I have an incredible student teacher this year. Right now she’s doing her math practicum work with me, but in the winter she’ll be taking over the class full time and I think it’ll be just swell. She’s excellent at holding them accountable, but being nice about it at the same time. I really believe that she’s doing what she was meant to do, and that’s a nice feeling to have when you’re giving your class over to someone.
She had a sample math lesson on Wednesday with her practicum supervisor watching. It didn’t go well. She tried to use manipulatives during the lesson, because that’s how they teach them to do it at the University, but they ended up becoming more of a toy than a tool as the kids happily played with the unifix cubes and ignored everything she was saying. She was also doing a lot more explaining than she usually does, because she felt like she had to in order to show her supervisor what he expected to see.
After he left I could tell she was pretty shaken, so we talked about why this lesson didn’t go as well as any of the others she had taught. I also ran off the basic review page and had her do that with the kids as soon as they returned from music class, and getting right back in the saddle and teaching math again seemed to help her get over the hump.
We’ve also talked quite a bit about lesson plans. I’ve shown her how I do it in my planning book…
Math: Subtracting to Compare, page 81-82
Also Do Timing C and Spiral Review 2-13
…and let her know that’s all I really need from her in terms of lesson plans, too. I’ve had student teachers before give me 3 page lesson plans for 20 minute math lessons, which they just plain don’t need to do. I tell them that I want them to think about what they’re going to do, certainly, and they should know a) what they’re going to do to introduce the skill and b) how they’re going to assess it in a meaningful way, but these Socratic dialogues that some of them feel like they have to write are wasted effort.
The biggest thing that she’ll have to do next quarter is this ridiculous assignment called the pedagogy. My student teacher last year did two of them (I think that’s what’s required during the actual student teaching experience); it’s a 7 to 10 page lesson plan FOR ONE LESSON. If I had had to do those, I don’t know that I would have graduated.
Being the master teacher is fun, though. It’s kind of a kick when you hear them talking to the kids the same way you do and wondering if that’s how you sound, and it’s neat to see them develop their confidence in teaching over the course of the quarter. It also gives me time to do the other 1000 things that I have to do, which makes everything better.