Expectations of Student Teachers

Discussion in 'Student & Preservice Teachers' started by P.Wieczorek1, Jun 10, 2008.

  1. P.Wieczorek1

    P.Wieczorek1 New Member

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    Jun 10, 2008

    Greetings All,

    I'm starting student teaching in the fall semester and was curious what our supervisors and the candidate teachers expect from us. What are the do's and don'ts? Is there anything I should know before stepping into the classroom? Should I be prepared to be thrown into the fire and teach the whole class?
     
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  3. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

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    Jun 10, 2008

    My university had a calendar that guided our "taking over" of the classroom. Both of my coop teachers followed this pretty closely, maybe moving me just a little quicker than suggested. But, some of the student teachers in my cohort were thrown into the fire on day 1, and some never got to take over the reins ... a lot will depend on how you mesh with your coop.

    Some basic rules: be more than on time, be early. Be interested and open to what the coop does or suggests. Be interested in student learning (duh, right? :) ). Dress at the level (or just a bit above) of the dress code. Be willing to go to meetings outside of your teaching day (e.g. parent/teacher conferences). Be prepared (teachers are experts at detecting work that is thrown together at the last minute). Be professional (no talking about others behind backs ... teacher ties run DEEP). Be positive (some teachers seem to hate their jobs ... I don't get it ... but getting sucked down with their negativism [is that a word?] will hurt you). Remember that you are networking (particularly when it comes time to start looking for jobs, know that teachers, principals, and supers talk!)

    I'm sure there's more ... other AtoZ-ers, what am I leaving out?
     
  4. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    Jun 10, 2008

    One of the biggest things to remember is to have an open mind and be willing to take constructive criticism. I hosted a student teacher once who let me know before she ever started in my class that she hated my grade level and had no desire to ever teach it. Needless to say, it wasn't the best experience.
    Soak up as much as you can, keep copies of everything, and be sure to communicate daily with your CT about their expectations and yours. Enjoy it!
     
  5. P.Wieczorek1

    P.Wieczorek1 New Member

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    Jun 10, 2008

    These are great informative responses :) thank you so much. A few more questions, what exactly does the CT look for in the student teacher, anything specific? Also, I am going into elementary education and my professors have express their disinterest in the use of worksheets, which I agree, but do other teachers hold the same opinion of them? Are worksheets something I should stay away from?
     
  6. P.Wieczorek1

    P.Wieczorek1 New Member

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    Jun 10, 2008

    The Fall semester is still very far away, is there anything I should be doing to prepare myself? I am working in a summer camp for the summer and I will use this opportunity to practice skills that may be useful come fall, for instance, reading out loud and individually to my campers. I have also been browsing around these boards and other sites and saved many lesson plans that may be useful on to my computer in case I do get thrown into the fire. Does anyone have any other suggestions that I can look into?
     
  7. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

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    Jun 10, 2008

    I'll let the elementary people field this one, but I suspect some teachers are more hands-on and exploratory focused, while others are more worksheet focused. Hopefully, you get a good match with your philosophy. If not, and you end up with a worksheet teacher, don't challenge his/her methods out right, but frame things like, "tomorrow, when I am teaching x-topic, I'd like to try _____ and see how it works." KEEP IN MIND that most students groove on routine and when they sense something "new" or "different" it throws them off which can look like misbehavior. This can be decreased by setting expectations, a road map, and goals for how the lesson will go.

    As far as what CT look for in STs, I say enthusiasm, interest, and openness.
     
  8. Tasha

    Tasha Phenom

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    Jun 10, 2008

    Be prepared to take over at any time, hopefully you will get to gradually take over, but you never know. Don't judge the teacher - you should be observing and taking it all in. If the teacher does something you don't agree with it may be due to something you don't know or it could be a bad day. Don't talk about them negatively to anyone outside of your supervisor and only in private. It comes off very badly for a ST to talk about the teacher/school/district. I wouldn't worry about doing much right now, you will be plenty busy when it starts! The CT is looking to see that you can plan effective lessons and know when you need to stop and adjust a lesson while you are teaching it. They also want to see that you are handling behavior without taking away from teaching time. If you have time I would see if there is information on the school/district website about discipline policies and any hints about specific programs that they use for instruction or discipline.
     
  9. emmakate218

    emmakate218 Connoisseur

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    Jun 10, 2008

    Be positive, enthusiastic, flexible, and friendly to everyone in the school! Say hello to everyone! If you see students running in the hallway and they don't belong to you, make sure you tell that they need to be walking. If you are apprehensive at first, tell your ct that you are and I'm sure she/he will be understanding, but you still need to be taking steps towards taking over bigger responsibilities. Always jump in right away with walking your class to and from things in school, setting the classroom up or cleaning it in the afternoon, etc. That type of stuff needs to be your responsibility within the first couple days.
     
  10. hescollin

    hescollin Fanatic

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    Jun 10, 2008

    Remember it is your teachers classroom not yours. Smile, never say anything negative about anyone. Wear comfortable shoes. Get a bag and get a few things. Extra pencils, highlighter, a good gel grading pen, a good pair of scissors, paper clips, notepad, hand cleaner, personal supplies, comb, deodorant, lots of stickers to add to students papers, small package of tissue.

    Make copies of everything. Organize as you go. Put spelling in yellow folders, reading in red folders, Green science, Blue math and etc. Make sub folders.
     
  11. mdith4him

    mdith4him Companion

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    Jun 11, 2008

    For the summer, my advice is as follows:

    RELAX!!

    You will have a ton to do once the school year starts so don't burn yourself out before it even begins :)

    How long is your ST program? Mine was a whole year, but I know most people only get one semester.

    Once the semester/year begins, try to get as much experience as possible, even if it means staying after school later or taking home extra work that you're not technically "required" to do. It's kind of a pain, but when you interview and you can say you've participated in several Parent/Teacher conferences or went on home visits, it really gives you a boost. Volunteer to write newsletters (if the teacher has a weekly one he/she sends out), tutor, decorate a bulletin board or the wall outside the classroom (and take pictures of it to put in your portfolio!), ask if you can make up your own tests/quizzes for units you teach instead of using the ones provided by the curricula (if you're allowed to), make your lessons incorporate more than one subject (e.g. art and social studies or science and writing).

    Definitely be organized and MAKE COPIES OF EVERYTHING!!! I did some copying when I was STing my first semester in a kindergarten classroom and now I regret not copying more because that's what I'll be teaching in the fall! You never know where you'll end up, so it's best to just copy anything you can.

    Arrive early, stay late.

    Find comfortable shoes and break them in this summer. If you're a girl, don't wear high heels, or even boots with a low, chunky heel. I made that mistake at the beginning of the year and it KILLED my feet that day! Sneakers are the way to go.

    Be open and honest with your CT. If you want to try something in a lesson, ask about it. If you'd like to take on more responsibility, ask your CT if he/she'd be okay with that. Most CTs I think are pretty open and want to see new stuff. I think they get a little extra bonus on their paychecks (CTs correct me if I'm wrong!), but it's not enough to really make that their only motivation for wanting to host a ST. What I heard from a lot of the CTs at the elementary school I student taught at was that they loved having younger people in their classroom who had new ideas from the college courses they'd taken/were taking.

    If you already know who your CT is going to be, try contacting them over the summer and ask them some of the questions you've posted here. If you want to be really bold, volunteer to come in to the school early and help them set up their classroom. We got to do that in my program, and it was a huge bonus in my interviews because it's not a part of most ST programs.

    Have fun next year!!
     
  12. Joyride

    Joyride Comrade

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    Jun 15, 2008

    What grade will you be in? Those questions about worksheets and things of that nature are things you should directly ask your cooperating teacher. All teachers have different styles, so you can't just make assumptions. As other people said, if I were you, I would be ready to "jump in" from the start. That ended up happening to me. The more responsibilities you take on, the more realistic it will be. I'd say that if your CT follows a particular series, you should ask for a list of units that she would normally cover during this time of year. That way, if she's willing to let you work in your own topics, you can do that too, but at least you're not left to work on the other plans the week before. (I worked on the weekends while student teaching, along with a long commute to school, which made time management really important).
     
  13. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    Jun 15, 2008

    mdith4him---
    When I have had student teachers in my room, I received a whopping $50 at the end of the 8 weeks. I've also had several interns (shorter stints in the classroom prior to student teaching) and there is no pay for that.
    I enjoy having ST's and interns because I can often learn new strategies from them (and I haven't been out of school all that long myself!) I also like to share my enthusiasm for the profession with those just beginning.
    If you really want to get a jumpstart on lesson ideas, and you know what grades you will be teaching, look up your state standards and begin searching the internet for ideas. You can print off what you like and compile it into a notebook (labeled with the standard number.) It's kind of difficult to narrow it down much past this as you won't really know exactly what lessons you'll teach until you meet with your CT, but at least you'll have ideas to go by, which will help.
     
  14. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Jun 15, 2008

    I think the suggestions here are excellent. I'll reiterate that you should...

    Do your best to look and act like a professional. Wear flattering clothes that fit your body and are appropriate for school. When you are dressed, bend over and touch your toes, then reach your arms up into the air, then squat down as far as you can. If your belly or back or rear end (including unnapants) show at any time during any of those activities, your clothes aren't appropriate and you need to change. Take your cues on formality from the other teachers...if they wear suits, you should, too.

    Arrive a few minutes early and plan to stay late. A good rule of thumb is to keep the same hours as your CT.

    Plan to attend every meeting and conference, even if they're after hours. You'll learn a lot about how to handle yourself in a parent conference just by watching a veteran teacher do it. Also, you'll be lucky if you can sit in on some of the "job" sorts of meetings where they talk about union stuff, paperwork, etc.

    Have lesson plans ready at least one week in advance. Show them to your CT from time to time, even unsolicited, to let him/her know that you're on the ball. Keep them in a binder or on a jump drive (preferably both ways) throughout your assignment.

    Ask for honest feedback and accept it graciously. Most CTs aren't out to get student teachers, so when they have advice for you, consider taking it.

    Write at least one "happy note" to a kid and his or her parents once per week, congratulating him or her on some wonderful accomplishment. This is a good practice for you to establish now.

    Keep a spiral notebook with you at all times to make notes on anything interesting. If you see a great idea, write it down. If you see something you want to remember NOT to do later, write that down, too. Write down any questions you have, as well. This will come in handy later when you need to write a reflection on your experience.

    Good luck!
     
  15. applecore

    applecore Devotee

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    Jun 18, 2008

    My OCD just fell in :wub:with your suggestions. I could just totally see myself doing these things this fall when I do my student teaching..:lol:

    Thanks for these ideas and for the person who asked the question. Nice!
     
  16. Calalilys

    Calalilys Comrade

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    Jul 4, 2008

    For me, I like when my student teachers are willing to get up and interact with the students without me prompting them. You are in the room to learn and if you just sit at your desk the entire time, you're not going to learn anything.

    Follow through on everything. If you're supposed to have your lesson plans done every Tuesday, than have them done by Tuesday or earlier.

    Ask questions. If something doesn't make sense that your cooperating teacher is doing, than ask him/her. If you need help with something, such as differentiating instruction, ask them. That's what we're hear for and we want to make you the best teacher possible.

    Always be prepared. When you have your own classroom you can't always leave to go make that extra copy. It's best to overplan rather than not have enough for the students to do. When there is filler time, that's when problems tend to happen.

    As far as specific things you can prepare for ... read up on the school's policies and contact your cooperating teacher to see if you can get a copy of the handouts she gives parents at the start of the year. This will help you have a sense of how the school/classroomi s run.

    Volunteer to help your cooperating teacher set up their room before school starts. Get to know him/her and start building a relationship. The more comfortable you are with your cooperating teacher, the better your experience will be.

    Good luck!!
     
  17. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    Jul 5, 2008

    My tips (I did my student teaching last fall for 14 weeks)...

    (1) Get use to waking up EARLY and going to bed LATE. If you can get your body adjusted to that about a week or two before starting, you'll do alot better. I really got on trap with taking my vitamins too--- a real wonderful vitamin to take to perk you up (naturally) is Vitamin B complex. But get use to waking up early and making sure you have enough time in the evening to plan, grade papers, make activity sheets (if necessary), email your teacher if you have any questions, shower, plan clothes out for the next day, pack a lunch, etc.

    (2) Pack your own lunches, you'll save money and eat healthier that way.

    (3) Be on time, put a smile on your face, LISTEN LISTEN LISTEN, watch out for spelling mistakes on anything you type up for the students, watch how you copy papers.

    (4) Buy yourself a planner--- your teacher has one, you'll need one too :)
     
  18. Zarathi

    Zarathi Rookie

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    Jul 9, 2008

    Having just come out of internship last fall, here are my suggestions:

    1) Be positive...always....no matter what!!!
    2) Interact with the students asap. Don't be shy, they're not going to bite....most of them won't anyway.
    3) Talk with your cooperating teacher on the first day about what's expected of you and what you expect of her. Also, talk about a plan to "take over her class." Keep in mind that a lot of us really do not like giving over control of our class. Be confident and show that you care about the students, and this is not likely to be a big issue.
    4) Network!!! I can't tell you how many job offers I've gotten just because Mrs. Soandso from my internship school said I was awesome even though they never even walked down my hall! lol
    5) Know that you're going to make mistakes, you're not anywhere near perfect. Most cooperating teachers understand this about their interns already, so don't feel like a fool if you do something wrong. It's part of the learning process that we all go through. It's best to get all that out of your system before going to your own classroom where it'll stick for a whole year!

    6) Do seperate internships if possible. My university already scheduled two internships for us, but you could always ask to be with one teacher half of your internship and another teacher the other half. From personal experience, I can tell you that I completely got off on the wrong foot in my first placement, but my second placement was like a breath of fresh air (something you desperately need during internship) and I got to "start over" with the class. I learned sooooooooo much during the transition between placements! Also, as a side note, I worked with the whole range of grades that I'm certified to teach. I did high schoolers and middle schoolers this way. This made me more hirable (spelling?) to schools because I had experience across the board.

    7) Lastly, don't let the university side of internship bog you down. My university pilled loads of paperwork and papers and projects on top of us in addition to our student teaching. It was awful. Honestly, if you just complete these assignments, and pass your evaluations, you'll pass. Don't let the paperwork stress you out. Your job is to teach and learn about how to teach in a real life classroom setting. Not to do busy work from the university. *Steps down off of her soapbox.*

    I hope this helps!!!!
     
  19. MsBee

    MsBee Devotee

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    Jan 4, 2009

    I know this is a old thread but its very helpful for me for my spring st experience.
     
  20. emmakate218

    emmakate218 Connoisseur

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    Jan 4, 2009

    My tip for a great student teaching experience: be super friendly to everyone!
     

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