101 Things I Learned from Student Teaching, Part I

Hello teachers!  So, I know I’ve been a terrible blogger and have completely neglected ET.  Before I started student teaching, I scoured Google for student teacher blogs and didn’t find very many.  Now I know why.  There just isn’t enough time.  I barely found time to eat some days!

My time as a student teacher ended on December 19.  It was not the happy, gleeful day I had imagined.  I became so attached to my students – I honestly couldn’t bear to think about spending my whole day without them.  On that same day, the principal of our school offered me a job as a Monitored Teaching Assistant (MTA) starting right after vacation.  Of course, I accepted!  I was so happy and relieved to be able to stay at my school.  I’ll keep this job through the end of the school year.  School districts start looking for teachers for the upcoming year starting in February, so I’ll be looking for an actual teaching position soon!  It’s wonderful the way things have fallen into place.

Today’s post is the first in a four-part series about what I learned from student teaching.  I hope this helps future student teachers know (partly) what to expect.  I want to give a big thanks to my cooperating practitioner, J., on being the most caring, patient, wonderful teacher I could have ever hoped to work with.  I owe her more than I think she realizes.  The most important thing I learned was from her – to teach from a place of love.

  1. No matter how much you think you’ve prepared, you’re not fully prepared.
  2. The first few days will test you; you will doubt your career choice (stick with it).
  3. Your cooperating practitioner makes or breaks your experience – if it’s not a good fit from the beginning, notify your advisor/program ASAP.
  4. Even the “bad” ones are really just good ones who need some extra TLC.
  5. You can find shoes that are comfortable and stylish.  Just don’t be that person who wears Crocs.
  6. You’re not going to have enough time to blog.  Exhibit A.
  7. Students will constantly test your limits for the first month or so – stand your ground.
  8. You give more of yourself as a teacher than you do as a student, daughter, lover, or friend (can’t speak as a mother or wife).
  9. There are quite literally not enough hours in the day.
  10. Know all staff in the building by first and last name.
  11. Take on as much as you can.  Student teaching goes by so much faster than you expect.  You have a few short months to get as much as experience as possible.
  12. Observe. Observe your teacher and any other teacher who will allow you to.  Take notes – their attention cues, classroom setup, procedures, and classroom management style.
  13. Anyone can read a book about teaching.  Not everyone can be a teacher.
  14. It takes a village (cliché, but true).
  15. Listen more than you speak (also cliché, also true).
  16. If the classroom is getting out of control, act now.  It’s much easier to maintain order than regain order in chaos.
  17. Yelling just adds to the noise.  Only use your “big voice” when you absolutely have to – it will have more of an impact.
  18. Dry shampoo is rad.
  19. Fifth grade math is not the fifth grade math that we learned – brush up!
  20. Keep some anecdotal notes of each student for parent conferences.  I wish I had been more of a participant and less of an observer during my parent conferences.
  21. Your cooperating practitioner knows far more than you do about teaching.  Respect that.
  22. Teaching first graders how to read is excruciatingly time-consuming.  It’s also an absolutely rewarding experience.
  23. Some days you will walk out of the school with a huge smile on your face.  Other days, you’ll want to scream.  Other days, you’ll want to cry. 
  24. The only people in your life who will understand what you’re going through are other student teachers.
  25. You will learn to like Mondays because children are calmer on Mondays.
  26. Trust the system (for now anyways).

Part II coming Tuesday! 🙂

Peace, love, and teaching. xo, Miss M.

3 Responses to “101 Things I Learned from Student Teaching, Part I”
Check out what others are saying...
  1. […] time I step away from computer, I think of another thing to add to this list!  In case you missed Part I, I’m doing a 4-part series on all of the little things I learned from student teaching.  AND […]


  2. […] know if I can cap it at 101.  For now, here is part III of the 4-part series.  In case you missed part I or part II, check them out!  Part IV is coming next […]


  3. […] up student teaching and think my list will help you mentally prepare for the semester.  Check out part I, part II, and part III.  It goes by so quickly, even though some weeks you’ll be counting […]


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