Identifying Transferable Skills Gained Through Student Teaching

11interview4By Joel O’Brien — Fall Break is a time when students become increasingly engaged in their student teaching and field experiences.

Reflecting upon my own student teaching experience of full-time planning and teaching classes for the first time, it is challenging to reflect back on the specific details of my experience due to the plethora of daily activity and long days I worked while assuming full-time teaching duties and responsibilities. Occupied with numerous tasks such as completing attendances, answering student questions, monitoring halls, it was difficult at times to find the necessary time to reflect upon the skills that I demonstrated.

Fortunately, my undergraduate institution required me to complete a teacher work sample (TWS), which is a detailed 45-page document describing how I met each state teaching standard and benchmark during student teaching.  While this assignment had large amounts of reflection built-in, at the end of the semester I found myself pulling deep from the memory banks to recall lessons that I taught during the first half of my student teaching experience. Below are five transferable skills frequently utilized during student teaching that students fail to highlight during the job search process.

In an age of rapidly accelerated technological development, it is easy to assume that everyone uses technology and deemphasize the role it plays in student learning. When used effectively, the Internet and smart technology can significantly increase students’ engagement with the curriculum.

During student teaching, communication happens so frequently with students, colleagues, parents, and administrators that it is easy be taken for granted and downplayed on a resume or in an interview. When in reality, communication is one of the most important skills that effective teachers rely upon on a daily basis.

For student teachers, it is critical to articulate teaching methods in order to demonstrate that the teaching pedagogies and theories discussed during college are being applied in the classroom.  Through mentioning specific strategies that incorporated into teaching lessons, student teachers can demonstrate intentionality in their instruction.

Problem Solving
Unexpected issues arise on a daily basis at school.  Skillfully resolving these issues often times requires creativity and leadership. Personally, this included actions such as utilizing a desk to separate two students from fighting or finding a way to make up fifteen minutes lost due to an unplanned fire alarm in order to keep class sections on the same pace.  Do not assume that administrators know what happened in the classroom.

Time Management
Managing time effectively is necessary to planning effectively and staying ahead of the students. In spite of sounding simple, time management can be a challenge, especially when considering the numerous daily tasks that teachers carry out during the school day, not to mention the work that they take home. Arriving at school before 7AM was a shock to my system for the first couple weeks of student teaching, but after working a few twelve hour days I learned how multitask and prioritize my work based what can wait until tomorrow and what needs to be done today.

While these are only five of many transferable skills exhibited by teachers, I recommend making life easier on yourself by documenting how you demonstrate these skills and others during your student teaching experience.  You may find the Transferable Skills Handout to be beneficial when identifying skills to highlight during the job search process.  Enjoy Fall Break and the remainder of your student teaching experience.

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