Saturday, January 10, 2009

Monday: The First Day Of The Rest Of Your Life

I am so excited to get a student teacher on Monday!

Firstly, I am so very ready to start a young teacher on her way to a long career spent investing her efforts into students. I had the best student teaching experience a puppy teacher could want. My cooperating teacher was actually an old friend from church (she babysat me as a child), I planned to be a Speech/Drama teacher so the twelve hour days were no shock at all to me and my mentor teacher could watch me work with kids and articulate with ease the things I did well and the things that weren't so great. I want to be that encouraging friend that naturally builds on the wealth of gifts that my puppy will bring.

Secondly, I need another set of hands. It's beyond tough to run a school spirit empire, a fake kid government, and to maintain full responsibility for two of the three Rs. She's going to take over one class at a time and her first one will happen quickly so I can work on Senior assembly. I can't wait to share the burden of grading.

But there's a gamble, isn't there? I'm assuming that babygirl is a natural teacher who just needs one last good push into the big world of teaching, but what if she isn't? I don't expect her to work twelve hour days, but what if she thinks that teaching is a seven hour a day job? What if she's a yeller?

So I guess I want ideas. I'm already noting everything my buddy Ms. C shared a coupla years ago but it's been about 12 years since I've had a student teacher and it was in a whole other subject area. Thoughts, please. I have a student teacher...and go!


Jen said...

I wish I had some good advice about this...I have mentored three student teachers in the last 15 years, and none of them are currently teaching. One went into law enforcement, one became a stay-at-home Mom, and one is currently a grad student. Granted, the third one is in the communications field, but she's not teaching high school! I don't know if this reflects badly on anyone involved: me, the students here, the system we have for training teachers, or the student teachers.

HappyChyck said...

I made a plee for advice on student teachers a year ago and received a lot of feedback from everyone. You might check it out.

I WAS lucky and had one who was ready to jump right in. She did really well, and the students loved her more than they ever loved me. It was a smooth experience.

I remember the most challenging part for her was not classroom management, as my middle schoolers are pretty good, but planning lessons, units, and valuable assessments based around standards. "What do you want the students to be able to know and do? How does this assignment do that?" So, prep times were pretty intense because I had to empty my head of all the things I JUST DO without having to articulate why to anybody. There's a lot to teaching that we do unconsciously once we get a few years experience!

The first few weeks were exhausting because I was teaching the students and teaching her, too. Once she started taking over the classes, it was less stressful and more reflective.

"Ms. Cornelius" said...

First, really, reinforce that teachers should never make empty threats. If you say you'll do x if a kid does y, make sure you can actually do x and then by golly do it if y happens.

Contact parents so that there can't be any misunderstanding if there is a concern about a child, and preferably do it before the kid gets home to spin the story his way.

Don't be afraid to admit you don't know something, but then say, "But let's find out right now!" Too often students don't understand something, but then skip right over it rather than follow through.

Be friendly, but understand you are not a friend or a peer. You are the teacher, and that is a VERY VALUABLE THING.

Find a way to manage the paperwork.

Leave some time for you.