Student Teaching Survival Tips


Above and beyond 
Submitted by: Mrs. Ivy, Grade Level(s): 7-12

Go above and beyond during your student teaching! Jobs are very competitive, so do everything to stand out. Attend every meeting required or not, and volunteer to do anything and especially volunteer to help with different clubs. I did this at my host school and landed a job for the following year beating out many subs that had been in the district for awhile! It may seem hard, but it will pay off!

Advice for Student Teachers 
Submitted by: mma215

As a current student teacher with an amazing cooperating teacher, I thought I’d share some tips on how to have a positive student teaching experience!

  1. Let your cooperating teacher know YOUR expectations upfront. Most student teachers feel that they don’t have a say in what goes on, but you do.
  2. Remind him/her (nicely) that you are there to learn a variety of teaching methods and that you are trying to develop your own teaching style not necessarily just take on his/hers.
  3. Jump in right away! Even if you aren’t supposed to begin teaching for a while get up and join in. You will gain respect from the teacher and the students. Offer right away to do small tasks such as grading papers or organizing morning work.
  4. Treat the students as if you are the actual teacher. Many student teachers try to become friends with them first and when it comes time to teach they have no control.
  5. Go with your cooperating teacher everywhere! Sit in on parent/teacher conferences and see if it’s okay to observe a child study team in action. This is all part of teaching and you should have experience with this also!
  6. Stay in contact with your professor or advisor on a regular basis. If you only see him/her on days they are there to observe, you will be more nervous.
  7. Always try your best! I know it’s scary to have people constantly observing you but if you are doing your best whether or not they are there it won’t be as scary!
  8. Don’t be afraid to integrate some of your own teaching techniques or classroom management skills. Your cooperating teacher might just learn a new technique from you!
  9. Try to get student input about your lessons. If you aren’t sure how your lesson went, ask one or two students what they thought. Sometimes they have wonderful suggestions!
  10. Always plan too much. Since we don’t have much experience organzing lessons according to class time, it’s better to have too much planned then to have the students sitting there with nothing to do.

An Idea For Communicating 
Submitted by: Cheryl, Grade Level(s): K, 1-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12
My education program had us in the classroom for three years to various degrees. This was great. One tip that I can give for an effective way to communicate when time is short is to have a notebook/journal that can be used by both the student teacher and master teacher. During observations/breaks I found I had many questions, but no time to talk to my cooperating teacher. Instead of having all the questions at once, we used a notebook to jot down questions/concerns. This allowed us each to read and respond when time allowed. During my full time student teaching, we also had a weekly meeting scheduled so that nothing was left undiscussed or with any confusion. The notebook served as a great reminder of questions/struggles and triumphs that happened throughout the week. Keep your chin up and ask any and all questions you have!

Be Yourself – Don’t Make The Same Mistake I Did! 
Submitted by: Angela, Grade Level(s): K, 1-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12

My advice to you is to try your best to incorporate your newly learned skills about well balanced learning centers groups, etc. I stuck to the curriculumn book, fell into the round reading trap, and when the principal came to observe me she said she was disappointed that I had not formed learning centers and group activities. I had so many new ideas. I could have shown her what a great teacher I could really be! I think she got the impression I was just like her older generation of teachers, and that was not what she was looking for. So please be fresh and innovative student teachers this is what principals are looking for. I missed out on a job opportunity at that school that another student teacher has scooped up. Learn from my mistake don’t be a follower… Be a LEADER!

First Meeting With Your Master Teacher 
Submitted by: PILAR, K-8

As a student teacher, I found that my Master Teacher had very little info about me. I called her ahead of time at my supervisor’s request. I made arrangements to meet my Master Teacher and new class a few weeks before my assignment was to begin. This relieved me of a lot of the first day stresses such as where’s the lunchroom, etc. ** In addition, I looked up the school’s website familiarized myself with who the principal was, the mission statement of the school and their SAT 9 scores. This gave me a good understanding of the challenges that I would probably face in the coming weeks. ** I also prepared a “bio” of myself for my Master Teacher and gave this to her at our first meeting. It included my name, e-mail, phone number, block leader and supervisor’s name, and other personal information. In addition, I was going to need to leave the classroom on certain days for seminars and indicated the dates and reasons on the “bio” paper. My new Master Teacher was very grateful and I was pleased that we were able to do this prior to my first day.

Submitted by: Lena, 1st

The only tip that I have to give on student teaching is to be very flexible with you cooperating teacher because if you let their differences get to you than you will have an awful experience. I did not learn that until later and I had an awful time!

Help is on the way! 
Submitted by: Kim, 3-6

I stay confident! I plan my lessons ahead of time. Be friendly and be happy! Know what your doing and have a sence of humor! It works! Also, help the teacher after school to see what it is like!

Ideas for helping student teachers 
Submitted by: Karen, Third

My cooperating teacher went out of her way to help me. She not only went through her files, but through the files of nearly every teacher in the building and pulled useful papers, unit plans and anything I might possibly need to begin teaching. I have tried to do something of the same for my student teachers. I have gotten a journal (usually from the school bookfair) and left it in the lounge with a note asking all the other teachers in the building to share their favorite teacher tips. She got ideas of all sorts-even recommendations on how much water to drink! For the student teacher I have this year, I have taken several pictures of her and our students working. When she moves to a different grade level, I will have the students help me make a scrapbook to give her so that she will always remember the kids she has come to love. (BTW I told her I was taking the pictures for surprise pages to give to the kids at the end of the year. I will do that too.)

Make the most of the opportunity… 
Submitted by: Cath (Pre-Service teacher in Australia)

I would just recommend getting as many resources as possible and asking heaps of questions. I also try as many things as possible because you always know that you have your mentor there in case anything goes wrong!
Grade Level(s): 5-6

student teaching 
Submitted by: jennifer, MIDDLE SCHOOL

As a current student teacher I have come to realize that the best experience in teaching is to actually teach. here are some tips for student teachers:

  1. Get to know the staff around you. this will help to make you feel more comfortable.
  2. Don’t be afraid of making a mistake or asking any questions
  3. Attend all staff meetings and parent meetings if possible
  4. Always be professional you never know when a position could open up or who is watching you.
  5. Enjoy this experience–you will learn so much!
  6. Always be willing to stay after school or come in early to help the students academically.

Student Teaching
Submitted by: Alice, Grade Level(s): K, 1-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12

As a peer teacher for several years, I have one major suggestion: communicate! Being new to our profession, you should have a million questions–each day new ones and some you want to ask several times. Do not be afraid to ask. Ask how the school prefers handling situations. If in doubt about something happening under your supervision, tell a seasoned teacher (in our county, your peer teacher)a.s.a.p. Do not be afraid to teach in your style or adapt suggestions to meet your style. Remember that you are in a classroom to help the students and that other teachers and administrators are there to help you. Nothing is accomplished without communication. I suggest my beginning teachers set up a resource binder with tabs where they can begin organizing tips, websites, shared worksheets, procedural information, etc. Always remember that sometimes it seems as though teachers are scrutinized for every action, every minute, by everyone.

Submitted by: Leslie, 2nd and 4th grades

When I was student teaching, I had to work, as people many do. In the beginning of our education progam, the advisors advised us not to work during our last year. We all thought… whatever, we have to work. Well, when that last year came around, it was very hard to work and teach. I was a nanny, so I was fine during the day, but as soon as I was done teaching, I had to leave to pick up the kids. I hated leaving immediately and not being able to stay and plan. If you do have to work, try and make your schedule fit to where you can stay at least 30 minutes after! That will help out tremendously and take a lot of the pressure and stress off of “I don’t know what I am doing!!”

One Response to Student Teaching Survival Tips

  1. Beth September 12, 2011 at 3:45 pm #

    BE PREPARED! I am a supervising teacher, and my student teacher was RARELY prepared. You have to have a unit plan and lesson plan done ahead of time and never just “wing it”. Also, you can hear it a million times, but teaching comes before coaching (no matter the subject or sport.) If you don’t have your lessons completed, grades put into a gradebook, copies made, meetings, you are to do those BEFORE you enter into your coaching duties during the day.

    Even though it is helpful, even if your cooperating teacher gives you plans, you should go out on your own and create your own plans.

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