Whether you are a young teacher starting out or a veteran teacher, you will always remember your student teaching experience. It was the foundation that helped you become the teacher you are today. Both the good and the bad experiences influenced the decisions you made and continue to make in YOUR classroom.
Student Teaching: An Unforgettable Experience
Thank you to all the teachers out there that have taken on the role of hosting and mentoring a student teacher! Paying it forward is one of our many roles as educators. To provide student teachers with an experience that will forever remain with them and influence their decisions as educators is a HUGE undertaking. The mentor teacher works harder than usual when preparing a student teacher to take over. Not only must they continue with all their regular responsibilities but also must help the student teacher understand the foundations of teaching. The mentor teacher must explain how to teach a concept and must be thinking ahead of potential problems so that the student teacher can have a successful experience. An effective host and mentor teacher never just “sits back and does nothing” for the time the student teacher is teaching. The mentor teacher is taking notes, physically or mentally, and is learning from the student teacher. The mentor teacher’s role is to help the student teacher be successful!
If you are a student teacher or preparing to enter student teaching, this is an important time in your life! You get to teach with the support of an experienced teacher. You also have the opportunity to learn from some of the best teachers in the profession. This is an overwhelming experience and you need to take the support given to you and not be afraid to ask for help. Take comfort in knowing that you are NOT alone! Many have come before you and many are willing to help you succeed! Other educators want you to be successful!
As a student teacher you may feel like a guest in the classroom. Of course, you are a guest but you don’t have to be feeling like a guest. It is your role and the role of your mentor teacher to assist you in feeling a part of the classroom. Building relationships with your mentor teacher, your students, their families, and your co-workers are crucial! It is important that you get to know everyone that you are going to be working with. Remember, everyone wants you to succeed!
Take every opportunity to listen and learn from other teachers. Observe teachers interacting with students even if it is not in the classroom setting. You can learn a lot when you are on recess duty in how to assist students and help them problem solve.
You need to remember that not everything will go as planned. Be flexible and willing to adapt as needed. Even master teachers have lessons that do not go as planned. It is the nature of the profession.
Please take care of yourself. Step back and reflect on how a lesson, a day, or an experience went for you. Give yourself permission to accept things you cannot change and change the things you can!
Teaching is a profession that is full of ups and downs, opportunities, and rewards!
There is some great advice from teachers in the article: 20 Important Lessons from Student Teaching.
About the Author
Diana Remick is a 2nd grade teacher at La Junta Primary School and has been teaching for 18+ years. Her greatest accomplishments are raising three wonderful children, obtaining her Master’s Degree while teaching, and overcoming brain surgery. She could not have done it without the help of her amazing family, wonderful husband, colleagues, and three incredible student teachers!