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Getting Started: First 10 "To-Dos" for Student Teachers

1. Read the FSU Student Teaching Handbook. and Student Teaching Syllabus. Familiarize yourself thoroughly with all of the requirements, professional standards, and due dates. Prepare any questions you have and ask me to clarify anything you need. Also, explore the rest of my Student Teachers webpage and explore all of the files in the shared folders.

2. Put all seminar dates and assignment due dates into your calendar. I use Google Calendar and I find it to work very well for me, as it coordinates with my Gmail, Google Docs/Drive, and Google Sites like this website. It can also send you alerts by email to remind you of important dates in advance (hours, days, or weeks ahead of time). If you use a paper calendar, just don't lose it!

3. Set up your daily Attendance Log, using the spreadsheet. The Excel template can be modified as you need, and will total up the hours in each category which is a good time-saver. Begin tracking  your hours in each category. Print a hard copy every so often and back up your file.

4. Create a system for your  "Collection of Evidence" as described in the syllabus. I suggest a file box with handles like this one, for easy transport to and from school. Please be sure that your files are at school every time your FSU supervisor comes to meet with you or observe you. Use hanging files to create sections such as:

Attendance Log
Handbook and syllabus
Weekly Reflections
Observations from SP and FSU supervisor
Lesson Plans (by subject or by day / week)
Student Work Samples
Home-School Communications
Handouts from Professional Development
CAP Evidence:
I.A.4     Well Structured Lessons
I.B.2     Adjustment to Practice
II.A.3    Meeting Diverse Needs
II.B.1    Safe Learning Environment
II.D.2    High Expectations
IV.A.1   Reflective Practice

Create a system of folders on your computer to save all of your important files and lesson plans in electronic form as well. You could use the same folder headings above (Lesson Plans, Weekly Reflections, etc.)  I recommend downloading Google Drive to your computer and keeping all of your files inside of your Google Drive folder. They will be automatically backed up to the cloud for you. No more having to remember to back up your files, email them to yourself, or save to a USB drive, it happens on its own!

 Observe your SP and begin to learn the routines and expectations of the class. What is the morning routine? How do the students enter and exit the classroom? What strategies does your SP use to get students' attention and promote positive behaviors? What are the routines for recess, lunch, and dismissal? 

6. Ask your SP if there is a good time when you can meet each week to debrief and plan. You may wind up meeting daily before or after school, as well as checking in throughout the days, but it can help to have a formal meeting time set aside. Particularly in K-2 classrooms, it can be harder to check in while the students are there, because you may both have your hands full all day.

7. Get to know your students, the school and community, parents/guardians, the principal and other administrators, special education and related service providers, other teachers and colleagues in the building. Begin to build positive relationships with all of these people and prepare to learn from them this semester. Introduce yourself to as many people as you can during the first week or two of your student teaching experience.

8. Plan and lead your first lesson with the students-- many student teachers begin with a read-aloud, or with a small group lesson that is co-taught with the SP. This can be a great way to get started before you lead a full lesson with the whole group. 

9. Write your first reflection, Share your experiences with your FSU supervisor and with the other student teachers from our group who will read this. What did you notice about the students, classroom, school, SP, other teachers, curriculum, routines, and other aspects of your field placement? Consider using some of these observations in your Contextual Factors essay for your TWS.  Please try to write back to the other student teachers from our group once their reflections have been posted online. Offer support and share experiences with one another!

10. Begin talking with your Supervising Practitioner about a topic for your interdisciplinary unit (also called the Teacher Work Sample/TWS). Talk with your FSU supervisor as well and set tentative dates when you can teach your 8-10 lessons.