Tens of thousands of student teachers will begin their student teaching in the next few weeks.  That first day of student teaching can be nerve-wrecking. You’re wondering how will you do, what will the students think, how will your cooperating teacher treat you, and so on. The best advice I have is be yourself and become active in the classroom as soon as possible.

My first day of student teaching was 7th grade social studies. My cooperating teacher wasted no time in getting me involved. We played a class learning game. I helped call on the students and provide them the answers. It was a great way for me to interact with the students in a fun manner. Immediately I began to learn their names and build rapport. Also, the students saw me smile and laugh, which I believe helped alleviate some of their concerns about their “new teacher.”

Students sense fear, so avoid being the student teacher that spends the first few weeks of your clinical studies (field work) sitting in the back of the room observing. Instead, get involved. Greet students and teachers in the hallway with a smile and handshake. Further build rapport by saying students’ names as they enter in the class. Collaborate with your cooperating teacher to help teach. Pass back papers, giving praise, encouragement, or constructive feedback. Assist students that are struggling. Help grade student work. Basically, be active from day one of student teaching because this will help when you assume full responsibility of the classrooms. You will have become more comfortable with your role in the classroom, and maintain better classroom management because of the strong rapport you have built.

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