Student Teacher Tips

Instructor: Derek Hughes

Derek has a Masters of Science degree in Teaching, Learning & Curriculum.

Student teaching is most likely going to be your first experience with full-time teaching. Using the tips outlined in this lesson, you will come out the other side successful and with your sanity in tact.

Making the Most of Student Teaching

Do not kid yourself, student teaching is going to be very hard, very stressful, and very exhausting. However, it is also going to be the first in a series of incredibly rewarding experiences in your teaching career. Using the tips outlined in this lesson, your student teaching experience can be made a little easier and a little less stressful, but, sadly, it will still be exhausting.

Helpful Tips

1.) Get to know your classroom, especially your cooperating teacher.

You are going to be spending the next few months with these students and teacher. It is important to spend your first few days getting to know the classroom, the students, and especially the teacher. As your mentor during your student teaching, the cooperating teacher is going to be your most important point of contact in the classroom. There is no way to control what kind of person your cooperating teacher will be, but you must try your best to create a bond with him or her.

2.) Get to know the other teachers in your grade/hallway

No one is expected to teach a classroom full of students alone. The next most important relationships you will form during your experience will be with the other teachers around you. These teachers can help with ideas for your classroom or just serve as a morale boost by providing a smiling face at the end of a tough day (which you will have).

3.) Begin taking over the classroom at your own pace

While your teacher training program may have a set timeline you need to follow during your student teaching experience, it is best to remember to do things at a pace with which you are comfortable. This does not mean, however, that you should stay in your comfort zone. Student teaching is designed to push you past your limits and help you expand your comfort zone. Rushing into things right off the bat is not a good idea, but pacing yourself and developing a clear plan with your cooperating teacher will help you comfortably begin teaching full time.

4.) Strike a balance between your ideas and your cooperating teacher's

It is often difficult for some teachers to let someone come into their classroom and begin teaching their own lessons in their own way. However, it is important to remember that this is your time to begin forming your teaching philosophy. While it is good to listen to your cooperating teacher's advice, you should also go with your gut some of the time. Trying your own ideas and succeeding (or failing, which is sometimes the case) is the only way you will find what works for you as a teacher.

5.) Don't be afraid to switch gears

When you begin teaching your own lessons, you may find that something you planned isn't working. While planning is incredibly important, you should also not be afraid to go off plan if you can tell that something isn't working during your lesson. Though you may not be able to do this as flawlessly as a veteran teacher, being able to switch gears is an important skill to hone, and your student teaching experience is the best time to practice.

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