Education Column: Advice to Future Student Teachers

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As my time as a student teacher is winding down, its hard not to tear up thinking about the end. As I look forward to the next few weeks that are left, it’s hard not to reflect on the best two and a half months behind me. As I reflect on the past, I wanted to leave some advice to future student teachers. Here it goes:

 

  1. Get to know everybody: get to know the grade partner teacher[s], the specials teachers, the nurse, secretary, principal, other grade teachers, and most definitely get to know your co-op and students. Don’t just keep to yourself, try to converse with other teachers and persons in the building. Be inviting and conscious of your body language and how you come off. You will be in the school for three and a half months, you should embrace the school community and make your presence known. Even though it’s a short period of time, you are still part of the school’s community and make sure you engross yourself within it.

  2. Greet everyone: Always say hello or good-morning with a smile to anyone passing down the hallway - even if it’s other students. Not only will you seem more welcoming, but also it leaves an impression with everybody else that comprises the school.

  3. Take advantage: You are placed in a school for three and a half months, don’t just sit there and do nothing, you must take advantage. Go observe other classes and grades that you have an interest in, it will give you a feel of how unique each grade level is and might even help you narrow down what you’d like to teach. Stay back and attend staff meetings, parent teacher conferences, and back to school nights- they will give you a feel for what goes on in the classroom other than teaching. It will also give you the opportunity to meet the families of your students and give insight on what your future will look like. It will also make you feel super real-deal.

  4. Take initiative: be helpful

  5. Dress your best: this is my personal favorite! Being able to dress up everyday is really fun. It is definitely difficult to find affordable and cute teacher-like outfits, but by mixing blouses, pants, sweaters, and accessories together you are able to make some eye-catching outfits. It is important to look professional and put together because it’s the first thing people will see. Half of the profession is actually what you teach and the other half is how you look. Even though there are those “casual Friday’s” still look your best - I have not worn a single pair of jeans in these three and a half months, but trust me it’s for the best.

  6. Communicate: make sure to tell your co-op everything you have to do and plan with him/her to ensure you have enough time to complete all your assignments. Keep your co-op up to date because it is their classroom and you don’t want them to be blindsided by anything you have to get done. Other than communicating about your work, make sure you build a real relationship with your co-op. Find some common grounds and converse about things other than the students. My co-op and I talk about a variety of topics and make sure to crack jokes and entertain each other, which makes the school day so much better!

  7. Have fun, take risks, be yourself: don’t get too bogged down with everything you have to do otherwise you’ll only ruin your own experience. Its important to stay organized and on top of your work, but make sure you enjoy the moments. During snack time sometimes I would sit down with the kids and joke around with them or get to know them. Make jokes with your co-op, or with the students and let loose. Teaching is meant to be fun, not boring and hectic. Make sure to be yourself. Although you may have to fake it at times, let your personality and interests shine whether it is through your lessons or when you converse with teachers.

 

To those of you student teaching in the spring, good luck to you - it will be the best time... oh how I wish I could continue being a student teacher all year round. To the future teachers out there - follow your dreams and if you love what you do, don’t let anyone stop you.

 

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