I begin my methods courses in the fall, and am absolutely terrified. Most of my experience with children has been at the preschool level, not elementary. So it'll be an adjustment getting used to older kids, since right now I work at a private preschool with 4 year olds. I've done very well in all the education classes I've taken, but still I am absolutely terrified to actually be in the field.
I talk to others at my college who are going through methods and student teaching, and they tell me absolutely horror stories. I've heard that your first semester of methods is really hard, and that many people end up dropping out of the program after the first semester. I've heard from some friends of mine absolutely about conflicts with mentor teachers, and all kinds of frightening things.
I think the thing that scares me the most is the amount of work. I know teachers work hard, but it seems that student teachers are required to do a lot. A friend of mine showed me her syllabus for the methods courses, and they are required to do lots and lots of lesson plans, portfolios, electronic portfolios, case studies, tests, midterms, & quizzes.
I am so worried that I will be very stressed and have too much to handle during methods and student teaching. I find the thing that is scaring me the most is talking to others who have gone through student teaching. Their stories about their experiences absolutely terrify me.
I found student teaching not true to the actual job. Of course, it was all beneficial but the reality I faced afterwards was not what I experienced. I had to put sooooo much time into the format of these lessons until it was unreal. I did what I had to do to get through it and put it behind me. I hope you get a great supervising teacher (I mean the teacher whose room you'll be in). That seemed to make all the difference in the world. From 13 years of teaching Pre-k to 5th, they all want to be enticed to learn. Be as creative and novel with your lessons as possible and it'll be fine. You seem to be intuitive and dedicated. It'll work out for you. Believe it. Don't doubt yourself because that never helps.
First of all...calm down and take a deep breath. I felt the exact same way you did a couple of years ago. The way my college did it was that I took my methods classes one semester then student taught one semester. I had always heard horror stories about methods classes and some of it was true. I also learned a lot that I used in my student teaching and a lot that I use now with my own class. I had to write a lot of lesson plans and teach them but it got easier as the semester went on. I was pretty busy with homework most of the time and I didn't have much time for anything else but it was just one semester so I got through it.
Now to student teaching...it was an experience. I remember before starting I wanted to change my major and start over again instead of going. I hadn't been in a classroom for more than an hour at a time. My first week I just observed and helped the teacher out with anything she needed. She slowly gave me things to do, like on the second week I taught one lesson a day. I gradually taught more. She did not make me teach more than she thought I was capable of doing. They want you to be successful, not make you miserable. By the end of my student teaching I taught most of each day. I did this because I felt ready and my cooperating teacher thought I was ready. It was scary at first but you get more comfortable as you go. Now, yes, there are some cooperating teachers that really shouldn't have that job. Some of them seem like they are just doing it to get money. Hopefully you will be lucky to not get one of those teachers. You just need to remember that your university supervisor is there for you. If you feel like you are not being treated the way you should, tell your supervisor. Now, saying that, you don't want to seem like a whiner and complain about every little thing either. Use your best judgement.
Wow...I have really typed a lot. Anyway, I hope that has calmed your nerves a little. Just remember, you have studied for a long time to get to this stage in college. You wouldn't have gotten this far if you were not ready. Make sure you let us know how you are doing.
PS...just wait till your first year teaching...
It is a lot of work, and the first methods semester was really tough for me too. BUT, you can do it!! Just take it one assignment, one lesson, one chunk at a time. Know whats ahead on the syllabus, but just tackle one assignment at a time so you don't get overwhelmed. Also, be ready for criticism from your University Supervisor and classroom teacher. That was a hard part for me, but I eventually learned that they were giving me criticism to prepare to be a teacher. Make sure you have a close friend or family member that you can whine to at night also, that helps a lot . You can do it!! Hang in there!
I'm sorry you've had to hear so many horror stories from your classmates! It always seems people would rather share the bad than the good. Why not next time you hear a bad story, ask that person if anything good happened during their experience? You know something had to have otherwise why is everyone putting themselves through the "agony" of becoming a teacher? If I expected a career full of bad things was ahead of me, I probably would have taken a new path! Just remember why you decided to pursue becoming a teacher. Among other good reasons, you love children, right?! You want to make a difference in their lives and see their smiles when they learn something new. keep those goals in mind.
Take a deep breath & try to start expecting the best. Keep reminding yourself of all the children who will benefit from your future relationships with them. The stress you're going through right now will not last forever! I've been teaching kindergarten for many years and I could not see myself doing anything else! Believe in yourself & you'll do a fantastic job.
Just a quick tip - be honest with your cooperating teacher & supervisor - they are there to help you (at least we hope that's always the case.) If you struggle with classroom management, for example, ask your cp for advice on what works for him/her & then apply it. Student teaching starts slow (the amount you're actually teaching) & gradually builds a little each week. Make the most of the times you get to observe & write down as much as you can.
Do not worry! Trust me, you'll hear a lot more of those horror stories, but everyone's experience is different and honestly, most of your ST experience is what YOU make of it. If you're placed in a classroom or with a cooperating teacher that isn't your cup of tea, you just have to make the best of it and work harder to learn from it. My basic advice would be: Be yourself and NEVER be scared to share your ideas. Learn about the students and cooperating teacher on more than just a "formal" level. Get to know who they really are and what is important to them.
You'll do fabulous - no matter who or where you are. Be ready to learn more about yourself as an educator!