The 5 BEST Tips for Student Teachers

Shew, student teaching… The HARDEST year of my life! I am a first year teacher, so I just went through student teaching last year, during the midst of the Pandemic. At my college, we had a year-long student teaching! The fall semester we had a certain amount of hours that we had to be in the classroom and in the spring it was full-time.

I still have nightmares making me think I am still student teaching because of the stress that surrounds it. Learning how to teach, observations, classes, and EdTPA, I truly don’t know how I made it. Fortunately, I made it out alive, and you will too!

Over that year, I found so many things to be beneficial that made me get through it and become fully prepared stepping into my own classroom on my own! I know at this point you are probably thinking you won’t make it to graduation, but I promise you it gets better! Just keep telling yourself you are one day closer to your dream!

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  1. ASK QUESTIONS! Once you get close to your mentor teacher and feel comfortable around her/him, ask ALL the questions. I was lucky enough to have a mentor teacher that soon turned into my best friend and I could literally ask her ANYTHING. When any question comes to mind, whether you think it is silly or not, ask it! These questions will make you feel more confident and a better teacher! I would ask questions about everything. I would ask about how to handle situations, grades, assignments, etc. It made it so easy to handle these situations when I was teaching on my own because I already knew how to go about it!
  2. Stay Organized. Go ahead and put a planner into your Amazon cart to get to you ASAP. I don’t know how people in my class got all of their assignments turned in on time without one. During student teaching, you are literally taking a full load of classes and teaching! I always liked at the beginning of the semester to go through my syllabus and write down all assignments and their due dates so that I never missed any! Aside from classes, stay organized with your student teaching materials! Get plenty of binders and folders to keep grading records, rosters, users/passwords from your mentor, observation sheets, and student work! This will make your life SO much easier if you get in a habit earlier of having a specific place for everything.
  3. Make a Schedule. If your school was like mine, I had a certain amount of hours in the fall semester that I had to be in the classroom! Once I realized this, I made myself a schedule mapping out my week! I would first write down all of my classes, work (I had a part-time job), when I planned to go to the school, and when I planned to do homework. Having a schedule will show you when you can relax and look forward to other things that aren’t school related! I even would put under my homework times what classes I would be doing homework for once I figured out the load of what each teacher would assign! I will probably make a blog post on how I stayed on top of homework on its own because I was VERY organized. Don’t forget to add time in your schedule for self-care and family time!
  4. Be present. THIS IS SO IMPORTANT. You may be at the school getting your hours, but are you really present in the moment? Don’t sit in the back doing homework, texting your boyfriend, or just ‘hanging out’. Help your mentor, students, and start building those relationships! It will make a world of difference once you start teaching. Also, if you aren’t present, are you really learning anything? I learned the most when I would just sit back and watch how my mentor handled every single second of a lesson.
  5. Teach as MUCH as you can!! Even if you aren’t required to teach or only have to teach a few lessons, TEACH MORE. I know how nerve-racking it can be, but it is well worth it! My mentor had me teaching in the fall semester and full-time when I wasn’t required to be, and it truly made me SUCH a better teacher and more prepared. Even if it is just a lesson here and there, you will begin to feel so confident in yourself! I would take it slow at first. Maybe morning meeting at first, then add math, and then language arts, and eventually you will be teaching the entire day! Get outside your comfort zone!

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With all of these tips to survive student teaching, the most important one is to HAVE FUN. There is nothing like student teaching and I promise you that you will miss it EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. I cried like a baby my last day of student teaching and still think about all of my fifth graders I got to teach. Your kids during student teaching will leave such a special impact on you, so make sure you do the same for them!

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