Kristine - posted on 06/04/2013
Hi everyone! I wonder how many of you will see this update so many years later.
That student teaching that began in 2009 was a disaster. I was "removed" from the classroom after 5 days because the teacher did things that didn't make sense to me and I asked another teacher for advice. (i.e., was I being a (b)witch, or overreacting, etc.?) This was treated as though I were talking behind my lead teacher's back.
Some of the things I can remember that she did were this:
1. I asked to see her lesson plans (just to see how they were done and to see what we would be doing). She told me she doesn't do lesson plans. Later, she told me that she does do them, but she lied because she didn't know why I needed to see them.
2. She gave the students (4th grade) a math benchmark test beginning at 2:30 in the afternoon. She spent a full 15 minutes on instructions and the children were left with only 15 - 20 minutes to complete the test.
3. She had a moderately to severe LD child who, after a week, she still had not introduced to the Special Ed teacher and who she expected to take this same benchmark test, even though there was NO way he could do any of it. He cried and she admonished him.
4. She was very unorganized and flighty; constantly complaining about not having any time and was never at school before I was.
The Special Ed. teacher was also the "lead" teacher, and I attempted to talk to her and get some direction. Again, I was basically looking for someone to say, "Oh, yeah, that's ok. Don't overreact. She's fine." But no one really knew what to say. Then, I had my first meeting with my "supervisor". Well, he was friends with her. So, I'm fairly certain that he told her everything that I told him and instead of getting a new placement, my school removed me - THAT DAY - and I almost didn't get another placement. In fact, it wasn't until the next semester that I secured MY OWN situation and was able to student teach in a Catholic School and it was wonderful!
I don't hold anything against anyone in the "first" situation. It was just a bad thing. No sense getting upset over it. :)
Summer - posted on 08/24/2009
Listen to Jennifer, special education teachers are your best "go to" people when you have questions about students with IEP's. You should definitely make sure that you know if the students have IEP's and read through the IEP to make sure you understand the accommodations.
Your master teacher is also smart not to look at the files until you have met the kiddos. Sometimes the students mature over the summer and you don't want to treat them like the "bad" kid when they need someone to give them a chance. I had a kindergartner who moved to my school and his teacher really wanted to talk to me about his behavior. I didn't call her. He had a rough start, but after two weeks, he worked great for me. I worked with him and not any information I had about him.
Jennifer - posted on 08/24/2009
As a special ed teacher I appreciate your concerns about wanting to know about any issues that you will have. At the beginning of each year we have a faculty meeting that we hand out a chart listing all students with IEPs and their accommodations that they should receive. Then we discuss anything that they have questions on. Hope this helps!
Ranjini - posted on 08/24/2009
You've got some great advice already, but what I would add is...remember to eat and drink enough! I student taught when my son was one and a half and with all the work, and yes, trying to overachieve, it's easy to not watch your health. If you have a nice master teacher it can be the best part of getting your degree. Plan crisp, meaningful lessons without too much fluff. Good luck!
Kristine - posted on 08/23/2009
Thanks everybody. My kids are 9, 12 and 14, and we live in a place that's safe enough for even the 9 yr old to be home alone for short times if necessary. My husband travels a lot, so I'm kind of like a single mom sometimes. While it's nice to have older kids, on one hand; it's harder because they have so many extracurriculars. The biggest one is hockey. Fortunately, it doesn't really get into full swing until November.
Also, I have subbed before, so I know a little about classroom management. Thanks for the advice about not overdoing things, Summer. That would be just like me! Also, I'm planning on going to the in-service days on the 2nd and 3rd. I'm really excited to see what that's all about.
One thing that has been bothering me: When do you look at your students' files? We have 26 students. I asked my cooperating teacher this and she said she doesn't like to, because she doesn't want preconceived notions. That makes sense, but isn't having no clue just as bad? How do we know if we have and LD issues? Do you really just get a list and a box of files? How does that work?
I am a Master Teacher in Rialto Unified and of course, a mom. Since you don't get paid do you have daycare that is affordable for the hours you will put in at work? A husband that helps as much as possible? If you have these you should be fine.
Make sure that your Master Teacher is also aware of your responsibilites at home as they should be able to happily work with you to relieve some of your stress. Most of that stress will probably come with all the paperwork your credentialing program gives you as the first quarter you are observing anyway. Your Master Teacher will hopefully help you there too--it never hurts to ask!
Good luck and if you have any questions always feel free to let me know and I will help in anyway I can.
Marilyn - posted on 08/23/2009
Kristine, good luck student teaching. You will do great! Summer's advice is perfect. I also recommend going to at least one staff meeting, to see how they're run. I will have a student teacher in a week as well. I'm anxious too. Developing a good working relationship is vital to the process. I've had other student teachers in the past, and my biggest concern was them getting to class on time. I suggest you get to class a bit early, that way your master teacher can brief you on the day, or anything else that may be important. It also shows that you are interested in being there, and not merely fulfilling a requirement.
Please update me . . . us . . . on your experiences.
Summer - posted on 08/23/2009
When you are observing...gather all the information you can on classroom management!
Make sure that you utilize your time the best you can...I always do my school stuff after the kids are in bed, that way I can enjoy them when they are still up. Give yourself a break...do a good job, but don't be too much of an overachiever...it will cost you precious time with your family and then you will resent teaching.
I did my student teaching as a single mother of two, you will be just fine! If your school district offers professional development for the teachers, often they will allow student teachers to take the trainings. If you can afford the time away from your family, it is worth doing the trainings!
Take care and good luck!
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