Mentoring a Student Teacher: A Series (#1)


   One of my favorite parts of teaching is mentoring newer teachers.  Yes, I love teaching my students, delving into subject content, developing materials, collaborating with colleagues...in general, most of what happens in the school day.  (OK, I'm not crazy about the paper work.)  But, taking a new teacher under my wing and helping him/her start the journey toward teacher-hood strikes a spark of excitement and anticipation in me. I see it as an chance to positively influence future students that I will not actually teach myself.  It's a tremendous responsibility and a fantastically cool opportunity!
     I'm blessed to have a student teacher this semester, which is like mentoring on steroids.  I plan to do a series of posts documenting what we do to fulfill her training.  I hope it will assist others in mentoring, training student teachers, and maybe strike a spark or two in others.
     My Student Teacher (I'll refer to her as ST from now on) is super-excited to be at this point in her education!  She literally exudes excitement!  She has served in other capacities in education in the past few years, but she's worked tirelessly to get to this point - you know it's a dream-come-true for her!
     Here's what we're doing the first week:
A Tour of the School: This is important for any teacher new to a school.  Even though my ST actually worked at our school as a TA in the past, things change...my goodness, do they change!  On the first day, we did a walk-through:
  • meeting and greeting employees, 
  • discussing particular routines and procedures on a school-wide basis, and 
  • pointing out where specific classes were located, especially those in mobile units outside the main buildings.  Keep in mind that we teach the whole child - it's important to be familiar with every place that a child might be during the day.  
Providing Curricula and Pacing Guides: There's no telling where ST will be placed when she receives her license and begins her job search, so it may or may not be worthwhile for a cooperating teacher to make additional copies of the current curricula and pacing guides, but it is vital that she have access to what I have now.  ST knows exactly where they are and I encourage her to refer to them constantly as we plan together.
Begin Learning Classroom Routines and Procedures: Even with a ST joining us, learning must continue in the classroom.  ST and I were at the door on the first morning greeting students.  I introduced each student as they entered the room and she began learning their names quickly - she's really good at that!
     I'm so excited having ST with us!  Do you have a Student Teacher with you this year, or have you recently?  I'd love to hear about your experience, too!
 
Pat McFadyen
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