Student teaching is such an exciting time! You get to put into practice everything you have learned and absorb so much more about teaching than you ever thought possible.
It’s fun, it’s stressful, and it’s an excellent opportunity to see how schools really work.
We asked veteran teachers to share their best advice and words of wisdom for student teachers in our Facebook group, Mrs. D’s VIPs. Their comments were heartfelt, spot-on, and filled with the wisdom that only comes from years of teaching experience.
Veteran Teacher Wisdom for Student Teachers
Realize that things won’t always go perfect, and that’s okay.
We encourage our students to have a growth mindset, but it’s something that serves us well as teachers too. Whether you’ve been teaching two minutes or 20 years, something is bound to go awry in a lesson, and that’s okay. Give yourself grace and learn from what happened. Mistakes are proof you’re trying.
Don’t get sucked into the school drama and politics.
Schools’ arts programs may not get a lot of funding, but there is plenty of drama and politics that happen between staff and teachers. Don’t get sucked into the gossip.
If you have the opportunity to observe other classrooms and see how other teachers teach, do it! Teachers all have different styles of teaching, and being exposed to multiple methods is a good thing. It will show you things that you want to incorporate into your own teaching and give you a good idea of things that you want to do differently.
Take on as much as you can.
Get involved with as many aspects of the teaching experience as you possibly can. From family communication to IEP meetings, if you have the opportunity to get involved, do it!
Get some sleep.
You’re going to be exhausted because teaching is tiring! Ditch the late-night parties and opt for an extra few hours of sleep. You’ll feel more rested and serve your students better in the morning.
Learn all of the procedures.
While you may not end up getting a job in the district where you’re student teaching, take the time to learn about the procedures and paperwork that teachers need to complete daily. You should be able to enter attendance, input grades, and order lunches before your student teaching time is over.
We always encourage students to ask questions, and the same goes for you. If you have questions, no matter how silly or basic you think they might be, ask them. Your mentor teacher is there to help you and, chances are, the other teachers in the building will help guide you as well.
Learn to love all of your students.
Whether you have five or 50, learn to love all of your students. There will be some that you may not be crazy about, but those are the ones who probably need love the most.
Ask for feedback.
The only way to improve is to know when something didn’t go so great. Ask for feedback on all of your lessons – and then take the guidance!
Have an open mind.
You’re going to see and experience things that look a lot different in practice than what you thought they’d be like. Have an open mind and be willing to learn and try new things.
If you’re in a placement that’s not going well, talk with your advisor.
Your college advisor should be advocating for you and if your placement isn’t going well, let him know. This is your time to learn, so don’t be afraid to speak up for yourself.
Make time for self-care.
Drink plenty of water, exercise, and relax. Student teaching is stressful, and you’re going to be busy, but it’s important to take care of yourself!
Above all, enjoy your student teaching experience and learn a lot!
What tips do you have for college students during student teaching? Share your tips in the comments below!