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Guests in the Classroom: Top Ten Tips for PreserviceTeachersMartin J. Ward & Tim J. WellsPublished online: 13 Jul 2012.
To cite this article: Martin J. Ward & Tim J. Wells (2003) Guests in the Classroom: Top Ten Tips for Preservice Teachers,Kappa Delta Pi Record, 40:1, 42-44, DOI: 10.1080/00228958.2003.10516414
To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00228958.2003.10516414
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42 Kappa Delta Pi Record Fall 2003
Martin J. Ward is Associate Profes-sor of education at Texas A&M Uni-versityCorpus Christi. His teachinginterests include teacher education,special education, multiculturaleducation, sports psychology, andtennis coaching. Tim J. Wells is Pro-fessor in the Departments ofTeacher Education and Educa-tional Administration, Texas A&MUniversityCorpus Christi. Histeaching interests include teachereducation, teacher appraisal, andsupervision of teaching. Both Drs.Ward and Wells work withpreservice teachers through theCenter for Professional Develop-ment of Teachers.
reservice teachers generally areconfident and enthusiastic
about their abilities to teacheffectively (Lortie 1975). These
Gateways to Experience
Guests in the Classroom:Top Ten Tips for PreserviceTeachers
desirable qualities are based, forthe most part, on the preserviceteachers previous experiences asstudents in the classroom, not asteachers (Dunkin, Precians, andNettle 1994; Holt-Reynolds 1992;Pajares 1993). While the personalexperience a preservice teacherbrings to his or her teacher-preparation program represents animportant foundation for profes-sional growth, the role as aninstructional leader in the class-room is one that must be learned.
Learning to teach occurs invaried settings in most universityteacher-education programs. AtTexas A&M UniversityCorpusChristi, the transformation fromcollege students to preserviceteachers occurs in a field-basedblock hosted by partner schools.This intensive field-based experi-
ence helps prepare preserviceteachers for the programs culmi-nating student teaching semester.The process of learning to teach inthe classroom of another teachertypically produces excellent results.The dynamics of entering anotherteachers classroom, however,requires sensitivity, patience, andflexibility in this mentoringrelationship. Preservice teachers, asguests in the classroom of thecooperating teachers, are bestreceived when they adhere tospecific etiquette.
Preservice Teacher EtiquetteThe following top ten tips for
preservice teachers entering theclassrooms of cooperating teachersare based on the authors experi-ences, observations, and feedbackgained as university site professors
by Martin J. Ward and Tim J. Wells
Kappa Delta Pi Record Fall 2003 43
through a partnership with a localhigh school.
#1 Remember that you are aguest in the cooperatingteachers classroom.
Though preservice teachers, ina sense, provide free labor, mostcooperating teachers still considerit much easier to just do it them-selves. Cooperating teachers donot know in advance what they aregoing to get in terms of a preserviceteachers attitude, abilities, person-ality, and teaching philosophies. Insome cases, the preservice teacheractually may be viewed as anadditional burden for the alreadyoverworked cooperating teacher.Furthermore, many effectiveteachers hesitate to give up theirclass for fear that their studentsmay be shortchanged. Preserviceteachers who enter their cooperat-ing teachers classrooms deter-mined to be good guests are morelikely to be rewarded with teachingopportunities and ever-increasingresponsibilities.
#2 Observe the cooperatingteacher.
It is so easy to be critical.Instead, preservice teachers shouldbe sure to seek out the voice ofexperience from their cooperatingteachers. These experiencedteachers know their students andthe environment in which they areteaching. Preservice teachers canget to know the students in theclassroom and become familiarwith the school, but not nearly tothe extent of the cooperatingteacher who is there every day fromthe beginning to the end of theyear. Of course, everyone makesmistakes, cooperating teachersincluded. Even in situations whenthe cooperating teacher is ineffec-
tive, a preservice teacher can learna great deal. Preservice teacherswho give an impression of know-ing it all undermine their relation-ship with their cooperating teacherand limit their opportunities forgrowth. John Wooden, champion-ship basketball coach at UCLA,once said, What you learn afteryou know it all is what counts.
#3 Be positive.Be a role model for the stu-
dents. Smile a lot. It makes teach-ing more fun. Happy teachers aremore productive. Negative atti-
tudes destroy preservice teachersrelationships with students andother educators. Remember,preservice teachers need strongreferences from their mentorswhen it comes time to apply forteaching positions. A positiveattitude can be demonstrated bygiving some extra effortaboveand beyond assigned duties, onoccasion. Extra effort is viewed byothers as a sign of caring. Volun-teer, become a part of the school,and make it a better place.
#4 Be professional andpunctual.
Dressing as a professionaleducator is important. Preserviceteachers who question whether or
not their clothing is appropriate forteaching usually find out that it isnot. Male preservice teachers whowonder about earrings or dyed hairare advised to look at the maleteachers and administrators of thebuilding in which they teach forclues regarding appropriate dressand appearance. Schools aretraditionally conservative. Insettings with dress codes andschool uniforms, the desire ofpreservice teachers to make astatement through their per-sonal dress or appearance is notappreciated.
Punctuality and professional-ism go hand in hand. Being tardyor absent is simply unacceptable.Preservice teachers are in aposition of responsibility and theircooperating teachers, along withschool administrators are depend-ing on them. Furthermore, apreservice teachers effectiveness asa classroom teacher will be eitherenhanced or undermined by theway he or she manages time.
#5 Be careful what you say inthe teachers lounge, especiallyto other teachers.
Cooperating teachers expectcooperation, support, and respectfrom preservice teachers. Whileteachers may be overheardcriticizing one of their peers, mostteachers will view the samecriticism expressed by a preserviceteacher in an entirely differentlight. It simply is not the place forthe apprentice to criticize thementoring teacher or others inroles as educational leaders. Gossipis definitely best ignored or leftunrepeated by the preserviceteacher. Remember the old adage,If you dont have anything good tosay about someone, dont sayanything at all.
The dynamics ofentering another
teachers classroom,requires sensitivity,
44 Kappa Delta Pi Record Fall 2003
Though preservice teachers can aska cooperating teacher for sugges-tions, they always should haveideas of their own to bounce off theexperienced teacher. Preserviceteachers should create their ownbag of tricks for situations wherethey discover that they haveunplanned instructional time.Observing other teachers anddeeply reflecting upon what workswell for other teachers mightenhance preservice teacherseffectiveness. Educational consult-ant Harry Wong encouragesteachers to steal from