Monday, November 16, 2009

General Expectations

Expectations of student teachers-

Some advice- Don't expect to be reminded of these obligations but indeed, your adherence to these guidelines will be reflected in the end-of-the-semester evaluations in the categories professionalism, maturity, motivation and enthusiasm for teaching.

The student teacher should:

Participate in all classes taught by the cooperating teacher throughout the semester.

While some lessons may repeat, this is an excellent opportunity to get to know the kids and observe planning, teaching and classroom management techniques. As you participate, you might regularly ask yourself what you would do in a particular situation and then compare it to what I did. Note that I will not always be a participant in your lessons. It is only by removing myself from the teaching situation that I can assess whether you are acquiring the skills necessary for independent teaching.

Perform all duties as if you were a regular teacher.

As you become comfortable with procedures, you may be expected to do this alone (though I will be nearby.) Do not consider "duty time" as your planning time. Be prepared when you arrive.

Talk to kids.

They will teach you more about themselves than I can.

Use your planning time wisely

This is an excellent opportunity to ask questions about materials, students and the teaching process in general. In college, we often waited until the evening before to complete assignments. This is not acceptable in student teaching. I do not want to have to look at and make revisions to lesson plans at the last minute.

It may appear to you that I do not follow this practice and occasionally do something at the last minute. What you need to remember is that I have 20 years of planning in my head, so that what appears to be last minute is actually planned. The good part about this is that you will always be prepared well in advance and will likely be less nervous about teaching. Questions that you have about planning should be addressed via e-mail before 9:00pm or during the school day.

Good teaching can only come from good planning.

This may be a simple or time consuming task for you, depending on how much you have absorbed through your career as a student and how hard you work at the beginning of your placement. As you plan, make a list of verbs describing exactly what students get to do in the 40 minutes you see them. Would that engage you? Good verbs include-listen, create, suggest, perform, practice, sing, move, echo, improvise. Too many listen‘s will lead to classroom management issues.

Consider the last week of teaching to be your final exam.

This is difficult. By the time you get to this close to the end you will eagerly be thinking of what's ahead. Remember that I will be writing your evaluation at this time. Your first weeks are what lead you to your final "performance” and to my final impressions of you as a teacher. This is not the time in your professional preparation to fall victim to the trap of “coasting” to the end. Both you and my elementary students deserve your very best throughout the placement.

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