Student Teachers....to have or not? That is an important question to consider in your career. I've been teaching 21 years and just finished a session with a student teacher for the FIRST time ever. There are several reasons why I was hesitant in the past.
* I job shared for 7 1/2 years
* I had small children
* busy mom ...see above ( sports, scouts, church, etc. )
* I had my reservations - do I want someone in the room non stop 24/7?
These are all VALID questions and thoughts to ponder for sure. I knew that I wouldn't be able to give my all to a student teacher while my children were young. After school my kids were with me ( which I LOVED and MISS by the way ). So I knew my little humans running around might have made it difficult to meet with a student teacher after school .
This school year has been interesting not because of my class but due to things in my life ~ we had a hit and run in September and luckily we weren't hurt but it still took it's toll. In November I had a surgery and then I came back in January to a student teacher. I have an excellent class this year and truly missed them while I was on disability for my surgery. But ~ I have to say I can't wait for tomorrow to have my KIDS TO myself again. There was a long term sub in there during my disability and then my student teacher came so I feel like I haven' t had 'my kids' since November.
When I was asked by my principal I said, no. My typical answer for a student teacher. But then something stirred in me, one of the things I wanted to focus on in 2016 was to be stretched a bit out of my comfort zone. So, I decided to give it a try. It was a wonderful experience and I'm glad I did it. Even though the circumstances this year haven't been what I would like.
Here are some things that made the student teacher experience easier on both of us:
I purchased these 2 organizers from TPT and combined them a bit - I created a binder and ran off copies and had this waiting for her...she was so thrilled. I also picked up a Dollar Spot pencil pouch and some mechanical pencils, sticky notes and stickers to get her started. Click below on the pictures to visit these awesome resources from amazing sellers.
This was hanging outside our room on her first day. She was tickled and told me it eased her nerves a bit. Just be you and make your student teacher feel welcome / loved. I tried really hard to refer to her as 'teacher' and not student teacher. I wanted the kids to know that she was a teacher and was to be respected, etc.
I was talking to some teacher friends at a meet up and brought up having a student teacher ~ It was interesting to hear others thoughts:
* in one district you couldn't just 'be' a student teacher. You had to do a training that involved lots of hours after school etc. Only those teachers could be master teachers.
* another teacher brought up the fact that she wouldn't like having someone in there 24/7...I understood that completely! It does take it's toll. This teacher friend whom I love and respect dearly mentioned that she likes to be so silly with her students ( like breaking out in a phonics rap ) out of the blue in a phonics lesson. I LOVE THAT!!! and I find myself doing things like that too. She said she would feel strange like she couldn't do that with someone in the room all the time. I get that too.
I enjoyed seeing her improve over her time with me and I loved seeing her use my ideas and watching them from a different perspective in the back of the room as an observer. I loved seeing her come up with her own ideas too!
What was hard: It was tiring ~ and I mean really tiring TALKING all day. During prep when I usually run around, making copies, prepping I was sitting and talking, explaining. planning, etc. The first week I came home every night really tired like falling asleep at 8pm tired.
It's tricky giving feedback when things go south, but I loved that she realized it and asked for ideas from me to improve.
I realized that student teachers need a lot of encouragement and validation so I worked hard on giving that to her. Here's what I had on her desk the morning of our Valentine's Day party.
Just be sure you really think about all that it entails. It probably wouldn't be a good time to have a student teacher if you are a new mom, or a team mom on a sport's team. Do you have enough time to devote to one? Will you mind having someone in the room constantly? Can you give up control of your classroom?
Think about your master teacher and how valuable ( hopefully ) that was for you and try to give your student teacher a similar or better experience. Be you - you rock and were born to teach! I hope this helped give you some ideas and sort through your feelings on it. Happy teaching xoxo