student teaching without support

Discussion in 'New Teachers Archives' started by Ms.Jstudent, Dec 10, 2006.

  1. Ms.Jstudent

    Ms.Jstudent New Member

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    Dec 10, 2006

    Right now I am half way through my student teaching year. I really want to be a teacher, and I know eventually I will make a good teacher. However, lately I have been feeling really insecure about my student teaching position. I am kind of shy and I am easily intimidated by women in authority, so being in someone else's classroom has been really difficult for me. My mentor teachers haven't given me a lot of feedback, and even though I have completly read the feild guide, I not always sure what is expected of me. My first mentor teacher was really good about getting me involved in the classroom and trying her hardest to make me feel like a part of everthing. However, I switched mentor teachers five weeks ago, and my new mentor teacher is really hesitant to give up any control in her classroom. She doesn't even want me to grade papers. I try to walk around and help the students, but most of the time I find myself sitting in the back of the classroom with nothing to do accept take notes. I am scared that my mentor teachers get annoyed having me in their classrooms, and I know that talk about me when I am not around. The other day they called me into a meeting with the principle to express their concerns. They were polite, but I wish they would have come to me about these concerns before they called the principle in. I felt intimidated, and I wanted to cry so I couldn't even express my own concerns. I know I'm not perfect, and I really need to work on my classroom management, but I just wish they would help me and give me a chance. On top of all this my supervisor rarely visits my school or meets with me, and I am the only student teacher in my my school. I just feel stranded without any support. I've been coming home and crying almost every night. What do I do?
     
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  3. ms_chandler

    ms_chandler Comrade

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    Dec 10, 2006

    I student taught 3 years ago and had a very unfortunate position. I thought I'd never be a teacher. I was told by many teachers who had AWFUL student teaching experiences to pursue teaching and give it a try. I LOVE IT! Trust me, I thought I'd never say that. For me, it was mostly a grade change. While I loved the juniors and seniors that I student taught (even though I was 4-5 years older than them), I HATED teaching literature after like a month. I felt stupid that I had ASKED to teach English III and IV. I realized that I should teach what I love to teach and had to pick my favorite English year as a student. Seventh and eighth grade were my favorite years of English as a student, so I interviewed at a junior high. I currently teach 7th grade English and LOVE IT. I always tell my students that 7th grade was my favorite English class and quite possibly my favorite year of school. This fit has changed my entire perspective of teaching drastically.

    I'd guess that by halfway through your ST, you should already be teaching a certain amount of hours, right? I know that by my 3rd week, I was supposed to be teaching 5 hours a week, and it increased from there. By the second month, I had to have basically been teaching most of the time. I had a certain amount of hours that I had to document. My coop teacher once told me that I had to be more proactive. I am usually an upfront person, but I didn't really know what to ask her at the beginning. It was just so overwhelming. She gave me a C for both quarters which was considered "average". My professor gave me almost a perfect grade on every observation.

    Trust me, my classroom mgmt was so messed up when I did my ST. But, when I stepped into my own classroom and had my own rules, things were so perfect. I had my act together and knew how to run things. Even now, VETERAN teachers ask me for advice. I never, in a million years, would have guessed that. I am 25, and my principal calls me "Dr. Chandler!"
     
  4. nasimi77

    nasimi77 Groupie

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    Dec 10, 2006

    Ms.JStudent: Your experience sounds almost identical to what I went through. (finished my ST in March of this year). My heart goes out to you, and I can say that you will get through this. I know how tough it is! My nephew was born during my ST and that gave me a renewed perspective. Also, I found some funny shows I got into on TV that helped me to unplug and laugh at the end of a very stressful day. (I did PLENTY of crying, and I wanted to replace that w/laughter). I also would ralley around friends and family and try and do fun things on the weekend. Just do the work you need to do, and lay low. Don't get caught up in any chatty_kathy gossipy type stuff. Just be 150% professional. I was also the only ST at the school I was placed in and I felt very alone. However, I also realized this was my final step towards gaining my credential, and I wasn't about to let anyone or anything get in the way of that. I honestly thought I would NEVER get through my ST! It was sooooo hard and on top of the stress of my environment I had a very extensive portfolio to put together. (like most ST's do). However, I DID get through it, and you will too. :love:
     
  5. Abbyteacher

    Abbyteacher New Member

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    Dec 10, 2006

    Hi Ms.Jstudent,

    I've hosted 5 student teachers, and my heart goes out to you for the difficult situation you're in. Many "experienced" teachers forget the value in giving control over to someone new, and that they can actually learn from the new teachers too! I have learned so much from my student teachers, both from what they have planned and taught, and about my own teaching as well. I wish you had a mentor like this, but in the mean time.......

    Can you talk to your supervisor about your concerns, and say that you're not being given a chance to do much?

    Is your mentor teacher approachable at all? Don't let yourself be intimidated out of the opportunity to show what you've got, and to be graded fairly based on that! She may think she's giving you lots of space, whereas that's not how you feel. Teachers who have been at it for many, many years and suddenly are sharing their classroom are the worst at seeing that they're not actually sharing at all! She may not realize that her actions are as detrimental as they are.

    My other advice, and this is a last resort, is to just do whatever it takes to get through. If this means you have to temporarily swallow some ideas and ways of doing things you don't necessarily agree with, then do it to make it through the program. I'm sure many of my student teachers didn't like everything that I did, and couldn't wait to do it their own way -- and that's OK! But if the program supervisor and mentor are so anal retentive that they can't see the value in letting you have a fair go, then just get through the year and look forward to getting your own classroom. As long as what you are doing isn't hurtful to the kids, and you are learning good teaching practices (and what NOT to do!), you'll be OK!

    Good luck,
    Abbyteacher
     
  6. Ms.Jstudent

    Ms.Jstudent New Member

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    Dec 10, 2006

    Thanks to those of you who have replied to my concerns, you gave me some good ideas, and I am glad to know that I am not the only one who has been in this situation. My plan is to be striaghtforward with my mentor teachers about my concerns. I definently agree that I need to talk to them in a professional manner and let them know how I feel. I have e-mailed my supervisor and hopefully she can help me out. Unfortunantly I am not very good about confronting people, but this is a skill I will have to work on. I hope it didn't sound like my mentor teachers were terrible, because I do believe that are great teachers, and I've learned a lot from observing them. I just kind of feel like we have some personality conflicts. Anyway my support goes out to any mentor teacher, because I know it's hard to have someone else in your classroom when you are trying to teach 25+ other students.
     

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