Student teaching is a difficult profession. People in this profession are subjected to lots of work and little free time. It’s certainly not to be taken lightly, but this job does not have to be difficult. Here are some ways to make for a smooth transition from student to teacher and succeed in this venture.
Good time management is pretty crucial. Between their schoolwork, their teaching and their research, very rarely do teaching assistants have a lot of spare time on their plates. For this reason, time management is important. A great way to manage time is to make a chart of responsibilities from most to least important; blocking them this way is helpful to decide what needs to be done first.
The ability to inspire. Students look to professors for inspiration and TAs are no exception. If a student has a boring TA they might be resentful and resort to not attending class or not respecting the teacher. TAs don’t have to explain the meaning of life per se, but being able motivate students is not all that difficult and it means a lot to those trying to learn.
A kind attitude goes a long way! Nobody likes a rude teacher who puts them down for anything they do wrong. It just causes hard feelings and perceptions of not feeling smart enough. Instead of criticizing, try to be constructive or use sandwich statements (one constructive comment in the middle of two good ones). Students will feel happier and more willing to talk to you.
Don’t showcase bias. If a teacher has bias, students who don’t agree might not be comfortable sharing their opinion. A rule of thumb is to not mention anything that could be seen as offensive or divisive. Students want to share their opinions and don’t want to be bogged down by bias.
The willingness to learn is necessary. Even if someone is teaching they are likely still learning. Between learning in classes and learning from professors there is a lot of knowledge to be gained. What people don’t realize, though, is that students can teach teachers too. Be sure to be open when students share their thoughts because you might learn something new.