Student teaching is a perfect opportunity for you to apply everything you’ve learned in college to the test. As a student teacher, you need all the advice you can get as your attempt to figure out the right path for your teaching career.
Although it may be a very nerve-wracking time filled with anticipation and anxiety, use student teaching as a chance to make professional connections and learn everything that you can. Here are some tips to help you along the way, and make sure your experience is a success:
Observe New and Seasoned Teachers
Watching the seasoned veterans is great and useful, but don’t forget to observe new teachers, too. It will give you realistic ideas about what it will be like for you right out of the gate.
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.
Dress Like a Professional
Be the best-dressed one there. Low cut tops and short skirts aren’t for teaching. A good rule of thumb is, if your undergarments risk even the slightest chance of making an appearance, change your clothes. And just because other teachers wear jeans does not mean you have to.
It's important not to produce a caricature of a teacher. Be attentive to detail, but do not expect to be perfect in what you think a teacher should be. Avoid unnecessary confrontations. Acknowledge that you're still a student yourself, and realize how a student pretending to be a tough teacher must look.
Be Open to Criticism
As a student teacher, making mistakes is normal. So don’t freak out over every minor screw up. Bear in mind that no one is perfect. Even experts sometimes get off track when they are distracted. Just don't give up, persist and you will improve with practice.
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.
Know What Not To Do
There are some obvious don’t when it comes to student teaching. But here are some no-no’s to keep in mind while in the classroom:
- Try and be friends with the students, you are their teacher
- Be the first one to leave the building after the bell rings
- Be afraid to ask for help if you need it
- Call in sick or miss a class unless it is an emergency
- Gossip about other teachers
- Wear anything that you are unsure about
- Expect the children to know your rules and routine by the second day
- Allow students to call you by your first name
- Do anything without permission (you are a guest)
- Be too hard on yourself, not everything will go the way you planned
Your experience as a student teacher is an opportunity of a lifetime. Be flexible, stay positive, always have high and clear expectations, and remember to have fun. To find out what path you need to take that will lead you in to the classroom, contact Athena Career Academy today.