Teaching With Training Wheels

Renay was out doing data sheets this week, her life seems to have returned to the world of data. She was working on some data from a student teacher, trying to wrangle the instructions and provide the students she supported with help.

Student teachers are fun. They’re young, they’re hopeful, they mostly are cool.

There are some things we need student teachers to know and appreciate:

  • We know your time to work with the students you’ve selected for your projects is limited. We appreciate you getting your feet wet and figuring things out. Watch us before you start your data or your approach. While the student may have never hit another person, we saw their hands clench when you bent down close. We saw the look of disdain in their eyes when you asked for their eyes. We said nothing, partly because you need to be aware of these things and partly because we did not want to undermine your burgeoning authority.
  • Data Sheets need to be simple. Yes, the goal should be there, but what symbols, numbers or tracking? Be concise on the way we should gather information. Our job is to do our best to follow your instructions.
  • It took us years to learn too: prompts to correct students need a minimum of 20 seconds before offering up another prompt or choice. And do not creep up on the student.
  • You can be wrong. And we will smile and take it. But let us show you a few tricks, we’ve taught a few student teachers as much as a mentor teacher.
  • Take a moment to appreciate the fact that while one (or two) teachers are signing off on your work in the program, you’ve got at least one other professional keeping an eye out for your well-being.  
  • Get organized now. Not later. Not next year. Everything goes into a specific folder. Be ready for things to get lost. Make copies. Print extras. Find the system that works for you now. You’ll thank us later.
  • Ask about the acronyms. We’ll shout them at you as we run down the hall…we know most of them. The ones we don’t know, we’ll ask someone else.

You can be wrong. And we will smile and take it. But let us show you a few tricks, we’ve taught a few student teachers as much as a mentor teacher.


Student teaching is a very unique place in a professional career. Some have more information about tactics than others, and it’s your job to share the wealth, not just sit down and be in awe of a good, or a team that is learning to find the skills to work together. Don’t worry you’ll get the hang of it before your next term sends you somewhere else.

October Is Busy

October is literally one of the most celebrated packed months for people with disabilities.

October is:

  • ADHD Awareness month
  • Down Syndrome Awareness Month
  • Dysautonomia Awareness Month
  • National Dyslexia Awareness Month
  • Spinal Bifida Awareness Month
  • Occupational Therapy Awareness Month
  • October 6: World Cerebral Palsy Day
  • October 15: White Cane Awareness Day
  • October 13-19: Invisible Disabilities Week
  • October 13-19: International OCD Awareness Week

Do you have any comments about this week’s blog? Do you have a question for us? Would you like to have an opportunity to pilot some materials at your campus? Find ParaEducate online herehereherehere, and on our website. ParaEducate is a company interested in providing materials, information, and strategies for people working in special education inclusion settings for grades K-12. ParaEducate, the blog, is published during the academic school year on Thursdays, unless a holiday. ParaEducate shares their findings at conferences, through their books, and their academic adaptations.

About paraeducate

ParaEducate is a company run to help reach out to paraeducators or paraprofessionals in public K-12 schools, giving advice, talking about publications that ParaEducate produces, and other useful information regarding working in public school settings.
This entry was posted in 8 hours, Campus, paraeducators, Professionalism, student teachers. Bookmark the permalink.