Many thanks to all who participated! We have compiled and excellent variety of student teaching tips, hints, advice, and survival techniques.
The winner is Amy from Wisconsin. You can read the winning submission below, along with many other excellent entries. Amy won a $20 gift card for Target or Applebee's. Congratulations!
What advice would you give to someone who is about to begin student teaching?
5 Keys to Success
Submitted by Amy from Wisconsin
Grade 1-5; Math Support Teacher
As a second year teacher, I am not much of a stranger to the student teaching experience. In my opinion, if you keep the following five points in mind, you will be sure to experience success.
#1 Be Original! Teachers, staff members, and administration will appreciate someone who brings a unique personality to the student teaching experience. Teachers aren't looking for a carbon copy of themselves, so be yourself.
#2 Be Innovative! This is your time to take all that you have learned and apply it to your teaching. Let the knowledge, ideas, and experiences you acquired along the way fuel your teaching. Don't be afraid to experiment. Ask your cooperating teacher to allow you to try that lesson or activity you worked so hard to create.
#3 Collaborate! It is very important to network with all teachers, staff members, and administrators within the school community. The young teachers who go the extra mile to collaborate are the ones remembered down the road for prospective positions.
#4 Be Dedicated! Always show a passion for what you do. Take advantage of opportunities to become involved with activities outside of school if possible. Schools will applaud the efforts of someone who always is willing to give 110%
#5 Have fun! You can do all of the things above, but will be missing out on one of the greatest aspects of the education profession if you forget to have fun. Enjoy the students; they will make you smile every day. Enjoy your colleagues; they are wonderful role models. Enjoy the experience; it is something that you will carry along into your teaching career!
16 Top Tips
Submitted by Catherine from New Jersey
6 Tips from 10-Year Teacher
Submitted by Angela from North Carolina
Second Grade Teacher
After teaching for more that ten years, there are several things that a student teacher should know.
Prepare for Transition from Student to Teacher
Submitted by Gail from Massachusetts
Third Grade Teacher
My advice for student teachers is start to prepare for making the transition of being a college student to a student teacher, by purchasing a few clothes to make your wardrobe a little more professional than your college attire. Also, be sure to have a comfortable pair of shoes on hand.
Also, since you will be collecting so many wonderful ideas from the teachers you'll be working with, it may be helpful to have a binder separated by subject to store all of the hand-outs, worksheets, and ideas offered by your cooperating teacher and his/her colleagues. In addition, you may want to have a digital camera on hand to take pictures of work you have done (i.e. bulletin boards), as well as how teachers have set up their classrooms, etc. By the end of your student teaching practicum, you will have an organized resource that will be a valuable tool for when you start first teaching position.
Pace yourself, and keep up with your assignments, so that you'll be able to maintain your social life. Always allow time for making adjustments, especially when preparing to be observed. You never know when the photocopy machine may break down, or the laminator isn't working, so you always want to have a back up plan!
Lastly, enjoy your student teaching experience. Go into school with a smile on your face, and know that you have the greatest job in the world because you can make a difference in child's life, and have fun while doing it!
Learn from the Best
Submitted by Angie from Louisiana
Third Grade Teacher
As a student teacher, you are very eager and excited to save the world. However, once you enter the classroom and it is just you and the students it can become overwhelming. My best advice to you would be before the first day of school, go and meet some of the veteran teachers at your school. Talk to them about the dynamics of your school. Ask them what has worked well for them over the years. Then use what they tell you and adapt it to your style. Veteran teachers are the best resource that you have. Remember kids are people too, and all they want is someone to love them and guide them. You will be everything they don't have at home while they are with you. If you respect them, they will perform well and respect you. Good Luck!
Submitted by Tammy from Texas
2nd Grade Teacher and "Toddler Time" Teacher
The most important advice I would share is to empower all (every age group) that you come in contact with. This is done by really listening and not merely hearing what others are sharing. Looking into their eyes when you are listening and talking can make a person feel validated and can even boost their self-esteem. Finally, letting a person keep their dignity when there may be a misunderstanding can speak volumes of your wisdom and self-control. Do this by sharing your thoughts and then listening to theirs. Agree to disagree if no resolution on the particular topic cannot be met. Respect one another and respect yourself enough to let your voice be heard. Knowledge is wonderful and knowing how to communicate with everyone is superb. Best wishes to you as you enter the world of teaching and making a difference in the lives of others.
Sherri's Six Bits of Advice
Submitted by Sherri from Pennsylvania
Second Grade Teacher
Another Submission from Kathy from Kentucky
4th Grade Teacher
When you begin student teaching take the initiative, don't wait for the teacher to have to tell you step by step what to do. Be an observer of the teacher and try to zero in on things to help them with ahead of time. Help students immediately, this shows you are ready and willing to assume the role of a teacher. Most great teachers jump right in and help, that is how you learn to be a great teacher.
Traci's Ten Tips
Submitted by Traci from California
4th Grade Teacher
The TOP TEN Advice List for Student Teachers:
Keep Them Busy!
Submitted by Vance from Florida
9th Grade English Teacher
Keep the kids busy, academically engaged. Learn what bell to bell teaching means. If you don't have anything for the kids to do, they will find something to do and that spells T R O U B L E !
Confidence is Key!
Submitted by Karen from New Jersey
MY ADVICE THAT I HAVE FOR A STUDENT TEACHER IS: Be confident. Even if you don't feel confident, pretend! The students are similar to animals , they can sense your hesitance or fear. Therefore, establish authority at the beginning. Don't let them get away with being rude or disrespectful to you or you will have trouble maintaining control in the classroom later on.
ALSO, Get to know the student's names as soon as possible. Use little tricks like taking pictures or writing down a few names everyday with a few notes about the child, or relate it to their art work. It is true that you learn the best and the most challenging student's names first, but try really hard to learn the rest quickly. I think Knowing names helps keep the classroom in order and keep the students in line. Student's will snap to attention it they hear their name, but if you yell "Hey you stop!" across the classroom, they may choose to ignore it.
Fran's Fantastic Tips
Submitted by Fran from Ohio
High School Intervention Specialist
From day one my advice would be: RESPECT! You will receive it as long as you give it in turn- not only to your peers-most importantly to your students no matter how old they may be. Also to their parents.
Keep in mind that you are responsible for what matters the most to them in their lives:their children. College does not "teach" your how to do this-it should be a part of your love for children.
Always look & act professional- dress and act as though you might always run into someone involved with school - you never know who you might run into.
Take time for the little extras- positive reinforcement such as "glad you're on time for class today."
Learn from your peers. You might not always agree with their teaching methods but there might be something that you will be able to relate to and have a better understanding of as time goes on in your career.
Yes, you'll be overwhelmed-who isn't when they begin something new. Keep time for yourself EVERYDAY!!! Even if it's just for a few minutes to do whatever you enjoy doing. This will help to ease the pressure & clear you mind.
Most important, remember that we cannot save all of them-just be there for them on a daily basis and you'll be surprised of the difference you can make in their lives.
Sound Advice from a 35-Year Veteran Teacher
Submitted by Deborah from North Carolina
Second Grade Teacher
After teaching for 35 years and loving today more than ever I have found the secret. Keep up. Do not procrastinate. Use every free minute you have at school to do your work at school. Organize your system and your time. Let your goal be to do your work at school and when you leave to go home do not take work with you. Understand now that as a new teacher you will probably not accomplish this for the first three years. During this time period please designate a day or the weekend to have "school free" taking no work home. You will be a better teacher and less likely to burn out if you try this. Believe me!