Are you counting down the minutes until student teaching starts? Here are 12 student teaching tips that can help you get ready for the school year.
1. Discuss your expectations with your cooperating teacher.
Make sure that you’re both clear on what you’ll be doing throughout the student teaching experience. What should you do while he or she is teaching? What will the teacher do while you’re teaching? If you discuss these roles before student teaching begins, you’ll be on the same page when it comes to understanding your expectations.
2. Dress like a professional.
Yes, you’re spending your day with children. You’re going to get sticky and dirty, but that doesn’t mean that you should wear jeans and an apron every day. My university supervisor recommended dressing one level up from the rest of the teachers in the school. That meant that I spent lots of time in skirts, dress suits, and dress slacks. When you dress professionally, your demeanor follows suit and people notice how you stand out from the crowd.
3. Take care of yourself.
Being a student teacher is hard. Start going to bed earlier. Eat a healthy diet, and get regular exercise. Getting into healthy habits now will help you stay healthy and focused during student teaching.
4. Always come prepared.
Not only does this mean that you should have your lesson material ready to go every morning, but you should also prepare for various issues that could arise throughout the school day. For example, bring backup clothing, extra snacks, and grooming products. Start putting together a student teaching kit that you can bring with you.
5. Review lesson plans with your cooperating teacher.
Discuss ideas after class, email lesson plans for review, and ask for suggestions and tips. Doing this will set your lessons up for success.
6. Develop organization skills as a student teacher.
One of the toughest things about being a first-year teacher is that you have to spend a lot of time collecting materials and building your curriculum. When you find lesson plans that you want to use, start saving them in a file on your computer or print out a hard copy and keep it in a file system. Create your own organization system now that you can add to as you go.
7. Take lots of pictures and notes.
Keep notes of things that you would like to replicate in your own classroom. If you see a bulletin board example that you love, take a picture of it and file it away for later use. Pinterest is a great place to gather ideas for your classroom.
8. Be creative.
Now is the time to try new things. It’s a safe environment where your cooperating teacher can provide any advice and assistance to ensure that the lesson doesn’t completely bomb. If you have something you’re aching to try, talk to your cooperating teacher and make it happen.
9. Reach out to parents.
Parents are your biggest ally. They want their children to succeed. Find ways to use them as volunteers. Also, plan on writing a letter to parents to introduce yourself. You can start doing this now, but have your cooperating teacher review it first.
10. Learn about the school.
Most schools have a website. Check it out to learn about their schedule, administrators, and faculty, and policies. For one thing, you can learn about the disciplinary policies that you’ll be expected to enforce.
11. Remember that you’re a guest as a student teacher.
Know and follow the campus policies. Refrain from gossiping with other teachers. And treat your cooperating teacher with respect and gratitude.
12. Have a good attitude!
Student teaching comes with plenty of ups and downs, but don’t let it get you down. Have a sense of humor, and have fun!
P.S. In addition to these student teaching tips, don’t forget about your other responsibilities on your way to becoming a certified teacher, such as getting a good Praxis score. Magoosh Praxis can help make that pesky test a cinch to pass!