No Student Teacher Placement; Need One By Next Month
December 21, 2017 8:56 PM   Subscribe

I was given a student teaching placement 10 days ago, but the teacher changed her mind today. School is out until January 8th at which point I have to start teaching. What do I do?

I’m a student teacher in California in a teaching credential program. Due to some problems between the university and the district, I was supposed to have a master teacher beginning in September while I was doing observations. However, the district refused to assign teachers this early and insisted that we (student teachers) look for our own placements. This conflicted with the university telling us to never ever worry about looking for a placement and that it was their responsibility. In fact, they seemed aggressively against people looking for their own placements so I didn’t press the issue. Big mistake.

So I finally got a placement two weeks ago with a teacher who decided today to cancel the arrangement. I had just spent the last week observing her classes to get an idea of the students I’ll be working with and what they’re like, but the whole time, she expressed that she was unsure she actually wanted the responsibility of being a master teacher and that she felt like the university wasn’t giving her the information she needed to do it. The sucky part was that I didn’t get notified until this afternoon.

The big problem is, the district will be closed until the the New Year, and if I don’t immediately land a placement (who doesn’t also decide to cancel the placement) I will probably end up not getting to finish this quarter. I get this is absolutely my fault for being in this situation for not standing up for myself before, but I’m stuck on what to do. The university will be colored until New Years after tomorrow too, so I’ll need to ask them how to finalize my own placement, and I have some family who might be able to find some contacts who want a student teacher, but it’s looking really bad. I’m considering the possibility that I might just get kicked out of the program this quarter because there’s simply nobody who wants to take on a random person so late in the year.

I think I’m just putting this out there because I want to know if there’s anything else I can do. I’m not short on time, especially since I can only finish maybe 1.5 of my TPAs I’ve got to do over break.
posted by bluekazoo to Education (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Your university needs to solve this problem for you--it is not your problem to solve, and it is not your fault. Your program's practicum coordinator is 100% responsible for finding you a placement, especially since they were aggressively against people finding their own placements.

Call your program's practicum coordinator tomorrow and let them know what has happened. Ask them what they are going to do because you need to do a placement starting Jan. 8 in order to finish your program in time.

Keep the pressure on them. They NEED to solve this for you. Yes, you are supposed to start student teaching Jan 8, but they may need to approve a later start date for you if they can't find one right away.

I say this as someone who works at a college and has had to approve a later start date for a practicum student because of something that was beyond the student's control. You need to lean on them and be insistent. Do not be afraid to be the squeaky wheel. Be polite but very, very firm.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 10:13 PM on December 21, 2017 [40 favorites]

Remember that your school's ombudsman may be a resource.
posted by bq at 12:22 AM on December 22, 2017

Not a teacher, but did social work practicums. When these things happen, this isn't the first time they will have run into this situation or similar (people quitting, maternity leave , other things) they have their own contacts and procedures.

Call your school and let them explain to you exactly what they want . It can work out.
posted by AlexiaSky at 12:59 AM on December 22, 2017

Hurdy Gurdy is right, this is 100% on your supervisor at your university.

This kind of thing happens pretty frequently (though the district unilaterally deciding that a bunch of pre-service teachers find their own placements is bizarre) and it is not the responsibility of the student, someone with no meaningful connection with the district(s) to sort it out. You may have to be a pain in the rear to the university practicum supervisor in order to self-advocate (I've had to do that due to a wildly inappropriate placement) and you may have to start a week late and get a waiver but this is not your fault and it's not really in your power to solve it.
posted by soren_lorensen at 5:02 AM on December 22, 2017 [2 favorites]

Until August I was a teacher in CA (SF Bay Area) and I know lots of people all up and down the state. If you can disclose location (or do so in memail) I can probably find someone willing to help. If I were still there and in a close enough geographical proximity, I’d offer to take you on. It’s been years since I had a student teacher but it was super rewarding.
posted by guster4lovers at 9:32 AM on December 22, 2017 [4 favorites]

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