Student Teaching: More Mistakes and Lessons Learned

By Dana Berens — Before you student teach, you hear all about the horror stories of being late to class, getting days mixed up, and either forgetting materials or being unprepared for a lesson.


I can confidently say I have covered three of the common rookie mistakes. I say “common” since I have googled other first year or beginning teacher blogs and established that I am not alone in these mistakes.

As previously blogged, I was actually late for my first day of student teaching. It was a stomach dropping moment that was thankfully turned into a little joke between my cooperating teachers and myself.

But, that wasn’t the last of my newbie mistakes.

This week, I could not have been more mixed up on Tuesday after having had a banking day on Monday. Due to this total confusion in days I forgot materials for a science example. Luckily, I live close to school, so I was able to rectify the latter two mishaps, but they were definitely eye openers to the necessity of post-it notes and organization in my teaching life.

As I take on more of the teaching in my classroom I am realizing two things.

First, always keep a post-it notes pad in your possession. I have come to the point as I take on more subjects that if I do not write something down the moment it comes into my head I will surely forget.

Second, it is so important to put out the emotion into the room that you want the students to mirror. What I mean by this is that, when a lesson is going wrong, you need to stay calm, even if you are faking it. Showing students the emotion you want them to emulate is a saving grace. An experienced teacher can give you tips and advice till they are hoarse.  I am not belittling advice at all, it is a savior, but when you are in front of a class, and you are trying to maintain composure, and none of the tricks a teacher has prepped you with are working, staying calm will get you through even the most disastrous lesson.

I’m beginning to discover that what molds you as a teacher — even more than what goes perfectly — is how you remain calm in high stress moments … moments like delivering a disastrous lesson, forgetting materials, or suffering through poor behavior in your classroom.

What I’ve learned:

  1. Most importantly, stay calm. Students will mirror your emotions.
  2. Keep post-it notes at the ready.
  3. Always try to stay organized and a few steps ahead of the game.

Any tips or tricks you’ve learned to help survive the stressful times?

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