Im the Teacher, Youre the Student: A Semester in the University Classroom
So when he moved into teaching at the college level, he saw how marketing principles could be applied to the classroom. In our podcast interview, he shared five specific strategies college teachers could use to dramatically improve their instruction. Instructors need to know what actually drives their students, what matters to them. Doing this exercise as a teacher helps you narrow your focus to a single student.
This focus boosts your ability to shape instruction for that student, and this ultimately improves the experience for all of them. Betty is a year-old Latina from a working class family who commutes to college, lives with her parents, and works part time. She works hard but is often overwhelmed, because she takes five classes per semester to qualify for financial aid. She has one younger sibling and is concerned with passing the new, harder teacher certification and teacher performance assessments.
You should also, as Eng does, ask your students. What are some of the obstacles that you face? What one thing do you wish all professors knew about the way you work? And then you take all that information and you find the patterns. Once that avatar is created, it should guide most of your instructional decisions. Building supportive relationships with students has far-reaching effects on their engagement in class.
To meet that challenge, Eng recommends using two-sided tent cards. Folded this way, it can stand on its own. Obviously, these cards will help the instructor call students by name, but they should also be used to help students engage with each other.
I'm the Teacher, You're the Student: A Semester in the University Classroom
In every class meeting, Eng reminds students to refer to their classmates by name. Cold Calling and No Opt Out. It has to be done in good faith. It has to give everyone a chance to shine. This holds that student accountable for listening. Can you repeat what Shana said? Students not doing the required reading? Or maybe all three of those. The other piece that keeps this strategy effective is to hold students accountable. If you could reserve maybe the last 15 minutes of class or the beginning 15 minutes of class to just kind of randomly ask students to share their questions, comments and quotations, then it will work.
To build in further accountability, Eng also gives points for this work. But rather than collect the QQCs every time, he has students log them in a single document over a period of time, then collects that document twice a semester for a grade. A typical college class starts with some kind of lecture, and maybe after that, the students will be invited to discuss or apply the concepts being taught.
If teachers flip this sequence, starting with some kind of engaging activity and then following it up with direct instruction, students will have a context for the information and will be more engaged. This led into a rich discussion about different philosophies of parenting and teaching, and that in turn led into the lecture on Locke and Rousseau.
This example gave me goose bumps. The rest of the world, for moment, would completely drop away. These tips just scratch the surface of what Norman Eng can do to help you improve your instruction. Visit his website at normaneng. Thank you, thank you, thank you, Jenn, for realizing the importance of college professors needing more training in teaching methodologies and strategies. My full time gig is middle school language arts, but I also teach adjunct in the college of education.
It drives me crazy to see so many well-intentioned professors, full of amazing context knowledge, but not have a clue as to how to meaningfully reach their students. I will certainly be sharing this post! Thank you for sharing this. Ive started a blog on Edublogs to catalog my experiences as a student teacher, mostly for family and friends who have been on this journey with me. I am so blessed to have a host teacher who is amazing and I cannot wait to work with her.
We share a lot of the same teaching philosophies and I cannot wait to really see her in action. Thank you so much for this post, and all the feedback from other readers. It really calms the jitters. Watch as many great teachers as you can, both in and out of your discipline. Once you have a classroom of your own, you will be extremely limited with observing others. Do it now while you can! Write down everything…good and bad!
What will you do the same as your cooperating teacher, what will you do differently. What observations do you take from other teachers and the administrators. And, if you are in a state that requires an internship, like Kentucky, you will already be in a practice of observing, acting and reflecting that is required for most internship programs.
Further, when you journal, you can go back and see what you felt about a certain situation or strategy at its inception. Be willing to fail and take those as awesome opportunities to learn. Step out of your comfort zone. Try new things when you have your host teacher there to observe and give you advice. Go to the staffroom and listen, chances are that girl who is being disruptive in your class is doing it elsewhere.
Make friends and ask those friends for advise when the going gets tough. Oh and take your own mug! I think this is a great list. You really do want to take note of litetally everything. I just completed my student teaching last year and will be hopefully teaching my first class this year interviewing today. One thing I would add is really learn to prepare your materials. Our school has giant ancient copiers and they love to jam every time I so much as look at them.
Oh my gosh, yes!! LOL This list is awesome, as are the comments so far. Two other things they never taught in teacher college…teaching procedures [ALL of them! Love this tip, Meagan. The part about finding your marigold especially spoke volumes to me. This app is great because it documents my journey as a student teacher like a journal, and allows me to add photos. This is such great advice! It made me super excited for them, and sometimes I learned something new. This is a great list, Jennifer.
I think the number one thing is never being afraid of asking questions. I would also add that love every student and get to know them well. It is hard as a student teacher to come into a strange class and instantly earn the respect of the students. In fact, it is near, impossible.
What will help is if you get to know your students and know them well. Get a reading list going. In the same vein, get recommendations for good professional development programs. Be in the habit of attending conferences and workshops — NCTE the National Council of Teachers of English has student rates and I am willing to bet other professional groups do, too.
Get out on social media and follow the teachers and organizations that you see making a positive difference. There are regularly scheduled Twitter chats, Nings, and blogs that are awesome ways to network and get resources and support. Carve out time and space for self-care.
Teaching can be an all-consuming career and you can burn yourself out. Eat healthy, exercise regularly, and spend time with family and friends. This is such a great starting point for student teachers and partner teachers! I would add a few more — find out how really organized teachers organize their resources, documentation and time. Then try out what works for you. Pick a student you consider a challenge and do your best to connect, understand and support them. You will probably learn the most from that relationship.
Practice building relationships with students and be on the look out for classroom routines that will work for you. Relationships and routines foundation ally help new teachers to build confidence and ease with all the rest of the job. Thanks so much for this site and the list. As a host teacher, my suggestion would be to share your learning, too. I choose to host student teachers in my classroom because I am a lifelong learner. In terms of your digital footprint, check out the footprints that other educators are leaving out there.
What Advice Would You Give a Student Teacher? | Cult of Pedagogy
Find blogs and websites that work for educators, parents and students and try building your own website shell with all of the ideas you are gathering. The advice to get on Twitter and other social media as an educator is excellent. I graduated as a teacher in I found this blog today.
Talk to the para educators in the building. They have seen a lot of the teachers and they can guide you on who is great at what. Observe special education teachers and co-teachers. Ask your host teacher how to modify, accommodate, and see if they will let you create a test and modify it, or at least modify an existing test. Talk to the ELL teacher if you have one, observe if possible. I completed my student teaching this past Spring. I had to do both general education and special education to fulfill the requirements for my certification.
Both placements were completely different. Go with the flow and at times keep your mouth closed. After all, you will be leaving, there will be an end to the time spent there. I learned what I did NOT want to do. It will be a good reminder later in my own classroom to remain positive and to focus completely on the students.
Another reason to keep your mouth closed is you will hear a lot of school politics. Just sit back and listen, do not get involved. It could lead to downfall. It seems like forever, then it is over in a blink of the eye. Make connections to the students and you will have a wonderful time! I will be student teaching this spring! I also have two placements: Special education and General education.
See a Problem?
Wishing all new teachers a successful year! As a substitute teacher I have learned that the office staff and tech guys are just as important as teachers. The secretary at my school made my life so much better. One of the best pieces advice I can give a student teacher or a new teacher is that do not be afraid to make a mistake. That is simply not true. We all make mistakes from novices to veterans. It is ok to be wrong. It is ok to screw up. The lessons that stick, are the lessons where you screwed up.
I learned a lot by screwing up, and fixing it. It is not a pleasant feeling, but it is reality. As you gain experience your choices and decisions will more and more start to be the right ones. My father told me the great thing about the next day is that it is a new day. So you made a mistake teaching the lesson for the students the previous day. Go in and explain to your students what happened and fix it. Your students will gain a lot of respect for you when you admit this and they will learn it is ok to make mistakes too I call that a twofer.
I am entering my 10th year in education and 2nd year as an assistant principal.
I am still learning everyday, but I have learned to not let the fear of screwing up hold me back from helping students, teachers, and parents. As you enter each day, take a deep breath, smile, and go into your classroom to help your students get a great education.
You are up to this. I believe in you! Thank you for this reminder. The most important thing will be how will we respond to this. Again, thank you for reminding me that it is ok to mess up, that messing up is another opportunity to learn and grow as I continue to work towards being an aspiring educator. Your comments are, I think, the most helpful, and I appreciate your advice. I am too hard on myself. I will make mistakes. And I will be thinking of your words when I do in a good way.
Thank you for that wonderful post. I am learning that patience is key to the whole process. I want to be the best not because I think this is a competition but merely for the students. They need excellent educators. Luckily, I am at a great placement with wonderful faculty members. One thing that I love about the education field is that you meet these people that have the same type of heart that you have.
People that are compassionate, caring, considerate, and empathetic. Thank you go much for posting this! And thank you to everyone contributing!
5 Ways College Teachers Can Improve Their Instruction
Love your blog and podcast, keep it up! Who could, just starting out? The point about a professional wardrobe is a great one! Be sure to look at them through the eyes of an educator, first and foremost. Try to start student teaching on the first day of the school year, or even earlier! I was able to listen to the teachers plan for the year as well as help with Meet the Teacher so that the parents were able to meet me. Stay after hours when possible within reason. Go to planning meetings, help the teacher get activities ready, etc.
This will show that you are a hard worker and are willing to go the extra mile. Learn student names as early as possible…when students realize you want to know them and can call them by name they buy into your teaching. Jennifer……how about one of these lists for the host teacher? I am super excited to host two student teachers this fall and I think I am as nervous as they probanly are! Those feelings come through, as does his passion for American history. Consistently engaging and enlightening. A wonderful model for anyone seeking guidance on the craft of teaching in higher education; highly recommended.
I heartily recommend it and tip my hat to the author. It makes a significant contribution to the literature on teaching as a self-reflective model.
An award-winning teacher with over twenty years of experience answers this question by offering an enlightening and entertaining behind-the-scenes view of a typical semester in his American history course.