Monday, February 4, 2013

Student Teaching Week 1

Actually Teaching A Class

Ok so I didn't teach a full class as of yet. I have been gradually working my way into the classroom by working my way into the classroom little by little. Today I was able to do a little more than I had done last week. I have been able to do the Do Now with students in the past but today I was able to be more involved in the class activity and discussion.

We discussed a reading that focused on the first interactions of Christopher Columbus and the native Arawaks. This reading didn't follow the typical ideas that are usually talked about with Columbus but the more raw and savage details that are usually skipped over. Thankfully, the students found this reading to be extremely interesting and kept their attention. Throughout my class I tried to really engage the students and have them think about what the reading meant and have them look at it in terms of world view and perspectives.

While I had students volunteer to read each paragraph I would emphasize key points and give a very brief summary of each section to keep students on track. I quickly noticed that I was starting to lose my class on a topic that I thought could really interest them. My cooperating teacher suggested that instead of summarizing for the students I encourage them to listen to each other more by ending each paragraph by asking questions instead. 

This easy switch led all the students to focus more and get more out of the reading immediately. One small change halfway through and I had them. Believe me, nothing is more satisfying than having a class of students who are actively participating in a reading and discussion.

  • Read through any material that you will use at least once or twice before the day and refresh yourself on the material day of. Being comfortable with your material keeps you from tripping over your words and getting yourself confused.
  • When you do a reading with the class, ask questions after each paragraph. If you summarize it, they won't listen to each other. If you ask questions throughout you keep their attention and check for student comprehension.
  • Remember to move around the classroom. It gives you a stringer presence in the classroom and helps to keep students on task.  
  • Keep your information consistent but if your lesson isn't working don't be afraid to try something different with your teaching strategy. 


  1. These are such great tips!! Engaging students is so important. One of the most important things I learned while student teaching was that you have to be flexible with your lesson plans because you never know how students will respond. It's so good that you realized this so early in your student teaching...if a lesson plan isn't working, don't be afraid to change it! There's nothing worse than standing in front of a class where students are bored.

    Good luck with the rest of student teaching! Can't wait to hear more about it!

  2. Student participation is definitely integral to a successful classroom, and I think that one of the most important tips you've given here is to be comfortable with the material you'll be teaching, because then you have solidified your authority in the classroom and are able to teach the students without worrying that you've forgotten or been mistaken about something. I know that when I tutor Chemistry, I always have to make sure to triple-check the material before teaching anything because it's a complicated subject and saying just one thing wrong might confuse the students forever because it'll be stuck in their minds. It also helps you to be confident, which leads to walking around the classroom, like you suggested is a good idea, and keep your students on task. Sounds like the experience has been good for you so far, I hope the same happens for me!

  3. I like that your cooperating teacher helped you by sharing a different method. What may seem like the best way to do things before you get in the classroom, isn't always what works best for that class! I read your other post, too... I like your tips! I think you are going to have a great student teaching experience. Looking forward to more posts! - Nicole Mahig