Posted by Bob Greenberger on May 10, 2012
No one likes to admit they are flawed or to admit to failure. Yet, one has led to the other and I find myself in need of repeating my student teaching before being certified. This is a crushing decision since it delays my ability to find paying work as an educator until 2013 and requires, in some ways, starting fresh.
My advisor, in association with my cooperating teachers, have concluded that the identified areas of weakness were not improved enough to give them the confidence I am ready for the classroom. The problems with my unit design and ability to pose three levels of questioning and differentiate highlighted a list of areas that require improvement.
How’d this happen? In discussion with my cooperating teachers, it was suspected that I needed a more rigorous program than the University of Bridgeport offers. The gaps in things not taught from orientation through graduation is staggering and yet they have a reputation for producing good teachers.
It didn’t help that my advisor and I butted heads and it took me a while to find the nuggets of helpful advice buried in the written observations. We never really established a dialogue or rapport and when I made suggestions about doing things different from the handbook I was told absolutely not, “case closed”. On more than one occasion I was told to just play the game and get through this – advice I never understand if the game/system is flawed.
In reviewing the list of weaknesses, some were brand new to me and others I vehemently object to but the process does not allow for detailed debriefing and discussion so the list stands in the record. The write-up also questions my passion for teaching English and commitment to teaching to all students, not just those college-bound and I am not certain where that came from. But with that in mind, some interesting suggestions for alternatives to repeated student teaching were raised.
Still, I am committed to going forward with this and see it through, to obtain the certification that will bring me the widest variety of options. I now await word from UB regarding where I will spend 60 days come the fall.
In the meantime, I am on the rolls to sub in both Darien and Fairfield. This week, I have had a taste of the middle school life with one day with 7th graders at Roger Ludlowe Middle School. The rest of the week I am filling in for an old acquaintance at Fairfield Woods Middle School, teaching poetry and Ancient Roman history to 6th graders. Let me tell you, there are some vast differences between middle and high school and it’s a great exposure to that. The kids overall are sweet and willing to work, but find every excuse to start chattering at great volume.
It’s heartbreaking and dispiriting, but it is what it is and I just need to pick myself up, dust myself off, and start all over again.
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