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gimmedat's avatar

How should I approach this subject with my student teacher?

Asked by gimmedat (3868 points ) October 9th, 2011 from iPhone

I have had a student teacher for 8 weeks now – this is his last week. He’s not been the most effective student teacher I’ve had, and has in fact struggled more than most with quality lesson planning, classroom management, and professionalism. We conference daily (many days multiple times) as I try to instill best practices and professional consideration in him. Needless to say, it’s been a struggle, but improvements have been made and with vigilance I’ve been able to mitigate the negativity in my class.
An on-line reputation, I believe, is a consideration in any field, but most especially in education where our students will seek out information about their teachers. I decided to do some online creeping of my student teacher and found some information that is of concern. For example, I found his (non privacy protected) xanga where he blogs of “losing his virginity WOW WOW WOW,” “tripping on ex,” “the police officer that sucked him off,” and the “math teacher who is a stupid whore.”. Another social networking site had posts where he again writes of “tripping on ex and smokin’ the dank.” Needless to say, I’m disturbed by these posts as they show no regard for public image and show no consideration for the ease with which many, including prospective employers and students, may access information.

So, how do I address what I’ve found, or do I address what I’ve found? Should I speak to him frankly (as I’ve done up got is point) or do I just forward the information to his university supervisor? Should I just let it go and address it broadly in his final evaluation as part of my concerns about professionalism?

One more week with this guy and I’m done! I cannot wait to have my classes back!!

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20 Answers

Nullo's avatar

If you want to course-correct him, he needs confrontation. Either you do it, or his advisor – whichever would be more effective. If you don’t much care what happens to him after he leaves, save it for your evaluation.

dappled_leaves's avatar

What’s a student teacher?

the100thmonkey's avatar

@dappled_leaves – a student teacher is a trainee teacher.

Speaking as a teacher:

He’s a teacher, whether qualified or not. He should be concerned about his professional reputation. Unfortunately, we now live in a world where one’s professional reputation and personal beliefs and actions are often in conflict – publicly if we are not careful: we are slaves to opinion. This is not a good thing, but it is unavoidable.

Give him a shot across the bows – he needs to delete that blog, and pray that Google cache or thewaybackmachine doesn’t kick him in the balls later.

Basically, any admission of illegality should be beyond the pale for any teacher (actions of conscience notwithstanding, although many a teacher has lost their job for such).

It’s often difficult to disentangle one’s self from the personal aspects of a professional relationship, and I’m sure your conscience nags you about whether it is better, in the long run, to let this slide or to allow this prospective teacher to qualify. I would suggest that if you don’t give him the chance and make it clear that you are giving him the chance, he will kill his own career anyway.

He needs to understand the student-teacher relationship; this is a good chance to illustrate it to him. He needs to understand the nature of living online. This is a good opportunity to illustrate it to him.

I say final chance, with the provisos I give above.

FutureMemory's avatar

Are you the math teacher?

CWOTUS's avatar

GAs to @Nullo and @the100thmonkey:

@Nullo for succinctness and @the100thmonkey for elaboration.

You’ve spent the time with him in conferences; I’d print out copies of the most damning blog pages and hand those to him with minimal comment. “I’m not the most tech-savvy person in the room, I think. How many of the students do you suppose have seen these pages? Do you suppose any of this contributes to your difficulties with my class?”

If the pages are still available the next day, then forward the links as you deem appropriate.

Whatever you think of him personally, having idiots in the profession degrades the profession, and the professionals associated with it. You don’t need more idiot teachers in the profession.

janbb's avatar

(HI SuperMouse’s sister – good to see you!)

A tough situation for sure, but I agree with the above that it is his best interests that you point out to him what you have discovered and how it can hurt him. He may call it snooping but since it is publicly available ask him whether it is better that you found it or a prospective employee or parent.

Buttonstc's avatar

I would print out the posts in question and send them straight to his superior as well as a copy for him and a talk to gauge his reaction.

Whoever is in direct authority over him should definitely have this information and be the one making the judgement call as to what the best course of action after this.

Not everyone is cut out to be a teacher. That’s just the unfortunate truth. Let his superior figure it out.

keobooks's avatar

I think he sounds extremely immature and is and not ready to teach yet. He may never be ready. I would have an emergency meeting with his professor and talk about these concerns. His drug use alone is enough to warrant an immediate expulsion. His inability to censor his thoughts online shows that he isn’t mature enough to handle a professional level job yet.

He may just be in for teaching because of pressure from his family. Kicking him out may be a relief to him.

Nullo's avatar

I’d say that, in addition to a lack of regard for public image, he also lacks good judgment. I wouldn’t want him to be my kid’s teacher, and I’m sure that your kids’ parents would feel the same.

raygunak's avatar

say it straight. no better way

keobooks's avatar

I was just thinking of this. I am fairly certain all student teachers have to agree to a certain standard of behavior in order to stay in the program. I’m positive that his behavior is warrant a call to his supervising prof.

SuperMouse's avatar

@FutureMemory , @gimmedat is not the math teacher.

gimmedat's avatar

What math teacher? Is there some special Fluther math teacher? May I be the special Fluther American history teacher?

SuperMouse's avatar

@gimmedat the one the student teacher called a stupid whore.

gimmedat's avatar

Oh wow – I’m a little slow on the uptake, huh? Now I get it. Thanks for having my back, @SuperMouse.

Nullo's avatar

I talked to my sister about this – she’s a student teacher herself – and she said that if the program is anything like hers, there was a code of conduct signed, making this whole business a legal matter. She also said that the student teacher needs to be reported to your contact at his school, and the sooner the better.

FutureMemory's avatar

I was going to say, if you were the teacher he was publicly insulting like that, that would be reason enough to have him fired (I think?).

gimmedat's avatar

If I was the math teacher, I would most definitely confront him because that kind of slander would just upset me. As it stands, I am going to print out the blog entries and show them to my principal. I am going to ask her how she’d like to proceed. I figure that’s probably the best course of action, being that it is her building. I will also keep a copy to show to his supervisor, who’s coming Wednesday for the final conference.

Truth be told, I don’t have much respect for this guy anyway. I will not write a letter of recommendation for him, and my performance evals have been less than impressive. It’s been a challenge, I’ve had to correct A LOT of things he’s done, and it’s been a bit exhausting.

So I will keep you posted as “Operation Sticky Subject” unfolds.

Response moderated (Spam)
slopolk's avatar

I would say that it should be a concern of yours after all he is still a student not quit a teacher yet, which is why he needs guidance. Talk to him about the fact that not only is he a role model, but a teacher as well and the image which he has portrayed on line is not only reckless to his career, but it shows a level of immaturity. I not sure too many parents would want him as their child’s teacher. (We know what has happened with immature teachers in the past and thats the inappropriate relationship between a teacher and student. It really sounds like he/she is too emotionally immature to be a teacher right now.)

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