“We can make a difference. It’s not too late. Bring on tomorrow. We can’t wait.”- Fame
Last week, my principal had requested that the teachers notify her if they were interested in being a supervising teacher for a student teacher next fall. After sending her an e-mail stating that I was willing, I recalled a meeting that I had attended earlier this school year. Although the meeting had been focused on measuring the success of teacher preparation programs, I heard a gentleman state that, “Highly effective teachers do not want to be supervising teachers.” Although I could immediately name many “highly effective teachers” that do serve as supervising teachers, I was also left wondering why this gentleman believed that this was the case.
I must admit that being a supervising teacher for a student teacher is a lot of extra work. From planning to conferencing, the supervising teacher must devote a lot of time to support the student teacher. For all teachers, time is a very valuable and limited commodity. I also think many teachers are worried that a novice teacher will have a negative impact on their students’ learning.
Although these are valid concerns, I believe that it is worth it to be a supervising teacher. A student teacher comes into your classroom with an enthusiasm for teaching that is infectious. At the same time, they are coming with “fresh eyes”, and may introduce new practices and procedures that will greatly benefit your students. I admit that I have a large variety of resource books and materials. A student teacher may discover new lessons and activities that I may have overlooked. They may even introduce a new way for teaching and/or assessing concepts. I still use an assessment that a student teacher had created several years ago for identifying staccato versus legato.
Most importantly, I believe that I am helping to strengthen the teaching profession when I serve as a supervising teacher. When a novice teacher enters the profession unprepared, it is detrimental to all students, teachers, and schools.
As universities are making requests for supervising teachers, I would like to encourage all of my talented colleagues to agree to serve. I promise you that it will be worth it!