You have a passion for teaching kids. You care about them, and follow the principle of always putting kids first. You have studied and worked hard towards becoming a highly qualified professional educator. Now its time to do your student teaching. Student teaching is tougher than anything that comes before it.
Here are the top ten student teaching tips and tricks from a veteran cooperating teacher:
1. Learn no matter what. Observe everything going on, and learn from it. You will see exemplary lessons by your cooperating teacher, and likely, some lessons that go awry. Analyze and learn from both. You will have moments of success, and those youd rather forget. However, remember both, and learn from them. Keep in mind that sometimes we learn best from less than ideal situations.
2. Handle yourself carefully at lunch. Stay positive. Observe, observe, observe. Notice the teachers who conduct themselves in a respectful, positive manner, and emulate them. Dont get drawn into gossip. The teacher whos been there for twenty years may be able to get away with it, but you cant.
3. Learn at in-services. Volunteer for professional development opportunities if you can. Be attentive, and pick up all literature at the workshop. Use online writing services, if you need help. Consider mentioning these experiences in your teacher job interviews.
4. Curtail your extra-curriculars. If you have the luxury, do not work while student teaching. Put all clubs, sports, etc. on hold until you complete your student teaching. This is where the rubber meets the road, and you must give all of your attention to performing your best in the cooperating classroom.
5. Stay healthy. Eat well. Exercise. Sleep. Stay healthy so you can do your best for your students, right?
6. Maintain confidentiality. You will be privy to lots of personal information about student and families. It is your responsibility to keep that information to yourself. Do not talk about your students negatively or in any way that they can be identified. Dont talk about their health, their grades, family difficulties, etc. Only tell about positive, general things your students do when you are in public.
7. Go above and beyond. There is a ton of competition when it comes to getting a teaching job. You must stand out. Try to think ahead, use your creativity, and do more and better than is required. Your goal is to become an exemplary, stand-out student teacher.
8. Prepare your portfolio while you are student teaching. Take pictures of your best bulletin boards, of you teaching lessons, of kids engaged in learning. Work on your professional teaching portfolio consistently, so it is ready to use for interviews when you are finished student teaching.
9. Use every kind of technology possible. Use interactive white boards, the internet, adaptive technologies, etc. Make sure you know the rules for their use issued by the school district in which you are student teaching. The more teaching technology you are familiar with, the more hirable you may be. Consider listing the technologies in which you are proficient on your resume.
10. Collaborate. While you are student teaching, connect with other teachers in the school. Ask them questions. Meet special education teachers, reading specialists, speech therapists, the nurse, custodians, the principal, the secretary, and so on. You will almost certainly have opportunities to work together on lessons, groups, special education IEPs, and more. Do this as much as you can to practice being a team player.
Student teaching is an experience you will always remember. It is guaranteed to be intense, and if it isnt, you arent doing it right. (See tip 7 above.) Follow these top ten tips for student teaching to become the best educator you can be.