Some guidelines for student teachers

Published 6:48pm Monday, August 2, 2010

Helpful suggestions for student teachers

Teaching school can be a great profession. Some people say teaching is a special calling. However, many new teachers leave within the first three-to-five years of teaching. Teacher preparation requires years of studying. One college course requirements for prospective teachers is student internship or student teaching.

One’s first teaching assignments can often be stressful. Melissa Kelly ( offers top 10 tips for student teachers:

Be on time – Punctuality is very important in the `real world`. If you are late, you will definitely not start out on the right foot with your coordinating teacher. Even worse, if you arrive after a class has begun which you are supposed to be teaching, you are placing that teacher and yourself in an awkward situation.

Dress appropriately – As a teacher, you are a professional and you are supposed to dress accordingly. There is nothing wrong with over dressing during your student teaching assignments. The clothes do help lend you an air of authority, especially if you look awfully young. Further, your dress lets the coordinating teacher know of your professionalism and dedication to your assignments.

Be flexible – Remember that the coordinating teacher has pressures placed upon him just as you have your own pressures to deal with. If you normally teach only 3 classes and the coordinating teacher asks that you take on extra classes one day because he has an important meeting to attend, look at this as your chance to get even further experience while impressing your dedication to your coordinating teacher.

Follow the school rules – This might seem obvious to some but it is important that you do not break school rules. For example, if it is against rules to chew gum, then do not chew it yourself. If the campus is `smoke free`, do not light during your lunch period.

Plan ahead – If you know you will need copies for a lesson, do not wait until the morning of the lesson to get them completed. Many schools have procedures that must be followed for copying to occur. If you fail to follow these procedures, you will be stuck without copies and will probably look unprofessional at the same time.

Befriend the office staff – This is especially important if you believe that you will be staying in the area and possibly trying for a job at the school where you are teaching. These people’s opinions of you will have an impact on whether or not you are hired. They can also make your time during student teaching much easier to handle. Don’t underestimate their worth.

Maintain confidentiality – Remember that if you are taking notes about students or classroom experiences to turn in for grades, you should either not use their names or change them to protect their identities.

Don’t gossip – It might be tempting to hang out in the teachers’ lounge and indulge in gossip about fellow teachers. However, as a student teacher this would be a very risky choice. You might say something you could regret later.

Be professional with fellow teachers – Do not interrupt other teachers’ classes without an absolutely good reason. When you are speaking with your coordinating teacher or other teachers on campus, treat them with respect.

Don’t wait to the last minute to call in sick – You will probably get sick at some point during your student teaching and will need to stay home for the day. Do not wait until the last minute to call in sick. Call as soon as you believe you will not be able to make it to class.

Student teachers and their coordinating teachers jointly mold school children’s future. Hopefully, student teaching will lead to a highly productive teaching career.

Gerald Shirley is principal of School of Discovery in Selma.

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