Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Student Teacher

She's going to be good. Here are Mr. McNamar's rules to becoming a great teacher:
1. You don't know sh**. You sat in your liberal, progressive, education classes taught by professors with a great deal of white guilt. You came to your student teaching experience thinking that public education has failed greatly because it isn't culturally sensitive. Then you saw reality. You sit next to a student and offer your help. He tells you he doesn't care. You assign homework, but 3 students complete it. And the great part, you graduated from high school four years ago, and you are already talking about "this" generation of students.

2. Ask questions. It's related to rule number one. The key to becoming a great teacher is to ask your cooperating teacher a lot of questions. And then, ask someone else. Your cooperating teacher might be wrong--unless you have Mr. McNamar as your cooperiting teacher.

3. Go to bed early. My favorite quote of the day from a conversation between my student teacher and her friend, also a student teacher. "What time did you go to bed last night?" "Nine." "I know, seriously. I used to stay up late and drink." Just give in now. Your new bed time is 9pm.

4. Be willing to fail. I don't check my student teacher's lesson plans. I'm afraid I might influence her to do something only because I would do it. She needs to learn what works for her.

5. Participate. I'm making my student teacher play in the Staff vs. Senior basketball game. She's a bit nervous. When you are a good teacher, kids crave your attention. One way to show students that you are human is to participate in events they will show up at. Go to games. Chaperone dances. Be visible.

6. Don't take it personally. The students are testing you. If you are weak, they will circle around you, chant wildly, and then cannibalize you.

Certainly there are more. What would you add?

By the way, I need a nick-name for my student teacher. I dont' want to call her by her real name, and Ms. McNamar is already taken. But, I imagine I will be referencing her over the next few months, so she needs a name.


At 5:35 PM , Blogger Beth said...

I started following your blog while I was one of those education majors sitting in classes with those professors with all the white guilt. Now I myself am a student teacher who goes to bed no later than 9 (or 9:30 if I already have my clothes all ready and my lunch packed), and assigns homework that is often only completed by 5 or less students.

Keep your student teacher advise coming...I'll be watching for it :)


At 6:59 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

How about FNG. In the military it's what they call the new fresh out of basic dudes that they put out in front to stop bullets.

I remember being a new teacher and it felt kinda like that. Every day felt like World War I - the officers were in the back shouting for us to "go over the top" and get shot at. Not literally, but it often felt that way. Year 1 is so much about survival.

7. Don't Panic. Keep your temper in check. Remember that you are supposed to be the adult - take a deep breath, think about the situation calmly, then speak. It is so tempting to react when the kids, parents, administrators make you mad. Try not to, just remain calm.

8. Pace yourself. It's a long school year. It's a marathon, not a sprint. Don't burn yourself out on every lesson. They won't always be home runs. In fact, a lot of them will fail, and you will need to regroup, replan and reteach. It's OK, that's how you get better at this.

9. Be human. This goes back to No. 1 - you don't know everything. I tell my kids that on day one. Many are shocked to hear a teacher say that. I also tell them that I expect them to teach me something. And they don't ever let me down. I always learn from my students - every year. I also invite them to show off their math skills - I don't teach math (even though we often have to do some math). I invite them to show me anything they know (that's subject appropriate). They LOVE showing the teacher. I love learning it. And I get to show them one of the joys of being a teacher - teaching someone else.

At 9:07 PM , Blogger bun2bon said...

How about The Sidekick? I often felt like that as a student teacher.

At 2:43 AM , Blogger Mr. McNamar said...

Great comments.
I hope I am allowing her the freedom she needs, and not relegating her to "sidekick" duties.

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