I was asked today if I would be a cooperating teacher for a student teacher next semester. I have never had a student teacher before, and I was wondering about the pros and cons. I've heard that it's a lot of work. I don't mind that. My main concern is that I have a really great class this year. The easiest I've ever had. I'm enjoying working with them so much. This student teacher would be with me from the end of January until next to the last week of school in May.
I did it once and I regretted it. But I had someone who was managing to slip through the college cracks. She had transferred in (I guess by the skin of her teeth) and the college didn't really do it's part to monitor her. (She was actually only observed twice.) She SAID she wanted to teach, but seemed to chit-chat or day dream when there was work to be done. I believe she truly liked the children and they loved her, but she just wasn't putting the time in. She usually came just in time and left soon after school. She wanted to 'take over' but only showed me two lesson plans the whole time. Twice when she WAS scheduled to teach, she remembered she had an assignment due and did that instead. I resented 'covering' for her, but I wasn't going to let my students get cut short. The supervisor gave her all excellent marks (on the two occasions she came) before the lesson had hardly begun or talking to me. I decided at THAT point, I wasn't going to be 'the bad guy.' I went into teaching to teach children, not to 'mother' distracted college students. I'm sure she either decided she wanted to really teach and stepped up or changed careers.
On the other hand, I had another intern (just once a week) who was wonderful!!! Eager, dedicated and totally adored by the students!
And, most of my colleagues have had WONDERFUL student teachers MOST of the time.
So, don't let my negative experience influence you too much. It's just, IMHO, 'messy' if ya get a 'slacker.' (I should have had sirens go off in my head when she said she was interested in a job with summers, weekends, and holidays off that would let her be done by 3:30 each day.)
If you have one of your best classes I think you will be disappointed having a student teacher. I have had many student teachers and some have been fabulous and others not so fabulous. I have one right now and it is very difficult to let go and allow the student teacher to take over. Even though I am there to help and support, it does get hard to watch a lot that goes on. I realize that they are learning, but it is tough to continually ask them to do things and it doesn't happen. The pros can be you have some free time to get caught up on projects etc. when they teach full time. You also have time to work one on one with students who need support. The cons are that you spend a lot of time going over ideas and techniques with your st. tchr. You must give support and make sure that things are being taught correctly. You must give up your class and allow them to teach and leave the room. I have had some student teachers who have been very prepared, but the last two were not. They did not realize the hard work involved. The supervisors rarely come in and they just want their college to look good and they think every st. tchr. is great. I have decided that this will be my last st. tchr. for a while. They just don't have the dedication and drive that I feel they should have. Good Luck.
I agree that the most important factor is who you get. I've had two student teachers, one was wonderful and the other struggled-showed up late, left early, never did any paperwork, etc. The pros are that you have an extra set of hands and eyes in the classroom. It was so much easier to meet with small groups and to give students more attention. I also like being able to share some of things I've learned through my teaching experiences and hopefully be a real help to the student teacher. I know my supervising teacher was incredible, and I give her most of the credit for my successes.
My biggest con is that I had to give up control of my classroom. I'm pretty particular about the way my classroom is run, so it is extremely difficult to let go and not micromanage everything. I think that in today's world of high stakes testing it is even harder to give up control, because at the end of the day all of the accountability is own your shoulders. I also think that no matter how great the student teacher is, you will see a decline in your students' behavior.
I think decisions like this would be so much easier if you could meet, get to know, or even interview the student teacher first. I'd also take into consideration the college the student teacher is attending. In my area we have some that typically has very well prepared student teachers, and some colleges that do not prepare their students at all.
I am a little worried about giving up control. That's always been a problem for me. As far as the college goes, I've had many kids come to do practicums in my classroom from a well-known university near us. Most of the students have been okay, but they are usually a little irresponsible about getting there when they say they will. Some start their 8 hours of observations, come for an hour or two, and then never come back.
This student is from a different college where classes are smaller and more personal. It's a very expensive private college. I've never had a student come from there before. I'm hoping that the fact that she's willing to pay more for her education means that she will take it more seriously.
I think I will go ahead and plan to accept. I'm hoping it will be a positive experience for my class. They are such a good group. They deserve a good year.
I love have loved all of my student teachers- I have only had one that was so so. I have probably had 15-20 st. teachers over the years. Student teachers are also very different than the students that are just observing for practicum classes. I set up very clear expectations for my student teachers however. If you would like to hear my student teacher speech let me know.
Since having st. teachers, I teach very little whole group anymore . Having a student teacher is a real blessing when I am expected to differentiate to 25 or more students. I have completely given up on much "sage on the stage" and have gone to small group teaching. I love having the extra set of hands and eyes in my room.
I just had a student teacher for 10 weeks for the first quarter. I thought she did a wonderful job and it was great to have her in the class, but I was so excited to get back to teaching my kids. I would take another one, but I wouldn't take one for a longer period of time at this point. Good luck!
I had one ST who was pretty good with academics, but pretty horrible at management. I had to step in all the time and I did not leave her alone with them when it was her time, b/c I felt the kids wouldn't behave and they NEEDED to learn the material. I know..that was bad of me, but I wasn't going to let my kids be short changed b/c all the data/assessments have MY NAME on them--not hers.
I've had several and it was a very good experience, but it was done in the Fall. If you really like your class then I would not do it. It isn't often you get that kind of class and then to have to share it, not something I'd be willing to do.
I've had many student teachers. We are close to campus and get the opportunity to take them frequently. IMO the cons outweight the pros. I've had two experiences where I didn't worry about my class. They were really wonderful. I've had two where I wouldn't leave the room because they were giving the students wrong information. One had NO classroom control. If the students were ever working quietly, he would do something to get them going. He thought he was a comedian. He wasn't!
One ST was so bad I didn't want to pass him. I think he was one who fell through the cracks. We had many meetings about him. They did pass him because he was a recepient of some type of grant. He was the first person in his family to ever go to college. He didn't have any classroom control and little content knowledge. He missed a total of two weeks out of the twelve weeks I had him.
If I were you, I'd really think about it if I had a good class. My 2 cents!