by Rachel Tyler, Chapter President
January 1st may be the beginning of the new year for most, but a new school year is a new start for over 49 million students, 4 million teachers, and countless school administrators and employees here in the United States. Joining these millions of students and school employees are about 200,000 student teacher candidates. Maybe you are one of these 200,000? This year I am lucky to be one of the 200,000 beginning their student teaching. If you are anything like me, you are a nervous wreck, excited, and stressed. Good news is this the very last thing standing in between you and your licensure. Bad news, actually I can’t think of any bad news. We just have to get through this together. I have compiled together advice from those who have already student taught and decided to share it with you.
1. Prepare for the unexpected.
During student teaching, you will spend a lot of time planning lessons and going over them with your host teacher. Even with a well thought out and thorough lesson plan, it is possible for something to go not as expected. The students could be a little rowdier that day. Maybe they are not catching on as quickly, or they finished faster than expected. It is also sometimes almost impossible to plan around drills, emergencies, and technology failing. Just as important as it is to plan for a lesson it is important to plan to be flexible, or as someone used to tell me “go with the flow." Remember to always try to have alternative activities and to try to keep your lessons has engaging as possible.
2. Ask questions.
For some this may be a no brainer, for others it may be the hardest thing you have to do. If you are anything like me asking questions, especially when you first meet someone, is nerve wrecking. Student teaching is the perfect time to get those burning questions answered. Ask your host teachers about what they learned that works and doesn’t work when it comes to managing their classrooms. Use their experience in lesson planning, grading, and organization to help you in your future classroom. Do not be afraid to ask questions that you may find silly. There is no such thing as a stupid question. If you are unable to find time to ask your questions, write them down and ask your host teacher later.
3. Leave your comfort zone.
Trust and believe me, I understand how scary student teaching can be. I have spent the last three years in the classroom as a teacher’s aide and I am still petrified to begin my first day of student teaching. Do not be afraid to fail and do not be afraid to share some of your own ideas with your host teacher. What better time than now to fail and try again? It is also the perfect time to put all of the things you learned in the classroom to the test.
4. Stay organized.
It will be imperative for student teachers to try to be as organized as possible. Student teaching is like working and going to school full time. After spending 6-8 hours in the classroom you will need to make sure you are setting time aside for preparing for the next time when you get home, your own class assignments given you by your professors, and all of your daily adulting responsibilities. Your plate can fill up quickly if you do not stay on top of it. Try to make a schedule and stick to your it, and express to others when you need a little bit of help. Trust me you are going to need help.
5. Remember to take care of yourself.
It is going to be easy to get swallowed up by all of your responsibilities. It is always most important to take care of your mind, body, and soul so that you can stay on top of your game during student teaching. The best student teacher is a happy and healthy student teacher! Engage in a regular sleeping routine and healthy eating practices to maintain the much-needed energy. It is also important to try to exercise throughout the week. When things are becoming too stressful take a small break. Reward yourself! You deserve it, you made it this far and you are going to make it through student teaching.
Congrats to all of those who will be student teaching during the 2019-2020 school year. Happy New Year to you all!
To all other teacher candidates who aren’t quite there yet…Don’t worry your time is coming soon.