Student teaching provides students with a hands-on opportunity to get a taste of teaching before they begin their career as an educator and creates opportunities for individuals to work not only with the students in the school, but the staff as well. Educators need to know how to act around students, but a student teacher must also learn how to act around fellow teachers, support staff, administrators, and parents.
Here I will reflected on ideal interpersonal relationships within the school, problems that they hope would not develop, and strategies for solving problems. The importance of maintaining positive relationships at school needs to be in the mind of every student teacher. Things may not always go smoothly, yet a professional should have some ideas on how to handle tricky situations.
Ideal relationships at school help make each day a pleasant day for everyone…teachers, students, support staff, administrators, and parents. Ideal relationships involve the exchange of kind words, good manners, teamwork, and positive attitudes. If such relationships are in place in the school setting, staff can work together in a supportive way to solve problems and to help each other. The staff would care about others and not just their own well-being. Lines of communication would be maintained. The entire staff of the school would work together for the good of the students and to sustain hardworking, dedicated employees. The students would be sure to thrive in such a positive, supportive environment. Furthermore, parents might be more apt to be involved in their child’s education if they felt welcomed and appreciated. This is a brief example of what some ideal relationships within the school setting; however, this is not always the reality.
While student teaching, problems between the pre-service teacher and administrator, support staff, students, colleagues, cooperating teacher, and/or faculty advisor can develop. For instance, one hopes that the issue of differing educational philosophies will not hurt a pre-service teacher; however, a student teacher’s philosophy may be subject to scrutiny, as s/he does not have the experience that other staff members might have. Another possible issue of contention is that many teachers deal with an enormous number of tasks and issues and often need to vent their frustrations.
Unfortunately, this negative energy may get a student teacher into trouble if s/he partakes in these conversations. Communication barriers may be another problem that can develop between support staff, the cooperating teacher, administrators, and so many more. Some people do not have interpersonal skills, and student teachers need to make sure that s/he does not prejudge based on a look. Additionally, one always hopes not to run into the staff member who just does not care anymore, as this can be harmful to all involved. Finally, not establishing effective classroom management techniques from the beginning with students is a problem that can develop, and one that teachers should avoid at all costs.
Several strategies can and should be implemented when solving problems. First, when dealing with administrators, support staff, colleagues, cooperating teachers, and faculty advisors, confrontations must not occur while a student teacher is emotional. Furthermore, as stated previously, many individuals will express their frustrations to others as a way to cool down. This should not occur in the workplace. The student teacher should ask to speak to the person privately. When solving problems, a student teacher should never use you statements. “You made me mad when…” should be “I felt upset when….” Numerous problems arise due to miscommunication. A student teacher should be willing to listen actively and to try to see the situation from the other person’s viewpoint.
When dealing with students, student teachers must first know the expectations and rules of their cooperating teacher. If a cooperating teacher gives permission to actively work through problems with students, a student teacher must maintain composure. Students can sense when a teacher is frustrated, and this will potentially create an explosive situation. The student teacher should talk to the student in private and try to see the problem from the perspective of the student. The student teacher should not be afraid to talk the problem over with his/her cooperating teacher, and when deemed appropriate, the student’s parents and/or the school counselor. Many times a fresh viewpoint provides a solution. If a student has a child study team, the child study team should be made aware of the problem, and depending on the severity of the problem, the administrator should also be notified.
This paper was an attempt to reflect on ideal interpersonal relationships within one’s school, problems that they hope will not develop, and strategies for solving problems. When dealing with other individuals, problems will occur. Humans are innately different and possess differing viewpoints and perspectives. This can and will lead to conflict. Everyone has an opinion of an ideal relationship, but an ideal relationship is different from a real relationship. When working with people, whether they are adults or children, a student teacher must pick his/her battles. Not all battles are meant to be fought, and not all battles will be won.
The battles worth fighting for are those with the goal to make both sides better for having fought and to create a win-win situation for all parties involved. A student teacher must remember that s/he is not only in the classroom to teach but to be taught. Student teachers should see problems as doorways to learning and growth and not as hurdles to be charged through and overcome.