4 Scenarios Student Teachers Should Expect to Encounter
It is quite natural for a student teacher to be a little anxious the first time he or she steps into a real classroom. All of the teacher education courses, lectures and controlled classroom scenarios that were designed to give a student the skills to become a teacher have been completed. What was mastered to earn your college degree, will now be put to the test.
Over the course of the first year as a student teacher, individuals experience different emotions ranging from joy and happiness to disappointment and frustration. By the time the school year is over, student teachers will have gone through several different phases of development that will make them a skilled professional, ready to teach a class on their own.
Phases for the first year
Everything is new and exciting. Dreams of shaping the minds and influencing the lives of young students run through the heads of student teachers during the first few weeks of the school year. Teaching is seen through rose-colored glasses as reality has not yet set in. Student teachers cannot wait to get into their new assignments.
After the first few weeks, when the initial excitement has slowed down, the workload can become overwhelming. The student teacher is immersed in all aspects of running a classroom. Teaching a class, keeping up with administrative procedures, taking work home and never having a minute of free time are common issues that all student teachers face in the first month or two while on the job.
As the school year progresses, it gradually becomes apparent that all of the things learned in school do not naturally happen in the real world. Issues arise that are difficult to solve. School politics may limit the control a teacher has to run the class the way he or she thinks best. Pressure comes during parent-teacher meetings and many new teachers have trouble coping with the stress. Some soul-searching takes place and the minds of many individuals may become filled with questions over whether they made the right career choice to become a teacher
Winter break comes and student teachers finally have a chance to step back and assess their progress and performance during the first half of the school year. They get a chance to socialize with friends and family and view the larger picture. Away from the daily stresses of managing a classroom, a new energy forms. Student teachers are invigorated and anxious to get back to their students.
As the end of the school year approaches around the beginning of May, first-year teachers have a chance to look back and reflect on what they have accomplished. It may seem like ancient history when recalling the first day in the classroom, but there are many moments that stand out. Student teachers learn what worked well and what they need to do to improve their teaching skills for the future.
Focus on the first four weeks
In the first week, new teachers are closely supervised by an experienced teacher. The student teacher is given basic tasks such as taking attendance and getting to know the names of all of the students. Student teachers may be asked to give individual help to a student struggling with an assignment or assist the regular teacher with grading papers.
In the second week, student teachers should have had enough time to understand the regular routine of how the classroom functions. At this point, expect to be asked to assist in presenting the lesson plan for the day.
In the third week, you actually get to lead the class. You are in control and the supervising teacher will be there to observe and later discuss the solo performance. One should expect some constructive criticism as well as some praise for things that went well.
In the fourth week, you will have gone through all of the rough stuff and be ready to start teaching your own class. Remember to stick to the curriculum and closely follow the routine that you learned as a student teacher.
Starting out as a student teacher is always a challenge. It is important to listen, learn and observe as you make the transition to a regular teacher. It will take time to gain confidence and full control over your class. Stay determined and focus on teaching to the best of your ability.Learn More: Click to view related resources.
- "Section 1: Phases of First-Year Teaching," Wisconsin Education Association Council