The new school year will be starting soon, which makes this the ideal time for student teachers to begin getting ready for their first day. While it’s normal to feel anxious or nervous about the first day, taking steps to be fully prepared now can help ease these feelings. Preparation also ensures that student teachers make a good first impression on students, faculty and staff, which helps get the school year off to a positive start. Student teachers should take the following into consideration as they get ready to begin teaching.
Contact the school ahead of time. Student teachers should call the school in August to ask about showing up for a visit before the school year starts. This gives student teachers the opportunity to become familiar with their assigned classroom and the school in general. They can also meet the cooperating teacher, the school principal, front office staff and other faculty ahead of time, which can help ease anxiety about the first day. Student teachers can also use this opportunity to offer to help their cooperating teacher set up the classroom.
Bring a few supplies. Student teachers are not usually expected to bring a lot with them on the first day, but a few supplies are usually needed. These include a notebook for taking notes throughout the day, as well as any materials they would like to share with the class or with the coordinating teacher, such as ideas for lesson plans or material on the kinds of teaching methods they are interested in trying in the classroom. A folder for holding paperwork is also helpful.
Wear appropriate clothing. The first day of student teaching offers an opportunity for student teachers to make a favorable impression. This means paying close attention to appearance. Showing up dressed too casually or dressed inappropriately, such as in jeans and a t-shirt, can make an immediate negative impression on others. It also makes it harder for student teachers to establish authority in the classroom and earn respect from students and faculty. Student teachers should choose a professional outfit for the first day and continue to dress professionally each day that they teach.
Know what to expect. Although every student teaching experience is different to some degree, there are certain aspects that they all have in common. Student teachers who are getting ready for their first day should understand that it takes time to build a rapport with students and earn their trust and respect. If the first day does not go as smoothly as expected, each new day offers a chance to improve the student teaching experience. Student teachers should also have a discussion with the cooperating teacher on the first day about their expectations and ask for input on the teaching methods or approaches they would like to use.
Putting these tips into practice can go a long way toward ensuring that student teachers are both physically and mentally well-prepared for their first day in the classroom at their assigned school. This can help the first day of student teaching go smoothly and set the tone for the rest of the school year. Careful preparation for the first day also gives the coordinating teacher and the school the impression that student teachers are reliable and highly responsible right from the start. This can help student teachers build a solid rapport with their coordinating teacher in a shorter amount of time and earn their trust, leading to a positive and rewarding student teaching experience.