Category Archives: Student Teachers

Life as a Teacher

Being-a-teacher

Recently, I was contacted by The Footnotes, a website that strives to provide revolutionising career and study advice in order to help women to not only follow their dreams, but how to actually get there. I was lucky enough to be asked to join the conversation and share my thoughts on what it is like to be a teacher. Below is a snippet of the article, click here to read the entire article.

Teachers have it all. They only work from 9-3, get all those holiday breaks and play with kids all day, right?  Wrong. So, so wrong. It amazes me how many people seem to believe this blatant untruth.

Mark Twain said it best in his quote ‘teaching is like trying to hold 35 corks underwater at once.’ A teacher’s work doesn’t begin when the bell rings and certainly doesn’t end when the holidays start. Teachers learn to become experts at timing their toilet breaks and inhaling their lunch. They spend their free time planning engaging activities, scouring the internet to find useful resources, differentiating for each ability level, creating and marking assessments, setting homework, keeping up with countless emails and paperwork, meeting with parents and making displays. Not to mention running clubs at lunch time or after school, chasing students who missed assessments, attending meetings and writing reports … and that’s barely scratching the surface.     

Teaching is an innate desire. It isn’t just a job and you definitely don’t become a teacher for the money.

To keep reading, click here. Take a look at The Footnotes and share this great website with the women in your life

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Filed under Student Teachers, Teaching

A Positive Outlook

I just completed my third and final practicum (yay!) and I was lucky to have a great colleague teacher who took the time to note down both positive comments and things that I could improve on. While sometimes it can be difficult to hear the things you could have done better, particularly during prac which can be quite a stressful time, it is important to take it on as constructive criticism.

After all, in my eyes we have two options:

  1. disregard the feedback and carry on as before
  2. take a positive attitude and create goals to be achieved directly from the feedback

What have you done in the past?

I took the second option and really tried to turn the cons into specific goals that I could work towards throughout the rest of my prac. I believe I consistently improved as a direct result of the specific goals that I created from the feedback and the support from my colleague teacher. Now that prac is over, I intend to continue working to achieve my goals and continue to set new ones.

If you’re a teacher who takes on student teachers, provide constructive feedback and set goals for your student to work towards. Prac can be a stressful time and it is important to provide positive feedback as well as noting improvements that could be made. Positive feedback allows the student to know what they are doing well and provides them with confidence, while turning the cons into goals provides the student with specific things to work towards.

As teachers, we need to be constantly reflecting on our teaching and continually finding ways to improve. My uni supervisor left me with some simple, yet wise words about teachers that really rings true; “when you think you know it all, then you should leave.” We can never know it all, nor do we have to, we just need to keep reflecting on our teaching and make improvements and adjustments where necessary in order to continue working towards being the best teacher that we can be. Setting goals to be achieved based on reflections and/or the advice of others can help us to do exactly that.

However, this approach can even stretch far beyond teachers and the classroom. We could apply this approach to our daily lives if we continually reflect on the choices we make and the actions we choose. We can create goals for ourselves to achieve in order to be the best that we can be. Wouldn’t the world be a great place if everyone lived by this notion?

Do you take this approach?

What strategies have you seen work well between a colleague teacher and a student teacher?

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Filed under Student Teachers, Supervising Teachers

School Culture

As a student teacher, and perhaps as a casual teacher or a new staff member, it can be really daunting entering an unfamiliar school. No matter how big the classrooms are, how great the canteen is or how many resources the school has – the one thing that sticks out is how friendly the staff are – the school culture – ‘the ways things are done around here’.

As a student teacher visiting different schools, the schools I look back on fondly are those with friendly staff. The schools where teachers came up to me and introduced themselves and went out of their way to simply be nice, have been my favourite. I remember being blown away at how nice the staff was and how welcome they made me feel. The staffroom was an inviting place where I never felt left out. Instead of being pointed in the general direction by a cranky office lady, office staff showed me around and other teachers called my supervising teacher to come to the staffroom to meet me. She introduced me to other staff members and showed me around the school. I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face and I felt so excited.

For teachers and other staff, the school is where they go to each day, so why not make it a great place to work? Are you being the best person you can be? Are you being the kind of person you want to be? Are you supportive of other teachers? Are you continually growing in your profession? What kind of culture are you fostering in your school? Think about these simple statements the next time you are at school – you can make a difference!

What are your tips for a great school environment?

Ambro / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Filed under Student Teachers, Supervising Teachers

Great Student Teachers

Being a student teacher is a great responsibility and shouldn’t be taken lightly. I believe it is the best learning experience you will receive when learning to become a teacher. During your professional experience, you will learn things that just cannot be taught in a university lecture hall.

Ultimately, what you get out of the experience, is up to you.

Below are some tips on how to make the most of your experiences as a student teacher.

  • Be positive, friendly and introduce yourself
  • Be punctual
  • Follow the school rules
  • Become familiar with the school by observing and participating in a range of school activities
  • Observe your supervising teacher and other teachers
  • Assist the supervising teacher whenever you can
  • Show initiative
  • Prepare your lessons and any materials thoroughly
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for advice from your supervising teacher and/or other teachers
  • Evaluate each lesson (strengths and weaknesses of the lesson, improvements for next time)
  • Accept constructive criticism – the supervising teacher is on your side
  • Remember that you are there to learn and it is okay to make mistakes
  • Demonstrate commitment to teaching by undertaking all teacher duties
  • Dress appropriately and professionally
  • Be a great teacher to the students, NOT their friend
  • Don’t forget to smile!
  • Learn all the students’ names
  • Provide praise to the students
  • Motivate the students
  • Be confident
  • Learn from your mistakes
  • Develop a presence of authority
  • Respect the students and the supervising teacher
  • Talk to the other teachers and other student teachers at the school
  • Ensure that this is the profession for you
  • Take notes of great ideas you observe
  • Collect and organise resources in a folder
  • Provide morning tea in the staffroom on your last day as a thank you

Further advice from my great PLN:

@brittgow

Good student teachers are flexible, willing to try new things, accept advice and constructive criticism and are willing to work hard.

@kathleen_morris

Regardless of what skills student teachers have, I just love it when they have initiative, commitment to learning as much as they can, willingness to try things and willingness to reflect.

A good student teacher can be a fantastic experience for both supervising teacher and students.

@MrsGlaisterCDSC

Willing to have a go, match the supervisors’ effort and hours. Ask questions, reflect. Mimic classroom management.

@fraserorr

Be friendly with your students, but don’t try to be friends!

@Mrs_Dem

A student teacher who has prepared their lessons well! I have had too many that are ill- prepared & their lessons go astray.

 What advice do you have for student teachers?

What has your experience been as a student teacher?

Image: Ambro / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Filed under Student Teachers