High Maintenance Student Teaching Challenges

Here is a list of frequent personal problems student teachers may be facing that can interfere with student teaching.
·        Personal problems


·        Economic concerns


·        Family problems


·        Feelings of inadequacy

          Dependence on notes

          Lack of assertiveness

          Nervous behavior

          Absence of a sense of humor

          Lack of eye contact

          Poor voice projection

          Lack of variation in lessons


·        Personality traits

          Lack of initiative


          Low display of energy

          Unwillingness to take risks

          Unrealistic perceptions of self-efficacy

          Lack of enthusiasm and motivation

          Inability to manage mood swings




          Frequent procrastination


Doebler and Roberson (1987). A study of Common Problems Experienced      by Secondary Student Teachers, Education, 107, 234-243.Benson, Larson  and Nierenberg (1994). High Maintenance Student Teachers: Putting the Pieces Together. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of ATE.



A Climate for Problem Solving



q       Discuss the problem with the student teacher in an objective manner.

q       Treat the student teacher as a colleague.

q       When possible, demonstrate confidence in the student teachers’ ability to  manage his problems.

q       Provide opportunities for the student teacher to succeed.

q       Be encouraging whenever possible.

q       Be available for conversation and discussion.

q       Be a good listener.

q       Be sincere.

q       Know the facts before action is taken.

q       See that the student teacher feels accepted and understands the role of the special education teacher is sometimes different than that of the regular education teacher.

q       Capitalize on special skills or interests.

q       Try to put problems in context and show relevancy.

q       Be flexible.

q       Deal with problems early before they are out of control.

q       Be assertive but not condescending—the supervising teacher should maintain control of the conference.

q       Create a plan of action.


















Role Playing – How Would You Respond?



·        A supervising teacher reports to you that her student teacher is avoiding planning sessions with her. The supervising teacher believes that this avoidance is not only weakening the quality of teaching in the classroom but is also impacting the personal relationship between the teacher and student teacher.


What clarifying questions might you ask?

What advise would you give the supervising teacher?



·        A supervising teacher indicates that his student teacher is having difficulty accepting constructive criticism. He reports that the student teacher becomes argumentative and defensive. He increasingly finds himself saying “the lesson was fine” to avoid this confrontation with her. 



What are some clues that a supervising teacher might be treating a student teacher in a manner that causes her to be uncomfortable?

What suggesting would you give the supervising teacher?