Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Getting a Jump on Student Teaching

Kristin Leclaire and Anne Smith are going to be mentoring a student teacher for the first half of next semester. Randon is coming in from out of state (Wartburg College has a program where they place student teachers in the Denver Metro area) and, like many student teachers, won’t have much of an opportunity to get the lay of the land before he starts.

So, to try to get a jump on getting to know the students, Randon developed some questions for them that Kristin and Anne then posted on their blogs. (Leclaire English 10, Smith English 9, Smith English World Literature). The questions varied slightly depending on the class, but here’s what he asked the students in English World Literature:

  1. I (Mr. Ruggles) have never lived in Colorado. What is your favorite thing about Colorado
  2. What do you like about English Literature?
  3. How do you learn best? In what concrete, specific ways?
  4. What sorts of activities in the classroom have been really meaningful to you?
  5. What sorts of activities outside of the classroom have been really meaningful to you?
  6. What are you passionate about?
  7. What sorts of things will you be participating in or doing second semester (Either inside or outside of AHS)?
  8. Next semester we will be looking at The Picture of Dorian Gray. What do you know about this book?
  9. What is your favorite thing about the people of England or the country of England?
  10. What is one thing I (Mr. Ruggles) should know about this class?
  11. If you were teaching the class, what is one thing you would change?
  12. What is one thing you want to accomplish on the first day of class second semester?
  13. What are you really motivated by (besides your parent/guardian and receiving good grades)?
  14. What is one thing you want to know about me (Mr. Ruggles)?
  15. Finally, what one character in a movie or a book are you most like at this point in your life? Why?

Take a look at the three posts and how the students responded to the questions. I thought this was a great way to start to get to know the students and the culture of the class, and for the students to start to get to know Randon.


  1. Great idea. I have forwarded this post to the folks in Teacher Education at Montclair State University in NJ whom our district partners with.

  2. This is a great idea!

    I'm planning on student teaching in the Fall of 2009 and I would love to get to know the students ahead of time, even if they are local.

  3. That is a terrific idea. I just completed student teaching and it would have been very beneficial to know my students ahead of time. I can, however, see issues for student teachers who come in in the fall because I don't know if there is a way to contact the students over the summer. The questions could be used on the first day though. I did something similar with my classes because I started teaching on the first day of school. But I like his questions a lot better and I will probably use them in the future. Thanks for the post!

  4. @Mr. Willhoit - kids are scheduled for the fall in May (for us, anyway). Their schedules get adjusted over the summer, but certainly by the end of July are fairly set.

    A couple of us have kicked around the idea of teachers contacting their classes ahead of time, but haven't pursued it. (One of the problems of being in a large high school, I think it would be easier and more beneficial in a smaller school.)

    Also, many (not all) student teachers in the fall actually start partway into the school year, as their college year doesn't start until much later than our high school year, so this could still work for those folks.

  5. We are about to have a student teacher in World Languages. This is a great idea and establishes and instant connection to students. Was this all his idea? He is way ahead of the game in my opinion.

  6. @bkitch - I think Kristin and Anne had something to do with giving him this idea . . . :-)