10 Tips for Student Teachers
Student teaching is the culminating experience of all you’ve been working towards in your degree studies to become a teacher. It will be a semester filled with learning experiences that will shape you as a teacher.
1. Your Teaching Placement School
Make sure your school placement for student teaching has been approved. Call your placement school to double check that all of the paperwork necessary has been completed.
2. Meet the Cooperating Teacher
Once your student teaching placement is finalized, visit the school and meet your cooperating teacher.
3. Learn the Curriculum
Ask for an overview of the curriculum to become familiar with and study your stand standards. Offer to help set up class and take part in the planning before the semester begins. This will give you a good feel for the process of teacher preparation.
4. Introduce Yourself
Before the semester begins, prepare a letter to go home with your new students that introduces yourself to the parents. Make sure this is okay with your cooperating teacher.
5. The School Schedule
Go over the schedule of the school day, week, quarter and semester with your cooperating teacher. It’s important to outline clearly what duties and when you will be taking over.
Set-up an observation schedule. Cooperating teachers are responsibile for evaluating students teachers at certain benchmarks throughout the semester. Plan ahead so you’ll be prepared. When you do get observed, be sure to go over each evaluation with your cooperating teacher so you know how to improve.
7. Get involved.
Help grade papers, clean, copy, run errands, tie shoes, listen to conflict resolution, attend staff meetings and visit the teacher’s lounge. Getting first hand experience with these daily teacher tasks help set a clear picture of what it will be like to do them all by yourself.
8. Take notes.
Observing your cooperating teacher is a great learning experience. Seldom in your career as a teacher will you get to watch someone teach on a regular basis. Learn from great lessons and jot down how you would implement the lesson in your unique way. Ask to copy ideas and start a folder that will hold all of these gems.
9. Take over with confidence.
When a student teacher takes over the class for the first time, it can be a nerve racking experience. Don’t worry- every time it gets easier! Try not to include your cooperating teacher in the instruction or problem solving unless absolutely necessary. The students want to know that you’re in charge, so do your best to handle situations and manage the class as you’ve seen your cooperating teacher do.
10. Say thanks.
Being a cooperating teacher is not easy work. In addition to preparing for the students, the cooperating teacher also has to prepare for the student teacher. Be sure to point out things you enjoy along the semester- from the way the cooperating teacher interacts with students to how subjects are approached creatively.
If you really want to remember your student teaching experience, keep a journal along the way. If you don’t, make sure at the conclusion of your semester student teaching that you take time to reflect on what you liked and didn’t like about the experience. For many of us, student teaching is the opportunity to give our career goals more focus and help gear our future job in teaching.