About Lori H Rice

Lori Rice is a fourth-grade teacher at West Elementary in Wamego, Kansas, who has taught K-2 reading as well as kindergarten, first grade and fourth grade since 1996. She has a passion for creativity, learning, questioning and the whole child. Her classroom is a place of acceptance and celebrating differences.

This series is a reflection of our experiences during the spring semester as a mentor teacher and student intern. If you have not been reading, check out our past articles.

There are many amazing things about sharing a craft I love with Lauren, my student intern.  I am forced to reflect on my own practices and the reasoning behind my teaching.  I am also able to stop and watch my students; it is amazing how much you can see when you look.  I am enjoying being an extra set of hands to dig deeper and help my students in a role I do not get to experience when I am the sole teacher in the classroom. I know, however, that this will not last.

There comes a time when the responsibility is transferred.  My role has transitioned from lead teacher to co-teacher and now is slowly moving to ghost teacher.  I am in the room, silent, and will be leaving soon.  It is no longer my job to demonstrate classroom management and teaching strategies to Lauren, it is my responsibility to let her implement her learning.

Habits are  repeated practices, either intentional or unintentional, that done over time become automatic.  We develop many habits in teaching.  The other night I pulled out my computer to look for lesson ideas while watching TV.  I opened Google and paused, I had no upcoming lessons that needed planning.  Lauren is doing the groundwork for that.  I simply read and reflect on her lesson plans.  I had nothing to do.

When you become a mentor teacher your role will change.  You are still responsible for the learning of your students, but there comes a period of time where you must trust the lessons you have edited with your intern and let your intern teach.  I have made myself walk out of the room.  It is a strange feeling to know the best way you can help is to walk away.

Over the next few weeks most of my work will be done outside of the classroom.  I will continue to check lesson plans and provide feedback.  I will watch the grade book for anything concerning so I have a pulse of my classroom.  I will also have a majority of my time spent out of my room.  So, what’s a teacher to do?

  • Reflect on your own lessons and spend time updating presentations.  I am working on our new integration of ELA with science and social studies.  I am able to strengthen our unit plans and Active Inspire presentations for next year.
  • Find an area you need to continue to work on and read and reflect.  I am working on formative assessment and student reflection.  I was able to attend a workshop this week and I am looking for educational books to read on these subjects.
  • Discuss an activity or program that would benefit your school with your administrator.   Help get this started.  I am organizing a math night for parents next month to come learn new math strategies we are using.  I am also setting up guidelines and creating information to start a volunteer program in our school next school year.
  • Offer to help other teachers.  I have helped teach science in another fourth grade class and modeled a math lesson for a new third grade teacher.  I am going to be modeling reading group lessons for our new reading assistants.
  • Organize your supplies.  I am working on cataloging my personal student library so I will know the books I have and those I want to purchase with bonus points.

Teachers are always busy doing a million tasks a day.  Being a mentor teacher you are given a gift of time.  While my first responsibility is my students and my second responsibility is mentoring Lauren, part of that responsibility involves giving her the opportunity to teach without me.  It is difficult to leave the classroom.  So finding ways to use your time will make walking out of that door easier.



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