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Katie Cantrell

Student Teaching
Initial Reflection
What do you expect/want to learn during student teaching?
Over the next 15 weeks of student teaching, I hope to learn how the
material we have learned in class practically applies to the classroom. We
have been given so much information over the past 3 semesters in the
Special Education program. To think about applying it all into a single
classroom seems overwhelming without perspective of the established
routines of experienced teachers. I also want to learn about how special
education teachers take data and maintain consistency. I understand that
this is such a crucial part in the decision making process when writing goals
and interventions for students. It seems impossible to take so much time out
of the day or out of your lesson flow to record every response a student
makes. I would like to learn about the effective ways to take data throughout
the day on all students, on all goals.
What obstacles do you anticipate during student teaching and what
strategies will you employ to overcome those obstacles?
The two obstacles that I am nervous about are interactions with
parents and paraprofessionals. In class, we have had many conversations
about how establishing connections with parents can be very difficult. As a
student teacher, my relationship with the parents is not as vital to the
success of the student. My mentor teacher will already have established a
relationship with the parent and will have communication systems in place.
However, I am nervous about maintaining this communication during full
responsibility. Throughout the next couple of weeks, I will pay close attention
to her method of communication with parents to ensure that I maintain
sufficient parent contact. I will also have conversations with my teacher
about what she tells parents, how she tells them, and the appropriate time
and place to do so. I believe that if I have a full understanding of my
mentor’s communication system, I will be more comfortable taking over that
system during my full responsibility.
Interactions with paraprofessionals is another topic that was heavily
discussed throughout the blocks. It is nerve wracking to be placed in charge
of students that are younger than you, but it is terrifying to be in charge of
adults that have been working in the classroom longer than you. When
approaching this situation with the paraprofessionals in my mentor teacher’s
classroom, I will have to make sure to have a professional and respectful
demeanor. While I would like to be on good terms with the paraprofessionals,

but it is important to maintain the atmosphere of professionality rather than
friends. I will model after my mentor teacher to find the appropriate balance
for the paraprofessional situation.

Why do you still believe student teaching is important?
Student teaching gives us the opportunity to be fully immersed in the
teaching environment. During the methods placements, we were only in the
classroom for two days per week. This did not give me the opportunity to
experience the full routine of the classroom. Being in the classroom 5 full
days a week for an entire semester allows me to not only experience the
routine, but become a part of it. I am helping to create the schedules, data
collection methods, goals, and interventions that will affect my student’s
education. This kind of hands on experience is one that professors try to
simulate with methods teaching, but it is difficult due to the fact that we are
not as much a part of the class at that time. Student teaching gives us