Making the leap from full-time student to student teacher can be a scary one; especially for those working with kids for the first time. But when it comes to getting your confidence up and making yourself a better teacher in time for graduation, there’s nothing quite like student teaching to help give you that boost.
For those entering a classroom for the first time, or student teachers struggling to find their feet in class, this list is for you. We take a closer look at just a few ways to help you get perspective on your teaching, and learn a little more each day.
Read on for ten tips to help you become a better student teacher, and to provide you with the tools you need to succeed in the future:
1. See everything as an opportunity to learn
As a student teacher, you already know you’re there to learn – but there’s far more you can gain from the classroom than simply watching your mentor teach their class. If you take the opportunity to see everything as a way to learn, you’ll soon be well on your way to becoming a great teacher.
2. Keep an open mind
Going into a school with a pre-conceived idea about how it’s going to be, or what your students are going to be like, is a quick way to be overwhelmed in no time. Instead, keep an open mind about anything from teaching styles to the children you’re teaching, and you’re far more likely to succeed and be able to adapt to different classrooms in the future, according to Mrs. Call’s Campers.
3. Build great relationships with other staff
Every student teacher needs the help and support of the educators around her at some point in time. Working to build those relationships with your mentor, other teachers and the administration of your placement can be a valuable way to not only access further learning but also open the door for you returning in the future once you’re fully qualified. The same goes for the parents of your students.
4. Get to know your students
Knowing your students is vital for any teacher that wants to be successful. For student teachers, it’s doubly important to develop that skill sooner rather than later. Mark and Christine Boynton suggest that positive teacher-student relationships can make all the difference to solving and even preventing discipline.
These methods can be an excellent way to establish that relationship in the first place:
- Ice-breaking sessions
- Students likes and dislikes cards
- Spending one-on-one time with students
5. Remember that you are the teacher
Especially for student teachers looking to go into high school, it can be difficult not to relate to your students on an equal level. After all, there isn’t that big an age difference. But remembering that you’re the authority figure is a must for a well-managed classroom, and is something that all teachers should work on to achieve their goals.
6. Try to overcome your teaching fears
Scared of public speaking, or worried about managing discipline?
Getting over those fears is essential to providing a safe and functioning classroom. Practice makes perfect, so don’t be afraid to step up and do even the things that scare you most. You’ll soon find them much less scary, once you’ve had a little time to warm up.
7. Say yes to additional opportunities
From school field trips to extracurricular activities, a student teacher saying yes to additional opportunities not only shows willing, but it also provides far more chances to learn more. Sometimes, teaching doesn’t fit neatly into the boxes you’re taught at college; being able to be flexible is just as important, and saying yes to more things can provide that.
8. Be present for everything
Whether you’re observing a lesson, waiting for your students to complete a test, or even taking part in activities, staying in a moment is a vital skill for a teacher. It can be easy to let your mind wander or get out of sync with the class, but staying alert is critical if you want to stay ahead. A sharp teacher is an effective teacher.
9. Don’t just sit back, get in on the action
Whether you’re worried about taking the leap or you’d prefer a more passive first experience of the classroom, a student teacher just sitting back and observing lessons doesn’t help anyone. Get in on the action and get involved in planning, assignments, and teaching the class, or you’ll soon be falling behind your classmates.
10. Go digital with your note-taking
Gone are the days of notebooks that never get reread once you scribble in them. Go digital with your notes, and you can stay organized, have easy access to information, and be a little more eco-friendly. That’s a win-win for everyone.
What advice would you give to student teachers?