Spending time in a K-12 classroom as a practicum student or student teacher allows you to see school and classroom operations from a different perspective, observe and experience teacher responsibilities that occur behind the scenes, attend meetings, advise co-curricular activities, and assume responsibility for administrative duties. Being on the “other side of the desk” and viewing the role of a teacher through a different lens will help you decide if being a classroom teacher matches your career criteria.
Completing observations and student teaching are an important part of your professional development as a future teacher. It is one of your first major opportunities to determine your professional identity.
Here are some tips to get the most of out of this experience.
- Get to know the cooperating teacher and the other staff members in the building. This can help you get acclimated to the school and could even be a positive source of references in the future.
- Dress professionally. Wearing professional clothing promotes a positive image and signifies that you are taking these experiences seriously.
- Reflect on your experiences in the classroom. Consider what has gone well, what to improve on, and how to be actively engaged in the student teaching process. As you progress, also contemplate what type of position and school you would like to be a part of in the future based on your observations and student teaching experiences.
- Remember to write down important details of your experience. This can enhance your resume as well as future job interviews. For example, keep a list of your successes, how many students were in your class, etc. Having concrete details and examples will show your interest and commitment to teaching.
- Treat everyone you meet in a positive and respectful manner.