Question Detail

Teaching Student Teachers

Jan 10, 2014 10:03am

I have had to awesome opportunity to work with a student teacher. My student teacher is a great person but she seems to struggle with becoming easily over whelmed. As we know; teaching is a career that can consume you if you allow it to. I believe that she came in thinking education was one way but, realized it's more complex then she imagined. What are some ways I can get her back to enjoying teaching again or even show her methods to awake that hidden passion. I've exhausted myself in motivational talks so what more can I do? I don't want to lose a great teacher before she even starts.

  • Arts / English Language Arts / Math / Science
  • 6-12
  • Assessment / Class Culture / Collaboration / Common Core / Differentiation / Engagement / English Language Learners / New Teachers / Planning / Special Education


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    • Jan 10, 2014 5:00pm

      As someone just coming out of my student teaching, I would suggest finding out what exactly that over whelms her. Is it her lack or planning, is it her inability to multitask, or is she unorganized. I am not sure a pep talk would help, but maybe a open ear…..Or just ask her when did she decide she wanted to teach and was there something pivotal in life that steered her to education. I hope this helps.

      • Jan 11, 2014 9:11am

        I agree with Steve, try and find out what is overwhelming her and be ready to lend an ear and listen to her concerns. As a mentor teacher, you can offer important lessons in so many areas, but mostly just in allowing her to watch you in action and learn from your day to day routines. Let her step back for a couple days and do more watching rather than teaching if that helps. Try to come up with a list of things that you do on a daily basis that help you get through the time consuming necessities of teaching (how do you take role, collect work, grade assignments, keep track of assignments,etc). You might want to offer her a chance to observe other teachers as well so she can come up with her own varied list of how teachers do all the work that they do. Good luck to both of you!

        • Jan 12, 2014 9:50am

          If she is overwhelmed, then her priority has to be management. If you could answer a few questions, maybe we could tailor some help for her.

          What do her lesson plans look like?
          Are there any standards, such as, students will be able to learn how to compare and contrast characters in the next 45 minutes? Are there specific, measurable and attainable goals in every class?
          Does she have time to work on things with students?
          Is there an essential question?
          Is there any unguided practice?
          Is there any assessment every class?
          If you can answer these questions, you will also have a good idea of where she stands.

          • Jan 20, 2014 7:37am

            Sit down with her and co-create a "to-do" list. Include things that you will be responsible for and what she will be responsible for. She may be worried about extraneous things that you already have under control :-)

            • Jan 21, 2014 5:52pm

              I also am a student teacher. I don't know how long you have been working with her. I know with the placement I am in now, I have been in at least twice a week since August so I feel comfortable around the students. However, I completely understand the feeling of being overwhelmed. I do not feel so much overwhelmed about my duties as student teacher, as I knew going into teaching that it was a lot of work. I feel more concerned most times about the fact that I am planning lessons for a classroom that is not formally mine; so I always feel nervous that I am doing something wrong.

              My AMAZING mentor teacher has helped ease my transition in a few ways. First of all, she didn't just throw all of the lesson planning on me at once. She would show me a lesson she had done, and then ask me to plan the next one. I always feel comfortable sending her the plans early and having her return them with suggestions. Also, we spend the time before class in the morning planning our day and talking about things that will come up.

              I think that if she doesn't have a lesson plan book, it would be a good idea to get one for her. Planning is essential to my student teaching. Also, just make her feel comfortable to talk and come to you with questions.

              All of the other suggestions I have seen people comment with are extremely helpful as well! Hope this helps.

              • Jan 24, 2014 4:53am

                I remember that as an ST, I was plagued with so much doubt and insecurity (even NOW). As a CT, if you feel that you've exhausted all avenues to support your ST, it's probably a good idea to conference with the ST and his/her advisor. I wish that my CT afforded me a little more "tough" love. If I were to do my student teaching all over again, I would give myself more "self talk" to keep pressing on. And so when I was given more support, I remember being advised that the "should'a" and "could'a" moments are futile.

                • Jan 24, 2014 10:43am

                  I also am currently a student teacher. I am finding it very helpful to debrief with my host teacher during the planning period and after school. I am able to talk to her about the successes and struggles that I had, and by processing the experiences, I avoid becoming overwhelmed with the multitude of information and experiences.

                  • Mar 12, 2014 1:29pm

                    As a mentor teacher, it's important to find out what your student teacher finds overwhelming. Because she is a new teacher, I am guessing that the answer is probably everything. From my experience, I found that working alongside your student teacher helps to build his/her confidence. This includes planning a lesson, co-teaching, and assessing student work. Then, follow-up with a debrief about the entire lesson. Helping her break-down her work into meaningful chunks might help her feel less overwhelmed.

                    • Feb 1, 2015 3:06pm

                      This is all such great advice! I have a new student teacher this semester and have been thinking a lot about how best to support her. Just wanted to say thanks for these ideas!