Student Teaching Tips

  1. Contact your cooperating teachers by phone or email as soon as possible. Find out valuable information for your first day such as: directions to the school, where to park, and class schedule.
  2. Individuals with elementary placements will spend eight weeks at the secondary level and eight weeks at the elementary level. Contact your cooperating teacher for the second eight weeks during the first week of student teaching. Although this teacher may not have much time to spend with you during the first week, he/she can probably give you a proposed calendar of events for the semester. This will help you put events such as UIL on your personal calendar NOW!
  3. You are responsible for attending every activity on the schedule of your cooperating teacher. This includes bus duty, lunch duty, PTA, parent conferences, in-service meetings, and UIL activities. Your first priority should be to establish a calendar for the semester.
  4. Dress professionally at all times. Even if your cooperating teacher and other teachers in the school wear jeans and sweatshirts--DON'T DO IT!
  5. You are a guest in your cooperating teacher's classroom. Follow his/her systems of classroom organization and management. Even if you are absolutely sure that you have a system that would work better--you don't.
  6. Proceed in every activity with genuine enthusiasm. It will be rewarded.
  7. Always work on lesson planning, even if you are not responsible for a particular class. For example, even if you never get to work with the top choir, always make lesson plans as if you were the director of that choir. This will help you learn to diagnose musical problems, to look ahead toward particular performances, and to compare your plans to those of your cooperating needs.
  8. Videotape your teaching as often as possible. When you observe yourself on tape, make a written list of corrections you would like to make. In addition to your own skills (e.g., specific feedback, directives, and modeling), keep track of students’ musical and social behaviors. Are they making improvements? What have you done to facilitate those improvements?
  9. Make time to participate in school-wide activities and to meet other school personnel. This will help you understand the cultural diversity of the school, which, in turn, will help you make better teaching decisions.
  10. Schedule a "mock interview" with the school principal. Dress formally for this interview. Have your resume prepared, along with your teaching philosophy and examples of your best work (DVD of your teaching, typed lesson plans, etc.). Ask the principal for feedback in order to improve your interviewing skills.
  11. Ask your cooperating teacher about their choice of repertoire, classroom management techniques, fundraising possibilities, effective communication with administrators and parents, etc. Absorb everything you can and be receptive to his/her suggestions.
  12. The university supervisor is your advocate. They will do everything possible to make your student-teaching experience a successful one.