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:
- disregard the feedback and carry on as before
- 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?
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
As a student teacher I was really nervous starting my first prac and I know I’m not alone. Walking into an unfamiliar school, staffroom and classroom with a temporary loss of security can be quite daunting. A great supervising teacher can make the experience a lot easier and very enjoyable. So what makes a great supervising teacher?
I surveyed student teachers and found out that they look for someone who;
- is friendly and welcoming
- introduces the student to other staff members and the class
- assures the student if they are nervous
- provides the student with the lessons/teaching programs he/she would like them to teach in advance
- suggests and discusses content, teaching and management strategies
- discusses goals and how they might be achieved
- shares resources
- provides a background about the students in the class
- includes the student in RFF time and planning units of work
- explains how the roll call book works
- provides the student with feedback including their strengths and weaknesses
- is available e.g. communicates via email
- is committed to the profession
- has a positive attitude
- provides constructive criticism – what should we do next time?
- encourages the student to self reflect after each lesson
- models effective teaching strategies
- is up to date on teaching practises
- allows the student to believe no question is a silly question
- starts the student with small groups and then builds them up to the whole class
- provides the student with a photo of the class to learn names
- allows the student to observe other great colleague teachers you know within the school
- is organised
- lets the student know when they are going to be absent
- lets the student know when they have a duty
- explains the reward system in place to the student
- gets the student a chair/place to sit on the first day
- provides the student with opportunities to gain a variety of teaching and observation experiences
- gives advice
- has confidence in the student
- expresses concerns early and notifies the student
- encourages the student to be the best teacher they can be
If all supervising teachers followed this list, each student is sure to have a very enjoyable experience.
I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all the teachers who take on students, it is greatly appreciated.
Are you a great supervising teacher?
Are you thinking of taking on a student teacher?
Are you a student teacher?
Let me know what you think.
Image: Michal Marcol / FreeDigitalPhotos.net