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Taffy241 04-30-2019 05:12 PM

Frustrated with Student Teaching
So, this is my first year student teaching, and the first year my cooperating teacher has had a student teacher. My cooperating teacher is an excellent teacher, and the students love her, but I have some concerns all the same, so I'll take any advice I can get.

First of all I feel like she's afraid of letting me take the wheel so to speak. My first time teaching a lesson to the class was my student observation. The second and third time were when substitutes came into the classroom. For the most part I was working with students one on one and observing. I feel like I haven't been able to practice working with students as a group. I've mostly been observing, which is basically the same thing that I did as a volunteer the year prior.

Another concern of mine is evaluations. I thought my last observation went very well. My CT and my University Observer both told me that I did well, with only a few suggestions for improvement. My observer even said I did better than most students did for their first semester student teaching. Yet when I looked at the Evaluations, I mainly received twos and ones, with four being the highest possible score.

On top of all of this, I have a lot of mental health issues, including PTSD, Major Depressive Disorder, and Generalized Anxiety Disorder. I also have ADHD (unmedicated). I am currently in the process of getting treatment, but I feel overwhelmed. I have been undecided whether informing my cooperating teacher would help me or hurt me in that regard.

WGReading 04-30-2019 07:21 PM

Hello, welcome to Proteacher, and to teaching!

Re: the teacher letting you teach. I can see where that would be hard for her. As teachers, we feel enormous responsibility for "our kids" and I know cooperating teachers can be nervous about giving up control of "their class". Do you know how specific the directions/plan is in terms of your responsibilities and how that is increased during your ST time? Around here, some programs give basically no direction in that regard, where others are pretty specific about what the ST should be doing and at what point. I would consider talking with your CT and telling her basically what you said here: that she is an amazing teacher and you are hoping to have addition chances to teach the group and get feedback from her - that you feel like you'll learn more that way. What's the worst thing that could come from that discussion?

Evaluations - it is pretty common for student teachers to score 1-2 on a 4 point scale for teaching proficiency. You are still learning about teaching and it is expected that you will grow from here. Our teaching evaluation in my state is on a 4 point scale and it is basically impossible to get a 4 unless you literally plan your lessons/year focusing on the teacher evaluation rubric rather than on teaching real life students. What are the expectations for evaluation scores in your program? If you are in danger of having negative consequences from the evaluation scores, you could ask for more information about how you can improve in specific areas.

Mental Health - That's a hard one to give advice about. I have GAD and Panic Disorder, along with a stomach disorder that is made worse by stress and anxiety. Over the course of my teaching career, I've worked on meds and in a good place with my anxiety well controlled, and I've also taught while off my meds and in a bad place in terms of my anxiety. For me personally, it helps to have 1 or 2 confidantes that I trust at school that I can talk to if I'm having a hard time. Naming it helps me. And knowing that someone else knows in case I need help, helps. But that trusted person for you may not be your cooperating teacher. Have you developed a friendship with anyone in your building, or is there someone there that you sense would be a good listener and not gossip? If it would cause you more stress to talk to someone at work, then I wouldn't do it. It really depends on what helps put you in the best frame of mind. As a side comment on that, teaching is super stressful as a career, as I'm sure you realize. This is a good opportunity for you to start thinking about how you will manage that stress at work, and how you will handle difficult mental health days once you have a classroom of your own.

I'd be happy to talk with you more if you want to message me. Good luck to you!

Sbkangas5 05-01-2019 02:47 PM

Welcome! I have had many student teachers, and each experience is a little different. But no matter how wonderful, it is really hard to give up control!

As WGReading said, what does your calendar look like in terms of your role? The ones our TC's have is very specific, and outlines how many lessons they should be planning and teaching each day, week, etc. It slowly builds until they completely take over the class for two weeks at the end. My current TC has been with me since January. She started by running a small group each morning, then slowly took over the things we do every day such as morning meeting. Now she is teaching the bulk of the day and will take over the class in a week and a half. This should be clear, and if it is not it's not the fault of your cooperating teacher but your program.

As for evaluations, you are just learning. Don't be discouraged by scores. The fact that you were told you did well means a lot.

As for your mental health issues, I guess I would say it would be good to inform your CT if you think it will help and you have a good relationship. It's not something you need to disclose, but if it feels like it's affecting your ability to teach it might be helpful for her so she can support you as much as possible.

Good luck!

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