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Student teacher strives to help all

Updated: Feb 27, 2020

Dear Kori: I am completing my student teaching at a local middle school. I have noticed that my teacher seems to have favorite students.

Most of her time and attention are devoted to the higher-achieving students. As a result of her favoritism, the other students do not seem to be reaching full potential, and there is competition and division within the class.

My heart goes out to those students who are underachieving and who receive less of the teacher's attention, support and nurturing. Can you offer me any suggestions on how I can encourage these children without overstepping my role of a student teacher? The comments of my teacher weigh heavily in my final evaluation.

- Student Teacher


Dear Student Teacher:

First, it is important to recognize that there may be some factors, of which you may not be aware, that influence how your teacher facilitates her classroom.

For discussion purposes, let's assume your observation has merit. In that case, the behavior your teacher is modeling for both you and the students is unfavorable.

Researchers have concluded that there is a high correlation between teacher attitudes and student achievement.

Being a guest in someone else's classroom can be challenging when you do not agree with the teacher's teaching style, classroom management or beliefs.

Use this learning experience as an opportunity to apply the knowledge you have gained. When you have the opportunity to plan a lesson or activity, use your awareness to incorporate the participation of all students.

Be sure to include activities that consider small group and large group activities, student learning styles and set high expectations for all students.

Use praise appropriately; remember that overuse and/or false praise is ineffective. Be consistent and creative in your instruction and classroom management.

Not only is this a chance for you to learn, but also an opportunity to share your thoughts with your teacher. Effective student teacher placements should be an exchange of ideas.

Kori E. Carson Dean, Ed.S., has more than 25 years' experience as an educator, principal, special education administrator, educational and behavioral management consultant and parent advocate. Contact her or send her a question by e-mail or write to her at 5103 West Pierson Rd Ste. 3 Flint, MI 48504.

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