View Full Version : Lack of Teacher Support

11-23-2003, 09:20 PM
I was wondering what teams are organized with very little or no teacher support and how they manage, because my school only agreed to a FIRST team if it was totally student run. So i was wondering how other teams that are student run manage.

Allison K
11-23-2003, 09:57 PM
We don't have any teachers now, everything is run by me and another college student. I plan most of the meetings, and we take turns running them. When something needs to get done, the whole team works until it is.

I think the key to not having teacher support, is having a lot of parent support. An army of them. Parents to drive, parents to supervise, Parents to provide food.

If we still don't have a teacher by the time build starts, I'm going to try and get about 10 parents to each volunteer about 5 days of the build, to supervise and stuff.


Redhead Jokes
11-24-2003, 01:33 AM
What teachers?


We have to have a teacher to represent the school on out of state trips.

Other than that we don't see them.

Wish they did come around.

11-24-2003, 01:34 AM
For the past two years (2002 and 2003, and soon to be 2004), 258 has been operating without a teacher involved. From the team's conception until after the 2001 season, Eric Stokely was the head coach, mentor, leader, and mastermind of the team. He was a physics teacher, along with instructing a "robotics" class (which I, sadly, was never involved in).

Ever since Eric Stokely moved to the Seattle / Tacoma area, and joined team 360, we've been without a direct connection to the faculty and administration of the high school. Between the 2001 and 2002 seasons, we were lucky to have Dr. Harry Garland sign on to be an overseer, of sorts. As an electrical engineer (among other things) and a parent of at least one alumni of team 192, Dr. Garland has proved to be an invaluable guide for the team.

Now, because we're without a direct connection to the faculty and administration of the school, we have a very restricted conduit with which we can access the students of the school. Thankfully, we have a core group of students who are interested in being part of the team, but without a teacher, we have no one willing to give students authoritative information about the program. There's practically no teacher willing to even mention to students about events like the WRRF's annual California Robot Games, workshops, meetings, and even the Kickoff (which is coming up soon). We're still trying to get a connection organized, but thankfully, we've become accustomed to this level of interest, on the school's part (they seem to pay as little attention to us as they can reasonably get away with).

To sum up our problems in a cautionary kind of way, I would highly recommend that you try to get a friendship going with some current teachers. Ask them to be willing to tell their classes about events the team might be involved in, such as meetings, the kickoff, and competitions, and maybe even to plug the team. Extra credit is always welcome, too. Perhaps schedule some demos of old robots (this might not be pertinent because of the fact that you're on a 1st year team, though). Be careful not to scare any teachers off, though. Don't even give them the hint that they'll be obligated to spend 100% of the time that they don't spend teaching classes worrying about students sawing hands off and setting fire to the building, for six weeks.

Redhead Jokes
11-24-2003, 01:52 AM
Originally posted by FotoPlasma
we've been without a direct connection to the faculty and administration of the high school. but without a teacher, we have no one willing to give students authoritative information about the program. There's practically no teacher willing to even mention to students about events like the WRRF's annual California Robot Games, workshops, meetings, and even the Kickoff (which is coming up soon).

There used to be a teacher with our team. He's been "gone" for a couple of years. The rep, district technology director, so involved with our team retired this past year. Then the Vice Principal and the Principal, so familiar and thrilled with our program, changed jobs and left the school.

Rumor was there was a teacher going to be starting the robotics' class year round. I saw him this past August and went to introduce myself. He didn't care to be introduced to me, didn't want anything to do with our team, and informed me he wouldn't be teaching robotics. He informed he would get all our equipment and expected us to be out of the facility so he'd have it to himself. I remained civil and privately waited to see what would happen.

The retired director still has influence. The new vice principal in charge of us wants to support all existing programs. We of course are keeping all our equipment, and to that teacher's "surprise" won't be losing any space. As a matter of fact the new VP gave us additional space upstairs so we can have a full practice field again this year, and more space for storage.

The new principal in charge of us is very familiar with the robotics program, and I suspect will be very supportive.

Robotics was virtually ignored by the school til over a year ago. With all the publicity teachers, educational advisors, and even the new vice principal are now aware of our program and recommending it to students "go join the team".

For some reason it used to be hard to get announcements into the bulletin. Now there's a new weekly email about all the school activities and that person is very supportive about spreading the news when I ask her to include something about what's going on with our team.

You never know when a door closes, and another one is going to be opened. Just keep eyes and ears open for opportunities, and keep spreading the word

Amanda Morrison
11-24-2003, 02:25 AM
Student run teams are very possible.

Our team has always had a faculty supervisor, as per their high school's rules. There are no parents involved with the team, as the kids are from all over the state. (Correction: One grandparent did help us last year. He came to meetings, gave advice, took pictures, and helped drive us to competitions.)

If something gets done on our team, it's either because myself or my kids make it happen. Last year, we had two engineers helping our team, but they never touched the robot. They did diligently stand over the kids to make sure they were implementing their ideas correctly, and giving advice. But the most they ever did was tighten a screw or add an L-bracket.

Fundraising, T-shirts, even transportation are handled by the kids. And for what they have to work with, I'd say they're doing an excellent job.

It's possible.... Just takes initiative.

Duke 13370
11-24-2003, 04:35 AM
We have one sponsoring teacher, but he doesn't do to much for the team. He does get all the official FIRST announcements, and all mail for the team goes to him, but he doesn't come to meetings. We're used to it and seem do fine without much support from him. I don't want to make him sound lazy or uncaring, he's working on his masters, which takes a lot of his time, and is a great guy.

11-24-2003, 06:01 AM
ometimes a teacher is needed to "link" the school direction with the students.

I donīt know how it works with you, but in our school the most important word comes from the teacher. For example: we need some funds and some materials. If a student ask the school director, 90% of chance of denial. Now, if a teacher asks, itīs almost certain that we get what we wanted.

11-24-2003, 08:32 PM
thanks everyone for replying ...

On our team, the teacher is the main contact, and he prints off all of the emails and just hands them straight to me. so i am informed about everything, and in turn i inform the team at meetings. also, about events i post on here regularly so i found out from here as well ... so being updated on events isnt really a problem. and like you said, we cannot demo old robots as we have none to show off ...

Redhead Jokes:
it is not that our school is not supportive of robotics. they said last week that they are willing to pay our full registration fee and have us pay them back as much as we can at the end of the season. But it was the principal who said that, and from the impressions that i have gotten, she wants to keep this as a student-run thing

I think that you are in the same boat as we are. so i was wondering if the mentors do a lot of the work then? and how many mentors do you have then??

I am saying all this, but do not get me wrong, the teacher is totally awesome and getting into this i knew that he wouldnt really be helping much and that it would be left mostly up to me and the rest of the team ... i am grateful that he agreed to it in the first place and cannot thank him enough for that ... i just never realized it would be THIS hard and time-consuming ...