This week I am sending my letter to Anne Kloack. Anne was my University Supervisor when I did my student teaching back in 2000. It's hard to believe that I've stayed connected to her for 11 years already, but I have. She's an amazing person and truly has a heart of gold.
When I had to pick which school districts I wanted to do my student teaching in, I chose Lincoln Consolidated as my first choice, Dexter as my second choice, and Plymouth-Canton as my third choice. I was always told to pick the district that you want to teach in, and because my ex-husband went to Lincoln and his mom volunteered there, it was only fitting that I pick Lincoln as my first choice.
When I found out that I was in Anne's group, it was at the union and Anne wasn't there. All the other US were there to meet their groups, but for whatever reason, she wasn't there. We met at her house and I was so nervous (of course I was... I get nervous about EVERYTHING). We had an assignment to read two books before coming to her house to meet for the first time. The one book was called "Among Schoolchildren" by Tracie Kidder and the other was called "Educating Esme" both are about education and both were great reads.
Being the over-achiever and studious person that I am, I of course, did the assignment and read both books. I was the ONLY one in my ten-person group that did. It's funny to look back on things because a few of the people that I student taught with, ended up getting jobs at Lincoln with me, and they were just as bad as fellow student teachers as they were as fellow staff members.
Anyway, Anne loved me right away because I did the assignment and was the only one who could talk about what I had read. When she asked who had read the books, I proudly raised my hand only to find that no one else raised theirs. I was then asked to share with everyone what I thought about the books and gave myself a target as being the "goodie-goodie" of the group. To hell with them I thought... and glad I did because I was offered a job at the school that I student taught in on the day I graduated from college.
I always loved Anne and she lost her husband during the semester that I student taught. She wasn't able to come to the portfolio fair (that was REQUIRED by the university) and I was the only one from my student teaching group that went. The rest decided that since Anne wouldn't be there to check on us, that we should all not go. I was the fun police and decided to go (I told them that I was going) and they ended up all getting into a LOT of trouble. They didn't know that Anne had asked another US to come by and check on her student teachers. I was the only one at the Lincoln Consolidated table. Go me! I figure, as a teacher you want your students to follow directions and do the right thing, how was I any different?
Anne and I stayed in touch as I got my teaching job and then she placed more student teachers in the building that I was teaching in, and she always came by to see me. After I fiinished my first Master's degree, I asked her if I could have a student teacher. She wanted me to wait a year before taking one because you're supposed to have quite a few years of experience before taking a student teacher.
When I finished my second degree (2005), I had five years experience and two Master's and she thought I was ready. I got my first student teacher in the Fall of 2005 and it was a complete and total disaster. This chick (Nui was her name) was a HOT mess. She fell asleep during a back-to-school special ed meeting... she told me she was bored while I was teaching one day, and asked if she could go to the library to check her email. She was a GROWN woman (like 45 or so)... it was awful. She approached one of my team mates and asked him if she could come student teach with him.The topper was when I was giving a spelling test and her cell phone was ringing and she kept asking me if I could help her get to her voice mail. I lost it.
We ended up having a meeiting with Anne. I had called her that night to tell her what happened... and subsequently, Anne had just had a student teacher meeting and Nui had told Anne that it was terrible with me. Anne asked me my side, and knowing that I was a rule-follower, she knew I was telling the truth. We had a meeting the next day and Anne asked me, "Cathy... do you think you can continue with Nui in your classroom?" I said, "No." Then Anne basically told Nui that they'd go see Dr. Gorenflo (director of student teaching at Eastern) and as long as she had never been removed from student teaching before (SHE HAD) it would all be okay and she'd have another chance. When Nui was asked point blank if she had ever student taught before (Anne had her file and was told by Dr. Gorenflo that this was her last try... Anne had purposely placed her with me thinking that we'd be a great fit), Nui lied and said no.
Long story short on that, she called me a liar and said that everything I was complaining about was a lie. She actually lost her cool during the meeting because I think it hit her that this had been her last chance and she was done. She flipped out on me and Anne.
After that awful situation, I was nervous about taking another student teacher and decided not to take another one until the next year.
So in 2006, I got my second student teacher (Diane) and it was AMAZING!!! Talk about a great experience and totally different from the one with Nui!
After the fall semester with Diane, I was given another student teacher for the spring semester. When Anne gave me the folder that said "Michelle Herman" I about choked. While I didn't know Michelle, I did know that she was the current President of my sorority, Alpha Gamma Delta. I told Anne that I was connected to her through AGD and asked if it'd be a conflict of interest, and she said if I was okay with it, she was okay with it.
Michelle became my last student teacher (because we moved to NC in June of 2007). Through working with student teachers, I stayed close to Anne and she was always there to give me support and reinforce that I was doing a great job as a cooperating teacher. She told me that Diane had said she was so glad to be with me and when the student teachers complained about various things, Diane never had anything bad to say about me. I'm pretty sure Michelle didn't ever say anything bad about me either...we're sorority sisters after all!! :)
Anyway, we moved to NC and I still kept in contact with Anne. She's just an incredible person and I'm so glad and thankful to have her in my life. When I told her about adopting Gus, she shared with me that all of her children are adopted (I never knew). She is amazing and so this week I wanted to send her a letter with some pictures of Gus.