Re: Advice for student teaching
Posted by JW on 1/11/2021, 10:28 am, in reply to "Advice for student teaching"
Exciting! Congrats. Student teaching is a really valuable time. |
Be respectful, be polite, but be confident. Make eye contact with mentor teachers, other teachers/admin, and students. Answer in complete sentences or with a strong yes/no when asked questions. No "uh huh" "sure" or non-verbals grunts. Enunciate. There's no second chance to make a good first impression, and hopefully your mentor teachers will be your strongest advocate on the job hunt this spring. Turn your phone off and put it away when you get to school.
Listen first - You will probably be eager to jump in and ask lots of questions. For the first week or two especially though, listen and keep your eyes open much more than you talk. Watch for classroom procedures, how your mentor teachers redirect student attention, how they plan and pace their classes. Everyone is busy, and this is a more stressful year than average for most. Be mindful of when and how you ask questions - be direct, be concise, and donít ask the others director a question right as theyíre walking up to the podium to start their rehearsal.
Take notes - if you are mostly observing at the beginning, use that time to take notes. If you canít take notes during the classes, debrief during conference periods/at the end of the day. Youíll think youíll remember everything - trust me, you wonít!
When youíre asked to do something, do it - if you are a trumpet player who is asked to pull the clarinets for a sectional, and you donít remember the first thing about clarinet, that is ok! Ask the kids to remind each other about fingerings if needed, and focus on the things you know - right rhythm, right pitches, musicality. Everything seems manageable and straight forward in your college classroom - the only way to test yourself and figure out what you donít know is to get out there and do it. Better to figure out your big gaps during students teaching (if you can) than during the first job!
Pay attention to everything behind the scenes - everything thinks about getting their beginners to play well, getting their band prepared for UIL, but the teaching/playing aspects are really just the tip of the iceberg in terms of doing the job well. How are UIL entries done? When do the directors start laying out next yearís calendar? If middle school, how/when does recruiting next yearís beginners happen? If high school, what recruiting is in place for the 8th graders? How often do the director communicate with parents? Is there a social media presence for the program? Trip planning, budget, etc. Is there a boosters/how do they interact with the boosters? Fundraising?
If it is okay with your mentor teachers, sit in one of the non-varsity groups and play along on a secondary instrument. This helps them by having another adult in the room amongst the kids, and it helps you build skills on another instrument, and hear the group from the inside.
When you begin taking over parts of beginner classes and rehearsals, be sure to record yourself and listen/watch back. You can eliminate tons of inefficiencies quickly by watching yourself.
If you disagree with the way your mentor teachers handle something, 1) keep it to yourself 2) think through specifically how you think you would want to handle the situation instead. It is easy to criticize... don't. No one handles things exactly how they'd want to 100% of the time, and until you are in your own job it is hard to understand all of the factors that go into managing the classroom.
Make sure to write down the things you see that you want to take to your own program - classroom management, rehearsal techniques - and start brainstorming what else YOU would want to bring to your own program. Start looking for resources now.