Tips for Student Teaching:
So you have made it to student teaching! Congratulations! Here are some things that you can do as a student teacher to make your life just that bit easier while student teaching!
1. First and foremost, introduce yourself with a smile on your face and a firm handshake for your cooperating teacher. If you are teaching older students, a handshake may benefit them too. For younger children, a wave hello may do.
2. You have to read two documents on your first day:
-The school discipline policy
-The school emergency procedures handbook
KNOW THESE LIKE THE BACK OF YOUR HAND. If you get caught disciplining in an inappropriate manner that doesn't fit into school policy’ you are going to be having difficulties. If there is an emergency in your school (even just a practice fire drill) you need to know what to do in case of this. I know I sound like I'm the CIA, but hey, these things happen. :)
3. Be a professional. This means that you dress like one (jeans are student teacher suicide) act like one (don’t complain that you hate your cooperating teacher to the entire staff room) and be one in the classroom (yes, you ARE the student’s teacher)
Professional dress means:
· No jeans
· Don’t expose too much skin – avoid low cut tops
· Nice pants/skirt (above the knee is fine, mini skirt is not)
· Dress shoes
· If you’re a guy, wear a tie (and don’t break out the world map ones until you’re well into your student teaching)
· Do the judgment test: Overdress on the first day and then observe what everyone else is wearing. Check with your cooperating teacher if you are unsure.
4. You gossip about anything and you are burning your bridges before they have been built. If you want to be negative, do it at home or over the phone to someone non-school related.
5. If you know your grade level before you teach, make sure you get a chance to look at the state standards for your grade level. Are there any statewide tests that the children are going to sit while they are under your care? What do you do if a child doesn’t meet a particular standard? What are the assessment requirements for your students?
6. Lesson plans are a curious thing – check the formatting for your school/your university. Be clear about how your cooperating teaching wants the lesson/when they want it/the formatting required. You never know, you may learn a new computer skill because of it!
7. Buddy up with other student teachers in your school to share resources and ideas. You never know, adaptation of a lesson for a Grade 2 classroom may just save your life as a student teacher!
8. Be prepared to make mistakes (because hey, you're learning) - smile, cry, yell scream, but most importantly, make note of what went wrong, perhaps why it didn't work out, and how you might improve things for the next time.(Boy do I remember the day where everything, and I mean everything went wrong. I became a better teacher for it though).
9. Co-operating teachers can be great, they can be interesting, and they can be very difficult to deal with. If you do have any problems, make sure you tell your CT/supervisor early on, and do it in a tactful, polite way, giving examples of where you think the problems lie. Honesty, done tactfully and politely, is the best policy. If worst comes to worst and you have serious difficulties with your CT, inform your university supervisor (who should be kept up to date of things going on anyway) and back it up with information from your student teaching handbook.
· It doesn't matter how old your cooperating teacher is, they have had at least two to three years 'out in the field' over you, and you need to respect that. Don't try and act like a know-it-all because hey, you may be a student teacher, but they will have seen your act before - in their students.
· If we’re talking about staff at school, make a point of making friends with the custodian/janitor/cafeteria lady/office lady/person/school crossing guard/paraprofessionals. Your efforts will be rewarded with politeness, completion of tasks for your classroom, and clean classrooms.
10. That student teaching handbook is your bible while you are student teaching. It should contain information on what you are expected to do and when, useful contacts, and information on what the university expects, both of you and the co-operating teacher. Read it and know it back to front and upside down.
11. Learn the students’ names as quickly as possible. Play an adjective games, stick name tags on them (yes, they’ll hate you in the beginning, but it beats getting a name wrong), or figure out some way to learn their names as best you can two days in.
12. Be the students’ teacher, not their friend. This is often one of the hardest things student teachers have to deal with – the fact that the student teacher just wants to be liked by their students when teaching them. As a friend of mind once wrote: ‘We are there to help them be smart, not to be liked.’
13. Be prepared to follow the classroom discipline model of your co-operating teacher, at least at first. This is what the kids are used to and change may be a difficult thing to implement. If you do want to attempt a new classroom or behaviour management technique, discuss it with your co-operating teacher/supervisor first. Together, you can come up with a shared method that will work for both of you while you are in the classroom.
14. Smile. A lot. At everyone. They will smile back, even if it takes a little while.
16. Eat regular meals.
17. Get regular exercise.
18. Don’t spend all your time on student teaching – lesson plans are not your life. Try and spend time with friends who are not teaching, it gives you a bit of perspective!
19. Talk to your dog/cat/mouse/fish about what you’re going through. You know you’ll have someone who will just listen, and not offer their opinion.
20. Have fun! Student teaching is a wonderful experience.
Hope that settles some butterflies!
Student Teaching Advice
Congratulations on becoming a Student Teacher! Here are some tips that will help you make the most of your student teaching.
Tips for Student Teaching:
When I was student teaching, I used a 3-ring binder. I used tab dividers to make different sections. I very rarely brought papers home with me - so I didn't have to worry about that. My Coop and I stayed after school to go through papers we didn't get to during the day. I also keep a paper that was meant specifically for my classroom. I did not carry anything else in it nor did I carry it to class when I was back on campus. I think the best thing for you to do is just go with whatever organizational technique you have been using. Good Luck and always remember to laugh, everything will turn out.
For my student teacher that I will have this fall..I bought a big file box from Walmart and put inside a set of hanging files Also bought a three ring binder. I thought the file box could be used for copying ideas and contain papers that they might want to file. The binder will be for immediate things they need to know plus for their plans. It also can be kept inside the box. I think this is a good way to keep everything together.
I have a file box with hanging files separated into the different subjects (reading, math, science, etc.). I also included folders for recipies, songs, game, classroom management, etc. Whenever I get papers I want to save, I just drop them in the folders.
Another thing that I thought was useful is a tip from one of my professors. She suggested getting 31 different file folders numbered 1-31 and keep them in an accessible location or you could get a binder with 31 different simple tab dividers. Whenever you get papers that are due on certain dates, you put them in the corresponding foler. For example, if a form is due on March 10th, you would put it in the folder marked 10 or possibly 7 or 8 so you can get it completed early.
I go crazy if I am not organized and I know that these have REALLY helped me.
I student taught last semester and had a wonderful experience.
* Go in early if possible or stay late. (Sometimes I did both!)
* Make yourself available~if you see something that can be done-do it. Bulletin boards, stamping calendars, checking homework, etc.
* Be flexible, sometimes the best laid plans don't work out.
* Find a time to meet with your mentor to discuss lesson plans or reflect on lessons, but respect that she will want her own time and space too.
* To stand out, I would plan inventive lessons that align with standards. Also, be on top of classroom management. THis is a biggie-administrators want to see that you can handle the class. They are looking for future teachers.
* If you are able to, take on extra activities-recess duty, after school tutoring with mentor, etc.
* Also, find out what your mentor prefers. My mentor had several student teachers before me, so she knew what to expect and was willing to let me take control of the class. I volunteered to pick the class up from lunch and specials so that she could have extra time. She loved it. However, my friend was student teaching down the hall and her mentor wanted to be with the students at all times. She was very upset if my friend tried to pick the students up alone. So it is very important not to overstep your boundaries.
Sorry this was so long. I hope you have a wonderful experience. You will do a great job-you can tell that you are excited and want to do your best!
The one that stuck out to me is flexibility!! I just finished student teaching in a primary resource room in June. My teacher was very appreciative of my flexibility. I didn't always FEEL flexible, but even if I did not agree or want to do as she asked, I not only did it, but I smiled :) as I did it, LOL. I got a glowing evaluation and I really did end up having an ok experience. My university professors really stressed that we did not have to agree with our coop teachers...but we should do as they asked with a great attitude. The goal is to leave with a glowing eval and get a job!!
One other thing. I had no problem with this, but I did notice that some of my younger classmates did.....when your coop. teacher or univ. supervisor ask you how you could have done a lesson, etc. differently...really reflect on it. Don't be defensive or make excuses about the kids' behavior, etc. We all know that there are times when it isn't entirely our fault that something doesn't come off as planned, BUT, the idea is to let your supervisors see that you know things could always be better and you are always thinking and reflecting about how they could be better. GOOD LUCK!! It will go fast!
1. So much is conveyed to students by means other than verbal. When you teacher is teaching look carefully and listen. Teaching is really an art.
2. Ask questions...what, why, how. Learn not only what your teacher does in a particular situation but why. Don't be afraid to challenge...pick their brain.
3. Be on time and be prepared...be prepared. If you know you will be presenting an assignment tomorrow read the assignment - look for possible lulls...problem areas....compnesate.
4. Use everything you've learned and modeled from your teacher.
5. I'm sure your teacher won't expect you to copy them as you'll need to find your style. However, until you do emulate your teacher until you feel comfortable enough to successfully deviate. I didn't mind my student teachers trying to find their style...the caveat is it can't be at the expense of student learning.
6. Ask your teacher to critique you often. After each session that my student teacher taught we would sit down and talk about it - what could have been done more effectively, what worked...why.
7. Here are some traits of students who " stood out":
*They gave 110%
*They took ownership and responsibility
*They asked for additional experiences - grading papers, meetings, assignments
*They analyze everything...what, why...are there options. They questioned and challenged me...they learned through the process.
*They started early and stayed late
Some observations on challengs some student teachers created:
*5th grade boys are very, very much aware of body changes and are interested in sex. Short skirts, tight tops, see through blouses are a no no.
*When you enter the classroom your cell phone should go off and stay off until lunch or after school.
*When you enter the classroom try and put everything else aside...boyfriend/girlfriend issues, dates, parties, job considerations and so on. Although we try to be empathetic our concern is student learning.
*Don't try to adlib...if you're not prepared it will show in a heartbeat. Know the material you are teaching, practice delivery.
Anyone can teach...it is hard and challenging to be a good teacher...it is so much work and preparation. Oftentimes student teachers think it is an 8 hour a day job...it's not. If you're new and you come to work unprepared it will be a nightmare...you'll know it, the kids will know and and your teacher will know it.
I hope this helps. I think student teaching is a fantastic opportunity if you take advantage of it...you'll never regret it.
I had a very difficult student teaching last semester. I truly love teaching and know that I will be a great teacher (as soon as I figure out NCLB complaince and Cali. licensing!). However, my student teaching was a challenge because I felt I was always playing catch up with my coop. teacher. Here is some advice that would have helped a lot when I did my ST
1) Go in a few days before you officially begin. Ask if you can help set up the class (if it's before the school year starts). If it's after, ask to volunteer a few days to get to know the students.
2) Find a time to sit down with your teacher and ask questions. Provide the teacher with a copy of your univ.'s requirements for you and discuss them. Things to talk about is how you start, lesson plans, projects/quizzes/tests, standards, policies & procedures, etc.
-Do you have to observe for a certain number of days?
-How many days to you have to be in charge of everything in the classroom (ie the teacher in charge!)?
-How do you take over the class? Is it one subject at a time or observing and helping, then everything at once?
-How many days in advance does she want your lesson plans?
-Is there a major project that the grade will be doing? When?
-What is required for grades (ie a certain number per week? what kind?)
3) Get a good plan book and grade book. I would recommend the Waverly 3-line grade book. It's the one talked about in Harry Wong's book The First Days of School. It really is great and super helpful for staying organized. Also, I found the Scholastic Plan Book was really easy to use. Not a lot of "stuff" to figure out and the quotes for each week were really nice to have to help motivate me.
4) Purchase a great "teacher" bag. What I mean is a big shoulder bag to carry your stuff around in. Make it something you feel attractive carrying. That sounds silly but it does make a difference. It's like a business woman with a really gorgeous briefcase, it's all part of the image. A ratty backpack does not give you the same aura of responsibility that a "grown up" bag does.
5) Pack your bag with the thing that you need.
-A binder with all of your univ. requirements.
-Your grade book, plan book and a FANTASTIC planner (like an assignment planner. Mead's upper class has been my planner of choice for about 5 years now)
-A couple of mechanical pencils. Nothing is more annoying than the teacher having to sharpen a pencil!
-A few pens. Try not to use red for grading. Even if you write something positive on a paper students see the red and automatically assoicate it with something negative. Try purple or green.
-One or two highlighers
-A permanent marker
-An organized way to take home papers to grade. A durable, plastic accordian file in a bright color works really well. Designate a slot for each subject you are going to be responsible for. You shouldn't have more than one assignment per subject per night. If you do, that may be too much work for your students AND you!
-A whistle. This is great in the class to get attention and on the playground. It is a nightmare to try and get the attention of 1 class when 4 are on the playground with you.
-A snack for you. Pick something easy to eat throughout the day like goldfish or cereal. You wouldn't believe how often your stomach rumbles. Choice flavored water or a sports drink for a drink. Soda will kill you. The sugar high happens then you crash and burn before the day is out.
6) Wear nice but comfortable shoes. Those heels are great for meetings and interviews but will KILL your feet. Cute flats are wonderful along with those Gellin' insoles.
7) Be flexible. Do what you can when you can for anyone you can!
8) Eat lunch with your teacher a few days a week but if there are other interns in your school try and eat with them at least once a week. Shared misery, joy, and experiences are so much more fun and meaningful! You'll also find them a great support system. Sometimes it can be really hard to deal with your coop. teacher and your fellow interns are all in the same boat.
Good luck and be positive. You're almost a teacher!
-ask questions, then listen to the answers, take notes, write things down
-reflect, know yourself, your strengths, your weak areas to work on
Three student teacher later, here are some things I could add
-take advantage of this time in a school to soak up all possible experiences, staff meetings, parent meetings, grade group meetings, report cards, marking, supervision, after school stuff - its all part of the package.
-If you get a prep, observe or volunteer in another grade, to expose yourself to more information and more experiences.
-Get some file folders and make copies of everything you are allowed to copy, from everyone. File by grade, by subject, by theme, by month - whatever will help you find them again. There is a wealth of experience and material that you have at your fingertips, so take it all!
-don't speak to parents about their child - leave that to the classroom teacher - remember confidentiality and do not speak about individual children out of the building.
-enjoy the experience, and I hope you get a mentor teacher you are compatible with!