Featured Image

10 Things I Learned When Student Teaching

Take these 10 steps to ease the transition from student to student teacher.

At the end of every education major’s journey toward certification is student teaching—and it will be one of the most exhilarating and nerve-wracking parts of your college career. All of your education courses prepare you for this final step. But as exciting as student teaching is, it also leaves you with many worries and questions as you prepare. However, there are many steps you can take to ease the transition from student to student teacher.

1. Get to know your cooperating teacher

Whether you find your teacher yourself or your college does this for you, it is important to get to know your cooperating teacher before you begin. As soon as you are given your assignment, reach out to them either through e-mail or phone and arrange a time to meet. This will not only make you look professional, but it will ease your nerves for the first day. When you meet ask if there is anything you can do to prepare and get to know some of the basic classroom practices and materials. Then, once you start, ask questions! That’s how you’ll learn.

2. Get to know your school too—well in advance

You should know your school and district’s website like the back of your hand way before your first day as a student teacher. What kind of population attends the school? What resources are available? Who’s the principal and what is he or she like? Who are the special teachers (art, music, physical education, etc.)? What are the school hours? Sometimes you can even find more information about your teacher and classroom on the school website.

3. Go shopping

Professional attire is a must. You should stock up on dress pants, appropriate shirts and blouses, and comfortable shoes. Ladies should be covered from the collarbone down. Also, get a travel coffee cup and a lunch box.

4. Start liking coffee

You’re going to be quite tired. The student teaching schedule is very different from your college schedule. Extra caffeine will give you the extra push you need to get through your day and keep your enthusiasm up while teaching. 

5. Find a lesson plan template that works for you

Sometimes your school or cooperating teacher will already have a lesson plan template they use. Other times it’ll be all up to you. It’s best to be comfortable with a template that works best for you!

6. Be open

Be open to new ideas, criticisms, change, cooperation, student differences . . . anything you may encounter while student teaching. It’ll all help you grow and become a better teacher out in the real world.

7. Remember why you’re there

You’re there to learn and to help your students learn. No matter how stressed you get, don’t lose sight of that.

8. Be professional

Professionalism covers many things. One of the best ways to be a professional is to be on time, and “on time” means 15 minutes early! Always use professional language and dress and never badmouth students or other teachers. Treat every day like an interview. (If you’re hoping to work at that school in the future, every day practically is an interview.)

9. Don’t be nervous

Everyone understands you’re still learning. The other faculty members have been in your shoes before and are there to help you. Don’t be afraid to ask if you don’t know something.

10. Have fun!

As scary as this all can seem, it is supposed to be (and more often than not is) really fun! Enjoy your time and find the good in each day and each student!

Like what you’re reading?

Join the CollegeXpress community! Create a free account and we’ll notify you about new articles, scholarship deadlines, and more.

Join Now

classroom education experiential education real-world experience student teacher student teaching teacher education teaching

About Erica Bucking

Erica Bucking

Erica Bucking is a 2015 graduate with honors of Marist College, where she was a psychology major with dual certification in elementary (1-6) and special education (1-6), with a minor in interactive media.


Join our community of
over 5 million students!

CollegeXpress has everything you need to simplify your college search, get connected to schools, and find your perfect fit.

Join CollegeXpress
Makiyah Murray

Makiyah Murray

High School Class of 2021

The college application process has been a stressful one, but CollegeXpress has eased some of that stress with its readily available college resources. At the beginning of the process, I frequently used the college search feature, and now that I’m almost done applying, I’ve started using the scholarship search. Both of these resources have made it easier to find relevant information.

Fernando Ponce

Fernando Ponce

High School Junior

College is a way of life that helps us find out who we are as a person, and CollegeXpress is a great way to stay connected with our future, even for students with little time on their hands due to the challenges of high school we face.



High School Class of 2021

CollegeXpress showed me that Western New England University was a great match for me both with curriculum and location. CollegeXpress is an excellent resource both future and current college students.

Lorena Bacallao

Lorena Bacallao

High School Class of 2022

CollegeXpress was the foundation of my college search process. Because of CollegeXpress, I was able to make a more informed and confident decision as to where it was best to pursue my higher education. I have recommended this website to fellow peers and for first-generation students like me. It’s a website I will continue to promote because of how simple it was to use and how many opportunities were offered to me at my fingertips!

Rhiannon Teeter

Rhiannon Teeter

$2,000 Community Service Scholarship Winner, 2012

I have spent a lot of time aggressively searching for scholarships. It was a long and frustrating process until I found the CollegeXpress network. This site made my search so much easier. With the simple check of a few boxes, the site sorted out scholarships I was eligible for and led me directly to the correct websites. Winning this scholarship has definitely given me and my family some financial relief, and CollegeXpress has allowed me to improve my chances of winning further financial aid. Thank you so much!

College Matches