T3: What You Need To Know Before Student Teaching

T3: What You Need To Know Before Student Teaching

I don’t dive into anything without research, so you can believe that I read numerous blogs and books before I started student teaching.  However, there is a lot that you cannot know without the experience itself.  Here are a few things that the student teaching experience taught me.

10 Things You Need To Know Before Student Teaching

1. Student teaching will be the hardest thing you have ever done.  I like to think that I have done some hard(ish) things in my life.  But I can assure you that student teaching was the most challenging of them all. Writing lesson plans, controlling thirty 10-year-olds, grading papers, trying to get enough sleep, and not to mention actually teaching consumed every second of my day.

2. You can’t quit.  Despite the difficulty, you have to keep the end goal in mind.  Every night, I would think, “Okay, only 117 more days until I graduate.  It will all be worth it when I have that diploma.”  With time, 117 days turned into 67 days, 37 days, 17 days, and eventually, 1 day.


3. You won’t sleep.  Even if you manage to make it into bed, you won’t really sleep. At least, I didn’t.  I would lay in bed reviewing all of the lessons that I had taught, wondering what I could have done to make them better.  Then I would begin mentally preparing for any lessons that I had to teach the next day.  When I finally reached a stage of “sleep,”  I would dream about school.  Basically, I taught all night long.

4. You will love your students. Sure, they will drive you insane when, for the 18th time, they ask where they are supposed to turn in their reading test.  Yet, you will love them.  You will love walking into the classroom each morning and listening to their excited chatter about pandacorns and mermaids.  You will love it when they give you notes that identify you as “Mrs.” instead of “Miss” and make you feel like your mother.  You will love it when they claim that they have NEVER had so much fun in science.  You will love it when your underachieving student makes an 87 on a test.  You will love them, and they will become the reason that you write lesson plans, grade papers, and never get enough sleep.


5. You have to schedule time for exercise.  I learned this lesson too late into the semester.  I think that my first 8 weeks would have been easier if I had allotted 30 minutes per day to just watch YouTube videos while doing a PIIT workout.  At the beginning of March, I set an alarm for 8:00 every night.  When that alarm went off, I stopped whatever I was doing to exercise.  The next 8 weeks were much less stressful.

6. It’s a very short time. As my mom told me at the beginning of the semester, “It is only 75 days (of actual teaching).  You can do anything for 75 days.  You can scoop manure for 75 days.”  (At the time, I told her that I would rather scoop manure.)

7. It gets easier. After the first few weeks of thinking “What am I doing?  Why did I think I could do this?  I am literally going to die from exhaustion.  The students aren’t learning anything”,  you fall into a rhythm. I will never forget facing a whiteboard to write a spelling word and thinking, “OMG!  I am actually teaching!  The students are actually listening!  This isn’t so bad.”

8. Organization is key.  I used approximately 7 different colors of pen, 6 pocket folders, 5 file folders, 4 binders, 3 calendars, 2 planners, and 1 overloaded Google Drive (I swear that I didn’t exaggerate for any of those) to prepare for each week.

9. Everyone makes mistakes.  Learn from them.  Most afternoons as I reflected on my day, I thought, “That was a dumb mistake,” but my dumb mistakes taught me to ALWAYS model the desired outcome, ALWAYS tell them where to put their finished work, and ALWAYS follow through on expectations.

10. Common Core math doesn’t make much sense.  It will make you feel like a chicken teaching fish how to climb a tree.



Top Ten Tuesday: Student Teaching Bag

Top Ten Tuesday: Student Teaching Bag

This is the bag of a student teacher.


It is capacious, sturdy, colorful, and (like every good school bag) eats school supplies.

You can tell a lot about a person based off of what is in their bag.  For example, if you were to look into my bag, you would learn…

  1. That I have lots of plans–so many that I have two planners.20170205_182529
  2. That I will be guiding the class through several science experiments this week..and that certain people in my family eat lots of peanut butter (me) and drink lots of coffee (Mom).
  3. That I lead a lot of guided reading groups.  A lot.
  4. That I am always prepared for the rain.
  5. That I am about to teach a unit on the Civil war…
  6. and that I need to make a lot of copies before we can start that unit.
  7. That I only have one textbook (although I teach 5 subjects), and it is older than my students.
  8. That I explained number 7 on the math worksheet very poorly, and I have not determined yet how I will grade it.
  9. That I color code my lesson plans with different colored pens.
  10. That I still like to decorate my notebooks as if I was in middle school and that I see student teaching as a grand adventure.
Second Timothy Two: Teacher

Second Timothy Two: Teacher


Here are three corny jokes to make you roll your eyes.

Q: Why did the teacher wear sunglasses?
A: Because his class was so bright!


Q: Why were the teacher’s eyes crossed?
A: She couldn’t control her pupils!


Q: How is an English teacher like a judge?
A: They both give out sentences.

In Second Timothy 2:1-7, Paul uses four metaphors to encourage Timothy to stay strong in the faith.  The first comparison that Paul makes is to a teacher.

“You should teach people whom you can trust the things you and many others have heard me say. Then they will be able to teach others.”–2 Timothy 2:2

In this verse, we see three things about teachers.

  1. A teacher must know his students.  Paul told Timothy to teach “faithful men.”  Paul knew that not everyone would care to learn what Timothy had to say.  He did not want Timothy to waste his time trying to teach deaf ears.
  2. To be a teacher, you must be a diligent student. Timothy could not teach without knowledge, so he learned from Paul for many years before he started teaching.  Furthermore, Timothy continued to learn even after he began teaching.
  3. The teacher’s goal is to train more teachers.  Paul knew that he would eventually leave earth and enter heaven.  Therefore, he trained Timothy to continue teaching his message.  Now, Timothy had to do the exact same thing.

We are not all called to be classroom teachers, but we can all pass on the knowledge that we have.  Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “In my walks, every man I meet is my superior in some way, and in that I learn from him.”  We must do the same thing–continue learning from everyone we meet so that we can continue teaching everyone we meet.

Top Ten Tuesday: Educational Games for Middle Schoolers

Top Ten Tuesday: Educational Games for Middle Schoolers

As an education major, some of our required assignments are nothing more than gathering materials to use in our classrooms.  In the present age, a list of web-based games is considered a necessary material.  Here are ten of my favorite games that I have found this year.


  • Analogies – Students must determine which word correctly completes the analogies.  Words will only appear twice, so they need to think quickly!


  • Guess the HomonymSum Some students have a hard thyme time trying too two to determine the write right  homophone or distinguish between homonyms.  This game can help.



  • Food Chain Game – As students learn about all the components of a biome’s food web, this game can help them review and practice putting producers, consumers, and decomposers in order.


  • Photosynthesis Respiration Game – This game leads students step-by-step through the process of human cell respiration and plant cell photosynthesis.  Students must truly understand both concepts to successfully play the game.


Social Studies:


  • America on the Move – Perhaps the greatest evidence of our world’s advances is in the realm of transportation.  America on the Move provides three different games that help children learn about the history of transportation.



  • Fruit Shoot Fractions – This game, reminiscent of Fruit Ninja, requires students to “shoot” the answer to a fraction addition problem.  Because there are many levels, students of many different grades can play the game.

fruit shoot fraction game

  • Pre-Algebra Addition Shootout – Children who love soccer will enjoy choosing their goalkeeper, jersey color, an skill level before solving a variety of simple algebraic equations.

shootout equation game


  • Arthur’s Lunch-o-Matic – This tray needs some Vitamin A!  Students must choose the food that fits the cafeteria worker’s description.  The game will help children learn the benefits of eating a variety of foods.


  • Blast Off! – Children’s bodies are just like rocket ships–they need fuel!  In this game, students fill their plate with a wide variety of foods to get enough fuel for an active day.

blast off game


Top Ten Tuesday: A Book A Year

Top Ten Tuesday: A Book A Year


Children are made readers in the laps of their parents.

-Emilie Buchwald

The truth is, I cannot remember a time before books were part of my life. My mom was an avid reader, and we made weekly trips to the library to fulfill her passion for books.  She would always let my brother and I choose a few books to peruse throughout the week, and she would read them to us over and over again. By the age of 5, I had my own library card (and my own overdue book fines).

Summer is approaching, and children will be spending more time at home.  No matter how old your child is, there are dozens of age-appropriate books that they will enjoy. Below, you will find a list of ten books corresponding with a child’s age.

Read to your children every day, and teach your children to read to themselves. Studious readers become sensational leaders.

Top 10 Books Every Child Should Read

1. Newborn: White on Black, Tana Hoban

2. One-year-old: The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Eric Carle

3. Two-years-old: Corduroy, Don Freeman

4. Three-years-old: If You Give a Pig a Pancake, Laura Numeroff

5. Four-years-old: I Can Read With My Eyes Shut, Dr. Seuss

6. Five-years-old: You are Special, Max Lucado

7. Six-years-old:  13 Words, Lemony Snicket

8. Seven-years-old:  No Longer a Nobody, Matilda Nordtvedt

9. Eight-years-old: Encyclopedia Brown, Donald, J. Sobol

10. Nine-years-old: Where the Sidewalk Ends, Shel Silverstein

Solutions to Four Bulletin Board Problems

Solutions to Four Bulletin Board Problems

Creative bulletin boards can be used to teach, entice, and amuse students.  However, teachers often encounter a variety of problems as they begin stapling together all the pieces.  Thankfully, most of these problems can be easily fixed.

Problem:  You do not have enough matching letters to spell out your sentence.

Solution:  Emphasize key words by using a different font.



Problem:  You cannot hang letters in a straight line.

Solution:  Purposefully and artfully hang them crooked.


Problem: You don’t have time to change your background paper.

Solution: Leave paper on the board from the previous board.



Problem:  You don’t have enough border.

Solution:  Use multiple borders or only place border along the sides.



Huevos Verdes con Jamón

Huevos Verdes con Jamón


As a teacher’s kid, you spend a lot of hours sitting in your parent’s classroom, waiting for meetings to finish, papers to be graded, and lesson plans to be written.


My childhood was exactly that.  I spent many hours coloring, playing solitaire, and walking circles around the tree outside.  When I tired of those activities, I searched Mom’s classroom for an activity to pass the time.  After playing with various props that Mom kept around to aid for her Spanish lessons, I read Green Eggs and Ham in Spanish.  I didn’t understand a word, but I used to pictures to recall the familiar rhyme.

In celebration of national Dr. Seuss Day, read Green Eggs and Ham…in whatever language you choose.  Optional: make the following recipe as well.


Greens, Eggs, and Ham Quiche for One


  • 2 thin deli slices of ham
  • 1 egg
  • 1 small handful of spinach
  • 1/2 tsp green salsa (more or less to taste)
  • Cracked pepper


  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and spray two large muffin tins with nonstick spray.
  • Place one slice of ham in each muffin well and fold so that it lines the side of the pan.
  • Grind spinach in a food processor for about 5 seconds.
  • Add eggs and salsa to food processor and pulse 2-3 times.
  • Pour egg mixture into ham bowls.
  • Bake for 20 minutes.
  • Eat and enjoy!