Dear Student Teacher…

An interview with Rachel Dean, first-year teacher and former student teacher. 


What is 1 piece of advice you’d give to someone starting their student teaching?
Student teaching is such an exhausting, rewarding, and refining process! Lean into the Lord’s strength and make the most of the time you have with your cooperating teacher. Ask them for input and be willing to take their suggestions!


What surprised you about student teaching?
I was surprised with how much I truly fell in love with teaching! When I began my student teaching, I did not plan to become a classroom teacher; however, it only took a few weeks for me to begin to enjoy teaching and build meaningful relationships with students.

Everyone warns you of how hard student teaching is going to be but I was surprised with how rewarding it was!


What 1-2 things would you want cooperating teachers to know before considering having a student teacher?
I would suggest reflecting on whether or not you have the capacity to intentionally give feedback to your student teacher throughout the entirety of their time with you. Part of what made my student teaching so impactful was that [my cooperating teacher] would write detailed notes and always have me reflect on my lessons.

Each day we would sit down together and talk through what went well and what could be improved in my lessons that day. I am so thankful [she] gave me an abundance of suggestions and helpful feedback! I have had friends who did not have an intentional cooperating teacher, and it greatly impacted them in their first year of teaching.

Before considering having a student teacher, I would take time to reflect on your first years of teaching. Teaching is truly a craft that takes time to master; you will need to have patience with your student teacher as they learn! Remind yourself of what you struggled with when you first started teaching and be ready to support them in ways you wish you had been supported!


Thank you, Rachel, for your insight and encouragement to both student and mentor teachers!

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