I have another question for those of you who are seasoned teachers. I have served as a substitute teacher and found that classroom management was very hard for me. Mainly because I was so unsure of not only what the children were learning, but also what all of the school rules were specifically for releasing children. I only substitute taught a few times. So, I did not have the time to get to know all of the schools' procedures and routines. Still, I am concerned about what the difference will be in classroom management as a substitute teacher compared to a student teacher. I have obtained my training for secondary level students, but was actually more successful with classroom management for the younger levels of students as a substitute teacher. Do any of you have any information or advice regarding classroom management for student teachers of secondary level students?
Classroom management is something that grows with experience. When you student teach, you need to mirror your cooperating teacher. On your first day, ask about his/her classroom management plan. Also ask if you can have a copy of the school's discipline plan. Being a guest in the school you need to adhere to their policies. The same goes for when you sub. My district requires that you sign off when you receive a subbing packet which includes all district policies. It is your responsibility to know the policies and to ask the principal if you are unsure of something. I am in elementary so can't really offer advice about secondary. Again, I would just suggest that you ask questions ahead of time and observe how the teacher handles situations. Good luck!
I'm a bit worried about the "you need to mirror your cooperating teacher." First, I naturally do pretty well as it is. So mirroring someone else's style may be difficult when mine is not just from learning, but is part of me. Additionally, what if you just disagree? I find that I have a considerably different view of discipline than most people seem to. I'm really worried about getting a teacher who has strong beliefs completely opposite of my own. I'm not sure I can fake certain things for 12-ish weeks! To me, it's dishonest and not a true reflection of me!
Anyway, hopefully I get a motivated, sweet, effective, firm, kind, helpful, dedicated teacher; and though there may be a few style differences, we'll get along swimmingly.
Let me clarify what I mentioned about needing to mirror your cooperating teacher. You need to follow his/her discipline plan and enforce his/her classroom rules and policies. I don't mean you have to sound exactly like the teacher or respond the exact same way, but the classroom does need to stay consistent. Student teachers are guests in the classroom and this is not meant as an insult. I have seen so many great student teachers assimilate into the class and really do a phenomenal job. However, at the end of the day, the classroom, students, and any issues or concerns that arise are at the sole responsibility of the teacher. If there are changes you would like to make, be sure to touch base with the teacher first. Remember, after you finish your time there, the teacher gets his/her class back.
I really appreciate your responses. I have started my student teaching this week and found that it will not be hard at all to mirror my cooperating teacher since we both have the same style of classroom management. I have learned that the classroom management is the responsibility of the teacher. Unfortunately, she is having the same problems that I had in classroom management as a substitute. So, she suggested up front that I also observe in another classroom the other styles of classroom management. This school has only expectations of their students, and deals with students who have found it impossible to function in a regular classroom. As a result of these varying learning and behavior problems, this school is trying a totally different approach of classroom management which works for most of the students, but not for others whom I have observed. These students are earning middle and high school credits while either working, taking care of a baby, or dealing with various other family and personal issues. Many of them are ESL students which puts them at another disadvantage for completing school and requiring additional instruction from the school district in order to be able to successfully complete their education. They are students who really want to succeed, but need more individual attention from their teachers than the average student.