Problems with my cooperating teacher - ProTeacher Community





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Problems with my cooperating teacher
Old 05-25-2006, 09:12 PM
 
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I am in the last week of student teaching special education at an elementary school. More than a month ago I was given an unoffical evaluation by my cooperating teacher, which was bad and there is literally no way to come back from it. At the same time I have been yelled at three-four times and scolded on a regular basis by him. Other staff members in the school have told me that this is a pattern they have seen before with him. I have talked to him very gently following each and every instance of his reactivity. His intense dislike of me has been apparent for four months. No encouragement, no compliments, no small talk. I have talked to my supervising teacher about it three times. It seems as if the supervising teacher is sucked in. She met with my cooperating teacher behind my back, and wouldn't confirm it when I asked directly. I talked to the supervising teacher about filing a grievance. The handwriting is on the wall that the cooperating teacher will fail me. Everything is personal with him - revenge, etc. My thought is, even if I don't measure up to where he thinks I should be on his learning curve for me, I do not deserve this. I have made mistakes - not terrible ones or anything. I thought you could make mistakes as a student teacher. Bottom line: does anyone think filing a grievance could mitigate the damage a hateful cooperating teacher's failing evaluation will make? Thanks!


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Old 05-27-2006, 01:51 AM
 
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File a grievance with who? The union? The supervising school? I don't think so.


If this means you will fail student teaching, the only thing you can do is to do it again at a different location. This is how it works with student teaching.

You will meet a lot of people that you have to deal with. I can't stand one of my co-sped teachers, but no one knows it.

You already have spoken with your supervisor. That is all you can do.
I am curious to know why your school continues to send student teachers to this guy if he has a history of this. Perhaps the "difficultness" is also part of the experience?

Maybe someone else will have a different opinion. Perhaps you can do an internship or something this summer. Being an OTA is extremely vital to some of our students' success, and we have had mediocre ones and then we were blessed with a fantastic one. Hopefully this experience will give you more to draw on than a "cakewalk" placement.
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Old 05-27-2006, 07:21 AM
 
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Thanks, Dee. The supervisor suggested last month that I had that option to file a grievance with the certification program I am in. I inquired about filing a grievance with my certification program, only inquired, and I have now received a registered letter and now several of the program's teachers have passed on doing the investigation. It was wrong timing, as my evaluations are coming this week. I knew the handwriting was on the wall last month - the likelihood of not passing. I have 20 years experience as a licensed professional and 10 years of college and I know difficult people are part of any job. I thought I would have a cooperating teacher with whom I could connect - be able to share and to process with. It is hard to have someone who has power over you who is intimidating, and who wants no relationship. It is a vulnerable thing to be a student teacher. I thought I could feel safe in student teaching. I like your last statement. My experience could give me more to draw on than a "cakewalk" placement. That statement can be something I can latch onto. Thanks again. whattodo
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Principal obvservation
Old 05-27-2006, 10:07 AM
 
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Could you ask the principal of the school observe you? If a co-operating teacher in my school was having a majoy problem with a student teacher, my principal would be aware.
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Old 05-27-2006, 12:00 PM
 
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I like the last poster's advice. Find out if the principal or assistant principal will observe you. If not, will he/she write you a letter of reccomendation? If he/she refuses to do one or the other (now, don't get mad), it might be that the principal sees something in you or your teaching that isn't what is wanted at your cooperating school. Most principals know what is going on in their schools. If the principal is willing to observe you or to write you a favorable letter, then you must be doing okay.

As far as student teaching goes, usually the experience goes one of two ways: wonderful or truly Godawful. As a sped major, I had two placements, one in preschool and one at the jr. high level. The preschool placement was dreamy and that teacher gave me an "A", but the jr. high placement was horrible, and I had a calendar at home on which I counted down the days with big red "X"s. The second placement's cooperating teacher screamed at the students and dared them to hit her. When the commotion started, I would ease toward the door, ready to run for help, because I figured that one of those days, her luck would run out. I couldn't wait for student teaching to be over. The only thing I learned from that teacher was what NOT to do. She didn't give me a bad grade, but just told the director of student teaching that she didn't give anyone an "A", because no one but her was perfect enough to deserve an "A".

Sometimes student teaching is to be endured and to be remembered when the time comes that a student teacher is placed with US.


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I agree
Old 05-27-2006, 12:27 PM
 
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I agree with the post about seeing if the principal will observe you. Also, could you supervisor come out and do an observation. Also, what about checking with other teachers to see if you could observe their classrooms for ideas. Maybe they would let you work with a small group of students. Then you would get some experience and maybe have some others teachers that saw how you did in the classroom. Is it possible to have previous cooperating teachers during your Practicums write an evaluation on you? Good luck...please keep us posted.
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Old 05-27-2006, 08:57 PM
 
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Thanks Brooke. I did have the supervisor out last week, and she gave me many compliments. My cooperating teacher brought up only the negative and had a body language that said reams but the supervisor did not notice. I may be done teaching, but it may be that the principal could observe me if I could do one more lesson. He was in my classroom once. I didn't know he'd be in and I didn't do that great a job on the fly. Thank you for your kind words. Whattodo.
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Old 05-27-2006, 09:07 PM
 
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Hi Deb II, I overheard my cooperating teacher talking to the principal outside the classroom door. So that is how I know the principal knows. Its odd, even when I subbed for two years, the principals introduced themselves to me and did some chit chat. Not here. I agree that current teachers tend to be black or white about their placements: They were good or they were horrible. If I had one piece of advise, it would be to split your placement in half. That way if one placement does not work you have the other. I wish I did not have all my eggs in one basket! Thanks for your sharing. You are a very visual writer. I can picture your troublesome placement! Whattodo.
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Internship
Old 05-28-2006, 03:27 AM
 
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When I did my internship there was a girl that failed. She had a hard coop teacher and this lady had a history. Halfway through the semester, the girl couldn't take it anymore and decided it would be better to end it and start fresh the next semester. I felt really bad for her. They haven't placed anyone at that school since. Although the college oe ed has new people and this school has a new principal so I am sure they will get back into things.

What I don't understand from your post- you said you had your supervisor in last week. Shouldn't that supervisor have been in to observe you long before? We had weekly meetings with ours. This was only 5 years ago.
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been observed before
Old 05-28-2006, 03:07 PM
 
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My first observation by supervisor was not very good.
My second one was better. I had a couple crisis meetings after this one due to being yelled at, etc.
My last one I was very happy with; she gave me compliments. No grade yet from that one. Thanks for your interest and anything you can offer to me will be welcomed.
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Outcome
Old 06-05-2006, 01:01 PM
 
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Have you got the final outcome yet or plans for the future? Sometimes they will let you do it at a different school.
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tomorrow will be a hard day
Old 06-05-2006, 02:02 PM
 
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Thank you for responding. Tomorrow will be the day my cooperating teacher tells me I will not pass and why. I keep trying to prepare myself. I say maybe it won't be as low as I think. When he did the "unofficial one," it was incredibly low. My supervising teacher set me up, told him I might file a grievance. Why would she do that a week before my evaluation? With so many things being 'atypical,' and it being a hostile environment, maybe filing a grievance needs to happen. My spouse does not want me to take another 8-17 weeks of student teaching. I wonder if I can trust again, enough to do it. I thank you teachmo taking the time. I have learned a lot about teaching in spite of the lack of relationship with my cooperatiing teacher.
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Summer school
Old 06-06-2006, 07:36 AM
 
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I would set down with your supervising teacher and find out what your options are as far as student teaching is concerned. Be very nice and state things like although I know I had a difficult beginning I felt I showed much improvement towards the end. This was a great learning experience for me about teaching and although it took me most of the semester, I feel I am ready to take this on again. Can I do it this summer? One thing about teaching is you have to be ready to work with all different types of personalities. I will tell you now that I did not like my cooperating teacher. I even knew back then she did things I hated but I knew it had to be her way. I did things her way and I passed. She still wrote in my referral letter that I didn't know what grade-level appropriate lessons were. I have now taught the same grade for three years and am an excellent teacher. My lessons I use now are as appropriate as the ones I used back then. In fact my lessons were right on as far as the grade-leve expectations for the state. It bothered me that she would say that stuff about my teaching but I overcame it. That is what you need to do with this. There are teachers in my school now that I disagree with but I know that they are as good for some kids as I am. The multiple teaching personalities in a school allow schools to meet the needs of all kids. My grade-level teacher works very well with certain kids that I don't and vice-versa. I think we learn from observing each other.
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Old 06-06-2006, 02:19 PM
 
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Teachmo - Thanks for taking the time to let me know how things can work out. You write beautifully. Today was a bad day for me. As expected my cooperating teacher did not pass me. He marked me as low as it can be done. I don't know how I can be in shock since I've known all along how much he dislikes me.
You are right. I have a way with a lot of kids - I've got to remember that. There should be room for all of us who enjoy teaching - kids need all kinds of teachers.
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Old 06-07-2006, 07:31 PM
 
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I had a really rough time with my coop teacher also. Unbelievable mood swings etc. Thank goodness my supervisor is the one that noticed her before I did. My supervisors grade is the one that prevailed. She totally annoyed the coop teacher by telling her as much. After that my life was heck. 4 weeks of pure torture & ducking. My coop teacher even tried to get the kids involved. The kids who always clustered around me were demeaned and yelled at every chance. It was horrible. After I saw this happening I tried to not talk with any student when she was around because I was afraid she would retaliate against them. Anyway my supervisor bullied my coop into giving me at least average in everything -
the supervisor pointed out that if I failed so in essence did the coop teacher. After all the coop teacher was supposed to be offering mentoring.

After seeing some of these teachers in action - the cattiness and nastiness I'm really hoping that there are sane people out in the teaching field.

Good luck & I don't blame you if you don't do it again. It's a big financial as well as emotional hit. But if you do decide put out feelers ahead of time. People in the community love to talk. I'm sorry I didn't ask around. I found out too late that she had a bad rep amongst some of the parents.
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Struck out so far
Old 06-07-2006, 07:56 PM
 
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Wow, Mare. I really appreciate your sharing. My field supervisor has poor boundaries with my cooperating teacher. My supervising teacher set me up by disclosing something I said, so my last several days were hell. You may have had a cooperating teacher with a borderline personality disorder, or something. I have to agree that seeing how some teachers act out - you have to wonder. I am way too trusting - some kind of a Pollyanna - thinking that my student teaching would be a great experience and I would be connecting with my cooperating teacher and he would respect me...and mentor me. Whoa. .. I truely am afraid to trust. My supervising teacher justified my cooperating teacher's abusive behavior towards me. That's when I knew this was not going to work out. You know what is hard: there are tons of openings and I can't apply for any of them. The only miracle that could happen if my supervisor would override the tremendous low-balling I got from my cooperating teacher. But being they are enmeshed, it is not likely. I am so proud of your supervising teacher that she could see what was going on and that she advocated for you and justice prevailed for you. Then you had the kindness to encourage me. Thank you, Mare.
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Old 06-13-2006, 02:23 PM
 
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Hi whattodo - you appear to be stuck between a rock and a hard place, so to speak. You need a good report from your cooperating teacher in order to get credit for student teaching and to get a recommendation for a job, but this teacher is not likely to give it to you. Unfortunately, this situation should have been remedied months ago when it became apparent that the two of you didn't mesh well together. Your supervising teacher bears some responsibility for this as well; their job is to evaluate your progress and to act as a liason between the university and your cooperating teacher, while providing ongoing support for you during your student teaching experience. Sometimes that last part gets left out, unfortunately.

Filing a grievence will allow you to tell your side, but realize that both your grievance and the cooperating teacher's evaluation will probably still go into your ed file. I would suggest that you ask your supervising teacher if you can withdraw from the student teaching experience and be placed for student teaching again in the fall. If the cooperating teacher is willing, he could write up specific recommendations he has for helping you to improve; he should have been providing these for you on an ongoing basis already, but if he hasn't, here's his big chance. I would also suggest that you write in your grievance that apparently this teacher has had similar responses to other student teachers, and that your university field experiences placement people should know this and not give him student teachers anymore.

Withdrawing allows you to re-do your student teaching at a different location and have a much more positive outcome. You will also be able to take all the things you have learned from this experience to help you in the future. It will cost you more money to re-do the credits, but it gives you the best possible outcome. You got a bum deal with this placement, but don't let one bad apple turn you off from becoming a teacher. Pick yourself off, brush yourself off, and move foreward. You've worked to hard to get this far and then let one person stand in your way!
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Thanks RSB
Old 06-13-2006, 07:16 PM
 
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You are funny to say "one bad apple," because I associate apples with the teaching profession! I have learned a lot, like you said. There is no substitute for being immersed in a school and getting feedback. Do you think it is weird for the supervisor to have a secret meeting with my cooperating teacher, not tell me about it and not confirm it when I said I knew? I thought that was one way to shatter trust! It wasn't student teachers it was fellow teachers and teacher's assistants that the cooperating teacher discredits and goes after. I guess the cooperating teacher in the past has taken all the tough kids out of the class, and put them somewhere else when the supervisor came to observe. How do I know for another $1400 it will go better? When things get adversarial, the student is left on the limb. A safe place to be a student teacher is not too much to ask for.
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Wow....this makes me sad.
Old 07-09-2006, 01:34 PM
 
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I can't believe your story! It sounds like this guy has a control problem and may have felt threatened by having you in his classroom. There is no excuse for his behavior. But the purpose of this message is not to make you angrier, it's to provide some constructive advice. I don't think you should just let this all roll off your back, it is important to correct all of the misconceptions that came out of this year. The first person I would go to would be a trusted teacher from the ed department. I would just state what happened and ask for his/her advice. Hopefully he/she would provide you with an outlet; someone else who has more say over the situation. Is there a field placement/internship coordinator at your school? Perhaps hearing about your experience first hand will get the ball rolling. This cooperating teacher does not deserve the privledge of having a student teacher in his classroom. Saying something now, though it may not be the complete remedy, may prevent another placement in his classroom, and another student teacher from suffering.

But, on a lighter note...you get to start fresh which in turn can get that sour flavor out of your mouth! I can imagine being turned off to teaching after living though this, but you need to experience the good! Going into your first year of teacher after this horrific experience can alter your perspective of teaching and possibly have an effect on your performance and confidence in the classroom. You get to form a whole new opinion next year, and this is probably the BEST thing for you right now!

Good Luck!
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Reliving my past...
Old 07-09-2006, 02:03 PM
 
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whattodo,

I am so sorry that you have had such a horrible experience. It brought memories back from my student teaching...except for the fact that I had three teachers with three classes to please and be bullied by. A lot of the suggestions from the posters were great-I'll tell you what I did. I documented what they did, said, didn't do...and then when they tried to pass me with a D, I went to the head of the student teaching department at the college with my documentation. I told him all that had happened, showed him my documentation and explained that I wanted to be a teacher but that being passed with a D is worse than not finishing at all. (My intent was to actually file a harrassment case and sue each of them instead of filing a grievance.) I had spent almost a thousand dollars on that one semester, didn't learn anything, would not graduate with friends, delayed getting a paying position with bills to pay... After he looked into it, he let me redo my student teaching at another school (for free) with one teacher. I had a difficult time readjusting to a positive atmosphere and ended up journaling with my new supervisor to help share and get over what I had been through. It was tough! I graduated with an A in student teaching and have tried my best to not be anything like they were. This will be my sixth year teaching and every year I forget a little bit more about that time.

Much luck to you and don't let this stop you from becoming the teacher that you are meant to be. Learn all you can, stay informed and love those kids .
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Old 07-09-2006, 08:38 PM
 
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Tonight I have had a very hard time of it. . . get anxiety about this and I have been pretty stuck. I am very grateful to those of you who share your stories or point me in a direction. I didn't realize that there were many student teachers who suffered in their placements. For many of us, it was not just style differences. It was being subordinate to some immature, judgemental, unkind or impaired "professional teacher." Maybe these kind of people are drawn to hovering powerfully over others. I consulted a lawyer about two weeks ago (urging from a relative,) and haven't heard anything. I may be more far gone than you ever were, blueflowerart. I really don't think I can trust again. I know that I have tended to reach unreachable kids in the past....really really tough kids. That is what led me to seeking certification. It seems like times I need it the most, someone is offering hope to me on this board. Thank you, all.
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Old 07-17-2006, 04:50 PM
 
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I've been reading all your post and feeling a little better about my own present situation. I am actually in field-base right now and my cooperating teacher has been incredibly difficult to work with. I know that other students before me have also had a difficult time. All anyone said about my current placement at school was, "Wow, she will be interesting to work with." Of course, nothing has been done to stop students from being in her classroom with her because the school they are at is very tight with my university. Many of the prof. at my university are friends with the staff at the school and have personal ties to them.
This summer I have been criticized, called out in front of the class, scolded for things like not discussing projects with her etc, when everytime I went to talk to her, she brushed me off. She NEVER gives positive feedback or praise. It is always what I am not doing good enough.
I am very happy to recieve constructive criticism and I know that I have many things to work on but it has been all I can do to keep from giving up.
I have talked to supervising teachers and, apparently, there is nothing they can do. So, two and a half weeks to go and I hope and pray that things will work out and I will finish out well.
I feel sorry for anyone that has to go though what I've had to this summer. Hang in there though! It always works out one way or another, even if you have to start over!
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I feel so bad for you!
Old 07-17-2006, 06:25 PM
 
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I sar here reading your post and the replies it it wondering why this situation was corrected early on. In our school the principal picks the cooperating teachers. It is considered an honor to be picked. With that in mind, I don't understand why that principal let that teacher be a cooperating teacher. I am in my 36 th year of teaching and was asked if I would welcome a student teacher in my room. I asked the principal why she choose me and she said that I have good organizationl techniques which she felt is very important to a new teacher. I told her I would. All summer I have been thinking of ideas and making up a file box for my student teacher. I feel like a mother bird with a baby in the nest. I want their experience to be as pleasant as possible. I won't make them fly before they are ready. I take this job very seriously and want to do the best for them. It would be nice to know ahead of time ideas and questions they may have before coming into my room. Maybe some of you can relate your feelings.
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me again
Old 07-17-2006, 06:26 PM
 
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Sorry about some of my typing errors.
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Oh my gosh...
Old 07-17-2006, 08:31 PM
 
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When I read your post, tish, I just melted. Your attitude is wonderful and you are going to be a student teacher's dream-come-true! I completed my student teaching last May...had a lovely and gracious veteran teacher as my coop. However, the experience was completely frustrating. She never thought about providing a work space for me (It's tough to convince the students that you actually ARE their teacher when you have no place to lay down your notes, or must sit in the little seats to mark papers, conduct conferences, etc. Just a small, but adult-sized, desk and chair would have been nice!). I had to chase my coop if I wanted feedback or advice on a lesson (She always smiled and treated me with respect...also answered my questions...but it was like pulling teeth!). It's very nerve-wracking to step into another teacher's classroom as a student teacher because you want to maintain a certain consistency so as not to confuse the children, yet you need to have a bit of freedom to experiment. I longed for a scheduled conference time with my coop, even if it was just one morning or afternoon a week, to help with this balancing act. One thing I appreciated about my coop was that she always invited me to meetings and arranged for me to attend an important reading workshop while I was there. Finally--and this may seem a bit immature on my part!--but I was disappointed that there was no effort made at the end of my assignment to say "We'll miss you, and thanks!" My coop told me that she had wanted to have the children make cards for me but that there just wasn't enough time. After all the very had work I had done, I must say that I was a little hurt.
Oh...one more thing! If possible, try to get some pictures of your student teacher in action with the students. It would be nice for her/his portfolio and could be the basis for a good-bye gift. Thanks for caring, and I hope you are blessed with someone deserving of your generosity!
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Old 07-18-2006, 07:47 AM
 
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Hi Whatttodo?

I have so much empathy for you. I just came out of a horrible student teaching experience. My coop was pregnant, hormonal.very young and had a vendetta against our new principal. She was obsessed with the notion that the principal was targeting her for harrassment.(untrue) Because of this, she did not mentor me. I could not get her to give me one minute of her time, because she was pursuing her obsession with the principal trying to bring her down. In fact she was verbally abusive, calling me by my first name in front of the students, reprimanding me infront of adults and other co-workers. SHe gave me very unfair low evaluations and talked behind my back, putting me down. She made no space for me in the room and had me in tears over her rude nasty comments about how I did not measure up. Student teaching is supposed to be a learning experience, where we are allowed to make mistakes and learn from them.
My supervisor also sided in with her. My coop would shift gears and become this facade of professional demeanor and perfect teacher whenever my supervisor would show up. It was so disgusting. So my supervisor bought in to every lie she told her about me. Other teachers knew what was transpiring and told me they felt sorry for me, but I had to "grin and bear it." This young teacher is a master teacher, with a lot of power and a big mouth. It was clear how others were intimidated by her. The new principal was in complete opposition with her, but couldn't help me.
However, I asked the principal to observe me and she did write me an excellent letter of rec. Although, that was the worst 8 weeks of this year
for certain and I never did get a letter of rec from my coop, I relaize that in the big scheme of things, she really doesn't matter. I will never understand how someone who is supposed to be mentoring and helping someone can treat them so poorly. But all in all it was a learning expereince. Please try to keep your confidence and rise above this.
I know you will be a great teacher! Perhaps even better for what you been through, don't you think? Now that is over I know I will. Good Luck!
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now and then
Old 07-18-2006, 09:41 AM
 
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After teaching 13 years, I was asked to be a cooperating teacher by someone in our building who was finally "finishing up." She wanted a 6th grade self-contained placement in a middle school, which is not too easy to find. Many of the comments that I have been reading have hit home. I can feel from her side, my side and my experience 14 years ago. I try to imagine my coop teacher's side, but it is hard. I almost quit in January after watching her for 4 months. But, as soon as I got to TEACH things got better. My student teacher shared with me that people told her, essentially they thought I would be a control freak. That speaks a lot to how little my colleagues have bothered to get to know me. I am very organized, because I have to be. I think there are some learning disabilities present and to be as creative as I HAVE to be, I need the calmness of organization. I do my best to instill that foundation in my students also. My student teacher was supposed to start in the fall, but had a horrible experience, like some of you, with her practicum and had to redo it at a different school. I always say middle school teachers must be flexible because things ALWAYS change. So she started in December and finished in May. Nothing is ever perfect. I am sure I did things that bugged her. Having a student teacher is a whole different job! I was also mentoring another new teacher. But, I did my best to make it go well. We went out to eat, we planned together, I was not uptight about paper work because she had plenty of that through the college. Together we decided what her unit would be. She taught me things, and refreshed my teaching. She was very good with parents. The students and I made her a scrapbook. Okay, it's not quite done :-( She came to our end of the year breakfast (I make the kids breakfast with tablecloths, decor, etc.) The kids love her and keep emailing me for her address. I guess I am writing all this down because I got so close to giving up in the beginning and I was lucky enough to complete the cycle of making it right. (as right as I could.) I have gone through the horror stories, but it is with recent administration, so I know about politics and grievances. If you really want to teach, then you must find your way to teach.
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Old 07-20-2006, 08:38 PM
 
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Thank you for saying, "Please try to keep your confidence and rise above this." Another person said my being an OTA student teacher was an asset. When you have a placement where you do not feel safe, there certainly is relief when it is over. It made me think about students who do not feel safe with their classroom teachers. I don't think people learn well in unsafe environments. Supervising teachers are at risk for becoming aligned with the cooperating teacher against the student teacher. Maybe they identify very strongly with cooperating teachers and simply are not capable of seeing both sides. Some colleges are very much advocates for their students and will help them to succeed by whatever it takes to do so. My cooperating was very powerful in the school also. He helped hire the principal, so that is probably why the principal laid down and played dead. I think it is so important that teachers who know that a student teacher is being treated badly from a cooperating, say something to the principal or the college or to someone in authority who will listen, because it is the right thing to do. Some teachers did validate my reality, which helped me get my head on straight. My advise for all student teachers, document everything troubling and save your e-mails. Another poster said this was useful in talking to the college about what went wrong in the placement. I think that in student teaching preparation progrmas, they should talk to students about hostile work environments, harassment, teacher abuse of students, etc. We'd all like to think student teachers don't see or experience this stuff, but some of us do.
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Old 08-01-2006, 05:08 PM
 
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Hi all...
Came on again today to read the replies given to whattodo. Today my supervising teacher game me the ultimatum. She explained that she thought I had progressed a lot over the summer term but she was concerned about me not being ready. In the end, they gave me a choice so I have to let her know by tomorrow if I feel ready for student teaching or if I agree with them about repeating the semester.
I know that I have things I need to work on. Everyone does, even vetran teachers. I just hate that this is going to be on my record. My cooperating teacher has given me little to work with and my supers just go right along with her on it.
So, what do I do? Move on or repeat. I know deep down inside that I am ready, just as long as I get some good cooperating teachers. I know that I have a lot to give. I am just feeling so weak, like this experience has beaten the fighting spirit out of me. And, what happens if I am with teachers like this again? If one could slip through the system, aren't there bound to be more?
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What do you have to lose at this point?
Old 08-08-2006, 08:50 PM
 
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If you are going to go out of there with a failing report...go out on fire! Don't go down without a fight! Make a BIG stink! I would. I loved my mentor teacher, but the other two grade level teachers we had to work with did not like me and called my supervising professor and made false complaints against me and even made my mentor teacher cry! Fortunately, my professionalism, my track record, age, and life experiences let me handle it very well--and those two came out looking like the two trouble makers that they were! I was even offered one the teacher's jobs by the principal who knew what was going on. I would fight it for everything you are worth and let the truth be known. That person, like a lot of mentor teachers I've heard about, should not be one at all and the university needs to remove them from the program. Its not fair to anyone who has to go through what you did--it's hard enough without putting up with a control freak who wants to ruin your life.
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I'm sorry that I have not written Min sooner
Old 08-10-2006, 08:53 PM
 
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Gosh, Min: I feel for you. Guesswork and being blindsided is the toughest thing, when you have a career at stake. I have to say there can't be a whole lot of supervising teachers that don't take the side of one of the parties in the student teaching "triad" when there is is a 'poor mesh.' Its easy, so easy to scapegoat the student teacher. My experience was that it became adversarial and there may have been a sexual dynamic in my situation as I noticed some poor boundaries between my cooperating teacher and the supervisor. They had some character problems - one lying and the other not owning things; including the intensity of his anger. My God! Anyway, even with balanced, normal superivising teachers, I truly think they are inclined to buy the sole reality of the cooperating teacher, and naturally identify with them as they all have been players in the field for a long time, and we student teachers have not. I guess my problem was that I made trouble: I questioned things, and asked for things they had misplaced, or asked my supervising teacher to admit to something. Early on, I even tried to ask for things - like a compliment, or a meeting time, for example. Isn't it funny that those qualities that would help me advocate for students with disabilities, kind of sealed my fate? I really cannot think of anything I could have done differently, except try to get to know the principal and if there was any time left, had him observe me.

I will look forward to learning what you decided. I think if you have made improvements and feel you have a solid foundation perhaps going forward is the best thing. Getting hired where the teaching or the student group would not be highly complex might be good to pursue. When you get hired, you could prepare very hard; get lots of mentoring and possibly work part-time and augment your areas of weaknesses by classes or processing more with your mentor. I am a poor person to offer advise on this, but I would not chance this again. I'd finish student teaching right away! Please let us know what you decide. You and I have heard from others who have made it through and are now teachers happy with their careers.
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try this
Old 08-11-2006, 05:33 AM
 
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Can you write a rebuttal to the evaluation written by your coop teacher and have it attached into your file? That way, anyone who reads it will see your point of view as well.

If you need to redo student teaching, I wouldn't feel too badly about it. I think most of us would do better with two years of student teaching anyway, and you know this is not all your fault.

You are human, you are new at this and you are allowed to make mistakes. The idea is to learn from them and to learn by watching an experienced teacher. I don't think you've been given the opportunity to learn from your mistakes. I'm sorry your supervisor isn't on your side on this. I didn't have a great cooperating teacher either, but at least my supervisor was on my side.

My thoughts are with you. I've been teaching 9 years now. If I can make it, so can you.
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Old 08-11-2006, 08:53 PM
 
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Last night I read the posts to my husband. He was in disbelief that 20 people cared enough to respond. He couldn't believe so many people had trouble with their student teaching. And he couldn't believe the wisdom you all have shared with me and my situation. You know, I can't tell you what a big difference you have meant to me. Got me through some difficult moments and still do. Its interesting bparsons that you used the word rebuttal, that is how I felt about it. My program kicked me to the curb. No one even suggested I student teach again - that is how deep it goes. I will likely work in schools for awhile as a sub or a sped asst or something. Right now I am way too mistrusting to do this again. I am taking things one day at a time right now. I don't give up praying. I am just asking for God's will on this and to show me what he wants me to do!
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Old 08-25-2006, 09:51 PM
 
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I too had a similar experience, and the way I was treated by my CT almost made me want to not teach at all. I stuck with it though, and went on to find a great job. I was disgusted by my CT's lack of concern/professionalism, and because she was so obviously nasty, I never even asked for a recommendation. I would have swallowed glass first! (Although I had several stellar evals and numerous excellent recommendations.) On top of that, she had issues she was working through. I just wish these CT's would realize that ST's are not slaves or "lesser people." My CT actually called me names! She was very immature and enjoyed putting others down. (Yes, she actually called me names to other staff ) Stick it out. I did and I LOVE teaching.
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Student Teaching concerns
Old 04-18-2010, 08:04 AM
 
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I am currently going through the same issues as you had in your student teaching. My cooperating teacher is extremely picky and if it isn't her way, it is no other way. One of the bad things for me, is that she wrote a letter to my university regarding what she sees, and I cannot go to the principle of the school, as she too is friends with my cooperating teacher. I was never fully welcomed into the school from the first day (especially when she only introduced me to half of the classes). My cooperating teacher has only given me negative when she sits back and observes me, and that is when she is there. She has been out of the classroom for approximately 1/4-1/3 of the time on either PD or other days off. She was also supposed to go over her first, second, and final observations that she sent off to my university, and she had failed to do so each time. Additionally, I was supposed to observe other classes, and would not let me to do so. She also tells me that even teaching comes before family. Is that even fair for me when I have a toddler at home? It is however fair for her to be gone for nearly two weeks for her to take care of her family issues. My final observation was not good either, as it is team taught and most of the students are special ed. Many of the students can be off of their game when their is a new person in the class, and well, it showed when my supervising teacher was in the class. This semester has been very trying, and I am at my wits end with my cooperating teacher, and I do not know what else I can do, except to make a last stand by discussing it with the head of student teaching at my university.
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Student Teacher-with a problem
Old 04-23-2010, 04:06 PM
 
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Hi. I sympathize and have a similar problem. I will explain.

I am a career changer and over 50 but very young in mindset and a professional musician.
I am student teaching in ESL. The assistant principal, who i believe saw me teach a music/esl lesson last term, liked me--that is the good part. This semester I came back, and asked to student teach there because I wanted to get it over with early and they agreed.
The AP put me in the only all ESL class, an 8th grade class. I saw that the teacher accepted me but didn't want a student teacher. She has only criticized me and when an observer came, she asked "are you his mentor?" She would not let me even send an email to her for a lesson critique or acceptance and would not speak to me over 5 words at any one time......I want to cry.
But it was OK with me as long as I get through and pass because I have a Music license and feel I will handle an ESL job.
I made some mistakes and maybe they're fatal, a student corrected the board and I listened and left it on the board. It was not that I don't know the work as the coop-teacher said, but I was careless not to check it ( something simple but tricky because of a line change. ( isn't she going ( student changed it to "she goes" )
what was left on the board was ( ........isn't )
( she goes.....................
This was obvious but because of the line change I read "she goes" and left it....oops.
I was crucified for this. My second error was; I was given a screen-shot of a web page with buttons that had cause and effect phrases for making phrases missing the "I".

There were 4 rows, it was missing "I" and was very small print. I was way over tired and the teacher asked me to use this page and that the top two rows were "effect and the bottom were "cause" which were reverse what I would expect but I followed directions. I gave it out, and had trouble seeing it and getting it to work so I said "This is tricky" and she told me to skip it. I did another sheet.
The next day she came running to me and said " You made a mistake!!!" She said that the cause rows and effect rows should have been the other way (cause the top 2 rows and effect the bottom 2). I said that she told me otherwise and she said that I should have seen it as wrong if that was the case.
I see her point but on balance I think that my mistake was careless and forgivable-but I don't think that she will sign my evaluation form because of these things..
I told the observer that she has never had a student teacher before, won't let me do a power point lesson out of fear of a virus, has no time at all and wont talk to me.

The cooperating teacher didn't discuss this sheet with me, she sprung it on me, I had no previous knowledge of this and I think that her expectations were absurd. On the other hand I was having trouble seeing due to contact lens trouble and had a lack of adequate sleep.
My hours are up but I am wondering if another teacher that was in the room who has seen me teaching in the room and (told me that the coop teacher was a control freak) can fill out my forms? She is and English teacher not ESL.
I may use my 12 days left to go to another class a 7th grade class and student teach there.

Please Help Me. I need advice.
Thank you
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Hi. I'd like to ask you ....
Old 04-24-2010, 08:29 PM
 
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What is your way of getting stellar evaluations? I get nervous and am too tired from preparation or other things. Can you give me some pointers? I'm student teaching in ESL. My terrible experience is below-- one message down.
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Old 05-04-2010, 11:55 PM
 
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After everything you do in college to prepare for teaching, why is so much power given to the cooperating teacher when it comes to a job reference????? This is only one crazy persons opinion. You can not help it if you stuck with a teacher that can not control her mood swings and not happy with their own personal life. Puzzled???????
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Get more references
Old 05-05-2010, 12:03 AM
 
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Go back to any other teachers that you have worked with to get your references for your applications. This teacher will most likely not give you a good reference. There is a special place created for people that treat students like some of these cooperating teachers do.
Tired of all the bs.
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Difficult Student Teaching
Old 08-11-2010, 12:07 AM
 
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Student teaching is a joke or at least the placements through my former university are. More often than not the teachers who take student teachers are doing so to lessen their load. It would amaze people to really learn how many student teachers have exceptionally lousy experience. If other universities are like mine, the university education department has burned so many bridges with local schools that literally they beg schools to take their teacher candidates. Out of my class (we were set for December graduation) of 63 student teachers, 45 had to be moved to other classrooms due to co-op teachers not wanting student teachers. 12 had to go to appeals to re-do student teaching. My student teaching experience was horrid, and that is being polite. It ended up with my professors petitioning on my behalf to the Dean of Education, resulting in a power struggle with me graduating with my double major (fortunately I'm not limited to education), but no teacher licence. Anyway, it is nice to know that I am not the only one who had a horrid student teaching experience.

To the teachers like some of them who have posted on this thread, who are welcoming and honestly want to help their student teachers, you are simply golden! There are not enough of you in the educational community!!
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Old 03-06-2011, 05:34 PM
 
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I started my second placement in an elementary school in Nebraska. I already finished my first placement and it was wonderful. On the other hand, I am noticing that my new teacher does not like my STRONG accent when I reading a book in front of the classrooom. I just learned English five years ago and I hope down the road he does not get fed up with me and my SPANGLISH. I really want to graduate and I have studied so hard to do it. I cannot control my accent, it is something that I cannot totally fix.
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I wish I could take you all in!
Old 03-06-2011, 05:51 PM
 
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I am so sad to hear of all the horrible student teaching experiences you are all having. I've had student teachers in the past, and I have one right now. It's so important to me that this is a positive learning experience for her, and that the class sees her as the "other teacher" in our classroom. I gave her a workspace, bought her "teacher supplies" for her table, and treat her like I'm her mentor. She is wonderful, and the children love her. The thing I enjoy most about having a student teacher is the freshness they bring, and all the new learning they can share. If I could, I would take all of you into my classroom, into my wonderful school, and give you the best experience ever. (((hugs))) to you all. There are lots of teachers who would give you what you need to grow and prepare for your own classrooms- don't give up, we need you, and the children need you. Sending good thoughts and prayers to all of you- hang in there, and you will make it!!!
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Student teaching reference letter from Coop
Old 06-12-2011, 05:56 PM
 
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I had a great experience for my elementary student teaching but then did my special education placement. I passed due to my University supervisor observing me but my cooperating teacher wrote horrible things on my final. It was so bad that it makes me question being a teacher. Over a 12 week period she made me watch for most of it and let me teach only 9 times. I had a preschool placement when I am trained in K-12. In her final letter she wrote I taught above the children's level. She said I made no connections with the kids and did not seem happy. I am about to send her a letter back on her evaluation but I am unsure if I should even bother.

Here is my letter
Dear Mrs. ______
I am not sure if you realize this, but I am not an early childhood major. My student teaching experiences have been in middle and high school. Preschool was very different for me. I read over your "final" report on me. It feels more like a progress report and not a final report. I take issue with several points. According to the date of the review it was only based on two days of teaching. Knowing this, it would have been beneficial to both of us if you had spoken to me at the time of your review. How could I possibly know that you thought I was doing so terrible without you telling me? I was in an environment where I wanted to learn and needed feedback.

Also, there is not one positive comment. At first I took it to heart and it hurt me deeply. Over the last week, I thought that after putting my 'all' into going to school to be a teacher, perhaps I did not make the right choice. I've reconsidered this. Part of being a co-operating teacher is to mentor and help a new teacher develop their own teaching style and not to become just like the mentor. It is an experiment for a new teacher to be able to make mistakes and to try new things. Do you realize you only let me do circle nine times?

Another issue was the comment about not introducing the letter bag. Why would I introduce it that day when you never let go of control to allow me to teach this aspect. I did not know that you were teaching this letter. You let me do four days of actual teaching everything for the day and that was it.

You also wrote that my projects were too hard for the students. I think that this is something that could have easily been brought to my attention as well, especially since you received them a week before they were presented. Seeing the student's IEP's may have also helped but I was never received them.

As to your comment that I never seemed happy. Do you remember when I told you that I had just gone through a total joint replacement in my jaw? I have limited movement and a great deal of nerve damage. I have physical pain in my joint and it takes a great deal for me to smile.

The part about me not making connections is totally incorrect. I did make connections with Kalob, Reggie and others. It was harder to as I was not in the position of a teacher in your class but an observer much of the time. Did you watch me with Reggie playing basketball and catch almost every day? I made connections with many of the children each in different ways.

I would have appreciated if you would have reviewed this with me in my first week of teaching and told me what I should improve on and not hand it to me 3 weeks later. How could I know that you were not happy with how I taught? You came to me twice and said that I should not ask the parapros for help. I tried to approach you many times and you were not very approachable. You walked away or turned your back. Teaching is very new to me and I was truly trying. I needed to be able to experiment and try new things with active guidance from you, the mentor.. I needed to do some of the circles wrong so I could learn from this, again with your guidance.

I am not expecting anything from you as I did pass because the college teacher saw the same circle time that you graded me on and wrote the opposite of you. Perhaps the supervisor should have discussed with you more of what to expect from a new teacher but I am unable to change that.
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