Working in any new environment can be stressful. For the student teacher, you hope to be paired with a welcoming and helpful veteran teacher; but this is not always the case. In this situation, a student teacher may question the amount of authority they possess; and how much participation they can expect. Here are tips for student teacher to become accustomed to a new environment.
1. Plan Ahead
A week or so before you begin a student teaching job, check in with the administration of the school, as well as with the teacher with whom you will be working. Make introductions and ask what, if anything, specific requirements they may wish for.
Once on the job, make sure to always be prepared. If you know you will need copies for a lesson, make them at least as early as the day before the lesson is to be given. It is common practice in many schools to follow exact procedure for copying. Failing to follow these procedures will leave the student teacher stuck without copies. The result is that you look unprepared and unprofessional.
2. Make friends with office staff
Befriending the office staff is always a good idea, even if you do not plan to seek employment at the school where you are student teaching. Many student teachers befriend staff only if they want to work in the school where they student teach, if at all. However, making this a practice is professional and helps the new teacher to get into good habits. The opinions of those who work in administration and support do have an impact on whether or not a new teacher has a chance at a job; but these people can also make the student teacher’s job easier to handle.
3. Remember Confidentiality
Many times student teachers take notes that they turn in for grades. When doing this, it is important to remember to change names or not use names in order to protect privacy. You never know who you may be teaching, and what their possible relationship to those who may review your notes. More than this, it is simply good practice to create habits of confidentiality to honor student’s identities.
4. Dress for Success
Even as a student teacher, you are a teacher and therefore expected to dress in a professional manner. As a student teacher, especially if you look very young, it is appropriate to over-dress. For instance, wear a comfortable suit with sensible shoes instead of slacks or jeans. The way you dress for student teaching sets the tone for your professional image. It gives the coordinating teacher a clue of your professionalism and dedication to your assignment.
It can be tempting to dress to match the teacher with whom you are working. However, this is not recommended, especially if that teacher is lax in their dress. The student teacher is creating an image that will stay with them throughout their career. It is always easier to create good habits from the start than to try and change bad habits later.
5. Be Timely
It should go without saying that timeliness if of the utmost importance to the student teacher. Arriving just as the bell rings is not much better than arriving 5 or 10 minutes late. In particular, when the student teacher is set to teach a lesson, arriving 5 to 10 minutes early is recommended.