Hey, there, future teachers! So, you're about to start your first week of student teaching, huh? Exciting stuff! But I know it can also be a little nerve-wracking. I'm here to help with some practical tips and strategies to make your first week as smooth as possible. You have likely spent countless hours in your teacher preparation program learning the theory and practice of teaching, but now it's time to put that knowledge into action.
Tips and strategies that you can use each day of your first week:
Get to know your students. Take time to learn their names, pronouns, interests, values, strengths, and areas of improvement/need. This will make a huge difference in creating a positive and inclusive classroom environment. Plus, it'll make calling on students a whole lot easier. I challenge you to get to know your students' names by the end of the third day if you have 1 class of the same students (for example, elementary) or by the end of the first week (secondary/middle) if you have multiple classes. You can make flashcards with students' pictures and names to help you remember. Always greet them at the door and as they leave.
Get involved from day one. Discuss with your cooperating teacher some ways to get involved with students from day one. That could include a read-aloud, leading a station, coteaching during small group, and walking around helping students as needed. The bottom line is don't just sit in the back of the room like a creeper - get involved.
Observe your cooperating teacher. Please take note of their teaching strategies and classroom management techniques. Take note of any procedures that you notice. Take time to discuss with your cooperating teacher why they put the procedures into place.
Observe other professionals in your grade level or subject area. You may want to observe a special education teacher, speech therapist, occupational therapist, math or reading specialist, tech coach, etc. Get out there and observe. You never know what idea or strategy you may come away with.
Plan and prepare your first lesson. Think about the learning objectives, materials, and activities that will be most effective for your students. Also, consider how you will assess their understanding of the materials. Discuss with your co-op your ideas and strategies for teaching. Start small - be sure your lesson is tied to state standards and your objectives are SMART.
Teach your first lesson or schedule a time the following week to teach a lesson. Remember to be confident and enthusiastic, use positive reinforcement, and use effective classroom management techniques. And, if things don't go as planned, don't sweat it. We all have those days.
Reflect on your first week of student teaching. Take time to think about what you did well and what you could improve upon. Use this feedback to make adjustments to your lesson plans and teaching strategies. Discuss with your cooperating teacher any glows and grows you have had throughout the week.
Throughout student teaching, please remember the following :
You will make mistakes, and that's okay. Learning to teach is a process, and you will continue improving daily.
You will not get all perfect scores on your evaluations. That is okay - you are still learning.
Show up for yourself so that you can show up for others each day
Communicate with your cooperating teacher, ask them questions and take their feedback. They have been through this process before and can provide valuable insight.
Communicate with your supervisor! We are here to support you.
Believe in yourself and your abilities as a teacher. You have the knowledge, skills, and passion for making a difference in the lives of your students.
In conclusion, the first week of student teaching can be challenging. Still, by getting to know your students, observing your cooperating teacher, planning and preparing your lessons, reflecting on your teaching, and communicating with your cooperating teacher, you can make the most of this valuable learning experience.