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Problems on paired placement?

Discussion in 'Trainee and student teachers' started by im1190, Jun 13, 2012.

  1. I'm having a few problems on my current placement - I'm in my first year of a BEd, and it's my second placement this year - and my second placement with the same partner!

    I'm not the most confident of trainees, but I'm really trying my best to put myself out there and do well. We are with year 6. Anyway, it's out 3rd day with this class and teacher. I feel the teacher is okay - she doesn't seem overly enthusiastic that we are there, but is nice to us, has given us all of her planning, allowed us to do things such as register, lead numeracy starters, work with groups and such - no problems there.

    The problem is my partner; she follows me around, constantly. If we're sat on the side of the classroom observing the teacher, when the children are set off on independent work I immediately ask the children about the work, help them, and find those who are struggling so I can sit with them and encourage them. As soon as I get up, she gets up. It's like she is waiting for me to get involved, before she can feel okay to. We observed a P.E lesson as it was the first one we have seen of that class - she literally followed me like my own shadow. If I moved a step, she moves a step. If I move to a different side of the game or group, so does she. At one point she bumped into my arm following me - I had taken two steps.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm glad we have others in the same school and are not completely on our own for our first year - two other trainees are in the opposite class of the year group - we all plan together, sit together at lunch etc, and it's lovely.

    It's just constant - if I wait for the end of the line, so does she. If I walk in the middle of the line, so does she. If I say I want to meet a certain subject co-ordinator, she wants to come with me - but won't arrange it herself, that is down to me! We have tasks to complete together such as displays and planning - lovely working with her. But mirroring my every step is really grating on me; she's infringing on my personal space and bubble, and it makes me feel nervous and just suffocated! I want to be judged for me rather than us being lumped 'the students' or 'the ladies' as she is with me every second. What do I do? I don't feel I can tell my tutor as it will appear as if I'm complaining when I really just want to get on with what I want to do rather than worrying about her constantly.
  2. She's obviously not feeling very confident and comfortable at all at the moment. You seen to be handling it very well though, I'm not sure I would have your patience!

    Try maybe some reassurance and praise. Compliment her on things she has done and said to the children, try to boost her confidence in what she is doing. Also try to perhaps be a bit more assertive. If you are observing the teacher, suggest 'Shall we take some observation notes about behaviour management that we can discuss later then I'll support blue group and you take green group?'. This will give her some gentle indication about what she is supposed to be doing and if she knows what the plan is beforehand she might not feel the need to follow you around.

    Try to coax her independence and organisation out a bit. If you want to go and see subject co-ordinators in school, suggest that she goes to talk to one and you talk to the other 'to save time'. As much as I can find some sympathy for her feeling daunted by your placement, this is no excuse for her leaving you to pull the weight.

    If the softly softly tactic doesn't work, you might need to have a word with your tutor and/or class teacher. Put it across as you being concerned about supporting her and helping her build her confidence rather than complaining about her. See if you can spend some time in another classroom on your own for a morning or afternoon. You might find that dropping her in the deep end in this way really helps her. Speaking myself as a student teacher was very critical of my own skills and abilities (though I like to think I hid it a lot better than your placement partner!), the only way I really gained confidence was when I was left to it. It's tough comparing yourself to somebody else and if your partner has identified you as the strong link in the pair, she could be finding it difficult to establish herself within the classroom. Absolutely without any criticism towards yourself, some time without you there might help her to gain confidence in what she is doing. If you want to go and see a subject co-ordinator, just organise it yourself. If she realises you are not going to mollycoddle her, she might be more inclined to start sorting things out for herself.

    Hope things go well for you, you sound like you're doing great so far. Good luck!
  3. My first placement was paired and I found it tough particularly in the beginning. My partner was much confident, loud and dominating than me and this used to grate me. However, eventually I learnt to accept my partner and work with her personality more. In the end we got on really well understanding eachother's personality traits - even making jokes of eachother which I could never imagined would have happened in the first week. In the beginning I found have a partner a hinderance but towards the end I was so thankful that I did not have to endure the experience I had on my own.

    I agree with the above poster, it sounds like the your partner is not that confident which is something you can relate to as you feel this way yourself. Discuss this with her, maybe hearing how anxious you feel may help her to be at ease. I know that it may not seem like your place to help her but help her to help you if that makes sense. I think the key to surviving a paired placement is through working together not against eachother.
  4. Glad you posted.[​IMG]
  5. noexcuses

    noexcuses New commenter

    Take it as a compliment. She obviously sees you as someone who she can emulate to.

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