There were some students who were really engaged, some that did as instructed, and some that questioned the relevance of an assignment but eventually complied. None of these students openly defied authority or the purpose of school. So the second semester of student-teaching was indeed far better.
My mentor teacher was warm and inviting and organized! She had high expectations for her ninth-graders while finding creative ways to make group collaborations more fun. It was wonderful to be with a teacher who wanted to challenge her students and see them grow! With about thirty years of experience, she had plenty of wisdom to share.