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Lesson Plans

Re: Student teachers

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Teresa Tipton (
Thu, 6 Feb 1997 11:24:25 -0800 (PST)

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I think we read too much of our expectations into the demeanor of others.
Instead of finding what's wrong with this emerging teacher, what can you
find that's right, to encourage them to continue to grow and develop and
become the "teacher you want them to be?"

Maybe this person is depressed. Student teaching can be an
incredibly overwhelming experience and perhaps they are
internalizing their inabilities to be "perfect" as a
self-deprecation. The culture is very good at modeling this for us.

Instead of holding them up to your standard and judging them AGAINST it,
perhaps you can try to find out what issues they're wrestling
with. Student teaching is a difficult, trying time when you realize you
don't know shit about teaching and your training has ill-prepared you for
dealing with the complexities of multi-leveled abilities, backgrounds and
experiences. Encouragement will reap more rewards than critical judgments.

One of my student teaching supervisors was a fashion prima donna whose
idea of art was copying John Nagey "Learn to Draw" lessons and replicating
them with her high school students. Everything I did was antithecal to
her way of teaching and her silent judgments registered more than her
verbal remarks (which by the way is what the research supports - we
remember the non-verbal and "hear" that over the verbal...)

Her assessment of me at the end was that I should to a department store,
get a make-over, get new clothes, and for god's
sakes, shave your legs, and while you're at it, forget about becoming a
teacher and go back to school and become a studio artist where you'll be
happiest because you have no talent for teaching.

Needless to say, as upset as I was by her "assessment" I ignored her
"advice" and am successful with kids as a teacher because I am different.
I am an artist first and a teacher second. I am a non-linear anarchist in
a linear system and the kids love it because I relate to them as people
not a judgmental authority figure.

My advice to you is to try and reach this person where they're at, and
model where you'd like them to be without imposing your judgments on them.

Teresa Tipton

On Wed, 5 Feb 1997, smurthwaite wrote:

> Re: makeup on student teacher
> OK, OK, OK. I won't mention makeup or hair. I would like to send her
> away for a make-over or light a fire under her. Her content is coming
> along slowly but surely. She just looks like she's depressed and talks
> very softly. I want excitement about a project, contagious enthusiasm,
> the feeling of fun, fun, fun, more smiles. The kids know how you feel.
> It makes a difference. Will she learn that? Maybe, maybe not. I'm
> worried about sending her out to sell herself in this job market.
> Oh well, I'm just venting. Back to work.
> Blessila

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