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Work Load for Student Teaching Class
Old 03-04-2017, 05:44 AM
 
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I'm curious about the work load at other universities in the student teaching class. A staff member at a school made a comment that the university I attend has a lot of requirements compared to other university where student teachers come from in the area. I'm so overwhelmed with assignments, and I'm not the only one. People cry during class and have meltdowns from time to time. I've heard a mature adult student (who is very laid back and a good student) say every time she has to get out the book of assignments that goes with the class, it stresses her out. Is that normal? Have you seen that in your student teaching class?

I have so many assignments that I can't keep them all straight in my mind. I'm turning in about 10-20 pages of typed material each week. And, that does not include lessons I teach each week in my placement classroom or other assignments I am doing with children while I'm in my placement. I'm spending a lot of hours in the classroom, so finding time to do all the assignments has been a challenge.

We have about 30 different assignments (some with multi-parts, which if you counted them would make that number go up). This doesn't even include lesson plans for when we completely take over the class at the end or the time it takes to make or find materials for all the lessons. What assignments did you have in your student teaching class? Is what I'm experiencing normal in general for student teaching?


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It varies
Old 04-21-2017, 02:45 PM
 
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I student taught back in 2010 and a lot of has changed since then. It seems that colleges are giving their students more work to do than when I was in a teacher education program. During my program, student teachers only had to take one class during student teaching where they wrote a big paper on their experience. We just attended class once a week then the rest of the semester was working on the paper.

I think your university has way too many assignments for their student teachers especially if they are out in the field. That is insane they want you to do 30 assignments plus all the work that goes into doing a student teaching placement. That is insane and a lot to demand from student teachers. Then again I already don't have a good opinion of the concept of student teaching itself.
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Old 04-21-2017, 04:08 PM
 
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My ST program was like that. My university was very fond of making us do "portfolios" for every little thing- complete with TONS of assignments that had to be organized into a binder with table of contents, labels, cover pages, etc. It literally used to take me one hour per week to just hole punch all of my papers and place them into the correct spot in my binder each week (I'm talking HUNDREDS of pages per week).

Yes, that year sucked, but let me say this: I was incredibly prepared for the workload my first year of teaching. I hear so many horror stories about people crying all of the time their first year, breaking down, wanting to quit, etc. Due to all of the crap that my ST program made us do, my first "real" year was signifcantly easier than my ST year. It was so nice to just focus on the teaching part, and being calm/collected and being able to easily juggle the workload earned me major brownie points with admin and coworkers. Almost every single person at my school said at one point or another, "I can't believe you are a first year teacher!"
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Old 04-23-2017, 01:09 PM
 
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Haley, that is the silver lining. I will feel more prepared for my first-year. But, like you said, your first year of teaching was significantly easier than ST'ing. Many people feel completely overwhelmed their first year teaching, so something being significantly more difficult, is more than just challenging, it's intense over a long period of time and feels like torture. Given what ST'ing has been like, I'm hoping my first-year won't be like this. At times, I've been afraid I made a mistake going into teaching (if it's like ST'ing all the time!).

I'm an adult student that also has a lot of household and family responsibilities. I have my own children to take care of and be involved in their activities and appointments. I'm willing to work hard. And, I'm interested in learning all I can, but this is really way too much.

The professor gave us a handout book that only contains the directions to most (not all) of our assignments for the semester. It's 80+ pages long. I'm already spending all week in my placement, coming home to many different household responsibilities, and, like Haley23 hundreds of pages of paperwork a week, along with lesson planning, gathering and making materials, and teaching lessons all week. What worries me is if something would happen (e.g. an illness) that would make it humanly impossible to do it all. We have to complete everything within tight time frames to pass. I noticed our class has thinned out in the last few weeks, so a number haven't made it.

I'm constantly anxious and stressed. Over the weeks, I've been getting more and more wore down! I have to fight to finish and just be grateful to have made it through. It's been a little sad that I feel this way, because I wanted to be able to slow down enough to focus solely on the children, teaching, and learning. I think it would have energized me to be able to have the time to enjoy parts of it, and honestly, I would have learned more. It doesn't have to be this way, and it's mind boggling to me that either the professor doesn't realize it's too much or maybe he thinks these are good conditions for learning. Whatever the reasons, there are things I like about the professor, so it bothers me I'm feeling this way.

I'm just venting, because there's nothing I can do about it, just hang on for dear life and do the best I can given the circumstances. I just hope I don't crack under the pressure!

Thanks for reading!
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Old 04-24-2017, 08:12 AM
 
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British Panda,
I'm interested in what you mean by "you already don't have a good opinion of the concept of student teaching itself?"


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Student teaching is not accurate
Old 04-25-2017, 12:18 PM
 
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Colleges and teacher prep programs are mostly to blame for this. If anything, they put too much emphasis on one experience instead of looking at all experiences a student teacher might have done. Although student teaching does give people a sample what teaching might be like, but many colleges just throw their students into placements with little to no skills. This frustrates many cooperating teachers who are expecting their teachers to know many of these skills by now which in turns stresses out the cooperating teacher. Then again, most colleges aren't even clear with their cooperating teachers on what they were suppose to do. I lost count with how many teachers go "I'm not sure what you are suppose to do." when I did field experience placements as well as student teaching.

All the classes we took instead focused on creating the perfect school and the importance of making an inclusive classroom, etc. It might seem nice to know, but I think student teaching program needs to focus on skills since after all that is what employers are looking for so candidates know what to do when they are in these situations. That doesn't mean knowing how to use the copy machine. Most of the time my experiences had me either walking around helping students or taking down bulletin boards for the teacher I was assigned to since they often didn't know what to do with me while I was there. The way student teaching is designed as of right it feels like its a sink or swim. They just throw you in there to figure things out when they don't teach your anything you need in order to do what you are suppose to do. Observing teachers might help, but that isn't the case for some.

I also find it absurd that many colleges still require student teachers to minimize the number of hours working or quit a job just for an unpaid experience. Its understandably harder to do both, but for many the job they have helps them pay the bills and they can't cut back. Then there are the demands. This varies depending on the college, but expecting students to do a bunch of assignments and take classes while they take over all the cooperating teacher's activities is overkill.

Yes a student teacher meaning you have to do the classes and show your still doing the college coursework and classes. But at the same time it means you are a student teacher. That means you shouldn't be given a laundry list of stuff to do. One girl I know was expected not just to do her coursework and the regular teaching activities at her placement, but her cooperating teacher wanted her to read an entire binder on the school's entire reading program they were using by the next day! Eventually the work load got to her and she quit student teaching.

I could go on about the reasons I think student teaching is not working, but that would take a while. Despite its problems, I do think that student teaching can be improved which can benefit all parties involved in the student teaching process. Especially since around in my area colleges are reporting their numbers of people entering education are dropping.
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