How to Survive Your First Day
After years of education classes, countless social studies classes, and more cores then I care to admit to taking, I finally started Student Teaching for my last semester. You would think that after all this prep work you would be ready to walk into class and feel confident that you can do anything.
Yet honestly for most of us, we are so nervous we have no idea what to do with ourselves. Thankfully I had a friend with me. We met up together 15 minutes before our assigned start time outside of the building. Knowing that I wasn't alone I felt much more relaxed. Knowing we had to ask the same questions, "Who is our Cooperating Teacher?" "Where is their classroom?" "What do we do?"
I was able to meet my Cooperating Teacher early enough in the day to ask her a few questions before classes started. As soon as class started, the students noticed that they had two teachers and were curious. Not everybody knew what a student teacher was, so I let them know I would be there for the semester to help teach the class. Now everything started to go crazy.
One class was going on today instead of a class that was expected, none of the teachers had warning so nobody was prepared. Nobody has a lesson plan so they made the best with what they could. As soon as we were starting, the projector didn't want to cooperate. Students started talking to each other because class was halted. Distractions kept coming and the noise level kept rising. Then suddenly, class was over.
Other classes went by during the day and they went much smoother. I was able to learn a few names and help a few students with their work. I instantly felt much more comfortable being able to work with students and do what I was prepared to do.
Now comes the hard part, doing it all over again every day.
- If you know other student teachers are at the same school, meet up beforehand. It reduces the stress knowing you aren't alone.
- Try to learn a few students names, don't try to memorize every name on the first day.
- Build your way into the class before trying to run it on your own. Hand out some papers and help a few students with individual work.
- Make sure your students know your name.
- Meet the personnel in the front office and the administration. They help run the school and can answer most questions.