Student Teaching Tips
Continue on with page 2 with the question: "What advice would you give to someone who is about to begin student teaching?"
Submitted by Jackie from Virginia, 4th Grade Teacher
Question the teacher who you are working with. Ask him/her why they are doing something a certain way and what are the other ways of doing it.
Be on time! Dress like a professional.
Observe the students and when you notice something mention it to the student and ask how are you able to help that student.
Eat lunch with your teacher.
When you know you are going to be teaching a lesson brainstorm with your teacher.
Give him/her you ideas for the lesson and listen to their advice about your ideas.
When you type up the lesson plan email a copy to your teacher and have him/her give you feedback on the lesson before you go and teach it. Then get feedback after the lesson is done. If the teacher doesn't tell you what you did wrong, or what you do good, ask them.
When you first meet the teacher who you are going to be working with ask him/her what they expect from you. Then tell him/her what you expect from him/her. Most important thing would be to ask questions.
Also keep in mind that it's not your classroom, so don't step on the teachers toes.
Submitted by Christina from Georgia, Special Education Teacher
I would tell new teachers two very important things. The first thing I would tell them is to go home! Teaching can be a very overwhelming job and if you aren't careful you will find yourself at work until 6 at night! By recognizing that everything cannot be accomplished in one day, no matter how tempting it is to try. I would also tell a new teacher to remember that education is a serious career path and that events are indeed a chance to network with other teachers or supervisors.
Submitted by Michelle from New York, Homeschool Teacher
I think that as a student teacher you should make sure not to be intimidated by the kids. That will show them that they can take advantage of you. I think you should be firm and be able to listen to the students when they ask questions or have opinions. Make sure you are always prepared for whatever questions they may have so as to not show that you don't know as much as them.
Submitted by Emily from Minnesota, Third Grade Teacher
Buy a bunch of file folders and as you and your cooperating teacher complete activities or lessons, make a file folder and label it for that activity. Also, meet with other teachers at other grade levels to gather materials and ideas. Take photos of bulletin board ideas you like and file those with lessons to go with them. These resources will be so helpful when you have a classroom of your own.
Submitted by Janet from Kentucky, Third Grade Teacher
The best advice I would give a student teacher is to write everything down and take pictures. When I was student teaching, I had a large notebook and I wrote down everything the teacher wrote on the board, lesson plans, tricks she told me. I also took pictures of classroom arrangements and bulletin boards. This has been very helpful when trying to arrange my room and ideas for displays.
Submitted by Doresa from Georgia, Kindergarten Teacher
Not many times in life do you get a "test run". Use it to your advantage. Be creative. Do the things you really thought about doing in your head. You get an opportunity to test out those ideas in a safe environment with a level of support and encouragement you may have a hard time finding again. Use this opportunity for all that you can get out of it.
Another Great Idea Submitted by Doresa from Georgia, Kindergarten Teacher
Don't try to be perfect, be real. Teach how you "really" think you may be in the classroom when it is your own. You are still a student and you are expected to make mistakes. However, it will be very hard for you to truly grow if you don't show your true self in the classroom environment.
Submitted by Rachael from New York, First Grade Teacher
You should go into Student Teaching knowing that there will be challenges that you probably won't expect, but will ultimately make you all the better prepared for the real thing. You will experience situations that they never taught you in college, and you may be caught off guard from it. Just use your instincts and ask for help if you need it. There will be lots of people to offer help--your Cooperating teacher, other teachers in the school, your supervisor, other student teachers, etc. Getting advice and showing you're confident in what you're doing will impress your C/T and your supervisor. By the time student teaching ends, you will be surprised how many students' lives you have touched; regardless of the short amount of time you may be in the classroom. Just have fun with it! The more fun you have, the more you will get out of it and be prepared to have your own classroom soon!
Submitted by Keith from New York, High School Science
For all student teachers just starting out, don't be discouraged by all the hard work you're doing right now without being paid. When you start teaching, there's really two ways you get paid: first by the money you get for your hard work, but second by the difference you make in a childs life. It may seem like a difficult job, and it really is, but the reward for helping a child achieve something they didn't think they could is worth more than anything you'd ever experience in any other job.
Don't be discouraged by the difficulties you'll encounter, but learn from them. When you help even one child, you've accomplished more than most people in other professions ever will. The difference you make will be profound, even before you ever start collecting a paycheck, and that makes it all worth it.
Submitted by Cecelia from Mississippi, Kindergarten and First Grade Multi-Age Classroom
Student teachers can welcome back students with something just for them!! Make magnetic nametags, goody bags, or specially addressed mail. You could also have the class make a crafty photo frame that they can decorate and add a picture of themselves from the first day of school. Give them something unique (not expensive) to show that your are reaching out to them and you care. Sadly today many children don't have many caring individuals in their home environment.
Submitted by Beth from Georgia, 4th - 6th Grade, Special Education Resource Teacher
Student teachers should first strive to become acquainted with their students as individuals. By learning their strengths and weaknesses future teachers will not only help their students to see their gifts-but they will be memorable to supervising teachers as well.
It is essential to learn organizational skills (observe as many effective teachers as possible) yet it is very important to remember to be flexible! Your co workers,parents and others will appreciate a cooperative spirit.
Above all-remember to treat each child like you would want your child to be treated. Remember to laugh and remember to love each day.
Submitted by Diane from North Carolina, Pre-K Teacher
I have been teaching preschool children for over ten years and I love it. A lot of people ask me "How do you do it?" My best advice is to see each child as a unique individual, no matter what their background is. And remember, every child is capable of learning even if it's not at the same time or in the same manner! Most of all relax and enjoy your job... because you are making a difference in a child's life!
Submitted by Dee from Toronto, First Grade Teacher
Being a student teacher is a challenge! It's like learning to drive from the passenger seat, because you are not the one in charge. It's not your classroom. This can be seen as an advantage if your host teacher is willing to jump in and rescue you when the class is acting wild, or a disadvantage if you want to be in control but your host teacher isn't handing over the reins or supporting you in front of the students. My advice is to clearly state your expectations to your host teacher and ask her/him for their expectations at the same time. Be open to feedback. Be courteous and respectful at all times, especially in the staffroom where the walls have ears and your comments could be overheard by anyone. Above all, enjoy! These few months before you embark on your own new career are precious and unique in the opportunity to ask questions, try new things and soak up all the information you can about teaching and learning. The best piece of advice I received as a student teacher: if you are using the photocopier and a permanent teacher is waiting in line behind you, LET THEM GO FIRST!
Submitted by Susan from North Carolina, First Grade Teacher
I would tell Student Teachers to take in as much as they possibly can! Have conversations with their cooperating teacher and listen to every piece of advice they get. Go home at night and reflect on the day and journal about the things you'd do again and what you'd change. Learn how to organize your lessons and paperwork and make sure to get as much experience with the kids as you can. I took loads of pictures so that I could remember what activities looked like! Chin UP! It's not easy!
Submitted by Theresa from Tennessee, Elementary Teacher
Know that you are capable of being the best teacher you can be by simply being yourself, take advantage of teachable moments that spring out of no where and use that to introduce new ideas and if things stray from your desired path, you can always redirect them. Most of all know that suggestion are just suggestion and teach the best way that works for you that get results.
Submitted by Lacrecia from Georgia, Third Grade Teacher
I help to train new teachers in our system and I believe the best advice that I give them is to believe that all students are capable of learning. As a teacher, our responsibility is to find out how each student learns and build our lessons around that information. Yes it takes extra time and planning. It also requires us to be flexible and creative. But, isn't that what great teaching is all about?
Submitted by Deanna from Utah, 4th Grade Teacher
First of all, you need to remember that you are the guest in the classroom. Although you may have great ideas, and perhaps better ones than your cooperating teacher, you still need to go by their schedule for you. Don't forget that they will be filling out your performance sheet when it's all over and you want as good of marks as you can get. Go with their flow.
Secondly, you will realize that most of what you learned in your college classes don't really prepare you for this. You just have to dive into it and go. You may feel like you are glued to your lesson plans, textbooks constantly looking at the clock to see when it's time to go on to the next thing, etc., but don't worry, we all did that. One day it starts to click and you can multi-task and feel like you've got it down a little better each day.
Lastly, If you feel too overwhelmed, remember that this will be ending soon. It's a hoop you've got to jump through. One day you will have your very own classroom to manage however you want. And that is the rewarding prize for going through student teaching.
Good luck! You can do it.
Submitted by Listette from Florida, Second Grade Teacher
Well first off, be prepared for anything. Never underestimate the power of a child. Set high expectations for the class and let them know what you want from them.
As far as impressing the cooperating teacher, take the initiative. If you've learned about something you are interested in trying or making, do it. If the teacher questions you, explain where you are coming from and how you feel it will benefit the students.
Communication is the best tool ever no matter what. If you do have concerns talk to your teacher or supervisor. Don't wait until it is too late. After all, they signed up for a reason also. This is a learning experience to try and best prepare you for your own classroom someday.
Submitted by Judy from New Jersey
You should know each child's individual learning style, and teach each child keeping that in mind. USE MANY AIDS AND manipulatives for a hands on approach. Remember each child has a special intelligence, even though you may not see it at first.It could be verbal non verbal musical, artistic, etc.
Submitted by Monique from Arkansas, 6th Grade Teacher
My advice would be....SUB before graduating!!! Remember that students are behaving a certain way for you only because their full time teacher is close by. All education majors should substitute teach in different grade levels (especially junior highs)before going too far in their course work.This would give student teachers a pretty good idea of how a rough day might feel you're on your own with 28 hormonal teenagers.
Submitted by Christine from Kansas, IR Special Education K-4
Get to know your custodial crew and secretaries. They can make or break how your year will go. It is a lot easier to access thing that you want when you are on good terms with the people who take care of the school and run the place.
I would also advise that if you have any children with disabilities and on IEPs that you work very closely with the Special Education teacher. These children can have a hard time adjusting to how you run your classroom and it always takes a team to make it through the first few weeks. Keep an open mind and remember to relax and go with the flow. Everything will eventually work its way out and if it does there will be changes made. Remember that the children in Special Ed are just that children, and should be treated with the same respect as the other children in your class.
Submitted by Robyn from Missouri, Grade 3 and 4 Teacher
Wow there is so much to know about working in a classroom with students that no college course could ever teach you and that's basically your entire experience as a teacher. College doesn't teach you as the individual being train to teach your own personal experience and that's what you will gain from the teaching field: A personal experiences working with students.
Two things I do want to share is that as a new teacher, walk in the classroom aware that the faces you see are the many different learning styles you are about to embark upon. If you need help understanding learning styles, theorists Howard Gardener does a wonderful job explaining the different multiple intelligences which will help you with your journey.
My favorite tip is your signals that you send to a child. This is simply how you speak to them and how what you say can be interpreted differently by a child. For example, if you say, "No, that answer is wrong," a child may think you're calling them dumb. If you exchange papers and have students grade their peers work, the student with all their answers wrong may see themselves as a failure. So please, do me a huge favor as you enter the teaching field, send signals of encouragement and remember, you are going to be a teacher, mentor, counselor, principal, mother, father, grandmother, pet, doctor, lawyer, judge, and whatever else your students may need you as but most importantly, a friend they can trust. Get ready for your multi-talented adventure.