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Lesson Plans


re: student teacher anxiety

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Mark Alexander (mamjam)
Tue, 30 Sep 1997 22:57:28 -0500

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Dear Sara,

I was a student teacher a couple of years ago, and gosh, do I remember that
anxiety you mention! Someone told me that the main point of student
teaching is to get it over with. I'm not sure that's true, but it does put
it into perspective. Have a bit of faith in yourself, and you'll do fine.

Student teaching was so intense for me in the beginning that sometimes I
had a hard time sleeping. I'd break into a sweat as I drove into the
parking lot. I found student teaching to be difficult mostly because of
the anxiety, but also because everything was so new then. I was told to
"try to plan for anything and everything." I tried, but without much
experience behind me, even that was hard. I was afraid of not knowing what
to do if things went wrong, so I read and researched, and wrote, and
reread, and rewrote, because everything I taught I was teaching for the
first time.

But I got over the anxiety after things screwed up and I had to depend on
my own wits. I realized I could handle whatever came up when a lesson
didn't work out, and I just made some adjustments. The students didn't
revolt even when the adjustments failed and I said "Hey class, I've goofed
and this isn't working out. Lets put it away and try something else. We'll
get back to it later." Then we played a hangman word game with art
vocabulary. The students even behaved as if they were relieved I'd saved
them from some dreadful torture. They saw I was willing to admit to being
human, AND MY COOPERATING TEACHER PRAISED ME, SAYING THAT MAKING DRASTIC
CHANGES TO THE LESSON WHEN NECESSARY WAS A GOOD TEACHING TACTIC!!!!!!!

I guess teaching for me is like driving a bus full of young people (not
kids, because to some people that implies something less than people) on a
journey to someplace really special (goals and objectives). You have your
roadmap in your lap, and you've planned the trip well (lesson or unit
plan) . As the driver, you follow the roadmap until something unexpected
blocks the road. Then you have to take a detour. If you're lucky you can
just get back on the road again at the next corner. If not, keep your eyes
open (goals and objectives), and keep looking for something worthwhile on
the detour. You can pull over and get out for a couple minutes and draw a
landscape or even smell a flower. Then look at the map again. If the
journey is still worthwhile, you can continue then or even tomorrow. You
might even decide to skip this journey and take a different trip entirely
next time! As the teacher you can make those decisions!

Now I'm a real teacher. Even though planning is much easier for me now that
I have some experience under my belt, I still enjoy following the
inevitable detours from time to time. I still have so much to learn.

I hope this is as helpful for you as it was for me. I think the original
question was about beating the teacher blues. Reading and writing on this
list is one of the ways I combat them.

Relax and enjoy yourself, your knowledge, your learning, and your students.
I think the Buddha said "There is no way to Happiness. Happiness is the
way.

Good Luck,

Mark

Mark Alexander
Lee H. Kellogg School
Falls Village, CT 06031
USA

Good luck!

At 3:57 PM 9/30/97, sara oneill wrote:
>This message is in response to Charles's letter about beating the teacher
>blues. I am a art education major and will be student teaching this coming
>spring. I have tons of mixed emotions about what is in store for me. I am
>truly excited, yet at the same time I am terrified of failure!! It was
>refreshing to hear of some things to keep in mind when you have the "teacher
>blues", such as thinking of all the holiday and summer breaks etc. It is
>just nice to hear that I am not the only one with tons of anxiety!!
>If anyone else feels the same way feel free to share.
> thanks-
> Sara O'Neill


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