3 Things to AVOID with your Student Teacher

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An important self-reminder. (From The Devil Wears Prada)

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Just — Stop it.

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How it felt when my host teacher assigned me to her most troublesome students.

A couple of weeks ago, I published a blog on why I believe more experienced teachers need to take on student teachers (click here). While I firmly believe that this type of mentoring needs to happen more often, I also caution teachers to take on a student teacher only if you are genuine about helping the next generation of educators educate.

Please DO NOT do these things:

1. Treat them like your personal assistant.
I once had this bright, energetic and extremely enthusiastic host teacher take me on. “I love having student teachers,” she told me, “they help me get so much more work done.” As it turns out, all I did was make photocopies, staple worksheets, decorate her classroom, and mark spelling tests all week. While she shared with me wonderful tips and tricks she used in the classroom, I found that she generally did not care about how I was getting along with her students, nor was she interested in pushing me to do more. 

2. Complain about your students or co-workers. 
Your student teacher is excited about school and there to learn from you! So please quell the lunchroom gossip and teach us something useful instead. 

3. Give them all your learning disabled students. 

I have nothing against helping out students with learning disabilities, but when I first started working as a classroom tutor, I had absolutely zero experience with them. My host teacher decided that the best way to get her class on track was to assign me two to three of her most “attention seeking” students each day so that the rest of the class would be able to better focus on her teaching. I understood her motives for doing so, and while I loved spending time with those kids, I also felt that I wasn’t giving them the support they needed. At the time, I was in my first year of university and had far too many misconceptions about learning disabilities than I care to admit. 

I question whether her decision to assign me those kids were in their bests interests, and to this day, I still wonder what the alternatives would be. Any thoughts? 

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