If you're about to begin a student teaching position and want to put your best foot forward, this blog post has six tips that can help you succeed and make a good impression.
New To Student Teaching?
When you're studying to become a teacher, it's highly likely that you'll be required to serve a one-year-or-more stint as a student teacher in a classroom under the supervision of an experienced ''mentor'' teacher. This is, in essence, the beginning of your hopefully long and successful teaching career to come. That means that you want to treat your student teaching experience seriously, doing your best to succeed. Here are six tips that will help you shine.
Tip #1: Avoid Imposter Syndrome
New teachers, especially young people in a student teaching position, often have a hard time adjusting to the fact that they've suddenly become the authority in a classroom full of children. They might suffer from imposter syndrome, or the feeling that they're not actually qualified to be doing what they're doing. The consequences are failing to step up and do what is expected of you.
There's no reason to doubt yourself as a student teacher. You're there for a reason. You're learning. And you're under the supervision of somebody who can pick up the slack in any areas you might still need to improve in. Take yourself seriously, act authoritatively, and play the part convincingly. As the saying goes: fake it until you make it.
Tip #2: Make a Good First Impression
As we mentioned earlier, your student teaching position is basically your first job in your new career. That means it's critical that you make a good first impression.
- Be on time to class.
- Stay late if you have to.
- Be prepared for class.
- Dress professionally and appropriately.
- Put forth the appropriate effort.
- Be kind and respectful to everybody you meet, including students and office staff.
Also, be professional, for example, by not engaging in gossip in the teacher's lounge. Act like you want your behavior to be remembered, because that's how it will be.
Tip #3: Volunteer
One way to learn as much as possible while making a good impression is to volunteer for optional activities at the school where you're student teaching by:
- Attending staff meetings
- Volunteering at school dances, events, and sports games
- Chaperoning during field trips
You'll become familiar with a different dimension of the teaching life, while earning some brownie points with your school administration, proving yourself to be a team player.
Tip #4: Take Notes
The main goal of your student teaching job is to learn as much as possible, so observe, observe, observe, and, more importantly take notes. The last thing you want to do is forget the important things you learned. Remember, although you're a teacher, you're still a student first and foremost. Take notes on your teacher's practices, including what you like and what you don't like and which approaches you want to try in your own classes someday.
Tip #5: Ask For Help
It's no secret that you're new to this teaching thing. That's why you should never hesitate to ask for help - it's why you're there.
So, ask questions, ranging from practical ones like whether or not to bring your own lunch to more school-related ones, like how your mentor teacher creates lesson plans, what his or her educational philosophy is, and so on. And whenever your unsure about something, just ask.
Tip #6: Solicit Feedback
Before you leave your student teaching position, you'll want to have a very strong sense of how your teaching was perceived, what people thought of you, what your strengths are, and how you can improve moving forward. The only way to obtain that information is to solicit feedback as often as possible and from as many sources as possible, including your mentor teacher, other teachers, and administrators. Don't take criticism personally; instead, think of it as a tool that will allow you to grow. That's a true sign of a good teacher.
For tools and resources you can use as a student teacher, check out Study.com's Teacher Edition.