4 Replies Latest reply on Jan 3, 2011 4:36 PM by glen_w

    Suggestions to a Prospective Teacher


      The following is my proposed response to an email from a prospective teacher. She asked for suggestions on how to become most qualified to work in a school that is supportive of its students.


      I am excited you want to join the best profession in the world. Teachers influence students who may become future leaders, engineers, doctors, parents, and teachers. This is a huge responsibility that should not be taken lightly. Despite the thinking of many people, a teacher is not a babysitter. Learn to love your students and be concerned about how each is succeeding in learning what you are teaching. Consider the students in your classroom as “your students.” It also helps if you know what your students’ outside interests and activities are.


      I recommend you prepare as much as possible for your student teaching experience. Get to know the students you teach as if the class is your own. Work with your cooperating teacher in writing and evaluating lessons and activities. Keep a reflective journal from the time you begin student teaching. Reflecting will help you identify teaching methods that are successful as well as those methods that challenge you and/or your students.


      Keep in contact with parents. Share examples of how students are doing well in addition to asking how you can help the reluctant learner. Remember parents have loved their child for a LONG time and want him/her to be successful. If these parents feel you are on their side you will develop an important partnership.


      Many schools have a Mission Statement that includes helping students become “lifelong learners.” Allow this concept to motivate you. Find ways to extend your learning. Allow your learning to include activities and information related to your content area. I recommend you take advantage of opportunities to learn in other areas as well. One area I suggest is making sure you keep up with technology. I do not recommend students being the most “technology literate” in a classroom. Join online education communities that relate to what you teach or are learning. Ask questions if you do not know how to do something. Share your learning with your students as in “Guess what I just learned …”


      What else would you recommend I share with this prospective teacher? I want to be encouraging in what I include.

        • Re: Suggestions to a Prospective Teacher
          Bonnie Feather

          Glen's letter is fantastic!  And wouldn't it be great if we actually sent encouraging messages to student teachers who aren't working directly with us?


          The one thing I would consider adding is that not all of our students will be or WANT to be "professionals."  Something about the value of a productive day at ANY job being honorable.


          I'm thinking a lot lately about whether every student should go on to college.  There are so many jobs which need to be done, and so much pleasure and satisfaction from doing any day's work, for someone.


          I guess it would be more along the lines of "Take the time to expose your students to a wide variety of work.  Let them know that much of life's satisfaction comes from making your own way- finding what satisfies each person as an individual and knowing how good it feels to TRY and accomplish.  Try to change your community each and every day in a positive way."



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            • Re: Suggestions to a Prospective Teacher

              Bonnie provides a great reminder that not every student will attend college. I should add something about this in my response. (Response email has not yet been sent.)


              What other suggestions do you have for this Prospective Teacher? (I'm encouraged she contacted me to ask for suggestions. She mentioned she found me using a Google Search. That tells me I should remember I may be influencing others whether I realize it or not.)

            • Re: Suggestions to a Prospective Teacher

              I like - Join online education communities-  I taught Geometry for ten years and I still see students who only remember math we learned through the non text activities. We studied geometry through building kites, origami, crazy jokes (What do you call a guy who has been out in the sun too long? Tangent...LOL), art, etc. but the only way I could get those ideas were from other teachers. I believe having a professional learning community is key in the teacher's world today. The Internet has made it so easy to have that ...look at what we are doing here in Engage!

                • Re: Suggestions to a Prospective Teacher

                  Thanks for explaining why you like encouraging new teachers to join online communities. I agree that most teachers learn best by sharing with other teachers. I also encourage teachers to join local associations and attend conferences in their state. After the our last Science Teacher's Association meeting I had several newer teachers come up and talk with me about how many ideas they received for classroom use. There is really a power in the people.