Tips from Experienced ECEC 3190 Practicum Teachers Fall 2002
from Haley Jones
You should go into the elementary class room ready to work. Let your mentor teacher know that you are willing to do (or at least try) anything she needs. Establish a comfortable relationship by talking with your teacher and asking questions. Right away, you should let her know that you have to complete so many lessons while you are in her class. Then she will know that there has to be a time set aside for YOU to teach. Communicate a lot to let her know you are there and ready to work.
from Maggie Tatum
See each child as a unique individual and know that children learn in many different ways. Adapt your plans with that in mine. And realize that children can sense whether you love them and teaching them or are just doing a job! -Sherry Cleveland
Being a teacher is more than a career, it is who you are! A teacher tries to gain experiences from everything he or she encounters in order to share that with those she teaches whether it is something read, seen, heard, or felt. Teaching becomes a lifestyle which grows beyond the classroom. A teacher must be willing to learn not only the material being taught but also the ones she is teaching. -Robbin Richardson
from Katrice McKinnon
from Shannon Coker
from Carla Bello
Observe and remember the techniques your mentor teacher uses to grab and hold the children's attention during a lesson or activity.
When you have your lessons evaluated by a University Professor, plan it on a day other than Monday. The children are still wound up from the weekend on Monday!
from Brandi Bostick
from Staci Cavenaugh
from Paige Southall
Prepare early for your lessons. There is often a lot of materials you may need and getting them together takes more time than you may think.
Practice reading books because you will read a lot of them to your practicum class. Probably even on your first day!
from Tamra Brice
Be prepared for all types of parents. There are some who are very supportive and are willing to communicate with your mentor teacher. There are others that believe that their child is a sweet, innocent angel that can do no wrong while in reality the student may act like a little devil. There are even parents who seem to not even exist in their child's life. The key with parents is to communicate. It is also very wise to keep documentation of the student's disciplinary actions. Most parents are pretty helpful, but remember to always expect the unexpected!
from Erin Roberts
Get to know two very important people fast. The lunchroom lady (the one that sits at the computer) and the janitor. They are usually very approachable and helpful. They hold a lot of information you need to know. I have enjoyed many helpful and useful conversations.
Imitate commands. If the children see you doing it, they will too. No matter how silly you feel walking the halls with your finger on your lip and your hand on your hip, just do it.
Learn the children's names the first day. The teacher will be impressed and the kid's will be thrilled. (Don't get your feelings hurt if they don't remember yours for the first few days. It takes them a little while.)
Don't put them in the swings at recess. You will want to, but resist the urge to help in this area. If you do it for one, you have to do it for the whole class. (Some kids are not as small and light as you think they are.) They will expect you to do it everyday from then on. And then you have teach them how to swing, because you can't push everyone!
from Kandice Hersey
from Faith Wolfe
Never schedule an evaluation for first thing Monday morning with Kindergarten students--especially following three days with a substitute, two holidays and four weekend days.
Follow the mentor teacher's advice every time while you are a guest in her room. Do not try to change her opinion.
Know the classroom rules, procedures and consequences for violating the rules so that you can model, explain and enforce them all.
Offer to help your mentor teacher with anything she needs.
Notice things that need to be handled, such as glue on desks, trash on floor, and papers to collect.
Prepare your lesson materials well ahead of the day you plan to teach the lesson.
Ask your mentor teacher about anything you do not understand. That's why you're there--to learn!
Organize your practicum assignments and start working on them early.
Don't complain about being tired. If you think you're tired now, wait until you are doing this job on your own all day, every day for an entire school year.
Be flexible. Children and life are unpredictable. Go with the flow and don't let changes bother you. See changes as challenges and opportunities to approach teaching from a different direction.
Document everything. You will have to do it when you are a teacher. It will be good practice to do it now. You will be amazed just how quickly you can forget so much.
Remember the ultimate goal is to make a difference in the life of a child.
from Rebekah Ford
No two kids are alike. You will be in a classroom full of individuals with different wants and needs.
Listen to the students and try to think on their level from time to time. You will understand them better.
Have lots of patience. After all, they are just kids.
Don't be too hard on the students. That way they don't get discouraged before they even get started.
Most importantly, have fun. If the students see you having fun teaching the lesson then they will have fun learning it.
from Patti Dean
Try to learn your students' names quickly, which makes a great impression. This is more impressive to the younger students.
Give your mentor teacher a list you have made of things that you need to accomplish during the semester. She may be able to give you some great ideas which will make your stress level much less.
panic----things could be a lot worse!!!! Just remember your goal
of being a teacher and that you are on the downhill slide!
from Jennifer Wilkinson
from Shana Sinclair
Try to block out any negative backbitting, that you may hear, and realize that it is not professional.
from Amanda Jones
Go into the classroom with an open mind and be ready to learn.
Take advice from your teacher (but be careful with what you do with that advice). Be ready to take criticism (it will be a great learning experience).
Let you mentor teacher know that you are ready to help her in anyway possible, but be firm about not being her paper girl (you are in the classroom to learn not run errands).
Make a note-card for your very first lesson (you never know just how nervous you will be).
Make sure that you leave at the end of the semester with one extra friend.
Enjoy the time that you get to spend with the children (soon you will be the one running around with your head cut off)!
from Casey Ellison
Get a lot of rest.
Remember this is your choice, this is your future life, do you still want to be here. If not get out.
from Megan Harper
Write down your ideas. When you see something or think of something you would like to use in your own classroom, write it down because you'll forget it if you don't. Some of those ideas can be very helpful later on.
Do not be afraid to correct children when they are doing wrong. If you don't let them know that you can discipline them, they will run all over you!
from Leah Jordan
Don't be afraid to ask questions. That is the only way you will learn.
and volunteer in the classroom. Don't let the teacher have to find
you something to do.
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