One Thing That Really Helps Student Teachers (By Student Teachers)

I will be getting a student teacher myself in the next few weeks and I wanted to know what one thing really helps student teachers so I asked the question on Instagram and got tons of responses so I decided to put them all together in a blogpost so that other host teachers will know how best to support student teachers in their school and classrooms.

Support

  • Be there
  • Constructive criticism
  • Be busy at the back of the room (rather than just watching the student)
  • Be open and friendly
  • Make us feel welcome (and not an inconvenience)
  • Model good practice
  • Don’t interfere
  • Run through the lesson content each morning and the teacher can tell you where difficulties may lie
  • Leave the classroom for short bursts*
  • Email/Phone number – ask a question
  • Answer questions
  • Be accommodating – requirements are set by College and students don’t have a choice in exactly what they do
  • Be excited with the class that we have a new teacher
  • Treat us as equals rather than children
  • If student teacher is struggling with a particular lesson – let them observe a lesson being taught/ team teach the lesson
  • Let the student teacher take the class informally for stories/games/ activities during the observation days
  • Model the structure of a lesson
  • Helping with navigating the staff room
  • Introduce the student to the class and show that the same expectations apply
  • Modelling good structure and pace
  • Little things like helping distribute worksheets helps a lot

Planning

  • Give topics rather than being flexible (as there can be too much to choose from)
  • Tell us what they want covered (fear of covering something the children know already)
  • Specific topics
  • Outline what you have planned to cover (monthly) – not giving free reign
  • Agree and stick to the topics as early as possible
  • Offer ideas for lessons
  • Advice on how to progress a topic – ideas for resources, methodologies, management
  • Offer advice on planning – lesson ideas, resources, activities etc
  • Give tips for differentiation strategies in lessons
  • Allow changes to timetable (where needed)
  • This is how I do it/ what works for me
  • Share resources
  • Share the timetable (really helps with routine for the kids)
  • Share how much you would expect to be covered in topics such as maths per week.

Classroom organisation and resources

  • Have space ready for us in the classroom (feel welcome)
  • Don’t sit at their own desk at the top of the room while student is teaching
  • Show you what resources are available in the classroom/school
  • Wall space for displays
  • Offer resources
  • Access to digital programmes
  • Help with photocopying
  • Help with displays
  • Ask what resources might be needed and help to get them organised (There are often tons of resources in the school but student teachers wouldn’t know about them.)

Classroom Management

  • Make sure pupils respect the student teacher (class teacher has more influence on pupils than anyone else)
  • Try not to interfere

About the Pupils

  • Likes/Dislikes
  • What works in terms of classroom management, transitions etc.
  • Any advice they can give on what works best for their class as you are only getting to know them
  • Give mini pupil profiles with any need to know information
  • Give tips and advice on levels, abilities, favourite activities etc.
  • Advice on how best to support children with additional needs

Feedback

  • Constructive criticism – what is going well and something that they need to work on.
  • List of strengths and areas for improvement

 

*Class teachers are not usually allowed to leave the classroom for extended periods when a student teacher is in the classroom as there are implications for insurance, child protection etc. Furthermore – it is good practice for a student teacher to get used to having other teachers in the classroom as in most schools you will have a support teacher in the classroom for different subjects and a lot of classes also have an SNA.