Student Teachers.....

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...."  Hi - this is Karla from CMajorLearning.  That statement is how I feel on the first day of having a student teacher!  I'm sure many can relate to this as I LOVE having a student teacher, "best of times", but not knowing what they are going to be like can be the "worst of times".  So, what are some things that I can do to set us both up for success?  Here are a few ideas that have worked for me!

Be Organized - There is so much information that needs to be shared between the cooperating teacher and student teacher!  I have found the way that works best for me is to put everything together in a student teacher handbook.  Check out my version, available on TeachersPayTeachers by clicking here.  

This resource is a place to write everything down and use as a reference through out the experience.  I put mine together and get to the student teacher about a month before the experience begins.  Then, on the first day, we can hit the ground running!

Be Communicative - Open and honest communication is key - on the part of the cooperating teacher and the student teacher. Both parties need to express their thoughts and feeling clearly, professionally and respectfully.  Giving and receiving criticism should be done constructively and praise, no matter how big or small, should be done on a regular basis - just as we do with our students!

Be Prepared - This is true for both the cooperating teacher and the student teacher.  The cooperating teacher needs to be ready to let the student teacher teach their classes/students and giving up some controll, in order of the student teacher to learn.  This is very hard, especially with so much riding on our teaching - programs, tests, performances, SLO's, evaluations etc, but letting the student teacher teach HAS to happen!  The cooperating teacher can learn in this situation too! Watching your classes while someone else is teaching shows so much!  

The student teacher also needs to be prepared with all materials and lesson plans ready!   This may be a new responsibility for the student teacher to juggle and they may or may not have the skill set to manage the demands of this part of our jobs!

Be Open Minded - We all come with baggage, some good and some bad, to the classroom. The student teacher may have a predetermined idea of what teaching should be like but in reality it is quite different - for many reasons. Hopefully, everyone involved is willing to really look at the daily expectations with a critical eye and learn from the experience!

Cooperating teachers need to also  keep an open mind as the student teacher may bring some very different ideas to the table - that is GREAT!  Let the student try some new things, some will work and some will not, but they could all be outside of the do operating teachers comfort zone.

Have Fun - Don't forget the reason you yourself wanted to be a music teacher! I'm certain there had to be some element of fun involved!  Sharing that joy with your students and student teacher is a privilege and can really shape their future!  Also - what a for the students too as they get 2 experts in the music class!

I must give a shout out to all the amazing and significant teachers I have had along the way - I wouldn't be where I am today without their influence!  Sue Dowdy, Jim Dowdy, Mark Barrios, Barbara Noronah, Cindy Kinser, Dr. Sandy Mathias and the late Dr Timothy Swinehart.  THANK YOU!!!!

Also - so fortunate to have worked with many wonderful student teachers over the years!  Special mention to Deborah Chow from Capital University, who inspired my topic for this post as my current student teacher!  Keep up the great work!

                                   **clip art from 


  1. Great post, Karla! I just had a student teacher start last week, so this is timely and valuable advice! :)

  2. These are great tips! Both as someone who has had student teachers and supervised student teachers through a college, these are so true!!


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