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Difficult start to second placement

Discussion in 'Trainee and student teachers' started by Brint, Mar 9, 2011.

  1. Brint

    Brint New commenter

    Hi James
    I'm very concerned about the start to my second placement, I'm hoping you can give me some advice.
    I am in the third week of my placement, I started teaching two of my classes last week and started with a third class this week. My first lesson went badly, I was aware it didn't go well; after the lesson my mentor was annoyed and berated me for 15 minutes. She didn't mention anything positive about the lesson, her feedback was in the style of a rant. Today I had another lesson and I was pleased with it, it wasn't perfect but I felt I had made progress. It was my first lesson with this class. Before lessons I am supposed to borrow a laptop to connect to the interactive whiteboard but the class teacher refused to lend me hers, she was eventually told by my mentor that she had to, so she did. But then she left the class at the very start and sent another member of staff in to give me his laptop, I had to reconnect and log in again which took time, she didn't come back for another ten minutes. During the lesson she kept talking to pupils asking what they thought of my lesson and whether they were learning anything. After the lesson she left and I had to seek her out to get feedback. I couldn't believe her first criticism - she said the starter took too long. Of course it took too long, I had to switch computers right in the middle of it! Then she said she would take the class back next week and I would be limited to observing and some team teaching - after just one lesson with the class. Another teacher has now said he wants to do the same with me and his class, after just two lessons.
    I did very well in my first placement, most of observations were rated good, three were rated outstanding and one was rated satisfactory. I really enjoyed my time at my last school and was delighted I chose to do a PGCE. In my current placement I feel totally demoralised. How do I deal with this? Surely, if I complain it will only make things worse. I'm worried I will fail this placement despite my hardwork, I stay at school until five or six every day and then go to my uni library to do more planning, most days of the week I don't get home until after eleven. Another trainee in the department has said he is having a similar experience and has the same concerns, so it's not just me.
    Your advice would be much appreciated.

  2. I agree, your mentor is not professional, but to make you feel better, I had the same problem with my first mentor, and my second mentor also wouldn't mind to stop my lesson and start teaching the way she thinks it should be. I think some people just like humiliating.
  3. fantastischfish

    fantastischfish Established commenter

    Actually, at mentor training provided by the universities the tutors advises 'modelling good practice' as a good method of mentoring and showing the student teacher how to improve. Perhaps you are taking it as a personal insult, rather than a way to improve your practice.
  4. Sorry you're having a rough time, but if I can tell you my positive story so you know there is light at the end of the tunnel.
    My first placement was a nightmare. My mentor left me alone with all her classes for the first 4 weeks. She wasn't even there for the first one - in the belief that I should be thrown in at the deep end (even when I asked her to come in). I thought I was doing fine - the children seemed to be learning and yes, although some discipline issues, I didn't think it was horrendous. The day before my uni tutor was due to come, my mentor thought it appropriate to at least have seen me teach. She absolutely slated me, saying the children hadn't learnt anything, my activities were inappropriate etc. I felt totally demoralised and angry that she hadn't observed me earlier. All the other teachers who had observed me thought I was fine with things to work on. My uni tutor came and during the meeting, it was two on one, with me in the minority. I felt even worse. Not one positive was said. But, I plodded on, took it on the chin, made a point of doing everything my mentor told me to do. I only just passd the placement with a huge amount to 'work on'.
    My 2nd placement was a far cry from this - they couldn't understand my previous mentor's points about me. This school offered me a job after my placement and needless to say I took it.
    My point is that this mentor of yours is unprofessional and please don't think that what she is doing is OK. I bet you are a great teacher, who cares a lot about doing a good job. I say act on your mentor's advice - even point it out when she is observing you so that she knows you are listening and learning yourself. Some people just like the authority that comes with managing people. Teaching is great fun so please don't give up!
  5. There is a massive difference between modelling good practise in lessons that the student is observing (which is how universities teach that it should be done), and taking over a student's lesson partway through. Are you sure that that universities you're talking about explicitly state that modelling good practise means that you should stop students, cancel their lessons, and take over the class half way through?

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