By Teachers, For Teachers
This fall, many of you will be student teaching for the first time. Although this may be a very nervewracking time filled with anticipation and anxiety, it’s a perfect opportunity for you to apply everything you’ve learned in college to the test. Here are few dos and don’ts to help you along the way, and make sure your student teaching experience is a success:
In addition to what you should and shouldn’t do throughout your student teaching experience, I’m sure you’re curious what you’ll be doing during your placement. Here is what you can typically expect during your 8- to 12-week teaching experience:
Write a letter of introduction and thank your mentor teacher for taking the time to allow you to be in his or her classroom. Second, read all of the materials regarding student teaching so you will be well informed of what is expected. Last, prepare getting-to-know activities to help ease any first day jitters with the students.
On the first day of school, you will report to your assigned classroom and meet and greet both students and faculty. You will then observe and learn class rules and routines. During this time make sure you circulate the classroom and get acquainted with the children. The first week you will spend time learning students’ names, memorizing the class schedule and procedures and more. This may vary depending on how much your mentor teacher allows. Later in the week, you will be start working with individual students and plan small instruction activities with your cooperating teacher.
As the week progresses, you will continue to observe classroom instructions and methods, and familiarize yourself with students’ abilities. You will begin assisting with classroom activities, write and submit lesson plans, teach to small groups and get acquainted to individual students. By the end of week four, you will teach large group lessons while receiving some legitimate feedback about your performance.
During weeks 5-7 you will increase your planning and workload to prepare you for a full day of teaching. During this time, you will begin to use a variety of teaching strategies and prepare tests, assessments and lesson plans. In addition to that, you will become more independent in leading group work and fulfill all housekeeping needs in the classroom.
You are in the homestretch! This last week of student teaching you will assume all teaching responsibilities. This includes: Preparing all lessons and materials, concluding any unit plans, participating in any parent/teacher communication and keeping the cooperating teacher informed of the day’s activities. At the end of the week, you will confer with your mentor teacher (as well as your college supervisor) to discuss your experience. This is the time you can ask for a letter of recommendation to add to your resume.
Always remember that your experience as a student teacher is an opportunity of a lifetime. Take this chance to make professional connections and learn everything that you can. You are now well on your way to shaping today’s youth into thriving citizens.
Do you have any dos or don’ts for a student teacher? Share with us in the comment section below. You may be the key to their success!
Janelle Cox is an education writer who uses her experience and knowledge to provide creative and original writing in the field of education. Janelle holds a Master's of Science in Education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is also the Elementary Education Expert for About.com, as well as a contributing writer to TeachHUB.com and TeachHUB Magazine. You can follow her at Twitter @Empoweringk6ed, or on Facebook at Empowering K6 Educators.