Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Mentoring Preservice Teachers: Before you begin

I am about to begin working with my 3rd student teacher.  I have always found it to be a rewarding experience that requires lots of extra work on my part.  Here are some things that I recommend doing before you even begin.

1.  Contact the person.  Let them know you are looking forward to working with them.

2.  If possible meet with them and have them spend the day with you to get a feel for your teaching style.  This is also a great time for your students to meet them.

3.  Share your daily/weekly schedule.

4.  Also make some plans for yourself--when will you meet with them.  Before school?  After school?  How many times each week.  Where will they have some space that is theirs in your room?  A locker?  A table?  A desk?

5.  Communication is key!  Be as clear as you can be for both of you.

6.  Ask your student teacher what they are hoping to get from the experience, and ask her/him what (s)he needs from you.

7.  Plan to treat this person the way you would want to be treated.

8.  Think back to what it felt like for you to student teacher.  It's so easy to forget those feelings of fear the very first time you stood in front of the group of these little people and they expected you to teach.

9.  What role do you want this person to play from the beginning.  You may want them to be an observer, but I would quickly give them tasks related to classroom management and organization.  (Nothing in their training prepares them to check folders, sort office notes, do lunch count, clean off tables after lunch, or get kids into winter gear for recess!)

10.  Accept their limitations and yours.  Everyone has strengths and weakness.  Plan to find joy in their presence in your classroom.  It will make it a smoother more beautiful experience for everyone.

Are you working with a perservice teacher?  What are your tips?

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