Student Teaching Advice: Part 3 of 3

Continue on with the final page with the question: "What advice would you give to someone who is about to begin student teaching?"

Enjoy the Ride of Your Life!
Submitted by Melinda from Ohio
3rd Grade Teacher

The best advice that I can offer to a college student beginning their student teaching is to realize that they are a viable part of the classroom that they are entering. They must ask questions and observe the routines of the classroom and reflect on what works and what doesn't.

As a new member of the teaching team it is their responsibility to be professional in dress, preparation and commitment. It is a learning experience for both the student teacher and the classroom students.

It is important to be on time and professional at all times. Your students are counting on you to teach them and to have the leadership skills necessary to manage the classroom.

If you become overwhelmed, talk with your cooperating teacher. They were once in your shoes and they can help you work through any concerns.

Don't be afraid to try out various teaching skills and techniques because this is how an upcoming teacher learns. College has prepared you for teaching, but it has not prepared you for the typical classroom. You must realize that people are not as simple as the lessons that you studied. You have to be able to make quick decisions and have the flexibility to change your course of action at a moments notice. Be humorous, excited about what you are teaching, patient with even the most difficult student and forgiving of yourself. Start each day with a clean slate and enjoy the ride of your life!

Let the Principal Observe
Submitted by Annesa from Tennessee
Grade 4

Always go to the teachers around you for information from different grades. Also, allow the principal to review your lesson plans and possibly evaluate your teaching. I looks really good on your resume. Have fun, be firm, and enjoy what you do.

Be Positive; Don't Be Too Hard on Yourself
Submitted by Chris from Georgia
Second Grade Teacher

Everyone that observes you will focus on what you need to improve. Be sure that you focus on what it is that you are doing that is positive and working too. I always tell my student teachers to keep your eyes and ears open to what other teachers are doing that is working. Don't get down on yourself if something doesn't work. Next time change it up a little and try it again and you will be successful! Enjoy what you're doing!

Live, Eat, and Breathe Teaching
Submitted by Marcy from New York
Fourth Grade Teacher

Almost in every occupation there's that moment where everything matters. In teaching, that moment is when you student teach.

It all comes down to a few weeks of proving to everyone that you can put into practice all that you've learned in theory. Live, eat, and breath only teaching during this time. Go above and beyond what is expected. Have open communication with your cooperating teacher. Show up early and leave late. The spotlight is on you- it's your time to shine. Show them what you've got. Own your moment.

Principal Observations; Subbing
Submitted by Kim from Illinois
Third Grade Teacher

Once you are regularly teaching the class, invite the principal in to observe. This will give you an edge if interviewing for a position within the school after you have completed your student teaching. In addition, get to know the rest of the staff: other teachers, secretary, janitors, special ed, etc. Become a "part" of the faculty/school. Finally, sub at the school after you student teach (especially if graduate in Dec). In my situation, there were over 100 applications for one position and I got it! I was more than "just another application on a piece of paper."

Organization is Key
Submitted by Janet from Florida
Third Grade Teacher

The advice that I would give a student teacher is to be very organized and to not give up no matter what. Student teaching is a time to get a taste of what being a teacher is really like. At first it might be overwhelming with all that needs to be done. When you finish one thing than another thing comes up. It can get to a point that you might think that you can not make it. But if you are organize it might make things much easier. Besides being knowledgable and creative in the classroom, organiztion is also a key component in being successful. In my experiences, being organized will impress a principal or supervisor. Good Luck! (Once you complete your first year of teaching it will get easier as the years pass by and you will become an expert at what you do.)

The Notebook
Submitted by Linda from Florida
Guidance Counselor

My advice would be to get a notebook and divide it into sections like bulletin board ideas, behavior management, reading, math, etc. When they see a good idea write it in their notebook. Observe other classrooms as much as you can. Take advantage of the opportunity to learn from people who are teachers.

Okay to Make Mistakes
Submitted by Rodrigo from Brazil
University Teacher

You must know your students very well, try to use their English skills in the process. Respect the differences and use them to achieve your goals. Besides this, it's important to build an environment where the students feel free to use their own English, express their thoughts, and make their mistakes, all as a natural part of the process.

On the Job Training
Submitted by Julia from Indiana
5th Grade Teacher

Pay VERY close attention to the veteran teacher. Watch for time management ideas that work and ask many questions about how to manage time when filling in lesson plans. I believe a large part of teaching is ON THE JOB TRAINING. Work hard at building relationships with the students. RESPECT goes a LONG way!

Make kids feel like they are the "Smartest and Best!"
Submitted by Bridgette from Alabama
Pre-Kindergarten Teacher

First of all school does not prepare you for the actual classroom. There will be great veteran teachers to guide you through your first year. My advice is to be observant of your peers. If you see a teacher that is loving and kind but also has control of her students, GET TO KNOW THEM FAST!! They will be a great asset. Get to know your students/parents personally. Make yourself available for concerned parents. Give your students a high five or a hug each and every day. Make your students feel like they are the smartest and best that your school has. Have a discipline plan ready for the first day. Get plenty of rest and pray!!!

Hands-On Learning
Submitted by Redralynd from Texas

Last year was my first year teaching. I would tell a student teacher to be as hands on as possible. Write lesson plans and use them in the class you are working in. You don't learn half of what you need to know just by going to school. I have a Masters degree in special education and I still felt like I needed to learn so much more. Working with children with autism is fun, but challenging. Be sure you know the group of students you want to work with before it is time to find that job.

Make a difference. Kids are counting on you!
Submitted by Susan from Florida
2nd Grade Teacher

My advice to student teachers would be to take notes and photographs of the ideas you see your classroom teacher using that you would like to duplicate in your own classroom. Veteran teachers are a wealth of information and ideas. Ask for copies of worksheets or lesson plans for future use. Visit other classrooms in the school you are doing your student teaching in. Observe the different teaching styles of other teachers to see various ways to present a lesson. If you see something you like, mold it into your own style. Plan on arriving early to work with your classroom teacher before the students arrive. Stay after school to discuss which lessons were effective and what changes may need to be made. Don't feel you must deliver your lessons the exact same way your supervising teacher did. We recently had two interns who are carbon copies of the teachers they interned with. Be yourself! Be prepared for anything. Expect the unexpected. Kids will be kids. Everyday is a new day. On the days you are frustrated or overwhelmed, just remember the kids are counting on you. Making a difference in even one child's life is a rewarding experience. Good luck!

Differentiated Instruction
Submitted by Carmen from Florida
3-5 Science Lab Teacher

Pay close attention to methods of differentiating instruction for learners as this becomes invaluable throughout your teaching career. Steal any and all ways of staying organized. Organization is what saves you at the end of a long teaching day. The 2 best ways to make sure you impress your supervising teacher or edu professor are to make sure your students are actively engaged and keep that smile on your face. :)

Combine Multiple Skills
Submitted by Adrienne from Maryland
Fourth and Fifth Grade Teacher

Remain patient and encouraging. Think of creative lessons that can combine multiple skills like an English worksheet that asks a student to write about the lifecycle of a caterpillar (which is also science-based). These type of lessons encourage the student to learn two subjects in one worksheet. You may also combine music or art as some students enjoy learning lessons through music sing-alongs (like rap songs), finger-painting their thoughts or understanding of the lesson. Dancing along with a lesson can promote physical exercise for a healthy heart and clear mind. Encourage children who are learning at a faster pace to also assist/encourage others who need additional help. This will discourage competition and encourage building self-esteem, compassion, and an overall cooperative learning environment. Remember to praise every good effort and repeat important hints or skills because children learn faster through repetition. Make the learning process as fun for you as it is for the student. Try dressing up similar to history characters. This might help students to remember the lesson or add humor to a subject which might appear less interesting. By doing this, both you and your students will look forward to each day or lesson.

Take Initiative & Show What You Can Do!
Submitted by Stephanie from Georgia
4th Grade

A good student teacher is one that can assert him or herself in a positive way. Many teachers aren't willing to let go of the reigns so to speak so a good student teacher will have to take the initiative to show the classroom teacher what they are can do. When given small tasks do them with vigor and excellence. Listen to your classroom teacher and take all criticism constructively. Most of all get to know the students and have fun. Of course student teaching is just wetting your whistle and will most likely be nothing like your first year on your own so take from it what you can. Spend time with other teachers in the building and observing different strategies and styles of teaching.

Don't be afraid to ask for help.
Submitted by Shari from Louisiana
5th Grade

The best advice I could give a student teacher is never be afraid to ask for help, even if it's help with something as simple as how to use the copy machine. I know at this stage in the game you feel like you know everything and that college has completely prepared you, but you'll never be 100% prepared until the day you retire because every class is different and every child different. So ask for advice and help, even with the small things.

Difference between friendly and friend.
Submitted by Barb from Missouri
3rd Grade

Do not try to be the students friend. You can be friendly, however, you are there to teach not make friends. Always be fair and consistent, I know we sometimes have favorites, however, you can not show that. If your wonderful student messes up then you need to treat them like everyone else, that's part of being consistent and fair.

Challenge Yourself
Submitted by Cheryl Lynn from South Carolina
Grades 3-5

Go for it! This is your time to shine with a lot of support. Take the most difficult placement you can get, be it a grade level you are not sure of teaching, a 'rough' or 'difficult' school, whatever it is just do it. The reason I say this is if you can make it there you can make it ANYWHERE!

Know Your Students
Submitted by Terry from Mississippi
4th Grade Teacher

Be flexible. You never know the situations that each child must live with away from school. Sometimes disruptive children may be starved to death for good, honest, and sincere attention. Instead of constantly scolding the disruptive child, try making that child your "helper" for the day. Be quick to acknowledge a disruptive child when you "catch" him or her being good. Sometimes, a child is looking for someone's approval.

Be an Active Member of the Classroom
Submitted by Cheryl from Massachusetts
2nd grade, Special Education Teacher

Ask questions! Get involved, be an active member of the classroom. The classroom teacher wants you to learn also. As a teacher of 30 years- I want to pass on my skills to new teachers. I also learn from them.

If possible take pictures of b. boards, classroom set ups that you like, get copies of papers to start your collection. Smile!

Quick Tips

Be prompt and prepared daily. This shows enthusiasm and dedication. If you know what is going to be needed that day, do it for the teacher. I guarantee that will impress them. - Submitted by Kathy from Kentucky

Always try to improve your teaching style! - Submitted by Jessy from Lebanon

Listen and pay attention to the students. They will teach you more than any instructor ever can. Also good classroom management is the key to effective teaching. Good Luck. - Submitted by Amy in Georgia

Always follow the rules and be confident; smile a lot show that you love children and they don't bug you. Be very patient with them call them by their names (if not, ask them their name before they answer a question). - Rashmee from India

The best advice I can offer is to be at school the very first day. Greet and learn the names of the students along with the regular classroom teacher. Establish and practice the rules and routines of the day. Practice these several times a day for two-three weeks. Structure will be your friend. - Liza from Missouri

Always be prepared. You can never have enough information preparing to teach lessons. It is always better to have too much than not enough. Also be flexible. You never know when something will interfere with your plans (ie. assemblies, fire drills,etc.). - Judy from Pennsylvania

The first person you want to become fast friends with in your building should be the person that does all the copies for the building. - Sara from Georgia

Ask the building principal to come and observe a lesson. This is a great way to get feedback from an administrator and a great way to form a relationship with one. This may help if jobs are available in that school or district. - Emily from Minnesota

Ask your cooperating teacher or building principal to conduct a mock interview with you. This will give you a feel for what to expect at interviews. - Another great tip from Emily in Minnesota

Remember to breathe. My first year, I don't think I took a breath until the 2nd 6 weeks. - Nicki from Texas

Try not to overwhelm yourself. Be constant and try your best. Even if you shoot for the moon and miss, you'll land on the stars. - Diane from Illinois

Take everything as it comes. Relax. Make sure you spend a good deal of time going over your procedures! That will make the rest of the year much easier! - Tiffany from South Carolina

The best advice that I ever received was to always become friends with the school secretaries and custodians. These are the individuals that know what is going on in the school and the ones who can get you all the supplies you need. - Tracy from Texas

Learn from your mistakes. Take it all in. Even if you do something wrong you will always take something away from it. Take it all in stride. Have a good attitude and a smile on your face. - Patty from Louisiana