Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Student Teaching: Day 1

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.


  1. Gabriella TerzulliFebruary 1, 2013 at 2:53 PM

    Thank you so musch for sharing your experience with us and for all of the helpful hints. I am student teaching next semester and it can be daunting when you think about it, so any information is always welcome.

  2. These are great tips Mike! I agree that it is important for you to make sure your students know your name and you know their name. For me, I am usually able to remember everyone's name on the first day, but definitely don't stress about it because you'll rememember all of their names soon enough!

    - Alice

  3. Thank you for the awesome tips and sharing your experience here! I am honestly very nervous to stand in front of a whole class by myself and have to be professional. I tutor a lot of students privately in their homes and honestly it is much more relaxing and fun. But, of course, a classroom in a school is totally different. So, it is definitely going to be a new experience for me to stand in front of like 30 students. Thank you once again for the tips!