It was the best of times... I had an incredible experience with a veteran teacher who I called the kid-whisperer. She always knew how to get students' attention and earn their respect. She never treated me with anything but respect. I went in to student teaching thinking it would sort of like a classroom aide job and that I would done at 4 every day! Ha! Once I made peace with the amount of commitment and covered it with getting my daughter into after-school care, things went really well. My cooperating teacher introduced me to WBT and five classroom rules. I had a wonderful experience and mimicked her as much as I possibly could. I know not everyone has this experience. I went in with the idea that I was a guest in her class and tried to keep continuity with her classroom management and ideas. I know some student teacher's are so eager to get in there that they almost disregard their cooperating teacher so they are implement all those great ideas we got in college. I was lucky there too because my cooperating teacher used great tools and strategies for teaching her class and it was easy to step into her shoes.
The worst of times! My cooperating teacher reminded me that this student is the exception and some people teach for 25 years and never have the experiences we had that year. The biggest thing I saw there was that the teacher and principal took the time to build a relationship with this student and he listened to them. I made sure to follow their lead and not back down from my position (ever) and to notice him and compliment and praise him when he did his work and to develop a conversation with him when things were calm. By the end of the semester I had the same authority with him that the teacher and principal had and he would not have challenged me and left my classroom.
Advice! I think I said it all! Do as much as you can while you have that safety net (like make the phone calls and plan the field trip). Foster continuity in the classroom. Observe your cooperating teacher's style and remember that the less change the students encounter, the better for YOU. Make friends with everyone in the building. What they say about befriending the custodian and the secretary is really so important! You will see evidence of that even in student teaching! Not everyone has the perfect teacher when they student teach (I was very fortunate), so if you don't have the great mentor, pray for them, it will help YOUR sanity. Take to heart what you DO want to use and what you DON'T.
Classroom management is your key to success at all times in your teaching experiences. Find a management experience that works for you and tweak it as often as you have to! A managed classroom has time for learning and you all can have fun doing it!
I hope this will help "The Polished Teacher"! Best of luck to you girl!