I met Mark on the subway last week. He is a former student, a very bright young man who just graduated from college and had spent his last semester student teaching in one of the better schools in Queens. Mark and I spent a long ride catching up and he told me tales of his student teaching days.
Mark was very disappointed with student teaching. His mentor teacher was a twenty five year old woman who had only been in the classroom for three years. And, while the mentor had many good skills, it was obvious to Mark that the mentor was still in need of a mentoring and could not teach him the things he needed to learn.
Mark told me he was thrilled when he got his student teaching assignment. He was assigned to the high school he had graduated from and he knew there were many good teachers to help him. Unfortunately, most of those teachers had left by the time Mark began. The few that were left, the AP decided were not good enough to teach a new teacher and Mark ended up with the newbie.
Aside from not learning how to teach, Mark felt he was turned into a glorified servant for his mentor. He got little to no help with lessons. He was given full responsibility for one class and asked to do work for some of the other ones. He had a miserable, unproductive year.
Mark is now looking for a teaching job, something that will not be easy to come by. He knows that and is willing to wait. he just wishes his education had him better prepared for the future he hopes to one day face.