As a student teacher, you may have encountered some of the time-consuming routines and occasional time-wasting problems that occupy a teacher’s day. I hope you took notes on how they were handled. If not, please talk to an experienced teacher and ask how they handle these kinds of issues. Ask several teachers the same questions and compare their solutions to problems. A simple idea but sometimes we forget that teachers can also be mentors. Most teachers love to share their skills! So feel free to ask!
I have always felt that student teaching programs should encompass both the start of the school year as well as how to effectively close out the last days. Then at least, a prospective teacher would have a better idea of what to expect.
Too often, however, college schedules do not mesh with those of elementary schools. If at all possible, I urge you to try to make the time to monitor classes by experienced teachers, especially at the beginning and end of the school year or before and after holiday breaks. You may notice there is a different atmosphere in the classroom at those times from the usual term days. Experienced teachers will have the know-how to modify their curricula to suit the changing situations. Notice what they do differently at different times of the year.
Review what you know…
Examine the academic knowledge and practice the teaching skills that you have acquired to date. One key skill that you will need is the ability to transform content – your knowledge base – into teachable activities that engage your students in learning. Do you feel confident in your mastery of the material to be studied? Do you know how you will present it to your students in ways that will interest them?
If you feel at all uncertain about either the content or how to teach it, go back to basics. Look at how you were taught the material by your teachers. How did they structure it? What activities did they do?
Review materials and do further research so that you feel confident in your knowledge. Your feelings count – notice your level of confidence. If you feel tentative, uncertain, or that there is something lacking, that is a sure sign that there is more research and preparation for you to do.
It can be very helpful to look at how other teachers approach the topic you must teach. You can find many examples available on the internet – there are literally thousands of resources available to teachers today, most of which were out of reach even ten years ago. Watch a YouTube video, take an online class, google your topic, and seek out the educational sites for your grade level.
Review what you know and what you need to know. It is important for teachers to utilize “Critical Thinking Skills” themselves, as well as to instill these skills and ideas in their students. The essence of critical thinking is questioning, so always question!
- Question – Whether there are more effective ways to teach subject matter that meet the particular learning objectives of your class.
- Question – If you have found the most effective strategies to get your students engaged and interested enough to make the effort to learn. Learning does take effort!
- Question – If you have provided sufficient motivation, clarity, and information for the students to master the content you teach!
Much will depend on the energy and commitment that you demonstrate.