You’ve completed your course work, passed all of your tests, and finished all of your paperwork, and now the time has finally come. You are about to begin student teaching.
A million different emotions are probably swirling through your head as you begin anticipating and daydreaming about what this experience will be like. What will your students be like? What will your master teacher be like? What will your routine be like? And most worrisome of all: Will you thrive or fail?
More than likely, you will probably find your student teaching experience a little anticlimactic. While being a student teacher will help prepare you for your career as an educator, there really is no substitute for learning on your own two feet the first few years in your own classroom.
So how can you make the most of your student teaching experience?
1. Get as involved as you can. Attend meetings. Go to school functions. Help with any extracurricular activities, clubs, organizations, and sports that you can. Like so many things in life, student teaching will be the experience that you make. The more you put into it, the more you will get out of it.
2. Observe as many different teachers as possible. Every teacher has his or her own unique teaching style, and your master teacher’s teaching style may not mesh well with the type of teacher that you want to be…and that is okay! That is why it essential to observe as many different teachers as possible. Additionally, observing many teachers lets you figure out exactly what kind of teacher you want to be.
3. Do your homework. In order to do well during your student teaching experience, you will need to take time to prepare your lessons and become familiar with the content. If the students are reading a novel, you will want to read it (multiple times) ahead of time. The more time you spend preparing, the more prepared you will feel. Having that extra bit of confidence will help get you through those first few lessons.
4. Ask questions. Your master teacher is there to help guide you and prepare you to the best of his or her ability. However, your master teacher is not a mind reader. Something that is second nature for an experienced teacher might be a bit complicated or confusing to a beginning teacher. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, ask for clarification, or ask your master teacher to slow down.
5. Become a substitute teacher in the district. If you are a substitute teacher in the district, you can occasionally get paid to do your student teaching. If you are able to take over the classroom for the day whenever your master teacher is out sick, you will get more of an idea of what it is like to have your own classroom.
Following these five simple steps will help you make the most of your student teaching experience.