General chatter - Question for Teachers....Student Teaching/Your First Year

03-16-2007, 10:39 AM
Hi - I am working towards my elementary teaching certification. I'm no spring chicken - 39 years old - this is a career change for me. I have a few questions and I hope you will all feel free to share your experiences with me.

(1) I will be student teaching in the fall. If you have had a student teacher in your class, what do you look for? What do you expect of your student teachers? What made the experience good/bad/ugly for you?

(2) In addition to my observations for classes, I also sub in my district. I have asked many teachers about their "first year" and the responses make me a little nervous. I have heard everything from "the second year is much better" to "I don't like to talk about it" to visual shudders. OOOFFF! Makes me concerned (although I was in IT for 10 years so I am used to people yelling at me because the sun didn't shine that day - it must be the computer's fault).

What was your experience? What tips do you have to offer a newbee?

Thanks for your help and assistance. It is not easy being green!:)

03-16-2007, 11:45 AM

The first year IS difficult, but mostly because it is such a steep learning curve for the teacher! :) Also, you aren't in charge of your OWN classes, per se, and the students know it... next year you'll start out the year with the students and YOU will be the teacher they listen to :)

Students are ALL looking for the same thing, believe me! Respect them, while setting clear guidelines and expectations (ands this can be the hardest part of the learning curve!); above all, be FAIR. The hardest lesson for the teacher is almost always this: IT DOESN'T MATTER IF THEY 'LIKE' YOU. Not all of them will anyway :) That's not to say a person who doesn't like children should teach, though!!

Teaching - it's one on one, but it is NOT personal!

Don't let the job take over your life. The hard work you put in, in the first year, will pay off for you later - but it is a job that can expand to fit the time you give it. Set YOURSELF deadlines, and STICK TO THEM [eg. I will NOT work after 8pm on any given night except in the most dire of emergencies!] I have seen too many student teachers burn out working through a fourteen or fifteen hour day (or longer!)

Enjoy it though - cling desperately to why you've made this change (I changed careers to teaching in my thirties, too!) and you'll be just fine. The hardest part of all might not be the students at all - watch out for the staffroom!! ;-)

Best wishes, and congratulations on your career change!

03-16-2007, 02:36 PM
Thanks Heather! Funny you mentioned the work room - my classroom management teacher said to avoid the teacher's lounge as well. He said it gets catty and some teachers talk about their students in not a good light (actually heard that one time grabbing coffee while substituting).

Thanks for the advice and congrats on the weight loss.