Welcome to the teaching profession! Today you embark on one of the greatest journeys of your life. To make your experience as a student teacher a success take a few moments to read this guide and refer to it frequently in the course of your student teaching experience.
1. Arrive on time and don’t leave early. People are watching. In order to give an impression of professionalism keep the same hours as the hired teachers do.
2. Dress professionally. Before student teaching purchase a few professional outfits. This is necessary to give a positive impression to those that will write your recommendations.
3. Read the teacher handbook and the student handbook for the school. Follow the same code of conduct as the professional teachers and know what the rules are for the students.
4. Bring a snack to the teacher’s lounge. Frequently you will want to zip in for a cookie, a donut, or a cup of coffee. Teachers appreciate when the student teachers make a contribution to the goodies.
5. Scour the mind of your supervisory teacher. Ask questions, use resources, ask for advice. Remember you are paying for this experience so scoop out as much of this gold mine of experience that you can.
6. Introduce yourself to the administration the first day. If you have any difficulties, the administration is going to be important when dealing with the problem. It is helpful if they know your face before dealing with a problem.
7. Get to know the support staff. Some of the most valuable people in the school are the school secretary and the custodian. They have a wealth of knowledge and can really help in so many areas.
8. Defer to the supervisory teacher. Remember that you are a privileged guest in their classroom and it may be difficult for them to let go of their classes. Be respectful and grateful. This is not a good place for attitude even if you may disagree.
9. Wash your hands and buy some hand sanitizer. It is touch to student teach when you are sick with the cold or flu. Try to prevent the germs from invading your space to begin with, but it is equally important to eat right, exercise, and take a vitamin supplement. If you feel a cold coming on take Airborne. It really does reduce the cold symptoms.
10. Don’t let the paperwork bury you. Look for ways to reduce having an over abundance of papers to check. Check a few daily assignments in class. Consider shorter tests and quizzes. Remember to try to keep it manageable as well as effective.
11. It’s okay to be the bad guy. If you spend too much time worrying that students might not like you, then you are not taking care of the academics. Students aren’t going to like you all the time, so don’t take it personally.
12. Bring professional supplies. Buy some needed supplies and bring them along with you. These include pens, pencils, legal pads, highlighters, folders, a bag for taking papers home, a file box, and any other desired supplies. These can give a student teacher a sense of comfort because you don’t have to ask the supervisor for supplies.
13. Beware of artificial stimulants. Don’t get caught up in a cycle of caffeine, chocolate, sweets, and sodas. Usually what is really needed is a good night’s sleep. If you can’t sleep because school makes you nervous causing you to toss and turn, consider taking one acetaminophen p.m. It is just enough to help you relax enough to get a good night’s sleep. Then the next morning you will be rested and ready to face the day.
14. Beware of the toxic teachers. They are out there in every school district. These teachers may be bitter or angry about their own experiences and they will attempt to discourage a student teacher from the profession. Once you recognize a toxic teacher, try to avoid anything more than obligatory comments.
15. Believe in yourself. Even when the experience is difficult, time consuming or exhausting, remember why you wanted to become a teacher. You bring your own unique thoughts and experiences to the classroom. Be confident that what you are doing is one of the most noble of professions.
Follow these pieces of advice in the student teacher’s success guide to have a happy and healthy student teaching experience.