From Classroom Observer to Classroom Leader: Tips for a Successful Student Teaching Experience

Student teaching is a critical phase in the journey to becoming a teacher. It provides aspiring teachers with the opportunity to apply what they have learned in the classroom and gain hands-on experience in a real-world setting. However, transitioning from a classroom observer to a classroom leader can be daunting. In this article, we will provide tips for a successful student teaching experience. These tips are based on credible sources and current research and are targeted toward educators, education professionals, and stakeholders.

Tip 1: Develop a Positive Relationship with the Mentor Teacher

One of the most important factors that contribute to a successful student teaching experience is developing a positive relationship with the mentor teacher. Research has shown that the quality of the relationship between the student teacher and the mentor teacher is positively correlated with the student teacher’s success in the classroom (Mullins, 2016).

Here are some tips for developing a positive relationship with the mentor teacher:

  • Be open to feedback and constructive criticism.
  • Show initiative by taking on responsibilities and asking for guidance when needed.
  • Communicate clearly and respectfully with the mentor teacher.
  • Be flexible and adaptable to the mentor teacher’s teaching style and classroom culture.

Tip 2: Set Realistic Goals and Objectives

Setting realistic goals and objectives is critical for a successful student teaching experience. Goals and objectives provide a clear direction and focus for the student teacher and help to measure progress and achievement.

Here are some tips for setting realistic goals and objectives:

  • Identify the learning objectives and standards for the grade level and subject area.
  • Discuss with the mentor teacher and set goals and objectives that align with the classroom’s curriculum and instructional focus.
  • Consider the needs and abilities of the students when setting goals and objectives.
  • Use the SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time-bound) framework to set goals and objectives.

Tip 3: Reflect on Teaching Practice

Reflection is an essential component of professional growth and development. It allows student teachers to critically examine their teaching practice and identify areas for improvement. Research has shown that reflective practice can lead to improved teaching performance and student achievement (Schön, 1983).

Here are some tips for reflecting on teaching practice:

  • Set aside time regularly to reflect on teaching practice.
  • Use a journal or a reflective log to record observations, insights, and questions.
  • Discuss with the mentor teacher and peers to gain different perspectives and feedback.
  • Use evidence-based practices and research to inform reflective practice.

Tip 4: Engage in Professional Development Opportunities

Engaging in professional development opportunities is critical for building knowledge and skills and staying current in the field of education. There are various professional development opportunities available, such as workshops, conferences, online courses, and mentorship programs.

Here are some tips for engaging in professional development opportunities:

  • Identify areas of interest and need for professional growth and development.
  • Research and select professional development opportunities that align with those areas.
  • Discuss with the mentor teacher and peers to gain recommendations and feedback.
  • Use the knowledge and skills gained from professional development opportunities to inform teaching practice.

Tip 5: Build Relationships with Students and Parents

Building positive relationships with students and parents is critical for creating a supportive and inclusive classroom environment. Research has shown that positive teacher-student relationships are associated with improved academic achievement, engagement, and behavior (Roorda et al., 2011).

Here are some tips for building relationships with students and parents:

  • Get to know the students by learning their names, interests, and strengths.
  • Use a variety of instructional strategies to engage and motivate students.
  • Communicate regularly with parents through newsletters, emails, or phone calls.
  • Be responsive to parents’ questions, concerns, and feedback.


In conclusion, student teaching is an essential part of the journey to becoming a successful teacher. By following the tips outlined in this article, aspiring teachers can develop the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in the classroom. Building positive relationships with the mentor teacher, setting realistic goals and objectives, reflecting on teaching practice, engaging in professional development opportunities, and building relationships with students and parents are all critical components of a successful student-teaching experience.

It is important to note that every student teaching experience is unique, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach. However, by implementing these tips, student teachers can lay the foundation for a successful career in education.

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