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Discussion in 'Trainee and student teachers' started by thequillguy, Jan 28, 2012.
I was (still am) earnest as hell. Has to be tempered somewhat: only somewhat though!
I've be criticised for continual lack in confidence - despite being given very little positive encouragement. How can you grow in confidence if it's not indicated to you what you are doing right?Absurd!
And also being told I was too nervous after an observed lesson (well, the first 20 minutes of it) which involved being observed by my mentor, my uni tutor AND the Primary PGCE course leader.
My mentor once told me that I had a travel phobia and my parents were feeding that phobia because I said that I couldn't do open/parent evenings which finished at 9.30 (which I was perfectly within my rights to do).
This was because:
a) The College in question was 15 minutes away from the nearest train/tube station.
b) I can't drive.
c) The college was 1.5 hours away from my nearest train station.
d) My nearest train station was a 30 minute walk away from where I live, so my parents had to give me lifts to and from my local station.
e) the college was located in a rough part of London, so anything could have happened to me on the way home.
To add to this one, during feedback of my first assessed lesson with my 'mentor' and assessor: 'You should take acting lessons because I could see you were nervous for the first few minutes.' Corker. A real corker.
Oh and the other really great one was - 'why have you joined a union as a student teacher? You need the extra protection that full membership provides as you're always alone in your classroom.'
Oh another one!!!
Day 1: 'Go plan your lessons for tomorrow'
'Ok, but can you give me some advice of how?'
'You just go and plan them. That's it.'
Too many to name, really...
I love this one. Your mentor sounds like a total numpty!
Mine was after my first every lesson as a PGCE student...
"You looked like a rabbit caught in the headlights"
Also pupil was on their phone (year 11) and I asked for the phone several times "Can I have your phone please?" and the pupil said no. My mentor walked over and said "Can I have the phone please?" and the pupils just gave it straight away. After the lesson the mentor said "You just need to learn how to ask...you have a lot to learn about behaviour management". I tried to make the point that it was because I was new and she had been their teacher for 2 years, etc. and she just told me I was wrong!
What you have to remember is that an experienced teacher will be making judgement calls.
For instance, in my school, we have a very distinct behaviour policy. One warning, name goes on board; two warnings, name goes onto amber; three warning, red and a sanction within the classroom. After four rule breaks/warning, the student is then removed from the room by an on call member of staff and taken to an Isolation room for the rest of the lesson.
For most students, this works just fine. Simply the threat of "Next time, on call will be coming for you" is enough to deter them and make them behave. However, I have students who, if I followed this to the letter, would be out of the room within the first five minutes of every lesson. I'm not saying that I make exceptions, but I do use my judgement to decide when I need to escalate them up the system. This must obviously be done subtly to prevent other students from feeling it's unfair. But it's the sort of thing an experienced teacher does every day.
You may think it's unfair that you are getting told to do things but seeing other teachers not doing them/doing them differently, but I'm afraid that's part of the learning process. You have to know the rules before you can break them and, in a school where you are young, new and unknown to the kids, it IS infinitely better to follow the system available to you to the letter than to try and improvise. Those teachers seemingly 'doing their own thing' will have had plenty of trial and error to find out what works best with their classes.
I'd suggest that sometimes student teachers need to be less critical of others.
Although it is important to encourage learners to think critically.
My friend had the itt co ordinator comment on her voice and mannerisms and how she sounded and came across.
When he'd never even seen her teach.
I had the same! My observer wanted an inclusion list, and it was the first time I'd met the class!
I agree with what you say Eva but as a former student Teacher, HoD and Mentor myself, I totally agree that it is also important to be a good role model if you want students and colleagus to take you seriously!
I would therefore say that we should all be less critical of others! Teaching is a stressful enough profession as it is without collegues making life difficult for each other as well!
Yes, it's important to set an example. But if an established teacher suddenly starts going back to teaching the waya they did as an NQT/student teacher (i.e. doing everything by the book) you'd find their classes looking at that teacher rather strangely.
It's important that a mentor explains how a new teacher should start out and then how they may find their own methods and ways of doing things.
It's also important that a student teacher remembers that they are a visitor in a school and that, whilst experienced and established teachers may have found ways of adapting policy to suit the needs of the children in front of them, THEY must follow the rules and meet the expectations of the school and the PGCE course.
Is it unreasonable to expect any judgements on my behaviour management to come from the results rather than the method?
I'm perfectly capable, as a student teacher, of adapting a behaviour policy to meet the needs of the pupils. Especially if I do so with the support of the class teacher and mentor.
Again, I totally agree with what you're saying but I think that there's good mentoring and bad mentoring! I think that part of being a good mentor is realising that you need to set a good example and that there's a big difference between honest and constructive feedback and unnecessary harshness, nitpicking or bullying which doesn't help anyone at all!
I wasn't suggesting that we need to teach like an NQT but that some mentors think that good mentoring is about nitpicking and fault finding and looking for perfectionism when it's really about helping each person to be the best teacher he/she according to the standards set by their training program and of course, the placement school/college. I.e. I think it would be wrong of me to criticise a PGCE student for drinking a can of coke in the classroom when I do it for myself knowing full well that I was breaking H&S regulations in my college, so I would make sure that I don't do it myself! In contrast, another colleague who was a mentor in the year when I just joined my previous college demanded constant perfection in others but didn't follow certain standards himself, but 'that's alright' because he was in the position of authority and others were below him (i.e. do as I say and ignore what I do or don't do)!
That's all I'm saying!
Apologies for the SPG errors!
By the way, the coke drinking was an abstract example! In reality, I can't stand the stuff!
I'm sure you are very capable indeed. But if an observer wishes you to follow the school policy for the duration of your practice, that is their pregrogative.
'Not clear enough pronunciation of my end g's' in words such as doing, going.
I had written on my observation notes from my visiting tutor - good points subject knowledge, areas for improvement, subject knowledge.
But that doesn't make them right.