Do You Want A Student Teacher?

When I was approached 2 years ago about wanting to take on a student teacher I thought, "YES". Why? Because I've been there and so have you.  I remember embarking on my own student teaching journey hoping and praying for a strong, kind, and great teacher that would take me under their wing.  In Tennessee we student teach under two teachers.  My first cooperating teacher was "Mrs. H".  I learned most of what I know from her.  Then, I had "Mrs. X" who taught me how not to teach.  It is because of these two teachers that I knew I owed it to this protégé to be a guide on his or her journey. 

I have had two student teachers in my career thus far.  Both came with pros and cons.  Having these two ladies made me better through their trials, errors, and successes.  In fact... they taught me a few new tricks!
Myself as a student teacher in Fall 2008 teaching the "Edible Color Wheel" 

My first student teacher Mrs. Matthews
My second protege, Shannon Torrey, teaching clay.
Pros of having a student teacher:
You will be molding a new art teacher
You will no longer be the "only" art person
Discuss professional development
Learn from each other
You will learn more about yourself as a teacher and, if you use this new knowledge correctly, use it to become a better one.

A little more work
Using planning time for more discussion to go over things
If the student teacher is having difficulty you may have to step in an maintain control or redirect
After the student teacher leaves you may have to reteach some management if need be.
You may have to deal with the fact that the kids might like that person more than you... Get over it! 

Having a student teacher is not for everyone. It was a wonderful learning opportunity for me and I do believe I am a better teacher because of it.  And who knows, you may have to leave the job that you love so much.  How fortunate would you be to be able to have someone you trained fill your position?  
I was fortunate enough to have Mrs. Shannon Torrey, my student teacher, replace me.  It made me feel so much better knowing she would take my place.  Before I left, a student told me, "If Mrs. Torrey gets to teach us it will be like a part of you."  Made my heart melt.  I thought to myself, this is why I taught a student teacher.  I encourage you to do the same to mold the next generation of art educators. 
Mrs. Torrey reading well wishes cards from students before she left for her next placement. 

Mrs. Torrey assisting students.


Blue-bird (a.k.a. Ilse) said...

You are so right.

I love having student teachers, as you did I learned some new tricks and I still use some of their ideas in my class!

I got complimented by their school because I was a mentor who took my job seriously! It's so important to help 'mold' good new art teachers! Loved your post!

Jen said...

I asked for a student teacher this year. Maybe I will get one in the spring. I just think it would be so great to have another art teacher in the building and help him or her like I was. I had two awesome co-operating teachers.

Elizabeth - Dream Painters said...

Thanks for posting this - you have put it so clearly! To me the advantages way outweigh the little bit of extra work involved, and the chance to have be a significant positive influence is an experience not to be missed!

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