10 Stages Of Student Teaching
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10 Stages Of Student Teaching

Here's 10 stages of student teaching and how to deal when you're going through them.

10 Stages Of Student Teaching

So, you want to be a teacher. You’ve completed the assigned coursework to get to where you are today—preparing for one of the best, yet worst experiences of your life. I say that because the best part about student teaching is doing what you love—teaching. However, the expectations are some of the worst things you will ever experience. Here are 10 different phases of student teaching and how to deal with them when you’re going through it.

1. The Kid in the Candy Store:

I’m super excited to get into the classroom and start. I may be a tad overwhelmed (you decide whether good or bad) with all of the rules, units, and personalities I will deal with for the semester. Thankfully, I get to observe the first couple of weeks, and try to figure it all out.

Teaching Tips: Enjoy the first couple of days and be sure to make a good impression. Talk to your cooperating teacher as soon as possible so you can get a glimpse of what to expect curriculum and classroom rules-wise. This will definitely ease your nerves and maybe set you up to start thinking about some creative lessons! Also, your first couple of days, ask to watch other teachers before you watch your own. It’s interesting to see how different teaching styles operate. It will also kind of help you figure out what you want your own classroom to look like.

2. The First Try Nerves:

Today’s the day that I have been waiting for—teaching in front of the live audience who will see you at your best and worst. I know that first impressions mean a lot and I need to establish my credibility so that my students do not harass me. I have spent the last week preparing for this one 45-minute lesson. Why am I so nervous? I know I am over-prepared, but I cannot help but feel like I am going to throw up.

Teaching Tips: BREATHE. Here’s the deal, you are not going to be perfect. You are going to make mistakes and these mistakes are expected. It’s going to be awkward and your students might make fun of you, but don’t worry…it builds character! You are a student teacher, not a veteran. Be ready for the rookie mistakes, but don’t forget to reflect. Being reflective is probably one of the best assets a teacher could have because it shows that you are always wanting to do better. Don’t be too hard on yourself, because you are going to get better the more and more you do it.

3. First Formal Observation Jitters and Thoughts:

Before: Did you update your binder? Do you have your hour sheet updated and copied? There are so many thoughts going through my head that I feel like mybrain is going to explode. What if I mess up? What if a student asks me a question that I do not know the answer to? What if I score really low and my supervisor suggests I choose a different program? Shoot…20 more minutes to prepare.

During: (First 5 minutes of lesson) Good, my students are cooperating with me and remaining calmer than usual. My supervisor seems pleased, though she isn’t smiling. Should I be concerned? 10 minutes later…you have completely forgotten your supervisor is there.

After: Finally, it’s over. Oh shoot, she’s handing me my results. YES! I DID WELL! That was a nice confidence boost and reassurance that I have not wasted my time. This feedback is exactly what I need so I can do better the next time. I cannot wait for the next one!

Teaching Tips: Evaluations are scary and nerve-wracking, but you will get through it. The best thing you can do is be prepared. Have those daily lessons updated, paperwork filled out and completed, worksheets or supplemental materials created and copied the night BEFORE your observation. It will ease your nerves and allow you to have the extra time in the morning to get those last-minute things together. YOU WILL DO FINE! JUST BREATHE!

4. What edTPA?

I am not afraid of the edTPA. I am not afraid of the edTPA. I am not afraid of the edTPA. Okay, I AM AFRAID. VERY AFRAID. What have I gotten myself into? What does this even mean? Why do I need to do this? How am I going to do this on top of teaching? Why can’t they just take my evaluation scores and call it done? I would so rather take another test than this!

Teaching Tips: edTPA is the one thing that will stand between you and your license. Speaking from experience, JUST GET IT DONE RIGHT AWAY. Plan those lessons, tape it, and reflect! It is a lot of work, but once you get started it gets easier as you go along.

The biggest thing is to reflect and be honest about your lessons and what you are doing. Also, use the handouts, guidelines, and rubrics edTPA offers because they do help and will show you what you need to do in order to get a passing score! It is tedious and will be repetitive, but you gotta do what you gotta do in order to get to where you want to be. The bottom line is that you WILL get through it and you WILL pass!

5. Full-time, first full week:

Wow, look at me go! I am the real-deal! I got this! Get outta here, cooperating teacher! This is my classroom now!

Two class periods later…

I am so tired. I really could use a nap, like for real. How do teachers do this? I do not think I am cut out for this life. Look at that stack of grading I already have…there is no way this is going to work out.

Teaching Tips: You are going to get through it! The first week teaching full-time is theh hardest in terms of endurance, but you will adjust and rock it. The best thing you can do is make sure you are drinking a lot of water, eating correctly, and getting enough sleep so you are ready to tackle the next day. Also, knowing when and where you work best helps you plans a little bit better in terms of when you create, complete, and copy your stuff.

6. Shorty got low…and I mean LOW!

I cannot do this. Why does teaching have to involve so many things? Meetings, devotions, teaching all day, grading, assessment writing, reflecting, coaching, class sponsoring…the list goes on and on and on. I am not superman, I don’t know if I will make it. I have 3 weeks’ worth of grading and I need to get those lessons planned and prepare because I know nothing about what I am teaching. I cannot stop crying, everything I do and say is not right and I feel like a failure. Nothing seems to be working, the students are not cooperating like they used to and all I want to do is take a nap.

Teaching Tips: Just like any other job, you are not going to have a good day every single day. You are going to experience the “lows” of teaching and they may come a little more regularly than you think. Teaching is not easy and it is overwhelming. I mean, you have to be on top of your game even when you feel like your world is crashing down.

I know that it is hard and the things that you have to do are stressful to the point where you just want to give up and be done. I found that while I experienced these moments, I had to think about why I wanted to teach in the first place. I had to think about the amazing students I have and that I needed to be there for them. When you teach, it is not about you. It’s about those students you work for every single day.

7. Late Night at the Office?

The cleaning staff has come into the room 4 times now to do their job. This is when you know it’s time to leave. Also, no one else is here…it’s 7PM and you have to be back at 6AM…

Teaching Tips: You will have late nights in the classroom; however, it is important that you take time for yourself. I mean, you need to eat and sleep so you are ready for the next day. It’s best to tell yourself a time where you have to stop doing the “teaching things” and do things that make you happy. I understand that for us who want to teach that teaching is what makes us happy, but remember you are more than a teacher. You do have a life outside of the classroom that needs to be lived.

8. Finally…a BREAK:

Christmas Break, spring break, or a national holiday day? It does not matter, you are uber excited for the mental break that is heading your way…or are you? What was once a magical moment in your life and filled with endless days of sleeping, Netflix, and vacationing has now become your worst nightmare. For most teachers, breaks are consumed by the stack of papers they have neglected for whatever reason. Your students will also expect that their grades will be updated by the time you return because they know you are not doing much over break.

Teaching Tips: Breaks do not have to be a nightmare. Do not think that you have to grade or plan every single day, because it is your break, too. Sure, you need to get that grading done and you need to have your plans updated, but be sure to have some fun as well.

The best thing you can do prior to break is eliminate your stack of grading by doing a class or two every night. This will eliminate your stack and allow you to have a little more freedom to catch up on that series. OR if you are a procrastinator (like me) be sure to lock yourself in a room or get a hotel room for a couple of days and knock out the stuff you need to get done so you can enjoy a few days of freedom before school resumes.

9. Phase-Out—Time to Find a Job:

This is sad. I am sad. What am I going to do with all of this extra time, since I only have 3 classes to teach instead of 7? Sugar! I forgot I need to be an adult. Where do I find a teaching job? How do I find a teaching job? IS that my eye twitching again? The end of student teaching is NOT supposed to be stressful!

Teaching Tips: The “phase out” of student teaching is depressing, yet exciting. Don’t worry, you will still get to see your students every day, but it will be in the form of conversations instead of teaching, which is actually a lot of fun. Sure, you really enjoy teaching all day, but now you have the free-time to get your future in order.

It’s time to apply to jobs and interview, then get ready for your own classroom. DO NOT STRESS OUT! It is going to be okay! You will find a job and you will do a great job in your new environment. Be sure to ask for references and letters of recommendations from your cooperating teacher, university supervisor, and principal. It will definitely help you out and look good!

10. Your Last Day:

I don’t want to leave! I am going to miss my students and the school so much! Why does student teaching have to end! WHY! WHY! WHY!

15 minutes later…


Teaching Tips: You know how important first impressions are? Last impressions are even more important. It will be your last interaction with your cooperating teacher and students. What are you going to do about it? Sure, you have your “final say” and maybe throw a little party, but what can you do for your students that will make them remember you when they get to be your age? This is the time to google and Pinterest different “goodbye” gifts or ideas to keep things interesting. It also gives you another thing to do while you hang out in the teacher’s lounge those last couple of weeks.

Student teaching is hard, but it has been one of the best experiences of my life. Yes, there is a lot of work and there will be times where you question your life choices; but it is all worth it in the end. For me, I teach to make connections and bestow my love for literature and writing onto my students. My students make what I do worthwhile and are the reason I got through my experience, just like I know you will. Best of luck as you begin your journey! I know you are going to do well and change the world for the better!

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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