A student teacher is a post-secondary student (college, university, or graduate) who is responsible for teaching a class, but is supervised by a licensed teacher. Student teachers are usually required to teach as part of their curriculum towards a degree in education. This type of position can also be referred to as "Pre-Services teacher".
Being a student teacher can be difficult, since you have very little authority and you may not get much help from your supervising teacher. However, it is important that you always act professional and stay in control of your class.
Treat any student teacher opportunity like a job interview – because essentially that's what it is. If you can manage your class and act like a teacher it proves that you're almost ready to teach on your own!
Here are 10 tips on being a successful student teacher:
1. Be Punctual
Look at being a student teacher as sort of a dress rehearsal for a real job. Your students are expected to be at school on-time, and so are you!
2. Dress Professionally
Although you may only be a few years older than your students, you need to distance yourself from them by dressing like a teacher. The younger you look, the more mature you should dress.
3. Remain Flexible
Your supervising teacher may need you to fill in for additional classes from time to time, when their schedule gets too hectic. Take advantage of these opportunities, as it will mean a more favorable assessment at the end of the term.
4. Follow the Rules
You're almost a teacher, so act like one! Adhere by school policy, and set a good example for your class.
5. Stick to the Plan
As a student teacher you're expected to have all materials prepared for upcoming classes, so make sure that you organize everything ahead of time.
6. Cultivate Good Relationships
The people you work with now could end up being your future coworkers, so it's important that you stay on good terms with everyone, from administrators to office staff.
7. Keep It Confidential
It is unwise to discuss any of your current or past students with others, as this could be a violation of your school's confidentiality policy. If you do need to discuss a situation, make sure you don't use the student's real name.
8. Avoid Gossip
People like to talk about the people they work with, good or bad. But you're not yet a teacher, so don't gossip! Doing so could damage your reputation at the school and prevent you from getting a job.
9. Act Professionally
Always treat other teachers and staff with the utmost respect; after all they are your peers as well as your superiors.
10. Give Notice
If for some reason you have to miss a class, ensure that you give your supervising teacher as much notice ahead of time as possible so they can prepare to teach your class. Waiting until the last minute is unprofessional and puts your supervisor in a difficult situation.
The 10 tips above will ensure that you're always on your best behavior. Hopefully by the end of the term, you'll have settled into a nice rhythm with your class, as they will be used to you and your teaching style. One more thing – try to have some fun with it!
The National Education Association (NEA) Student Program is an invaluable resource for those entering the teaching profession. The NEA’s annual Tomorrow’s Teachers publication highlights everything from classroom tips and recommended strategies for parent and community outreach, to details about grants and programs!
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