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Old 01-27-2019, 04:10 PM
 
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I started my student teaching semester the beginning of January in an early primary grade classroom. I will be in my placement until the beginning of May. I need to take over for 4 weeks. I'm not yet in charge of the planning and teaching full-time. My CT is beginning to give me routine lessons to lead that she planned and would normally do. I'm not sure if this is normal? It's different for others in my college class depending on where we're placed it seems.

If you've had a student teacher, how does it work in your room? This is my CT's 1st time with an ST, so she's not sure how it's supposed to work either.

Should I be writing lesson plans for the things my teacher hands me to lead?

I have a couple different people giving me conflicting directives. The head of the program says no, we should start writing plans when we take over and are doing the planning and teaching, but my supervisor is telling me to have plans for everything. The thing is my CT doesn't write plans and often doesn't know what she wants to do until the day before and even sometimes the day of depending on different factors. I don't want to be a burden, because my CT has a lot going on both during and after school. There's limited time, which I need to spend on collaborating with her for the edTPA, which I'm currently doing (just started and will complete by March before the 4 weeks I'm in charge full-time). It's a massive, detailed portfolio that requires data collection, detailed planning, video recording 5 lessons, artifacts, explanations, and commentaries. The book that contains the directions are many pages long.

Also, do student teachers teach the normal routine or should they be coming up with their own activities even when they take over? How much change is appropriate? She's excited to teach me what she knows, so I don't want to disrespect her by making a lot of changes, but I also want to do a good job. Based on my college training, that means a lot of changes based on what we were taught.

Here's the typical routine for reading: Day 1) Teacher or narrator reads the story of the week to whole group and goes over vocabulary, 2) Students either read the story with a partner or take turns reading out loud as a whole group, then whole group discussion 3) Do a worksheet/graphic organizer/creative activity as a whole group (heavily teacher modeled) to teach literacy concept(s) and skills of the week, 4) Whole group review of the story, vocabulary, and skills as the story is re-read 5) Test

My college has taught us to use guided reading groups that are differentiated, which I'm not sure how to do that with the current structure?

I'm feeling pretty lost and like a fish out of water. I don't know when I should step in and when I shouldn't. For example, if the teacher is in the room, should I be taking control and getting the class quieted down when I'm not leading? Thank you in advance!


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My experience
Old 01-27-2019, 06:28 PM
 
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I have had one student teacher. I, obviously, was a student teacher myself at one point, too. Here are some thoughts/ideas:

Quote:
My CT is beginning to give me routine lessons to lead that she planned and would normally do. I'm not sure if this is normal? It's different for others in my college class depending on where we're placed it seems.
You're right, this really varies based on your cooperating teacher. When I had a student teacher, at first, I talked about what I did when I taught the lesson and she often did what I did, meaning used my plan. As her time went on, she too more of the initiative planning, but of course, I was there to give her advice or ideas if she needed it. I think this is fine, as long as you eventually are able to plan, which I'm sure for your EdTPA you will!

Quote:
My CT is beginning to give me routine lessons to lead that she planned and would normally do. I'm not sure if this is normal? It's different for others in my college class depending on where we're placed it seems.
In my opinion, this depends on your supervisor, you, and your cooperating teacher. When I student taught, my cooperating teachers gave me a plan book and I planned with them. If they taught, I copied down in the book what they put. If I taught, even if they gave me the stuff, I copied down my own. Each week, I copied my plans from my plan book and stapled them in their plan book. This is what they wanted, as if the next year they didn't have a student teacher, they wanted to reference what was done each day. However, my plans were simplified and not "college" format lesson plans. When I was observed by my university supervisor, I had to write the college format lessons to turn in for that lesson that was observed. If they wanted to see what else I did, I just showed them the plan book. My student teacher used the college format for the lessons the supervisor observed and gave me a copy of that for those lessons. For the other lessons she taught, she gave me her own version, usually a simplified version that she e-mailed.

Quote:
Also, do student teachers teach the normal routine or should they be coming up with their own activities even when they take over? How much change is appropriate? She's excited to teach me what she knows, so I don't want to disrespect her by making a lot of changes, but I also want to do a good job. Based on my college training, that means a lot of changes based on what we were taught.
I kept the same routine as my cooperating teachers, even if I disagreed with it. My student teacher did the same. Yes, you can experiment and try new things for some things, but the more you keep the same, the better it will be for the kids, in my opinion. My cooperating teachers handled things differently that I learned, especially with behavior management. What I did is make sure my university supervisor knew this ahead of time. My reflections were confidential, so when we reflected together, we talked about what I would do differently when I was a teacher. I really believe university professors and university supervisors need to realize this. You are a guest in another teacher's classroom. Is it appropriate to try some new instructional methodology, idea, activity? Most likely. Is it appropriate to try a whole new classroom management system? Absolutely not, in my opinion.

Quote:
Here's the typical routine for reading: Day 1) Teacher or narrator reads the story of the week to whole group and goes over vocabulary, 2) Students either read the story with a partner or take turns reading out loud as a whole group, then whole group discussion 3) Do a worksheet/graphic organizer/creative activity as a whole group (heavily teacher modeled) to teach literacy concept(s) and skills of the week, 4) Whole group review of the story, vocabulary, and skills as the story is re-read 5) Test

My college has taught us to use guided reading groups that are differentiated, which I'm not sure how to do that with the current structure?
When I was school many years ago, what you described is very similar to what my schools used and I turned out just fine! Was this how I was taught to teach reading? No. I was also taught about guided reading, Daily 5, etc. When I student taught, the teacher let the kids pick novels and they did book clubs the whole reading block. They read aloud with partners during the reading block and she sat at her desk grading papers, e-mailing, planning, doing paperwork, etc. Totally not how I was taught. While I couldn't do guided reading, as that would be too drastically different, I bounced around from group to group while they were reading their novels and read with them. As we read, I gave mini-lessons to the groups on different things I noticed...context clues, fluency, inferring, etc. I modeled reading strategies for them, etc. I also explained to my cooperating teacher that my university supervisor did want to see me teach/lead a whole group reading lesson and she understood. I did a unit on different skills and strategies. We began or ended each 60 minute reading class with a 20 minute lesson and then the students did their novels and my university saw both. I would talk to your supervisor and explain they don't do guided reading at your school. Then, while kids are reading the story of the week, confer with partners, teaching them or reviewing certain skills with them as they read. When you reflect on the reading lesson observed, let your supervisor know what you would do differently if you were the teacher and why you didn't (didn't want to step on toes, too big of a routine change for kids, etc.). Make sure the supervisor knows ahead of time, too.

Quote:
I don't know when I should step in and when I shouldn't. For example, if the teacher is in the room, should I be taking control and getting the class quieted down when I'm not leading?
This I would ask. I'd say something like, "Hey, if I ever see someone talking when you are talking or not paying attention when you are teaching, do you want me to say something to the student? Or, if a student needs help when you are leading the lesson, do you want me to help?" I'd ask ahead of time and I'd refer to it hypothetically. Saying, "During your lesson today, little Susie was playing around in her desk. In the future, do you want me to say something?" might make her defensive. However, if you make it like if I were to see this happen, she might not be as defensive. Ask if you aren't sure. Personally, in most cases, I feel like you are better doing too much than too little, but at the same time, you do want to be careful not to step on toes. You could even say, "I don't want to step on your toes. Is there anything you want me to do or don't want me to do when you are leading the lesson?"

I hope this helps! Good luck!
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Old 01-27-2019, 07:16 PM
 
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As a cooperating teacher, I often have my student teachers start slow with very routine things theyíve seen me do often (or every day).

Almost right away, the first thing they take over is morning work. Itís the same routine every day and the student teacher can easily catch on what needs to be done. Itís a routine activity that all the children know 100% and so itís easier to manage, and a soft opening for classroom management skill development. I like to start there to build confidence and to gauge readiness.

Then, I add in lessons Iíve written out. I usually try to have the student teacher do 1-2 for each major subject, plus give him/her materials to run a guided reading group. This is done over the never 3-4 weeks.

One university wants them to take take over a subject at a time until they are doing it all, so if thatís the case the above changes to whole subjects...but I still wrote the plans.

The first whole week of full takeover, I have my student teacher wrote plans with me. After that, they write the plans, but I insist on having the outline the Friday before for approval.

I like this gradual release. I like giving student teachers time to settle in, learn how the classroom functions, and build confidence.

I think your cooperating teacher is going about this in a positive way. The only change I think needs to be made is planning ahead. Not that you canít roll with the punches, but for you to try to plan day to day is not fair.
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Old 01-29-2019, 07:41 PM
 
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My current student teacher just started a couple of weeks ago as well. Right now she is in charge of a small group during our morning time, which I have planned but she is running. She is also starting to take over some of our routine tasks like the morning meeting, calendar, read alouds, etc. After one more week she will be planning and prepping her morning group by herself.



Starting next week she is required (by her program) to have a written lesson plan for at least one lesson per day. She is also doing two math lessons where she is planning and prepping the lessons, and I am requiring a lesson plan for those. I will not require her to write lesson plans for the routine parts of the day, but will for new lessons (or we will at least discuss them in depth).


For edTPA she will be taking over math for three weeks. I will give her some direction and guidance, but will have her to come up with the lessons on her own.


As for takeover, I always give my student teacher's the freedom to change up the routine. However, I do warn them that any time they do that the kids will be spending their time and energy learning the new routines rather than the new material.



When it comes to taking control, here's what I always do (and I job share and sometimes I am with my partner so we've dealt with this a lot). If she is taking the lead, I might talk to one or two kids on the side if they seem to need some help or encouragement, but I won't address the entire class unless I communicate with her about it first (which is sometimes just a nod or quick word between the two of us). The only time I will jump in with my student teacher is if I see that the class is about to spiral out of control. I would not like it if I were teaching and she interrupted or addressed the whole class.
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