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Reflective Student Teaching

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Student teaching is an exciting time for aspiring educators.  And, it goes by in the blink of an eye.

Use a journal to record the experience

You are going to try some things that work brilliantly and you are going to try some things that don't work out at all.  Create a record of your thoughts to remember which was which.

  • Every week, jot down the ups and downs you experienced.  What worked?  Why?  How did those things affect you?
  • What classroom tasks come naturally to you?  What tasks are the biggest stretches?  Why do you think that is?  How do these change over time?    
  • Pay close attention to how it feels the first time you step in front of a class.  Reflect on how that experience changes over time.  What caused the change?

Why is this good advice?

  • You will be better able to identify your strengths and challenges to ask for targeted advice from your cooperating teacher.
  • Acknowledging your progress helps you remain focused on the big picture and understand how far you've come, which feels amazing.

What is the payoff?

  • Evaluating your student teaching experience in a reflective way helps you determine if continuing to pursue a career in education is right for you.
  • Master teachers are reflective practitioners who continuously strive to improve their skills; it is a good habit to start early.
  • Your foundational stories will be a great resource for future interview success.

Sandra P. Sylvestre, MA, GCDF

Assistant Director, Career Services

Brandeis University

Waltham, MA

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