Early Teaching Experiences

A well-designed early teaching experience can give freshmen or sophomores a low-pressure taste of the rewards and challenges of teaching. They may be surprised to discover the joy of helping someone understand a new concept, and that they understand the subject better after teaching it to others. Early teaching experiences come in a variety of forms, but it is essential that students get support and pedagogical training during the experience. More »

Early Teaching Experience Strategies

Give students an opportunity to teach their peers. Peer teaching programs such as Learning Assistants allow students to assist faculty to make large-enrollment courses and labs more interactive and engaging. Students may find peer teaching to be lower pressure and less of a commitment than practice classroom teaching, without sacrificing the rewarding experience of helping someone learn something new.

A Teacher-in-Residence can coordinate early teaching experiences. Teachers-in-Residence are ideal early teaching experience coordinators, because they are exceptionally knowledgeable about the realities of the classroom and what preservice teachers need. In addition, they can mentor preservice teachers who are doing their student teaching, and they can sometimes use their connections with the local school district to secure excellent placements for prospective teachers.

Expose student teachers to multiple grade levels. Students may not know what grade level they want to teach, or they may think they know and then change their minds.

Use early teaching experiences to prepare your pre-service teachers for student teaching. Students who have spent time teaching, and not just observing, will be much better prepared for student teaching.

Invite practicing teachers to participate in the design of your early teaching experience. Who knows better than actual teachers what preservice teachers need?