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A student teacher asked me when should he begin working with their CT?  The student teacher was a bit nervous because he is being placed in the Fall for his field service, and he has yet to learn who his CT will be. I explained it’s not time to worry. If he hasn’t learned of his placement by early-mid August (school starts in September), then he should contact the responsible party for his placement.

If he does learn the details, he should contact his CT as soon as possible to set-up a meeting. During this informal meeting, discuss expectations, students, curriculum, etc. At least this will give an opportunity to begin devising lesson plans and freshening up on the curriculum topics.

It’s likely that his CT will ease him into the classroom, allowing him to take a more active role over time and develop relationships with students. Maybe in a week or two the CT will then gradually hand over teaching. HOWEVER, this varies from CT to CT.

My CT was awesome. We worked together to set an appropriate pace for my involvement and taking control of the class. Also, I was able to have almost free reign over how I could deliver my lessons, creating an environment of experimentation of instructional best practices that I learned in my education training. On the other hand, some CT are not so easy to work with by limiting the amount of initial involvement student teachers have with their students and expecting their student teacher to follow their curriculum and instructional style. Regardless of who you get as a CT, just be sure to effectively communicate (the good and bad), keep a positive attitude, and take away as much from the experience as you, even if it’s not ideal.

I just spoke with a friend that is student teaching.  The word “stress” popped up in our conversations several times.  He is doing what every student teacher does, putting 110% into the experience.  He is starting to feel fatigued and, overall, stressed from everything: lesson planning, school involvement, family communication, grading, paperwork, etc.

I shared with him one of my favorite quotes from Road to Teaching that reads:

The difference between involvement and commitment is like ham and eggs.  The chicken is involved; the pig is committed.” – Martina Navratilova

While it’s important to be involved, my advice to my student teacher friend was not to be the pig.  Don’t over commit to activities outside of class and, in the end, you won’t get burned-out / slaughtered from the pressure.  For example, instead of committing to coach the basketball team, volunteer to be fill-in when needed or maybe even be the assistant coach.  Rather than taking lead on planning a big school-wide event, take a smaller role or just simply volunteer for a few hours.

Also, it’s okay to say “no.”  Your cooperating teacher, other teachers, and administrators understand that you are under a lot of pressure and you have some type of personal life outside of the school.

RESOURCE LINK

Road to Teaching: A Guide to Teacher Training, Student Teaching, and Finding a Job

10. Arrive early enough to school so that you are ready to go when the day begins. Don’t race the kids out of the building, stay late enough to organize your work area for the next day.

9. Make an effort to get to know the people who make the building run, the secretaries, custodial staff, lunch servers. Greet them and smile. This will not go unnoticed.

8. Get involved in school activities! Offer to chaperone events, help a coach or drama teacher. See your students in another light. This helps you and them to get more comfortable.

7. Be patent with your cooperating teacher, but don’t be afraid to make suggestions. You’re there to teach the students, but your cooperating teacher can learn from you as well. I’ve learned a lot from my student teachers 🙂

6. Contact parents for both good news and bad news. A great way to get parents on your side is to share “good things” about their child’s success in your class.

5. Be firm, but show your human side. Find out what your students enjoy and try to incorporate that into your lessons.

4. Don’t be afraid to make a mistake, Own up to it, the kids will respect you.

3. Don’t be too nice. Students “know” when they need correction or adjustments in seating arrangements etc. You’re in charge of the class- so arrange and rearrange them until you have the best learning arrangement for all. They may grumble about it but again, when they succeed, they’ll respect you.

2. When a student starts to “get to you,” try to picture him or her as a “cute adorable baby.” All of them are someone’s “baby” Try to imagine them this way and it will be easier to not to lose your cool. when you have to discipline, make it about the behavior, not the student. When the behavior improves, make sure to comment on the improvement.

1. Teaching is a rewarding and important career. Student teaching is the “home stretch” of many hours of study and hard work. Be confident! Apply and hone your skills! Enjoy your students, be sincere and you will be successful!

-Meg Graham, WI National Board Certified Teacher – World Languages
Author- Ahora Hablo Educator Edition “Simple Steps to Communicate with Spanish-speaking Students” http://www.ahorahablo.com

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.

A preservice teachers asked me today when should he begin working with their CT? The preservice teacher was a bit nervous because he is being placed in the Fall for his field service, and he has yet to learn who his CT will be. I explained it’s not time to worry. If he hasn’t learned of his placement by early August (school starts in September), then he should contact the responsible party for his placement. If he does learn the details, he should contact his CT as soon as possible to set-up a meeting. During this informal meeting, discuss expectations, students, curriculum, etc. At least this will give an opportunity to begin devising lesson plans and freshening up on the curriculum topics. It’s likely that his CT will ease him into the classroom, allowing him to take a more active role over time and develop relationships with students. Maybe in a week or two the CT will then gradually hand over teaching. HOWEVER, this varies from CT to CT. My CT was awesome. We worked together to set an appropriate pace for my involvement and taking control of the class. Also, I was able to have almost free reign over how I could deliver my lessons, creating an environment of experimentation of instructional best practices that I learned in my education training. On the other hand, some CT are not so easy to work with by limiting the amount of initial involvement student teachers have with their students and expecting their student teacher to follow their curriculum and instructional style. Regardless of who you get as a CT, just be sure to effectively communicate (the good and bad), keep a positive attitude, and take away as much from the experience as you, even if it’s not ideal.

To be honest, this is my first blog. Previously I maintained a static website for student teachers, but I was unsatisfied with how little it connected and interacted with aspiring teachers. It is my hope with this format teachers will better support each other, ask questions, seek advice, reflect on successes and failures, give encouragement, share funny stories, and, overall, create an unique community to help student teachers transition into effective teachers in their own classrooms.

Before launching this website I had some distinct changes that I wanted to implement.  First, I wanted to create a place where preservice teachers could go to seek advice.  I remember from my own experience how difficult it can be to get advice.  In particular I remember one of my friends was having trouble with his cooperating teacher (CT).  My friend tried to resolve the issues with his CT, but it didn’t work.  He was afraid to approach his university supervisor because he felt that would reflect in his student teacher evaluation.  His issues went unresolved and he received a poor recommendation from his CT.  This is a situation that could have been addressed here. 

Within the next few weeks I will be bringing on a panel of contributors with varied perspectives:

  • Master teachers
  • Beginning teachers
  • Administrators
  • University education professors

These individuals will be able to address the concerns or questions (big and small) student and beginning teachers may have.  For example, a teacher may ask an adminstrator what types of questions could one expect in an interview. Or, a teacher may ask what is a great vocabulary strategy for 5th graders. 

Another change I wanted to make was having the content driven, not by me, but by preservice, student, and beginning teachers.  This website is about supporting you, and it should be centered around meeting your needs, your questions, and your concerns.  To make this happen, I created a Join Us page.  This outlines how to be an author on the website, so you can freely blog.

Also, feel free to email me at eric@road2teaching.com.  I love to hear suggestions, education resource recommendations (e.g. books, links), and constructive feedback on how to improve this website.

Thank you for visiting.

Eric