Thursday, May 22, 2008

Drama, Tears, and One Tired Teacher

Walked in this morning to find my student teacher in tears. She was in tears again at lunch. And again at the end of the day. My day was framed with her tears. Agreeing to have a student teacher sounded like such a good idea -- let me just say, NEVER AGAIN. N E V E R.

Yesterday the students misbehaved during her math lesson. And C (the student teacher) didn't fully review the math concept, forgetting the final step of simplifying the answer when working with fractions. OK. Then, in the afternoon, I left the room as C was teaching a lesson on natural resources. The principal saw me leave and decided to step into classroom. After three minutes, the principal asked C to take a slooooow walk to the office and a slooooow walk back. Not good. C was crying this morning because, "No one ever tells me anything, the kids said I'm going to be fired!"

C's perception of the lesson was that the kids were behaving, were on-task, and participating. I said, "That's not what the principal saw. She saw four kids paying attention and the rest not. You have no engagement strategies and the students were giving you silly answers. They were being rude and disrespectful." Not a good start to the day.

At math time today, I left the room. (I'm leaving because next week -- GULP -- I'm supposed to turn the classroom over to her completely and I want her to get used to it.) One student called C a fat ass. Several more flat out refused to do their work. C started crying in class and didn't stop. At lunch I asked her if she wanted me to stay in the room the rest of the day and she nodded YES.

After school the principal called her up. C was gone a loooong time and was crying when she came back. Who knows what was said, except that it can't have been good. C's trying, she really is. I've tried everything I know to do -- I started talking to her University supervisor the first week, when I realized there was a problem. I've modeled every behavior management strategy I know, as well as different student engagement strategies. The principal and assistant principal have talked to her (and the students), trying to offer support. This is C's third student teaching placement; how can she have been allowed to get this far with this much of a problem?

Part of the problem is a lack of personality. Maybe it's shyness. C doesn't talk to other teachers, or me. At lunch, she sits next to me but doesn't say A SINGLE WORD. She's been with me since the end of March and will not even say HELLO when she passes someone in the hallway. My team leader said today that she's starting to feel anger toward C because of it -- that's not good.

AARGH! Thirteen more days. I can get through this. Really, I can....but can the students?


Jessica said...

Wow! How have her other student teaching experiences went? What grade level is your class? Student teaching is very challenging (I graduated in Dec. 2007); however, now that I am teaching I could not imagine having the added stress of having to worry about student teacher issues in addition to everything else that a teacher has to worry about. Don't let one bad experience change your mind about taking on another student teacher though.