Each year, as Baylor teacher candidates prepare to graduate, they pass on words of wisdom to the School of Education (SOE) juniors, who are about to embark on the exciting adventure of being an SOE intern.
The senior year in the SOE provides an exciting capstone experience, where students are full-time interns, teaching in a public school for the entire academic year and learning to lead a classroom. The Baylor program is designed to make sure they are ready to be professionals, and it works! Employers who hire Baylor graduates say they perform more like second-year than first-year teachers.
Here’s a wrap-up of what this year’s seniors shared with the juniors on some important topics — from the power of coffee to the value of mentor teachers.
Relationships with Your Students . . .
• Establish relationships with your students on the very first day of school.
• You need to be able to laugh at your mistakes and laugh with your students. Children are hilarious, so embrace their quirks.
• Try to get involved on your campus. Coach UIL, attend choir concerts, watch sporting events, and chaperone the dances!
• Fight for your students, offer them a safe place, and even though you may be worn to bits, always have a happy heart.
• Most importantly, always remember it is all about the kids. We are here for them, so focus on giving them your best.
Relationships at Your School . . .
• Form relationships with the staff on your campus. Get to know the teacher down the hall, the people who work in the front office, the principals, and the janitorial staff.
Lesson Plans . . .
• Go “out of the box” with your lesson plans. Make them engaging!
• Don’t be afraid to create lessons that challenge your students or to share your ideas with other educators.
• Don’t be intimidated by full teaching! In the beginning, don’t expect to know how to teach like a pro. You are still learning! It comes with time, and you will get the hang of it in no time. Start full teaching as soon as you can.
Eating . . .
• Make time to eat breakfast before school. Keep candy in your desk. The $2.98 pre-made HEB salads are a lifesaver.
• Invest in a good water bottle. You will be talking all day long. Never underestimate the power of coffee and a good nap.
• Sonic drinks make hard days easier. Sonic is life.
Sleeping . . .
• First, you need to sleep! Trust me — falling asleep in front of your students is not something that you want to happen.
• Get at least 6 hours every night whether that means putting earplugs in so you can sleep while your roommates are being loud in the other room, or going to bed at 10 every night.
Mentors and Intern Supervisors . . .
• Get to know your mentor on a personal level. You’ll be sharing a space with him or her for a long time!
• When your mentor or another teacher at the school gives constructive criticism to you, take it!
• Communicate with your mentor and intern supervisor daily about any and everything (they are there to help you).
Organization . . .
• Stay organized, get a calendar/assignment book, and find a consistent lesson-planning day
• Use your planning time wisely because things will pile up! Grade as you go.
• Don’t wait until the last night to start Efolio; something always goes wrong. Do not procrastinate! Invest in caffeine! You can do it!
Flexibility . . .
• Be flexible. This is one of the most important pieces of advice for surviving and thriving during your intern year.
Baylor . . .
• Be confident. Your professors and field experiences have led you to this time and place. You are equipped to pass on knowledge to the next generation of young learners and you should be proud of that!
Other Good Advice . . .
• Keep a good sense of humor. If you can laugh at yourself, it puts the students at ease and makes you seem like less of a robot.
• Everyone messes up making copies at least once. Don’t be embarrassed
• For those of you in the special education community — learn how to change a diaper. I had no clue what I was doing the first time I was asked to change one, so it never hurts to practice!
• Remember to SIT — Survive. Immerse. Thrive.
And Finally . . .
• Get excited. You’re about to embark on an amazing, life-changing journey that is Intern Year. Learn, grow, and spread Christ’s love with all of your heart, mind and spirit. You got this!