Tips For a Successful Student Teaching Experience
Sep 19, 2009 Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (T 3519 Views
You have been assigned to a school. Now follow the tips for a successful student teaching experience. These suggestions will show you how to become a professional and could lead to a full time teaching position. These tips also apply to pre-student teaching candidates who are in the classroom for a shorter time.
For many years I was a cooperating teacher and master teacher. I also worked for several universities as a field supervisor for student teachers. I witnessed some great and not-so-great students. You want to make your experience as positive as possible. You can achieve your goal of having a successful student teaching experience.
Once you have your assignment, contact the school and co-operating teacher as soon as possible. Set up an appointment. This must be done prior to the first day of school.
When you arrive at the school, introduce yourself to the office staff. They can really be helpful, and they keep things running smoothly. Ask for a school handbook and familiarize yourself with the rules. You will be expected to follow them. Seek out the principal and introduce yourself.
Be sure you get a calendar for the school year. You must know the dates for the semester, which will include holidays, teacher in-service and testing days. There are times when vacations for your college and the school district are different. You will be expected to adhere to the school district's calendar.
Before you meet your teacher, have a brief biography with your address and phone number(s). Give the teacher the biography and handbook that explains what is expected.
The teacher also needs to know your calendar. You will start on the first day of the semester, but, in most cases, will leave early. University/college semesters end before those of the public schools. This means the teacher will have the class back full time and has to prepare.
Always address the teacher by the last name. If he/she says it's OK to use their first name, never do so during class time. The teacher is also expected to call you by your last name.
Always be on time. Leave home early and get there before class begins. Traffic tie-ups are not good excuses.
Dress professionally - no jeans. Even if there is a casual dress policy, maintain your professionalism. The way you dress makes an impression. The administration knows you are student teaching. If you maintain a professional appearance, it will be noticed.
Plan ahead. Work on lesson plans with your co-operating teacher. Always get them approved. If you want to try something different, get the teacher's approval. There are those teachers who want you to do things their way and those who will let you spread your wings. When you have finished with the lesson, always get feedback.
Be flexible. You may have the best lesson plan when something interferes. It's always the unexpected: fire drill, special guest speaker, a lock down. Don't let these incidents rattle you. There will always be another day.
If you are going to be absent, you must notify the teacher and school ASAP. Do not do it by email. Most teachers do not have time to read emails before school. Call the switchboard and leave a message. Ask that your teacher be notified.
Keep a journal. Note classroom management techniques, start of class and end of class. What does this teacher do that you think is effective? Also put down the things that you think are ineffective. When you teach a lesson note what went right/wrong. Write how you would change it. This begins to give you an idea on how you want to run your own classroom.
Don't sit around. Let the teacher know that you are willing to jump in. Ask the teacher what you can do. You may start with taking roll or passing out papers. This gives you a chance to get to know the students. It also lets them know you are there in an official capacity. When it comes to the students, be a teacher, not a friend. You can't be both.
Get to know other teachers on the staff. Visit other classrooms. You can get ideas from observing classes not in your discipline. Teaching is a technique and transcends subjects.
Join teachers for lunch. You will hear about the school and students. Never gossip. Always maintain credibility.
Attend in-service days and staff meetings. Ask if you can sit in on parent/teacher conferences. The more exposure you get to the real world of teaching, the more successful you will be.
The student teaching experience can be an exciting time. It's important to be organized and follow through. You are embarking on the roll of a professional educator. If you follow these tips for a successful student teaching experience, not only will it be satisfying, but you may end up with a placement. Good luck.