOU ARE NOT COMMITTED TO THEIR GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT.

The reason is in the name, *student* teacher. We are brand new to the profession and are not going to be perfect in everything we do, any reasonable person would know that. If you are expecting absolute perfection, you do not deserve to be a mentor teacher. No amount of book and article reading can prepare anyone to be a teacher, most of the learning comes from the hands on experience of actually being in the classroom.

So this is a message to all you teachers with YEARS of experience being extremely harsh with new student teachers, reconsider. If you aren't here to help them grow and develop their skills with actual constructive feedback and cooperation, just don't be a mentor teacher at all.

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