Can’t We Play Nice and Get Along?

Every fall I supervise a group of student teaching candidates. Each candidate is hosted by a site teacher in an elementary school. I have 22 this year in 4 schools. Also every fall, including this one, I have needed to make some adjustments in the assignments as the teacher and the candidate begin working (or not working) together. I recognize that it is a critical situation. My students will be in the those classrooms for most of the school year. They will take over as the teacher for three months beginning in January. Sometimes I am challenged in deciding whether a student teaching candidate should be reassigned to a new setting or told to ‘give it some time to make the adjustment and learn to work together.’ Of course, I am also tempted occasionally to tell someone to grow up; and I’m not necessarily talking about the candidates. This year one site teacher told her candidate to “sit in the corner and be quiet.” She didn’t want her to “get in the way” while she was preparing the classroom for the children. I can’t even imagine telling another adult to sit in the corner and be quiet. The reason her student teacher was there was to learn about and help set up the classroom. Another issue was a teacher who expects the candidate to work 10 hours a day, like she does, at the school. This student teacher has a young family and is still in school, besides being in the classroom 2 days a week. Her expectations are on the level of a veteran teacher, not for a student who learning to become a teacher.
So, here I am working out the current issues with this group. My candidates have been marvelous, but a few site teachers are causing the problems. I tell my students that this is a life lesson about getting along with coworkers and building a strong grade level team. This is challenging when you are working with different personalities and different value systems. I do challenge my candidates to make the best of the situation and keep smiling. The most important factor in this equation is the student. When tension exists among the adults, it undermines the positive classroom atmosphere that should be created for the children. Every year I am tempted to tell everyone, “Can’t we all just play nice and get along?”

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2 responses

  1. Michelle Martucci | Reply

    Lol! Love this article, and your perspective. I own and run a small pre-school in so Florida. At the start of each school year my enrollment takes a nose dive. Despite my best efforts to prepare my staff someone decides to play prima donna. I repeatedly explain that those most able to stay flexible and focused on our business, ( the children) are those who are most likely to maintain hours. A true veteran knows their business and accepts it. 🙂 keep up the good work. The future needs you!

    1. Thanks so much, Michelle. Have a wonderful school year.

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