Wednesday, August 20, 2008



Sitting here contemplating a lot at the moment. 

My student teacher - is good with the kids in the classroom but like many student teachers, she is so lacking in confidence it is appalling.  

We have set her a challenge - create your own curriculum.  Yes, we will help her but the idea is that she is meant to have a go at developing something.  

So far I have very little from her.  I have pumped her with lots of ideas.  Any idea that she puts out there I play with, "yes, that could work.  Try looking at it from this angle.  What about doing this the same way you suggested?"  Mostly I get a blank look from her.  

She hasn't smiled that much.

Today she cried.  For 3 periods!  She thinks she is failing!

I have tried to let her know that she is fine - but she doesn't believe me!  Her rapport with the kids is good.  Maybe her knowledge of the subject area (she has a classical focus which is great but we have a jazz/pop focus here) needs some work.

Does anyone out there have any suggestions?  I am worn out from the emotional angst that goes with tears.

I totally understand where she is at.  Gorgeous, my sister, helped me through one of my rounds.  I cried each and every night for, I think, three weeks.  She told me that I was crying because I cared about the teaching aspect.  I see that now.  I couldn't then.

I have asked a few direct questions such as "Do you want me to talk to the other supervising teacher about the issues you are feeling?"  Her response - "I don't know."  This happened a few times today.  I know that it is hard when you are so focused on your own limitations but it is now starting to annoy me....

Please - please - please.  If you have any ideas on what to do send them to me.  I have 3 1/2 more weeks to go.


Gorgeous said...

She may be finding the concept of developing a curriculum of her own way too daunting.
Maybe you could take one aspect at a time for her and offer the strategies you would use (teaching/assessment/student activities. In your time with her discuss the purpose behind your choice and then ask her if she could design a lesson/series of lessons for the aspect you are talking about, teach these lessons and evaluate them. Do the same process over the next three weeks. At the end of the time she will have a curriculum prepared - but you as the master have supported, guided and developed her as the apprentice. Do it week by week - she doesn't sound as though she is ready to do big picture stuff - she can't yet see the wood for the trees!

Vanessa said...

I have no great ideas, but I do wish you the best of luck.

Anonymous said...

I agree with gorgeous about baby steps. When I got my job at the college, they said, "Here are the course outcomes and three textbooks you can choose from. Good luck." They might not have said "good luck." It was overwhelming.

Since I don't know exactly what's expected of you as teachers where you work, I might be a little off-base here, but maybe have her sit down and think of an activity or assignment for the students (maybe have her choose from things that you do or things she experienced as a student herself). Have her write out the basic idea, and then have her write out what she sees at the teacher's objective and the students' objective. Knowing what you want or expect out of a task is important. It could be that she's accomplishing what she set out to do, but she can't see it because she's too scared she messed up. Or perhaps she isn't accomplishing her objectives because she isn't sure what those should be. She can do this for each different class for which she's been given the charge of creating the lesson plan.

The reverse works too. Give her some outcomes/objectives and ask her to think of a task that will lead to those results.

Lastly, could she be worried about the pressure of being observed by someone with much more experience? She might be feeling like she needs to do things the way you do them, but she knows that she can't just copy you. Introduce her to methods that you don't use but ones that she could try or experiment with.

Anonymous said...

reflection can be one fantstic way oh showing that ones journey is not lonely, its more that somoene had been there before. This gives the ability to know there is hope and a solution. It may mean more work however the extra work will come back 3 fold in the future if not the knowledge that you helped soemone off to the right start. Who knows you might just spark off a person of great potential like yourself, its worht a try. Foo