I am very excited for next week as on Tuesday I have a new student teacher joining my room. This is not my first student teacher and it will not be my last. This is a very exciting yet frightening time for these new and upcoming teachers. So the least we can do as mentors is give guidance to them to improve their pedagogy. Here are my five tips for student teachers to get the most out of the students they teach as well as their own emerging practice.
1.Look For Strengths
Too often teachers overlook what’s important and instead focus on behaviour that is less than perfect. Remember each child is full of potential and make it a goal during your first week to find them all. From here you can use these strengths in building your curriculum.
I know you are nervous “swimming with the sharks” for the first time but guess what, they are nervous too having a new adult in the room. In your first week make sure you focus on relationships and build trust so the child can risk-take. This can be as simple as making sure you give them a high five in the morning with a compliment. And don’t forget to smile and have fun!
3.Reassess Your Lesson Plans
Innovation and stagnation can’t coincide. So if you are making certain lesson plans because you feel you need too to impress your school associate, teachers and administrators, then stop. Don’t put your focus on the dotting the “i’s” and crossing the “t’s”. The focus needs to be solely on the children and getting the most out of them. Make your lesson plans inquiry based and real world. Click the document below to see a quick and easy lesson plan I created for my student teacher last year.
4.Go With The Flow
So you’ve made your lesson plans and are focused on getting all of them in, three lessons before recess, two after recess and another two after lunch. Let me ask you, when is the last time you put a time line on your learning? Don’t make silo lessons but rather make lessons cross curricular and relevant without time lines. Use a “feel” based approach in your teaching. If a lesson is hitting home then don’t stop it, instead learn to go with the flow.
5.Get On Twitter
I know all the focus is on learning something new, which I know is scary. But it is also essential to develop your practice from seasoned veterans. Make a Twitter account and get involved in Twitter teacher chats. You can see a schedule of all the great chats here, created by Jerry Blumengarten.
Good luck to all student teachers out there! You are joining a wonderful profession!