|Me and Erica before showing kids how it's done at laser tag|
Not only is Sweet Student Teacher one of my all-time favs, she is today's guest blogger! Erica was full of energy and enthusiasm and passion and has some wicked dance moves to boot! I miss her already, especially when a kid says something wacko and I just want to look up and get a look of similar confusion from another adult. She is a serious model of how to be a kick butt student teacher, so I especially wanted her to share her insights, not just for other student teachers, but also those of us who are preparing to host a student intern. I wish her alllll the best!
It has been four weeks since my student teaching experience at Mason ended. I still think about the wonderful teachers and students that made my semester so special. When Amy asked me to write for her blog, I figured an advice piece for future student teachers would be a good way to reflect on all that I have learned from this experience. So for all of you college students preparing to start your professional internship, I hope this helps!
1) Enter the school with an open mind. By the time you begin your student teaching, you have most likely spent several semesters in classrooms getting field experience. Every school is different and it is important to enter each new school with no expectations.
2) Never be afraid to ask questions and be completely honest with your cooperating teacher. If you are ever confused about anything, don’t pretend that you understand. When I entered Mason, I had no idea that “review sheets” and “unit reviews” were different things. Instead of calling everything a review sheet, (which I would’ve done), I asked questions. The more questions you ask, the more confident you will be when giving instructions and assignments to the students.
3) Always maintain a level of professionalism. Keep in mind that you are making an impression on everyone around you. Student teaching is exhausting at times but you never want to let your appearance show it. Always show up to school looking nice and classy. Professionalism is also displayed in your behavior. About three weeks into the semester my cooperating teacher thanked me for never having my phone out. I was shocked to think that any student teacher would spend the day texting but it does happen. Do yourself a favor by keeping your phone away in your bag.
4) Welcome any feedback you can get. Your cooperating teachers will give you constructive criticism but it’s because they care. Be open to any and all suggestions and don’t get offended by it. Sometimes it’s hard to hear that you need to work harder on something, but it will make you a much better teacher in the end.
5) Last but not least, observe and take away. The best thing you can do is watch your cooperating teacher and take notes. I sometimes wrote down word for word how my teachers handled a situation or presented an assignment. The best thing you can do is take away ideas and strategies from veteran teachers. By the end of your semester, chances are you’ll want to be just like them.