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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

Tonight is when we welcome the community to see our school and visit with teachers.  Every year I have mixed feelings.  While I enjoy meeting parents, it makes for a really long day (15 hours to be exact).  I figure this goes with the territory, so there is really no point to complaining.  You just have to make the best of it.

For new teachers and student teachers this will be a new experience.  I remember my first year, and I was definitely nervous.  To reduce the stress surrounding a school open house, here are some tips:

  • Prepare a brief outline of what you are going to say.  Talk about your curriculum, instruction, technology, goals, expectations, and your desire to develop 2-way communication with students’ families
  • Copy off some course documents, e.g. syllabus, course description, etc., for handouts
  • Provide a sign-in sheet, asking student families for their phone numbers and email addresses.  This will come in handy later
  • Be yourself.  Don’t be stiff.  Relax and engage the families in conversation.
  • Drink (water) throughout the event.  You don’t want to get dry mouth while speaking to parents.  It happened to me once, and, wow, I accidently spat on several parents that night.

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