Although student teaching can provide an exceptional experience and deeper insight into what it takes to inspire children to learn, bad days and unpleasant incidents can occur. In some cases, these days might involve having to deal with students acting up or showing a lack of respect. In others, student teachers might have to cope with conflicts that occur with faculty or staff members. Knowing how to handle these kinds of days is an important part of student teaching. The following tips offer helpful advice on what to do after a bad day in the classroom.
Learn from it and apply that knowledge. Bad days can derail a positive outlook on student teaching, but they should be thought of as opportunities to grow and learn. Student teachers should think about what happened, why it happened and how to lower the risk of having it happen again. For example, if students were disrespectful, think of why they acted that way and what might encourage them to show respect from now on. Student teachers should keep in mind that it can take time for positive changes to occur after a setback. However, the insights gained from examining a bad day can be used to make student teaching a positive and rewarding experience overall.
Talk about it with fellow student teachers or mentor teachers. Discussing what happened with others who are able to relate can help student teachers get their thoughts and feelings out. It also offers a chance to seek advice about how to handle setbacks from mentor teachers who have had similar experiences. These teachers can explain how they dealt with these experiences and share tips on what has worked and what has not worked. Talking to fellow student teachers and listening to them in turn can provide a valuable support system to deal with bad days, which helps lessen the negative impact they have.
Evaluate and reconsider current techniques. If a bad day in the classroom resulted from the type of teaching method being used or a certain teaching technique, student teachers should think about making adjustments or trying a different method. If a certain teaching style results in conflict with students, for example, or poor grades among the majority of the class, student teachers should look into changing that style. Being able to adapt to change is a highly important skill that student teachers should master during their experience in the classroom.
Expect challenges to occur. Student teaching isn’t much different from starting another type of job. Challenges are bound to occur as student teachers adjust to this new experience, and missteps are part of this learning process. Emphasizing the positive aspects of these challenges and learning from the negative aspects is one of the most effective ways for student teachers to make the most of them and use them to their advantage. For example, having a bad day due to a misunderstanding or conflict with a faculty member or student can encourage student teachers to work on improving their communication skills during the rest of their student teaching experience.
The most important piece of advice to keep in mind after experiencing a bad day of student teaching is that the next day always provides an opportunity for improvement. Student teachers should take what they have learned from these bad moments and use that knowledge to create a more rewarding student teaching experience overall. This won’t necessarily prevent bad days from occurring, but it can go a long way toward helping student teachers feel more prepared to handle them when they happen in the future.