Don’t be afraid to ask for help
When you are completing your student teaching, reach out to your mentor teacher to ask questions and receive guidance when you feel you need it. Guidance from a cooperating teacher and other faculty supervisors might include developing lesson plans, managing classrooms and grading homework assignments. You can also ask questions about maintaining work-life balance and good mental health as a teacher.
According to the National Education Association, educators are professionals with a high likelihood of reporting anxiety, stress and burnout. By actively searching for help from mentors and administrators, ideally you will avoid burnout and improve your mental health.
Build a solid support system
Having a solid support system can help you make the most of your student teaching. Your support system can help you work your way through student teaching and enter the workforce. Your support system may include your:
Each can potentially provide different kinds of support, including emotional and professional guidance.
Consider how you’ll cover the cost of living
Student teaching is normally an unpaid experience. So, you will need to consider how to cover the cost of living during your student teaching. Cost of living refers to the amount of money it takes to pay for your necessities, including rent, utilities, healthcare and food.
Many student teachers need to work side jobs to pay their bills while they complete their educational experience. This can include driving deliveries, working online as a tutor or working in a local business. Working a remote job or as a freelancer can give you more flexibility and space to earn money and complete your student teaching at the same time.
Get to know your host school
When you start student teaching, you should always try to get to know your host school, or your placement site, as well as possible. This normally means asking an administrator or your mentor teacher for a tour. This can allow introductions to other professionals and help you to feel more comfortable as you attend from day to day.
Getting to know your school or site can help you to feel more confident and more easily connect with the students. It can also be helpful to get to know as many of the site professionals and administrators as possible. They can potentially provide guidance and professional references as you enter the teaching profession.
Be yourself with the students
You don’t have to develop an entirely different persona when you begin teaching. In fact, it will probably be much easier if you just be yourself.
You can be yourself, and have fun, through some of the following activities:
- Outdoor games and activities
- Fun icebreaker games to get to know the students
- Projects where the students work in groups
Taking time to focus on active lessons and group work can bring extra fun into the classroom. As you complete your student teaching, the feedback you get from your experience with students may help you begin to form an idea of your teaching philosophy. What mindset and beliefs will you carry into your teaching career? Taking the time to have fun with your students can help you to better understand what your priorities are as a teacher.