As universities work harder and harder to prepare teachers who can be powerful and successful educators for/with students from increasingly diverse backgrounds, student teachers can actually find themselves in an enviable position. Sometimes mentor teachers and/or administrators and/or family members will tilt their heads and raise their eyebrows at a classroom practice that doesn’t look familiar…but the student teacher can easily “blame” the craziness on their university professors “I have to do it for an assignment” is one easy way out of a politically tenuous situation…but I urge you to also add, “are you interested in seeing the books/videos/articles we’ve been reading to do this?”
Teachers are busy, and mentor teachers have taken on even more responsibilities by inviting you into their classrooms. This means that many of them don’t have lots of opportunities to read the latest research, keep up with the most recent books, or even just sit for a few hours and reconsider how they’ve done things for the past year or so.
Lots of mentor teachers accept student teachers because this is an opportunity to engage with ideas promoted by local universities…so give it a try, and if your mentor teacher is receptive and enthusiastic, you may have just found a fabulous collaborator to work through some new practices.
Some “new” things students have been trying in my course this semester:
Critical literacy practices
I’d love to hear how student teachers have been/continue to negotiate the “disconnect” between current classroom practices and their attempts to insert critically-focused practices that may not be familiar to teachers/students/families/administrators