Mentoring Student Teachers and Pre-Student Teachers
PSEA Advisory: Student Teachers Are Not To Be Involved in PSSA, Keystone Exams, and PASA Administration
Mentoring student teachers and pre-student teachers can be a rewarding, but also challenging, experience. When working with student teachers and pre-student teachers, you have just a few short months or even weeks to share with them the wisdom of your experiences in the classroom. In that time, those student teachers will look to you for guidance, support, and reassurance, as you join with them on their journey towards becoming educators. At times there may need to be difficult conversations, but with the proper tools and techniques, those difficult conversations can also be productive. In the end, the experience should be a positive and educational one for you, your students, and the student teachers and pre-student teachers.
While the college or university that your student teacher and pre-student teacher attends will provide you with information and resources, PSEA is also dedicated to supporting you in your role as mentor. We have gathered together advice and resources from a wide range of sources, including researchers, teachers, student teachers, and pre-students teachers, in order to make the experience educational and rewarding for everyone.
Advice from Future Educators
"I think the most important thing is for the teacher to be open to the student teacher...The other thing I found to be very helpful was being introduced to all the teachers, other students in the classroom, librarians, the principal, secretaries, and others. I really found this to be beneficial because it made me feel really welcomed." ~Jocelyn, PSU Behrend
"As a pre-student teacher, I am hoping to see what a positive impact a teacher makes on even one child...Also, we need a lot of support; it's scary being there for the first time." ~Kalyne, St. Vincent College
"I want my mentor teacher to give me great ideas. Anything they can give me would be amazing!... If I do something wrong, tell me how to change it. Help me see how the lesson can be better rather than just saying what I did wrong." ~Danielle, Slippery Rock University
Protecting Yourself and the Future Educator
Is the future educator in your classroom covered? In the same way that you are liable for what happens in your classroom, so are the student teachers and pre-student teachers. The same liability insurance that covers you is also available to them. Ask your student teacher or pre-student teacher if he or she has liability insurance. Student PSEA offers liability insurance and many other benefits for just $30 for the year. Discounts apply for multi-year membership! Liability insurance coverage begins as soon as their membership has been processed.
Evaluating Student Teachers
Each student teacher must be observed and evaluated at least twice during their student teaching experience - once at the midpoint and once at the end. When conducting those formal observations and evaluations, the evaluator must use the form PDE 430. The form, instructions for using it, and additional information can be found at the PDE website.
You will also observe your student teachers more informally throughout their experience. There are many different ways to observe and provide feedback to your student teacher. Below are some resources to help make those informal observations and feedback sessions constructive, educational, and mutually beneficial.
Before, During, and After: Suggestions and advice from teachers and researchers about how to prepare for an observation, what to look for and do during an observation, and what to do after the observation.
Observations and Conferences: Points to consider while observing a student teacher.
Helpful Statements and Questions: Sentence starters and questions to ask student teachers when reflecting on and providing feedback about a lesson they taught.