101 Things I Learned from Student Teaching, Part III
Hello all! I hope you are enjoying my list. Student teaching is so rich with new things – I don’t 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 week.
51. Stop trying to create all of your own resources. There are SO many great resources on the Internet; it would be ridiculous to go through the trouble. Teachers Pay Teachers and Pinterest are my favorites.
52. Your Facebook should already be in lock-down mode. This means blocking your cherished photo albums from college (I know, it’s tough) and de-friending any randoms that might be lurking on your friend list. DO THIS NOW.
53. Like it or not, people are going to judge you with more scrutiny than non-teachers. Learn to embrace it – there is a reason we are held to higher standards.
54. You will always find someone who has a negative opinion about teachers and the state of education in the US.
55. Some people will say being a teacher is a great “part-time” job. Just laugh. Laugh manically. Laugh until you puke. A LOT of people think this way, and it’s usually not worth your time to prove them otherwise. People who think this also think that Bravo is good television and that KFC mashed potatoes count as a serving of vegetables.
56. Have a sense of humor. This sounds so simple, but if you don’t, you will probably lose your mind.
57. Teachers get blamed for, like, every ill in society. It’s not true babes!
58. I think this is an obvious one, but DO NOT take photos of your students and post them to social media. Honestly, if you think this is OK, you need to take a minute to actually think about how wrong this is.
59. Cultivating your own Personal Learning Network (PLN) on Twitter is a great way to stay current on educational issues. Don’t get caught with the deer-in-headlights look when someone mentions the new teacher evaluation systems (for example) at the faculty meeting.
60. Lush Bath Bombs for the win.
61. Also, anything else from Lush.
62. Keep a box with ready-to-go lunches in your desk (like soup, crackers, applesauce) – I can’t tell you how many times I left my lunch box sitting on the kitchen counter (and I’m not usually forgetful).
63. Keep a journal that you write in at least twice a week. It’s astounding how much you will learn as a student teacher. At the end, you’ll look back and laugh at how naïve you were about some things. TIP: I kept a video journal on my iPad rather than a written journal. At the end of the day, I was just too tired to write. This helped me keep up with entries!
64. Please don’t cry at work.
65. Speaking of work, student teaching IS your job. You may not be paid for it, but it is your job. Live and breathe it. Treat it just as you would an actual teacher job.
66. Related: you’re probably not going to have time to work after school during student teaching (especially during the week). Plan ahead financially. Create a budget of your necessary expenses during student teaching and make sure you have at least double that when you start.
67. Keep up with physical exercise, even if it’s just walking your dog. You’ll need it to keep you sane.
68. Be a good listener. Sometimes teachers are just so excited to teach that they fail to really listen to their students. Don’t make this mistake. You have more to learn from them than you think.
69. Don’t forget to floss! (Or to do any of the other mundane personal tasks that may not seem worth it after a long day – they are worth it.)
70. Get to know the principal. Invite her in to observe you. The more she knows you, the more likely she’ll want to keep you around.
71. Ask questions – ask your cooperating practitioner, other teachers, the principal, other student teachers, and students. Then, ask more questions.
72. Before the semester is over, make sure you are familiar with all the administrative tasks of the school (taking attendance, sending a student to the office/nurse, recording grades, faculty meetings, teacher evaluations, dismissal, laminating, making copies, etc.). When you get your own classroom, there will be nobody to hold your hand and help you with these things – so learn now!
73. As much as you might want them to be, your students are not “yours.” They are your cooperating practitioner’s students. She has the final say; don’t question her judgment (unless you have serious concerns about students’ safety). Become a part of the classroom community, but remember that you are technically a visitor. That being said, fully embrace your teacher role. This sounds contradictory, but you’ll learn the balance when you get in there.
74. Make sure you are familiar with classroom management techniques of both lower- and upper-elementary students. You never know what grade you’ll end up teaching.
75. If something needs to be done, do it. If your cooperating practitioner is frazzled with a zillion other things, offer to laminate those anchor charts and make copies for her. I hope this one is pretty obvious!
75A. Laminators are kind of scary. Don’t burn the school down.
If you have something to add to this list, comment below! I’d love to hear from current and former student teachers.
Peace, love, and teaching. xo, Miss M