These past 4-5 years have gone by like the blink of an eye. You went from being in gen-ed classes to having days filled with curriculum. Not too long ago you thought you would never get here, now that light at the end of the tunnel is shining bright.
First, be proud of yourself. You did it, you got here. All the years of hard work are coming to an end and the most meaningful part is to come. No matter all the roadblocks you had along the way, the long nights, many jobs and whatever else has happened, it's done and will now just be a memory.
Take time and really look into the prospects where you want to student teach. Don't just pick whatever school is closest to you or where you know the teachers. Pick somewhere that is going to give you the most valuable experience. Pick the school with resources, a diverse student body and things you haven't been experienced to yet. Think about all the things you will want to reflect on during an interview.
Try not to get too far ahead of yourself. Take it one day at a time and try not to get into your schedule 6 months from now. I know that's hard with how crazy organized we all are, but there is no point in getting worked up when you have NO IDEA where you will be 6 months from now. Focus on your classes and what's going on now, then worry about all that when it gets closer. You don't want to miss these last few months of your college experience worrying about things you can't control.
Remember that when you do find out your placement don't get disappointed if you do not get your first choice. Your student teaching placement does not define you and will not define your career. Every opportunity good or bad is a valuable one, and this is just another opportunity. Just because you do not get into your first choice school does not mean you couldn't teach their one day. Just put your best foot forward and do your best, no matter what!
Start building your interview binder now. While you're still in classes reflect on what assignments/ projects or whatever else you were most proud of. The things that will represent you as an educator the best. Do this while you are still immersed in it and just have it ready when you go into student teaching.
Then, when you are done with it you can just add that to the binder and be all ready for an interview. What if where your student teaching wants to have an interview with you about an open position? You will be all ready and will be able to minimize the anxiety attack of having your first teacher interview.
Start buying clothes now. We may have had the few professional outfits that we wore but you will need a lot more. Time to hang up the sweatpants you always wore to class and buy some slacks. Yes, in some schools teachers wear leggings and jeans but they already have a job there. You do not.
Every time you run into the principal you want them to see you putting your best foot forward and a good representation of their school. When you have a full-time job in their school then you can bring out the jeans. But for now, take the time and get up and get ready every morning. You will thank yourself for it later.
Lastly, it's time to break the idea of we need to be perfect. It is so common throughout all our degree in every class, we try to be perfect. Every assignment, every observation we aim to get a 100% with amazing feedback. That will not be reality anymore. We've been in this bubble where we knew what we were doing and seemed proficient in it.
Now we will be new again, constantly learning and changing. We will make mistakes and we will learn from them. But don't let it dwindle your spirit, and just keep going. These next few years will be filled with change and learning so don't get overwhelmed if perfection isn't a reality.
You did it! You are here and ready to have your own classroom soon! No matter what is to come the hardest part is behind you. This is the rewarding part, you actually get to be immersed in a classroom. Take it day by day and be prepared to make mistakes and just bounce right back.
Be proud of yourself, you are about to brighten up the lives of children in your own classroom very soon. This is what you have been waiting for!