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Advice Needed: Student Teaching Experience Not Going Well
Old 10-05-2016, 01:16 PM
 
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Did anyone else have a not so great student teaching experience? My CT should really not be teaching kindergarten. I am convinced she should not work with children at all. However, I am placed in this classroom and have been told changes can't be made.

My time there is almost up, and I have learned nothing at all about teaching...other than what I do not want to see myself doing in my future classroom. This has been a frustrating experience to complete an expensive degree and walk away feeling as though I am no better off than I was when I first entered the classroom 12 weeks ago. I would like to begin observing other teachers with what little time I have left in my placement, but I am not sure there is a gentle way to break the news to my CT. She seems rather bipolar, and I do not want to tick her off. In the same breath, I really desire to LEARN something about teaching.


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Old 10-05-2016, 03:08 PM
 
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Maybe you could ask her if you could observe other rooms... to add/compare strategies, skills. I think that's done fairly often. In fact, I think it was required to have 1-2 observations in other rooms when I supervised. You'd still need to complete the requirements of your CT and school, of course.
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Old 10-05-2016, 03:27 PM
 
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We were required to spend a few days in other classrooms. Is it ok with your program? As long as that's good, there shouldn't be an issue.
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It wil be good to observe
Old 10-05-2016, 03:34 PM
 
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Tell her you'd like to see other grade levels so when you go on interviews you'll be better prepared. And you DID learn a lot, and you learned what to avoid doing when you have your own class. Seeing her mistakes will help you avoid making similar mistakes-'that sound valuable to me.

And I'm impressed that you already have a critical eye and can discern good teaching from bad. Good for you! Keep us posted as to how you're doing- I expect you'll do just fine!
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Old 10-07-2016, 09:23 AM
 
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I agree with Munchkins that by seeing her mistakes, it's also helped you learn and think about how things could run more efficiently. I do understand how you're disappointed and frustrated though. I commend you on wanting to be placed with someone you can learn so much more from and seeking ways to remedy the situation.

I'm still in a college elementary teacher education program and have had numerous field experiences. I also have a bachelor's degree in another field and substitute taught for years before going back to college. I've learned a lot from subbing. While field experiences allow me to ask teacher's more questions about the job and has me focusing and practicing on one or two particular aspects of teaching at a time, subbing has allowed me to see many different classroom environments and teaching styles. If you have a gap after graduating from college and finding a teaching job, I would recommend subbing. The schools I've subbed at have various co-teaching rooms and special education support within general education rooms, so I've gotten to see many different teachers in action over the years. I just wish I would have taken more notes while subbing to help me remember lessons or behavioral systems that were particularly effective with the children.

For me, field experiences have varied. I've been in rooms where the climate is negative and is counter to what I'm being taught in college. I always worry when I call the schools to ask for placement, because it's a toss up where I'll end up. So unfortunately, the possibility of being matched with someone who impedes student teachers in some way is a roll of the dice and frightening (I've read some horror stories from student teachers about their experiences of being harshly treated or judged by their CT). Have you spoken with your supervising professor about the situation? Maybe he or she would be okay with you visiting other rooms the last couple weeks if there isn't much left to do in your placement classroom. Or, maybe you could check around with local schools to see if they have any volunteer opportunities you could do after you're finished with student teaching. Volunteering and/or subbing are good ways to network and continue learning.


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Old 10-12-2016, 06:38 PM
 
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I don't think there's anything wrong with asking to visit other classrooms. It's a great idea! I would just frame it as you are looking to see other grade levels. As hard as this has been, I would also still thank her at the end of your time and do something special. You never know how you might need her in the future!
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Old 10-16-2016, 03:34 PM
 
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I spoke to my supervisor, and she directed me to speak to the college. I have been given the A-OK to observe other teachers, even though that is not at all part of this portion of the experience. Thanks for your advice!
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Great!
Old 10-16-2016, 04:18 PM
 
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Thanks for,the update! Good luck with your observations, hope you learn a lot!
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Old 11-04-2016, 10:17 AM
 
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Remember that some teachers on want student teachers to not have to work. I had one of these types and was nearly washed out of teaching on my first placement. I worked hard and overcame this situation. I am now in my 20th year of teaching. Just grin and bear it. Good luck on observations and in the future.
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Old 12-04-2016, 12:13 AM
 
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If you want to observe other classrooms, mention that it is part of your student teaching program requirements. During my student teaching, student teachers were expected to do a couple of teacher observations for each experience. If your cooperating teacher is as sensitive as you mention, saying that won't cause her to get mad since you are only doing what you are required to do. It is worth a try to see what she says. The worst she can say is no.

I didn't have a great student teaching experience and I know plenty of people who also had terrible student teaching experience. One student teacher had such a bad teacher that the principal even tried getting the college to switch the student teacher to a different cooperating teacher. However the one thing I learned about student teaching is teaching is very subjective. Everyone is going to have a different opinion about what makes a good teacher. Ultimately the way you teach your own classroom is going to be completely different from the way another might teach.

I agree with your move on notifying your supervisor. One of the mistakes I didn't do in my placement was holding my supervisor accountable. I'm glad she gave you the ok to do the placement.


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Old 12-05-2016, 05:50 AM
 
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Thanks for the reply. My practicum is now over, and it ended with a passing score. That's all that matters. I appreciate the replies from everyone.
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