Tips for Student Teaching
- Trust Yourself
- Communicate Regularly with the Teacher
- Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help
- Take Risks
- Welcome Criticism
As you prepare for the transition from the college campus to the classroom, you might need some tips for student teaching as you look towards the next few months, and you likely have nervous excitement building up. You’re excited because your college days are drawing to a close, and you’re one step closer to your career goals. To help you get ready for the first day in the classroom, here are five tips for student teachers.
1. Trust Yourself
It might be scary to stand up by yourself in front of a classroom. Though it might seem strange, it is possible that there will be a moment where you forget what it is you are supposed to be teaching or you suddenly find yourself tongue-tied. When facing these moments of anxiety, remember that you have been preparing to teach for a long time, so remind yourself that you know the material and that you are more than capable of educating your students.
2. Communicate Regularly with the Teacher
Once you are on your own in the classroom, it can be easy to run with the day-to-day facilitation and planning of your classes, and there is a good chance that you may very rarely see the other teacher. If this happens, remember to keep him or her in the loop. Remember that even though you are the one teaching, the class is still theirs, and the teacher is the one who ultimately answers to confused or concerned parents and the school administration. If something happens, he or she cannot defend you if he or she has know knowledge of what is going on. Schedule casual weekly meetings with the cooperating teacher to discuss concerns, ideas, lesson plans and questions. If the teacher does not take the initiative, set these meetings yourself.
3. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help
There is a significant difference between the simulated teaching environments to which you were exposed in your college career and the “real world” environment of an actual classroom. There will be times when you do not know how exactly to construct a test, the best way to speak with concerned parents or how to handle a disruptive student. Remember that there is a reason why you became a cooperating teacher, and this is your chance to vent frustrations, toss ideas around and humbly ask for help. The teacher with whom you are working is your best resource, and he or she wants nothing more than to help you succeed. Take advantage of his or her experience and knowledge when needed.
4. Take Risks
One of the best tips for student teaching is to take risks. If you have an idea for an activity or lesson, clear it with the cooperating teacher and dive in. Remember that not everything you plan will meet your expectations, but you will never know unless you try. Administrators are continuously looking for teachers who can find and implement new, innovative ways to connect the students with the material, so if you discover an approach that excites and wows your students, you will have a great selling point during interviews for full-time teaching positions.
5. Welcome Criticism
It goes without saying that student teaching is hard and you will make mistakes. As you continue throughout the experience, it is important welcome constructive criticism you get from the cooperating teacher, other teachers, administrators and even parents. While criticism hurts and can be difficult to handle, you must graciously and humbly accept the critiques you receive and make adjustments accordingly, to grow and to become fully prepared for student teaching. Remember that you are still a student, so use this feedback in a positive way.
Keeping an open line of communication, taking risks and knowing how to handle negative comments will help to ensure your student teaching experience exceeds your expectations. By following the above tips for student teaching, you will be better prepared for the “real world” classroom.
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