As a student teacher, you have reached an exciting point in your career. Having finished most of your training, you are now ready for some on-the-job experience. However, it can also be an awkward time, since you may be unsure of what type of authority you have, or how you can best help your supervising teacher. Here are some ideas for navigating your new teaching environment successfully.
While your college professor did not mind what time you arrived for class, this is not true in the real world. Punctuality is important, and arriving late repeatedly can leave a bad impression with your teacher. Your supervising teacher may need you there earlier than the start of school to review teacher worksheets and class information. If you must be late for circumstances outside of your control, be sure to call in.
Even if your school has a more relaxed dress code for teachers, remember that you should look like a teacher, not blend in with the students. Over dressing can help lend you authority that your age does not. It can also give you an air of professionalism.
The veteran teacher that you are working with will also have his or her own scheduling issues, and thus, things may not always work out according to plan. You may be asked to come in earlier than normal or stay later periodically to help in the classroom. It will leave a better impression if you are willing to accommodate their needs.
As a teacher, it is important that you follow and enforce school rules. If you are unsure of the policies, many schools have printable worksheets detailing school and classroom rules. For example, if it is against the rules to chew gum, make sure yours is thrown out before entering class.
Knowing what you will need ahead of time can make the process much smoother. For example, if you need copies of the homeschool worksheets, make sure that you obtain them ahead of time. Discussing lesson plans with your supervising teacher before class can help you determine exactly what your role throughout the day will be.
If you are hoping to obtain permanent position at the school or the same district, it is helpful to stay on good terms with the other staff, particularly those in the head office. First impressions do make a big difference. The office staff can also assist you with situations that may arise throughout your student teaching career.
You will most likely need to submit notes regarding your experiences in the classroom and with the students. Remember that you should not use names in these notes; if you do, change the names to protect the students' identities.
Office gossip in the teacher's lounge may be interesting, but it is also a good way to get into trouble. You could make a comment that you regret, offend someone important unintentionally, or create bad impressions about yourself or a fellow teacher. Remember, if you are hoping to stay in the school system once you are certified, these teachers will eventually become your coworkers.
Make sure that you treat all the other teachers at the school with professionalism. Avoid interrupting classes whenever possible, and treat the faculty with respect. Not only is this a professional courtesy, but it can make them more willing to share tips and experiences with you.
There is a high probability that during your student teaching career you will encounter an illness or emergency. Remember that your veteran teacher is relying on you, and may need worksheets or information to cover your part of the class. Always give as much notice as possible if you will not be able to attend class.
Your student teaching time should be one that is of learning and excitement. By learning how to manage yourself in the workplace, you will enjoy more success both as a student teacher and beyond.