George Lucas Educational Foundation

Suggestions for a Preservice Teacher Starting Student Teaching

Suggestions for a Preservice Teacher Starting Student Teaching

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I'm a preservice teacher in Michigan. I am meeting with my mentor on Tuesday and I was wondering if there are any questions that I should ask or any things that I should discuss? Also, I want to make the most out of this student teaching experience. Any words of wisdom? Thanks for your help.

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Cheska Lorena's picture
Cheska Lorena
Science Teacher from the Capital District Region, New York

Hi Antonia,

First, let me congratulate you on embarking on a new and exciting experience! Second, check out the Wallwisher Tips for Preservice and New Teachers from the New Teacher Chat Wiki -! It is a modest collection but chock full of tips and advice from other teachers.

A few quick tips:
-For your first meeting, don't be afraid to ask for and share your own expectations. It might be helpful to draft a few personal learning goals beforehand and share these with your mentor teacher. Establishing clear and consistent communication right away is key for a good working relationship in the classroom.

-Look,listen,and reflect! Make it a habit to carry a small notebook (or use the recording app from your cellphone) all the time to jot down observations, teacher and student interactions, questions, etc. Some of the things I liked to write down were tidbits I learned about the students, funny anecdotes or things you overheard the students saying --humor can help you get through the tough days, and can serve as a nice memoir after-wards.

-And one last thing, don't think you need to get everything right the first time around. This is one of those learning experiences where you are allowed to get your hands "dirty"; it's how you start to discover your identity as a teacher. Make connections with everyone, ask many questions, and explore and experiment with different ideas, teaching strategies, techniques and technology tools. Most importantly, have fun. :) Best wishes!

Mark Bigica's picture

Thanks for your advice Cheska! I, too, will be student teaching in the Spring (High School History in Jersey). I definitely will keep a notebook with me to take notes, especially on different personalities in the classroom, when I observe before I start teaching.

LiveLoveTeach's picture

From my experiences, I would definitely tell a current student teacher to absolutely make the most out of your experience. I wish I could go back and do my student teaching over again - I chose to be requested by a friend of my mom's, who knew me since I was very little. I felt comfortable to ask questions and try new things because I knew her; however, going into my first year teaching as a long-term substitute, I felt lost! I was SO supported by my co-op for student teaching that I never really was able to stand on my own two feet.

My advice: As Cheska said, keep a notebook (my student teaching practicum course required us to keep a daily notebook) of the lessons you teach and how well they go, interactions with your students, things that didn't go as planned and how you can fix them.. etc. Don't ever be afraid to ask questions - You are a new teacher, and although it may feel like it sometimes, you aren't expected to know everything. Do as much as you can in your classroom while you're there - take initiative to work with students, help your cooperating teacher, and make connections with other teachers in the building, as they will prove to be a great resource to you as well.

Invite your administrator in to observe you. Try out your own ideas for lessons, classroom management, etc., as much as you can. This is your time to experiement, find out what works, what might not, and gain ideas for your own classroom. Also, take pictures! I asked other teachers in the building I student taught in to take pictures of things like their bulletin boards, desk arrangements, different ways their organize student materials, etc.

All in all, just do the best you can! Never be afraid to ask for help, and make sure you take time for yourself throughout your student teaching. New teachers can get burned out easily, trust me - my first year, in my second long-term placement, I even questioned whether or not I wanted to continue teaching! Have fun! It goes by quickly!

Kevin Mason's picture

Hi Cheska,

My name is Kevin and I am a pre-service teacher in Texas. I will begin student teaching in January 2011. Thanks for such helpful information!

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