“Anyway, I’m really tired of hearing how I don’t know anything or that it could be worse when I’m done with student teaching. I know this, I need help to prepare for when I’m on my own. Also, I’m ever so tired of hearing that these students are a waste or are worthless…I know it’s not meant in all sincerity but there is some there…it hurts me to hear it.
Am I just a bleeding heart as I’ve so often been called? Do I need to toughen up? I know this is a rough area I’m working in, but I still believe these kids deserve a little more compassion. I think that small steps should be celebrated not condemned for not happening sooner.”
I think that is why student teacher’s are so important! You bring the necessary fresh air to a school. Many experienced teachers forget the excitement and thrill of becoming a teacher and get stale. Think about going to Disney World for the 20th time and then going with a child who has never been there before. Things look very different through a child’s eyes. I do know that my student teachers have been taken advantage by my students who give lots of excuses for why they didn’t or couldn’t do something and you do need to stand tough with them in order to help them be more successful. I also think many experienced teachers tease new teachers because they have been conned or hurt so many times and this is the way of trying to warn the newer teachers.
The more I thought about this I also think that experienced teachers are trying to do tough love and prepare you for possible hard times in the future. Too many new teachers get out on their own and then cry that no one told them how hard it would be. Many are disillusioned and leave the teaching field. I feel they are telling the truth because the first five years are going to be hard but once you learn your own system and what works or doesn’t work for you, the easier it will get.
I think your compassion will help the students see you as a caring person and that is never wrong. But don’t let them take advantage of you and don’t try to be their friend. I have seen too many young teachers work too hard to be friends with their students and things can go very wrong that way. Students have enough friends but not enough good teachers.
After seeing how many of my students lived or the relationships they had with their families, my heart just broke for them. Yet instead of all of us wallowing in self pity, I needed to teach my students how to overcome the obstacles in their lives. Sometimes getting tough and pushing them was more effective than hugging and consoling. By working with them so closely, I needed to learn which times to push and which times to comfort and I believe only experience will help you learn that.
So, don’t give up on us veteran teachers. Remember that you have a perspective that even we can learn from. You are necessary to remind us why we went into teaching and how important our job is. For that, I thank you and all student teachers.
For all you veteran teachers, what do you think?
Original image: 'WWII Hoover Advertisement'