Student teaching is the trial-by-fire portion of a teacher’s education -- where the teaching candidate gets to test her skills in a classroom. During this field experience, a teaching candidate is under the direct tutelage of a mentor teacher who assists her to move from college to the working world and achieve the goals and objectives she may set for herself.
The days of teachers demanding respect and pupils promptly giving it are largely gone. For success in the contemporary classroom, teachers must effectively build rapport with their students. To do this, student teachers may devise methods of getting to know their students and practice the art of tailoring their instruction to the students' interests -- for example, writing story problems that feature baseball to capture the interest of a baseball-loving-classroom full of kids.
Prospective teachers can’t act as islands, ignoring input and keeping to themselves. To practice positive, cooperative work, student teachers should collaborate with experienced teachers. They should seek out opportunities to work cooperatively and in cross-curricular situations with other experienced educators. This allows them to learn important skills from experienced educators, such as how to design and implement lesson plans, present material in an interesting way, adhere to state or federal standards and assess student learning outcomes.
Teachers used to be able to be successful knowing how to run off copies -- or even operate the ditto machine. Many schools today seek to hire teachers who know their way around a computer, printer and even mobile computing devices. For example, educators today use interactive computer programs to teach skills ranging from basic letter and word identification to advanced math skills. By setting a goal of integrating technology into their lessons, student teachers can interact with and learn about the technology that is available for schools and students. While working toward the accomplishment of this goal, student teachers can also learn how to use computer technology to do everything from tracking daily attendance to monitoring progress of individual students or even the entire class.
If kids are swinging off the rafters and overturning trashcans, learning can’t occur. Particularly when they are new in the field, teachers commonly have difficulty developing and implementing a classroom management plan. Student teachers should study the classroom management plans put in place by their cooperative teachers, carefully analyzing the effectiveness of the plans. It is a delicate balance for an educator to navigate between fostering students' self-esteem and encouraging creativity and openness while setting clear boundaries so that all students will know exactly what is expected. By integrating a focus on this concept into their goals and actively working to develop their own plans, student teachers can better prepare themselves for stepping into the shoes of a full-fledged educator.
Erin Schreiner is a freelance writer and teacher who holds a bachelor's degree from Bowling Green State University. She has been actively freelancing since 2008. Schreiner previously worked for a London-based freelance firm. Her work appears on eHow, Trails.com and RedEnvelope. She currently teaches writing to middle school students in Ohio and works on her writing craft regularly.