2) I recently had a student teacher. She's just left. :( Suddenly, there's only one librarian brain around this place. Having a student teacher made me realize just how wonderful it would be to have a colleague. I've got listserv friends, Facebook buddies, and librarians down the street, but there's nothing like another one living in my space.
3) I would say I "lucked out," but I knew I was getting a good one. Future school librarians enrolled at Syracuse University's LMS program have to do LOTS and LOTS of field experience. This is a great opportunity to vet student teacher candidates. I can handle working with someone for a few hours regardless of ability, but if the person is going to live in my space and work with "my" teachers and "my" students, then they need to have their act together. Interacting with students during field experience placements is like an extended interview. I think it probably works both ways - students also get a chance to check me out - why waste their time here if they don't think it will be a good fit? After all, not everyone likes a crazy, sometimes loud, and always busy junior high setting.
Above: Penny Sweeney, my super-duper
student teacher who defined and then
exceeded all these bullets.
- Follow-through. If you tell me you're going to write the lesson plan and create a PowerPoint for Monday's classes, you better come in on Monday morning with a lesson plan and a PowerPoint. This isn't practice - you can't hand in late homework assignments in the real world.
- A positive attitude. I know some days are rough, classes can be tough, and not every faculty member is a peach - but deal with it. Nobody likes a grumpy colleague.
- Risk-taking. Getting up in front of thirty 15-year-olds is scary stuff. It's okay to be nervous, but you gotta be willing to jump. Standing on the edge and dipping your big toe in isn't going to cut it.
- Inquisitiveness. Ask me questions. I don't know what you know and don't know. If you don't get it - ask me! If you want to know why I'm doing X, Y or Z - ask me! If you need ideas or you're struggling with something - ask me! I'm not a mind reader and you're here to learn. Make both our lives easier.
- Honesty. I'm still learning, too. If you don't think I'm fulfilling my obligations as a mentor, let me know! I've never seen a handbook for this position, so if I'm missing something, or not meeting your expectations - I need to hear about it!
Overall, hosting a student teacher was a great experience, and I'd do it again!