1 Thing Student Teachers Should Know

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Jennifer Nelson

Part of the ongoing 1 Thing series.

There are many things all student teachers should know.   Since I work with pre-service teachers every day, I thought I would ask a few of our cooperating teachers and university supervisors to comment.  Please feel free to add your remarks!

5 thoughts on “1 Thing Student Teachers Should Know”

  1. Student teachers should know that the teaching profession is more than a job. This is a calling. A calling to devote your time, your talents, and your life to a wonderful and fulfilling career that will change the course of students’ lives. This is not an easy task. Teaching is a marathon and not a sprint. It takes training, time, and hard work to achieve its final goal. The finish line is the most rewarding experience. Lives are changed at the finish line.

  2. Student teachers and teachers alike have to remember that parents are sending us the best students they have. They aren’t keeping the good ones at home and sending us what’s left over. Parents hand over their children hoping for the best. I really believe this. Even when we get frustrated because a lesson didn’t go as well as we would have liked or students didn’t grasp a concept, we have to remember that the students we teach really are the future. We have to keep trying and learning about the teaching craft in order to continue to improve.

  3. Know yourself. Trust yourself. Be yourself.

    You’ll know when you make a mistake. So will your students. You’ll know when you kick ass. So will your students.

    Be OK with being you – because the best teachers are the ones who are honest with who they are, alive to ride that is life, and wanting to share that ride with the students they stand in front of. Every day.

    I wrote these notes to a new teacher a year ago. It still stands.

    Max – welcome to the most noble pursuit on the planet. I use noble in the sense that teaching is a pursuit that is decent, unselfish, righteous and worthy. You will be frustrated, challenged and despairing at times. See through the paperwork, the politics, the constant planning.

    Be there for your students.
    Be the one positive, passionate, purposeful person in their lives.

    Give them hope.
    Give them dignity.
    Believe in them.
    Believe in the possibilities that they are.
    Every day.

    That might be in teaching them how to balance algebraic equations, how to make sense of a piece of text, or just be greeting them with a smile each day.

    All that might sound like pablum and hokey to some. But we adults seem to have forgotten to believe in our young people. We reduce them to statistics and planned learning experiences or put them into boxes.

    I showed Apple’s ‘Think Different’ TVC to my students today and we had a discussion about the vocabulary and what it meant. I didn’t think the challenge would come from explaining ’round peg in a square hole’ – but then how do you argue with a student who states: “You could do that if the peg was smaller than the hole.”

    My 12 year olds only recognized Muhammad Ali and Mahatma Gandhi, but when I asked which individual did they think was the most important, several considered, then answered carefully: “The little girl at the end … because that’s us.”

    The kids are alright.

    And you will be as well.

  4. Speaking as a teacher who has hosted several student teachers, and someone who held a formal full-time job as a new teacher mentor for 2 years, I can think of a million things. But none of them are worth much to a new teacher unless they know and believe one big thing – are you ready?? Asking for help is a strength, not a sign of weakness.

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