Advice for Student Teachers (from Host Teachers)

I asked teachers who have supported student teachers to give their top tips for school placement. I’ve put them together in this blogpost so that student teachers can get some advice from experienced teachers all around Ireland.

Planning

  • Less is more – keep objectives short and simple (don’t try to cover too much in lessons)
  • Be prepared
  • Correct the work you do with the children
  • Don’t over complicate lessons
  • Be prepared – have your lesson clearly laid out and have your resources ready
  • Have some ideas of the topics you’d like to do
  • Create your own lessons
  • Cover the content that the teacher asks you to  cover
  • Discuss plans for your themes/lessons as most teachers will have loads of resources to help you.
  • Ask about resources in advance (not on the morning you need them) so the class teacher can get them ready for you.

Behaviour

  • Spend time on your classroom management
  • Control behaviour in the class
  • Continue behaviour management plan or use something slightly different to motivate the pupils
  • Wait for silence before trying to explain anything
  • Don’t be afraid to use your voice -speak clearly and keep instructions short and concise
  • Appear confident and enthusiastic – children can sense nerves and fear and react

Advice and Feedback

  • Ask for advice/guidance and ideas as teachers may not give feedback or advice without being asked as they don’t wish to offend/interfere.
  • Listen to the advice of your host teacher
  • Don’t take inspectors criticism personally
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help or tell the class teacher if you are finding something difficult.
  • Listen to and take on board constructive criticism
  • Take in what class teacher tells you especially about behaviour

In the classroom

  • Don’t wait to be asked to help
  • Use your initiative
  • Don’t change the routines – these have been chosen for this class, practised and the children need them to remain.
  • Be enthusiastic
  • Don’t take things/use things without checking with the class teacher first. (A lot of the materials, books, resources in a classroom belong to the class teacher (not the school) and while most people are more than willing to let you borrow things – just check to be sure)
  • Have the materials you need especially paper, art materials etc. (things like clay/paint/ paper for art are likely to be available in the school but check first – if you’re doing something specific for a holiday e.g. Christmas/Valentines Day etc – these materials may not be available.)

Observation Week

Use observation days as wisely as possible – get involved, get to know the kids. (Don’t sit at the back of the room)

Data Protection/Pictures etc.

  • Do not send snapchats of your class.
  • Do not put pictures of your class/classroom on social media.
  • Take pictures of your displays for your folder.

Lunch/Breaktime

  • Don’t spend break time stuck on your phone – go to the staffroom.
  • Don’t spend all your break/lunch time preparing and organising – important to have a break.

Remember

  • How you teach on placement is not how you must teach for life – it is totally unrealistic
  • SP is very unrealistic – don’t burn yourself out
  • Write down 3 things you would like to say to yourself on final day of TP
  • Always act like a professional – don’t criticise college/ supervisor etc. as you never know who knows who.
  • Don’t let the stress of TP put you off teaching
  • Be grateful to the school and class teacher who are handing over the class for a few weeks.