Since I have finally finished my student teaching and am now in the realm of subbing (happens to a lot of December graduates) I feel that I should share some of the major things I learned while student teaching. Obviously each school district is different in their requirements for your student teaching experience but here's just a few tips...
10 Tips for Student Teaching
1. Ask your mentor teacher before hand if you are going to be using their existing plans or need to create your own new material. A lot of colleges WANT you to do that however it is a lot to take on when you are trying to learn what your classroom management style is plus try to make lessons.
2. Invest in some comfy shoes, walk around a lot, proximity is key. Especially when working with middle school and up.
3. Dude. Don't fight the cell phone fight, you won't win. The key to teaching is to be firm but flexible. Cell phones aren't going away, ever, therefore what you need to teach kids is how to be respectful with their cell phone. It's not a big deal unless you make it one. Honestly I never had a single problem with phones when student teaching.
4. Do your research. In Colorado there is a new thing called Senate Bill 191 which essentially has to do with how teachers are "graded" and evaluated each year. Understanding these major shifts will help you with understanding what your focus will be in the future as an educator.
5. Make friends with the Special Education teachers. They are your best resource. You can talk to them about various differentiation strategies that you never learned in college. Behavior strategies, learning strategies, scaffolding... all those things. SpEd teachers are #bombdotcom.
6. Build relationships with staff and students. If the principals see you high fiving kids in the hallways, them getting excited to see you everyday, the principal feels more comfortable having you in the building (read: future job kudos).
7. Ask questions. Lots of questions. Don't wait for someone to tell you. Get to know the counseling office, talk to the office ladies, leave nice notes for the custodians. Even if you are just commenting on the weather or that you like their hair. Make a good impression.
8. Keep a journal of your experience. Jot down ideas for your classroom in the future, things you noticed about kids, different lesson plan ideas. Those are the best.
9. Be the "real" you to kids. Believe me they can tell the difference. Of course I don't mean to go about telling them how drunk you got this weekend, that's a bad idea. But be goofy, be funny and have a good time. However one thing I will say, especially for anyone student teaching in their twenties. Decide where you stand on social media. Do you want to be friends with the kids on FB? Is it cool if you follow them on Twitter? Decide and communicate that to the kids.
10. Most of all, love teaching. Allow yourself those moments to just reflect on your experiences. I think most of my "holy crap I'm happy" moments were while I was teaching. The relationships you form with kids can last a lifetime and you never know when a friendship with another teacher will help you out.