Tips and Advice for Student Teachers

If you are facing a classroom for the first time, you may be a bit apprehensive, but hopefully you will find the following tips and advice for student teachers helpful.

Learn from your Lead

It is extremely important that you learn as much as you can from your lead teacher. Most of the time you will be assigned to work with someone who has many years of experience, and you need to use that knowledge to your advantage. Your lead teacher has probably developed many strategies and techniques to make teaching easier.

So listen carefully to everything your lead tells you and take notes. You’ll learn things like:

  • how to develop effective lesson plans
  • how to quickly grade papers
  • how to deal with difficult students
  • how to handle parents
  • what to do to score well on evaluations
  • how to act around your principal or supervisor

Any time your lead teacher tells you anything, be a sponge and soak it up because most likely the advice you get will help you when you have your own classroom.

 Be Organized

Make sure you have your lesson plans ready to go not just for the next day but for the next few weeks. That way, you know the direction you are headed. It is also crucial to have all the materials you need to teach the lesson, so make sure you have made copies well in advance.

Test your equipment before the first day. For example, make sure the overhead projector in order to teach your lesson. Check to see you have dry erase markers, chalk, and any other supplies you will need before class begins. When you are organized, it is much easier to stay calm because you know you are prepared.

Be Flexible

Sometimes students will move through the lesson either more quickly or more slowly than you anticipated. Of course, it’s worse to run out of things to do than it is to have too much material to cover. As a result, you should always have more activities planned than you could possibly do. That way, if students quickly finish their work, you have other things that can keep them busy. You never want your students to be bored or have nothing to do because it is just an invitation for them to talk and be disruptive.

Maintain Order

You should have an effective classroom management plan in place. You can take your lead on how to handle discipline issues in the classroom by what the regular teachers does. The key to good discipline is to try to be as fair and consistent as possible. If you say there will be certain consequences for a particular action, make sure you follow through with them. Otherwise, students won’t believe that you will do what you say, and you will lose all your authority.

Make sure you don’t fall into the trap of either being too harsh or too lenient. Be reasonable and make it clear that your main focus is teaching the lesson and any distractions or disruptions to that goal will not be tolerated. Give one warning and then take quick action to shut down any misbehavior.

Teaching is one of the most challenging and rewarding jobs anyone can undertake. Make sure you take your opportunity as a student teacher to learn as much as you can about the job so that when you have your own classroom you are prepared.