Top 10 Tips for Student Teachers
McKay School Faculty share advice with current and future educators
Every teacher candidate in the McKay School must complete a student teaching experience or an internship in order to graduate and become a licensed educator. Fulfilling this requirement is no easy task, and many teacher candidates wonder how they can meet the challenges of their student teaching and enjoy the experience.
Here are the top ten tips provided by McKay School faculty to help any current or future educator:
1) Be positive about your placement. Whether you work in a district, school, or as a cooperating teacher, a good attitude greatly enhances your student teaching experience. You will be more motivated and desirous to succeed as you maintain a positive outlook.
2) Set goals with your mentor. It is helpful to express your desired outcomes to your mentor and to develop a plan to achieve them. Set up a gradual process of transferring teaching responsibilities. For example, you could transition in three steps. (1) Watch your mentor teacher teach. (2) Teach a lesson while your mentor stands with you in front of the class and guides you if needed. (3) When ready, teach a lesson on your own and ask your mentor to watch and take notes.
3) Get to know people. You can learn a lot from all the faculty and staff at your school. Take time to talk to people and ask for advice and information about their experience in education. When you foster relationships with others, you will be able to rely on them in the future for possible job opportunities, recommendations, and advice.
4) Use what you learn in your university courses. The courses at BYU provide the information, skills, resources and knowledge you will need to succeed as a student teacher. Remember what you have learned after you take your tests. When you are presented with a challenge, reflect on the knowledge you already have and how you can best use it.
5) Be flexible. Things will seldom go as planned, and the change may be even better. Flexibility is essential to your learning and the learning of your students. You will need to adjust lesson plans to meet the needs of different students, work with different administrators, and adapt to new schools. If you can learn early to be flexible, you will be better off later.
6) Be proactive. Look for opportunities to help your mentor and the students in the class. Do not wait to be told what to do and when to do it. If you show that you are proactive in presenting ideas and solving problems, you will build trust with your mentor and your students. You will receive more opportunities to gain hands-on experience and to build a lasting network.
7) Always be professional. Those you interact with will always be watching you whether you know it or not. Not only do they form a perception of you as a student teacher based on your behavior, but also of those organizations you represent. Be a good representative of BYU, the BYU Public School Partnership, the Teacher Education program and the LDS Church.
8) Teach children, not just lessons. Find ways to meet each child’s needs. Every child has a different learning style, and you must work to determine that style and teach accordingly. Try something new in your lessons, such as incorporating music or art, or ask the students themselves to teach the material in groups.
9) Be willing to work hard. Take the time to do the best job possible. Being an exceptional student teacher takes a lot of time, but as you put in the effort you will reap the rewards.
10) Have fun! This will be a great opportunity for you to grow as an individual and as a teacher. Don’t let the challenges deter you from enjoying what you love and helping students learn.
For more tips and information about the student teaching programs, visit the student services office (120 MCKB) or visit their website http://education.byu.edu/ess/.