Student teacher concerns

Discussion in 'General Education' started by silverspoon65, Feb 15, 2012.

  1. silverspoon65

    silverspoon65 Enthusiast

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    Feb 15, 2012

    I have a student teacher this year and for the most part things are going well. She is in her early 50's and this is a second career for her. She has been at home with her kids for probably about 15 years. Not to be an ageist, but I was glad I had someone a little older - I figured she would be a little more grounded and take student teaching seriously, plus she has an interesting career background before her children were born so I thought it would be great that she could bring some experiences to the classroom.

    However, there are two issues I am noticing and I am not sure what to do with either.

    The first - she has a SERIOUS technology gap. She has been working on her teaching degree for 3 years so I was surprised at her lack of technology experience. I started with showing her the gradebook, moodle, etc. She was really slow picking it up and I realized today she can't even navigate windows - like, I had to show her how to minimize a window and open it back up from the tray today, or use ctrl alt del to log on. I am in a 1:1 classroom and have gone almost entirely digital. I don't mind teaching her how to use the apps we use for school, but I can't teach her how to use a computer. What do I do? I am not saying she can't teach without technology but I am sure that most of us are required to check email several times a day, email parents, enter grades electronically, etc. Should I email her university supervisor?

    The second issue is probably even touchier. I noticed right away that she was kind of spazzy/flaky/quirky. Not in a bad way, just someone's whose brain is going in 20 different directions at a time. However, I started noticing right away that she wasn't remembering things that I told her. At first I thought that she was probably just overwhelmed, but I keep noticing it happening. For example, yesterday, she asked me a simple question and I gave a simple response. Today she asked the same question and I gave the same response. An hour later, she asked me the same question AGAIN and I gave the same response. Each time, when I gave the response, she acted like it was the first time she had heard it, not like "oh, yeah, duh, we talked about that already..." like you might do if you just forgot because you are overwhelmed. A couple of times I even said "Oh, remember, we talked about that yesterday..." and she says "Oh... I don't remember that." I would like to give her the benefit of the doubt, especially this early in, but it is happening A LOT, and her reaction indicated she really doesn't remember, not just that she is overwhelmed. I really don't know what to do with this, other than just document incidents of this occurring. Should I say anything to anyone? I teach high school so it's not like she is going to put the kids in danger by forgetting something.
     
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  3. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    I would continue to teach her the technology components of your job and expecting her to put in the time outside of school to learn to use them for when she begins to teach more. You may even want to set goals that are written down so that you have the documentation.

    For the second issue, I would have her write down her questions before coming to you in a journal. Then when you answer, she can write down the answer in the journal to refer to later.
     
  4. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Feb 15, 2012

    I don't know how you would approach this, but I would be concerned about health issues. She is of the age that memory issues may point to concerns other than just not listening to you. Do the two of you have a close enough relationship that you can talk to her about things like that?
     
  5. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Feb 15, 2012

    I would tell her the importance of being able use technology is so great that she needs to see if her college offers any introduction courses or tutoring. She MUST learn at least the basics.

    For the second concern... Is she actually teaching within your classeoom yet? If she is, determine if her forgetfulness negatively impacts her performance. If it does, then it will need to be addressed.

    By the way, I really do think you would be an AWESOME mentor! :)
     
  6. silverspoon65

    silverspoon65 Enthusiast

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    Feb 15, 2012

    The goal setting is a good idea. She IS writing down her questions and answers in a journal, which is part of what is adding to my concern. She is still often having no recollection of asking me things even when I know she wrote them down.

    This is my concern and I definitely don't feel like we do since she has only been with me a couple of weeks.

    Thanks so much! :D
     
  7. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Can you show her in her journal that she already has an answer to this question?
     
  8. TeacherSandra

    TeacherSandra Enthusiast

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    Feb 15, 2012

    I wouldn't email her supervisor, but I would certainly encourage her to take a computer class. Her local library might even offer them free. Also, ask her for her email and email her daily. I'm well over 50 and my son has a MAC which I simply cannot use when I'm working on several projects. I love my own computer and I am able to move around well enough. I have some good computer skills, but I don't know how to do any type of work that my savvy computer younger sister can do on the computer. Maybe, she's in the same boat.
     
  9. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Feb 15, 2012

    Sandra, but she needs to learn, don't you agree, if she wants to work in a school similar to the one in which she's student teaching? I just think it's important that those student teaching are evaluated accurately before being given a position and not performing adequately. Not that one can't teach without technology, but not being able to use basic computer functions will hinder one in many, many schools.
     
  10. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    Feb 15, 2012

    Many of the more "seasoned" teachers I work with aren't quite comfortable using technology.

    I think there is definitely a technological generation gap. In fact, there are times when my students show me new things on the computer!

    It's funny to see my three-year-old nephew use my iPhone & iPad. He picks things up so easily. Who would've ever thought toddlers would be using smart phones?
     
  11. EMonkey

    EMonkey Connoisseur

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    Feb 15, 2012

    You might just ask her if she has had any difficulty with memory in the past and if she says no, suggest she sees a doctor and tell her why. If it is a new thing it would be good to be seen and she may not even know it is happening.
     
  12. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    Yes definitely! My dad is in his 50's and a great teacher- but I sometimes wonder how on earth he does his job with his absolute lack of technology knowledge. He can use e-mail and do basic web searches, but that's really about it, and that took awhile to learn. He used to constantly ask me if the CD went in the computer painted side up or down! Just this year I finally got him to learn how to attach a document to an e-mail (something I find myself needing to do A LOT at work) and he still has a "cheat sheet" next to his computer with a step by step list on how to add the attachment. I think his school recognizes his expertise in other areas and is willing to overlook the tech stuff a little bit- and he is willing to learn if someone will take the time to show him- but I'm not sure a new teacher would be granted the same courtesy. I think suggesting she take a local computer class is a good idea. As long as she's willing to learn and taking steps to improve her skills, I don't think you need to e-mail her supervisor. If you approach taking a class with her and she doesn't want to, then it might be time to get the supervisor involved.

    As for the asking questions, I'm with swansong- the first thing I thought of was a health issue. Being that forgetful sounds like something more serious than just being absent-minded- like you said, once you've had the same conversation twice already she should be able to remember, "Oh yeah, I already asked that." Maybe suggest she keep things in a notebook? Even if it doesn't affect her actual teaching in the classroom, something like that would have a huge effect on your ability to work at a school since you're constantly having to keep up with/remember things outside of your own classroom.
     
  13. DressageLady

    DressageLady Comrade

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    Feb 15, 2012

    I am in my second month of the internship portion of my student teaching and I am an older student, too. At 48 years old, I am a good deal older than most of my classmates and am not as tech savvy as most of them.

    I had two thoughts when I read the OP. The first thought was that many of us aren't exposed to the actual programs being used in various schools, so this is the first chance we have to have any hands on experience. My cooperating school runs Infinite Campus. Although I had a required Educational Technology class, this is the first time I have ever used this program. Shoot, this is the first tine I have ever even heard of it. And I have made a royal mess of my mentor teacher's "system" more than once, closing what I thought I was opening and opening what I thought I was minimizing.

    It could be that this student teacher in the OP just isn't familiar with the various programs? Lord knows that just two weeks into the experience, she could easily be overwhelmed and feeling intimidated. She could "know" how to operate a simple Window, but perhaps she is so nervous that she is being overly-cautious. Plus, for a lot of us more mature students, what we know how to do and are comfortable with on a familiar computer is not so comfortable or easy when faced with an unfamiliar machine.

    As for the memory issue, it is possible that she could have a health issue. But the first thought I had when I read that part of the OP was wondering if she is asking the exact same question and not remembering asking it and getting an answer, or if she is asking different questions that all have the same answer? If it is the latter, maybe she doesn't know that the answers are the same? It wouldn't be an issue of a poor memory if she isn't aware that the answer is going to be the same.

    Personally, I would want my mentor teacher to come to me and talk about it. Bring it up in a non-threatening manner and come up with a plan to address the issues. If she can't get it together enough to follow a plan, given a decent chance to implement it, then have a three way conference with her university supervisor and take it to the next level.
    Sheilah
     
  14. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

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    Feb 16, 2012

    For the tech issue ... There are a lot of quick and useful videos online, do a Google Search for tutorials and show her how to watch them. Or, ask one of your computer teachers or tech facilitators to spend some time with her, do some mini lessons.

    For the memory issue ... document. If it continues, you can show her your evidence and move on from there.
     
  15. silverspoon65

    silverspoon65 Enthusiast

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    So, I did ask her yesterday if she has a PC or Mac at home and she has a PC. So I don't know what is going on there. I am not sure which video tutorials to suggest because I am just not quite sure where she is. But I know she has two teenage sons - I might recommend she ask them to work with her a little bit.

    I am going to document the memory thing. I still can't tell if she is just scatter-brained and overwhelmed, but it still seems pretty severe for that to me. There was another incident of something I KNOW she had written down and she seemed like she didn't recollect ever doing it.
     
  16. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    At ANY age memory issues could point to health concerns.
     
  17. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    silver, just continue to be patient w/ her. Despite the age that we're in, many older people simply don't like technology & therefore, don't use it or refuse to, but she really should get with it here. A friend of my mom's is a retired teacher now in her 70s & I have no idea if she did any technology in her 3rd gr class, but since retiring several yrs ago, she does absolutely zip w/ technology. OK, she has a cell phone (don't know what kind), but that's it. She doesn't have a computer at home. She's said she'll get a laptop, but has never gotten it yet.

    I'd strongly encourage her to take computer classes on her own time. They offer them at libraries, community colleges & community centers, many times free.

    Regarding your 2nd issue, she sounds like she just has a bad memory & is probably disorganized w/ how she arranges papers, does procedures, etc. Not everyone can have a great memory or organization like you & I! ;) She obviously isn't taking notes. Someone like her needs to carry around one of those pocket-sized digital audio recorders. The recording can be made into a CD-ROM, but knowing her lack of tech skills, she wouldn't know where to start, but she can learn & in the meantime, record you & play it back in her free time. I've carried around my audio recorder when I know I'll be learning a vast amt of info.
     
  18. TechGuy

    TechGuy Rookie

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    it doesn't make sense why an older person would spend the money and time in becoming a teacher, especially if they lack the technical skills. It's one thing if a teacher has been teaching for 20 years or so, but when hiring...there is no need in hiring a person that is not experienced. Schools are looking into investing into a person, and an older people is a poor investment because of the length of time of employment and abilities.
     
  19. kimrandy1

    kimrandy1 Enthusiast

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    Not a toddler, but my 12 year old set up my iPhone for me in less time than I could pack her a lunch. I can't even imagine how far these kids are going to go, technologically. I really can't!
     
  20. kimrandy1

    kimrandy1 Enthusiast

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    My mom is 65, and is just the opposite. Since retiring, she has become quite the technology junkie. She even stood in line for hours to get one of the very first iPads....and now has upgraded to the next. She is a whiz, too. She can figure out almost anything on her computer....
     
  21. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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