5 reasons to have a Student Teacher

I have been teaching for sixteen years and within this time have coached many student teachers. They have visited from local, state and interstate Colleges and Universities. Several student teachers have been international guests. I enjoy coaching and mentoring student teachers.

I believe there are five reasons one must have a Student Teacher;

1. Professional Dialogue

Having student teachers visit our classrooms enables professional conversation. Professional conversations should involve reference to curriculum materials, achievement standards, formative and summarise assessment, data analysis and feedback. Discussions are reassuring and reinforce our understanding of acquired skill. Sharing our experience and knowledge is affirming and can reveal our personal growth and also inadequacies.

2. Articulate Teaching Stratgies

Coaching and mentoring in teaching practice provides opportunity to articulate teaching strategies. By explaining why different strategies and procedures are used we re-evaluate our own practice and critically reflect on our teaching. The procedure is enriching and provides validity to our activities, routines and accomplishments. Describing our actions and explaining our behaviour within the classroom is enlightening.

3. Reflect on Pedagogical Practice

Usually student teachers conduct lesson observations. This provides a heightened need for lessons to be well designed. Teaching and learning sequences need to be carefully considered, differentiation of tasks planned and resources organised. The process of lesson design allows one to reflect on pedagogical practice and craft lessons that achieve optimum learning. Interactions with the school community heighten awareness of relationships, understanding, honesty and personal connections. It also displays our understanding of teaching as a ministry and not merely a job.

4. Best Practice

Student teacher placement allows the mentor to model best practice. Lessons must demonstrate professional teaching standards. Furthermore the classroom leader can utilise various applications and programs that improve classroom management, organisation, productivity and efficiency. In addition, facilitating lesson feedback on assigned student teachers provides opportunity to understand best practice. Providing constructive criticism allows us to understand our automated behaviour, responses, processes and action. When lessons flounder, classroom management slips or teaching flequency and learning processes are less than ordinary it provides opportunity to evaluate why best practice was not executed.

5. Recalculate Educational Fundamentals

Student teachers often work with classes for a limited duration of time. The shortened time frame means educational fundamentals should be addressed. What really matters and the essential elements of classroom success must be brought to the forefront. Explaining the value of drills, systems and daily operations can highlight how regimes cater for curriculum needs. Providing coaching in the development of classroom routines and organisational processes are imperative. After numerous school visits, student-teachers acquire a depth of experience and it is the role of every educator to make a significant contribution to the professional growth of student-teachers. The investment is returned three-fold as a result of professional enlightenment and viewing ourselves from a totally new perspective.

I believe that every educator will benefit from working alongside a student teacher. The experience is professionally enriching and provides a shared learning experience that is profitable for the coach and student teacher. The duty must not be seen as a chance to impart knowledge for together mutual growth, professional understanding, educational excellence and perspective of practice is achieved. Being assigned a student-teacher is a privilege and provides the catalyst of change.


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