Beginning Teacher Facing Experienced Colleagues

Vignette #9


I am a student teacher and I teach English. Each year, we do an internship in a school. We are supposed to switch schools every year, to build on our experience in different school settings. At the moment I am in my third year, and I am working in my third internship at a secondary vocational school. 

The issue I face is that for me as a student teacher in my internship, I struggle with my position in the team of teachers. It’s difficult to mingle with colleagues, especially when they are older. As an intern or a young teacher, we often find ourselves isolated in the teachers’ lounge or in other workspaces. Interns and starting teachers somehow seem to be less important or “worthy” and are often not included into conversations. Personally, I have a lot of trouble taking initiative in communicating with colleagues. I am afraid I disturb or annoy people when joining a conversation or asking for advice. Also, in team meetings I am afraid to join the conversation or to voice my opinion on a subject.


Should I disturb the experienced teachers by joining their conversation an voice my opinion or should I stay isolated?


  • talk with a colleague in a one-to-one setting  (tool 9 and 10)
  • ask for support from mentor teacher
  • observe how other interns handle this 
  • discuss this issue with other interns 
  • self reflection with empathy map (tool 34)