Thursday, June 27, 2013

Student Teaching Experience (Dear Katie v.2 #1)

Dear Katie,

Congrats as you make your turn into the second half of your college career and began your pursuit of your education credentials with practicum and eventually student teaching.

Learn from my mistake, DO NOT put college life in front of the work that needs to be completed for your practicum and student teaching assignment.  I was often writing lesson plans in the twenty minutes I had from the time I came to school and when the students arrived.  However, I didn't miss a second hanging out with my friends back on campus.  While the other student teachers were holed up in library cubicles plotting and planning a week's worth of plans, your uncle was walking up and down the library aisles seeing who he could pry into a conversation and eventually convince them head out to get a bite to eat at the diner.  

I was not prepared at all for what awaited when lesson planning became part of my full time job.  Thankfully you inherited your mom's diligence and work ethic.  That will not only allow you to be a successful student, but a successful teacher.  

Do not just absorb what your cooperating teachers are saying, but put it into practice.  Nothing upsets me more than a student teacher who acts like they are listening to my suggestions and advice and then proves they were not listening by trying at least one thing I suggested.  If your cooperating teacher suggests something DO IT.  Remember, in the end they will be your primary recommendation for a position and if your are fortunate maybe that position will be in the district where you had your experience.  A principal is going to take a lot of stock in the words of an employee's recommendation, and in fact, will probably already have heard if you are somebody worth pursuing or forgetting.

Be creative.  Think of one way to grab the attention of your students in a way that you can package and promote as a "highly successful unit".  In this age of digital photos, take pictures, video, etc. of the work your students are doing in the classroom.  Show it off when you go on interviews.  Involve your cooperating teacher in the process.

Emerse yourself.  See if you enjoy it.  Get yourself on sub lists NOW.  (You have enough credits and if you have the days in your schedule, it will get you some spending cash) Many teachers leave the profession b/c they get burnt out within the first 5 years.  If you don't like the work load, you have two years left of college refocus your efforts.  

I am confident that you will love it.  

Uncle Kevin

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