The following is my 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 student 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 your student teaching. Reflecting on your teaching 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.

Views: 87

Tags: motivating, new_teacher

Comment by Cybrary Man on January 3, 2011 at 7:06pm
Mr.Westbroek gave you some excellent suggestions.  First, get in the best physical shape that you can to endure the challenges of student teaching, taking courses and the rest of your life.  Definitely get to know your students and figure out the best way each learns.  I gave my students a survey form at the beginning of each school year to find out their interests,hobbies and what they were good at.  I then tried to find ways to take advantage of these skills during the course of the school year.  Watch carefully how your CT does the lessons and routines.  It is important that the students know is expected of them.  Be firm but fair with them as some will try to take advantage of you.  Keep accurate records of everything and over plan for lessons.  I have a lot of useful information on my website to help with lesson planning, classroom management, organization, etc.    Good luck and when the bell rings come out teaching!  Cybrary Man's Educational Web Sites
Comment by Beth Still on January 3, 2011 at 7:09pm
These are great tips, Glen. The only other thing I would add is that teaching is not an 8-4 job where you have weekends and summers off. You should also not let it consume every moment of your life. To do it right you have to be dedicated and willing to invest yourself in teaching. If you are wise about the way you do this, you will not "burn out," but rather you will feed off the energy of your students. Also, don't be afraid to let your students control their learning. Provide them with choices and let them teach each other from time to time. My last piece of advice? Never, ever stop learning.
Comment by Glen Westbroek on January 3, 2011 at 7:10pm
Thanks for including the link to your resources ... I can personally vouch for how helpful they are.
Comment by Glen Westbroek on January 3, 2011 at 7:12pm
Thanks Beth for the reminder of how a teacher can "feed off the energy of [his/her] students." Excellent teachers are comfortable in what they do and grow continually as you mentioned.


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