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Saturday, July 30, 2011

Words can be haunting at any age!

When I was doing the second part of my student teaching I wasn't realizing I was "sick." I thought I was majorly stressed and that is why I was slurring my words, not comprehending anything, and crying a lot. It wasn't until I could not stop crying or even put my clothes on that I realized I was having a severe depressive episode and needed medical help. So maybe because of my condition things seemed much worse than what they really were. Nonetheless, I am still haunted by all the negativity that I was around.

Let's call the school Hades Elementary and my supervising teacher Ms. X. I have a four page chart of many of the negative things she told and my reasoning for doing what she claimed. I just thought I was messing up that bad. Now that I am more clear headed I realize not everything was all my fault, but there's always that little record playing in the back of my head hearing her voice and negative comments and making me second guess myself. I was 34 years-old at the time, not a kid like most student teachers are. I hate to think of the impact she has had on some of her students although she is known as a great teacher and had even won awards for her area. If the student had a question that dealt with the subject she was talking about and she did not want to answer it she would just tell them: "That's irrelevant." After that I noticed how the students would just wilt and some of them stopped asking questions altogether. She kept reminding them about THE test as if the only reason she was there was teach content and nothing else. She even discouraged the students from talking to me. They were instructed not to ask me for permission for anything because they were "taking advantage of my kindness." REALLY? I was not allowed to give them pencils. What little time I was allowed to give lessons she would tell me how horrible I did. Of course I had to get my lesson plan approved by her before I taught. She would change her mind at the last minute and I would have to redo things. During an observation from my supervisor I blanked out. It was like my brain stopped functioning at all. The kid were asking me questions and talking but it sounded as if they were all under water. I kept trying to teach but I was messing up the information and causing confusion. That was my fault but she was actually nice about that! My supervisor was not so understanding. When it came time for me to tape my lesson she told me I had wasted two hours of HER instruction time and not to bother turning the lesson in to my supervisor. She made me feel like she was going to fail me no matter what I did. I could go on and on about the negativity. I only had to endure a few weeks of this. As long as the students followed her every direction and did not ask many questions she was fine.The had the exact same task to do most every day. She would mix it up with simulations every now and then. They loved that. So in this case, for the most part, the good out weighed the bad. I even witnessed her telling a parent how "bad" her kid was. The child may have had some problems but you talk down about someone's kid to them. Yes, focus on weak areas and how to improve but do not come off as judgmental. 

If the question is "irrelevant" to what is being taught there are ways to handle that. Yes, some students find it rather amusing to get the teacher off track by asking off the wall questions but usually younger children are innocent when they do this. If a child...or in my case an constantly talk down to and made to feel stupid it is hard thing to get over. Self esteem and confidence fly out the window and may never return. No matter what our position is in life we should always have positive thing to say to people, young and old. Don't let your words be haunting words.

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