There are different challenges and obstacles that you face when student teaching in middle school. To better prepare for your experience, here are 6 tips that you should know.
What kind of impression do you want to make on the students? Your cooperating teacher? Other faculty and staff members? The administrators? Show them your confidence and friendly demeanor. Also, dress to impress. Men should wear slacks, a button-up dress shirt, and tie. Women should wear a dress, slacks and a dress shirt, or a dress suit. Try to dress one step above the rest of the faculty, especially when you’re first starting out.
Get to Know Your Students
Students need to know that you care about and respect them. Take the time to get to know each student in your classes. Memorize their names within the first few days of student teaching. Then, sit down and talk to each one and learn about them. You could also have an assignment where they write something about themselves to help you get to know them better.
Middle school students need boundaries. This doesn’t just mean that you need to set rules, but you also need to set personal and professional boundaries. The students want to get to know you, but that doesn’t mean that you should get involved in the student gossip or spend a lot of time liking their pictures on Facebook. And when it comes to your desk, let students know that it’s your private space. Keep them from going behind the desk or using your things without asking you first.
Collaborate with Your Cooperating Teacher
Your cooperating teacher is your biggest asset. Sit down with your cooperating teacher to plan out the material that will be covered while you’re there. Take the time to discuss the resources and materials that you should use. Then, go over lesson plans together. Your cooperating teacher can provide you with advice and suggestions on how you can set up your lesson plans for success. Just be humble, teachable, and gracious!
Focus on Classroom Management
Classroom management tends to be a big issue when student teaching in middle school. Some of the things that you should do include:
- Don’t talk over the students! Wait for the students to quiet down and give you their full attention before speaking.
- Address issues right away. Send students to the hallway or have them wait after class to speak with them one-on-one about the behavioral problem.
- Plan engaging lessons that will keep students focused and attentive.
Plan Engaging Lessons
Most middle school students have lots of energy and enjoy talking to each another. Use this to your advantage. Plan lessons with physical activities to allow students to use up their energy. Also, get them talking through class or small group discussions. Middle school students also tend to enjoy artistic activities that force them to use their creativity or object lessons for teaching new concepts.
Student teaching in middle school is full of challenges. However, you have the tools you need to succeed. Work hard, come prepared, and do what you need to do to excel on your evaluations.