Student Teaching: Teaching Your First Classroom
Feeling nervous or apprehensive? Totally normal. The following guest post is from
Pro Student Teacher, a blog dedicated to providing aspiring teachers with helpful hints to navigate their student teaching experience and be prepared for their first years of teaching.
After the first week of student teaching, chances are you already know your students’ names, have carefully observed your mentor teacher and participated in engaging icebreakers with the class. Now you should feel ready to roll up your sleeves and start teaching your first lesson. Your mentor teacher makes it all seem so easy. While it may look that way, it is definitely not the case. You may not have the expertise of your mentor teacher, but with practice and determination you will have successful teaching experiences. For that to happen there are several key components that you should keep in mind before teaching your first lesson.
- Backward Design
According to McTighe and Wiggins (Understanding by Design, 1999) the Backward Design Process has three stages.
- Identify your desired results of your lesson.
- Determine your acceptable evidence, and then plan your learning experiences and instruction.
- Formulate your essential questions so at the end of the lesson the students’ responses will represent your desired objective(s).
- Context of Learning
Consider the characteristics of the class. Gender, skill level, experience, diversity and interests are all important factors in planning lessons. Learn about your students so you know how to reach and teach them. Students learn best when the lessons can be applied to their everyday life.
- Planning and Preparation
Be aware of students’ prior knowledge. Identify the information students need to know in order to grasp the concept you aim to teach. Familiarize yourself with the content and look at it through your students’ eyes. Create activities that will engage students in their learning and do not merely regurgitate information. Make sure you think about the possibility of misunderstandings, so you are prepared to adjust and adapt to different learning styles.
Share your lesson plan with your mentor teacher. Discuss whether you have enough information for the lesson, an appropriate time frame for completion, relevant materials for the students, etc. Add revisions and make adjustments based on your mentor’s feedback.
Write out a script for your lesson. It may sound pointless, but writing out a script actually takes away a little bit of the anxiety. Include the statements you plan to make, directions you will give and the questions you will ask. Do a practice dry run in the classroom at the end of the day or in some other quiet place. Consider your tone of voice, the need for eye contact with students, mobility, etc.
Your first lesson is one of the most important lessons you will ever teach. It’s the lesson that builds your self-confidence and officially gets you started on your career pathway. The first lesson solidifies your desire to teach and lets your students see you as someone they can connect with, who can also take charge in their classroom, earn their respect and play an important role in their education.
Getting ready to teach your first lesson is similar to an actor getting ready for opening night. The script is written. You have rehearsed your lines, devised strategies to capture the audience’s attention and have a designated time frame that you’d like to follow. You have even played out the lesson in your mind. As you prepare to teach, you will become that actor. The classroom is your stage and it is now your time to shine.
To assist student teachers in analysis and self-reflection on their student teaching experiences, Pro Student Teacher has an available guidebook entitled “The Journey: From Student Teacher to Professional Educator.” This guidebook also helps them meet the demands of teaching, promotes organization, prepares them for their job search and serves as a resource for their early years in the classroom.
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Are you curious about teaching salaries? A better question to ask might be, Where are you planning on teaching?
The National Education Association has reported that many states have seen a large boost in teacher salaries, despite a small overall drop in teacher pay (-3.2%) as of 2002–2003. New York (up 11.9 percent), Wyoming (15.2%), North Dakota (10.1%), District of Columbia (10.1%) and Massachusetts (10%) have all seen jumps in public educator paydays. Three of those states (NY, MA, and DC) are in the reigning top 10 for salaries.
It seems that one of the determining factors for rate-of-pay comes down to your zip code. Here is a look at some of the highest — and lowest — paying districts and schools in the best compensating states for teachers:
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CALLING ALL TEACH100 BLOGGERS!
Teach.com is launching an exclusive new advice series called Teach100 Mentors. We’re inviting our favorite Teach100 bloggers to participate in a monthly survey that gets your expert opinions on important issues in education, from Common Core Standards to apps for the classroom.
We also want your personal thoughts on what you do (yes, you!) every day: key challenges in teaching preschool, indispensable resources for ESL learning, the best advice you ever received in your work as a school principal.
We know that Teach100 bloggers are the best of the best: they write about education because they live it, and they love it enough to write about it.That’s why we want your input.
And there’s something in it …
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If you like reading education blogs, you’re probably already familiar with Teach100; the blog is a great one-stop shop for writing tips from student teachers to school counselors.
But if you’re short on time, microblogs like Tumblrs may be more your speed. Since they’re designed as a way to quickly share — whether it’s thoughts, pictures, or news clippings — Tumblrs are fun and easy to skim, as well as participate in.
Here are a few of our favorite education blogs (in no particular order), ranging from silly to serious, for the next time you need a quick, fun or informative read:
- This blog is mainly a source of hilarious .gifs about the teaching experience, but also answers (h…