What Is a Student Teacher? – Definition, Advantages & Importance

Are you thinking about becoming a student teacher? Would you like to become a teacher but you’re not sure what a student teacher is and what the role of a student teacher means?

A student teacher is a person who is currently enrolled in a teacher preparation program that provides classroom-based, supervised experience with children, youth, and/or adults in public or private schools. 

In the educational process, student teaching and internships prepare future teachers to meet the academic needs of their students.

This article gives an in-depth explanation of what a student-teacher is, and answers related questions about student teaching.

What Is a Student Teacher?

Students-teachers are individuals who study to become teachers while working in schools under the supervision of a teacher or professor. Also, a student-teacher is a pre-service teacher who practices teaching in a school under the guidance of a licensed teacher.

Additionally, student-teachers are usually college students who are completing their graduation requirements. They study to become educators or prepare themselves for careers in tutoring.

Through student-teaching, students gain experience in essential skills educators need and have an opportunity to shadow teachers in different classrooms.

Student teachers learn and acquire all the knowledge, skills, and experience necessary to become qualified teachers. 

They have nearly completed their education in a specific teaching field, but have not yet passed the required classroom performance tests required for certification as teachers. Hence the need to gain practical experience.

Top Tips for Student Teachers

What Are the Benefits of Being a Student-Teacher?

Being a student-teacher or trainee-teacher is an excellent way of engaging with classroom situations before becoming an official teacher. As a student-teacher, you will be gaining in-depth teaching experience in a school and under the supervision of a more experienced teacher. 

You will work with teachers to most effectively equip students to reach their full potential both in school and beyond. Listed below are key benefits associated with being a student teacher.

1. It Helps You Network and Meet With Teachers throughout Your Training 

Student teaching helps you make valuable connections, get practical teacher training, and find a rewarding student teaching placement. Also, it allows some student-teachers to earn some money.

Being a student-teacher allows you to meet with a wide range of experienced and new teachers throughout your training. You’ll engage in real-life learning that helps you transition into a classroom more smoothly.

Over the year, you will meet and work with different educators, which will enable you to establish lasting relationships within your program.

2. Receive Real-World, Hands-on Teaching Experience before You Graduate 

As a student-teacher, you will receive real-world, hands-on teaching experience while still in school! Also, you will work with students from diverse backgrounds that are eager to learn – truly making a difference in their lives. 

As a prac teacher, you will have the opportunity to use classroom management skills for a more effective learning environment and prepare for the challenges of being a teacher. 

While student teaching, you’ll earn valuable experience while earning credit towards your credential or degree program. 

SEE: Hands-On Learning: A Beginner’s Guide

3. Learn Valuable Leadership Skills and Gain Confidence as a Future Teacher

Interning or working as a student teacher can allow you to learn valuable leadership skills and gain confidence as a teacher in the future.

As a student-teacher, you’ll get the chance to prove that you have the right stuff to be a teacher. You’ll also have the opportunity to practice those leadership traits on students with guidance from your supervisor. 

There is no greater service than guiding a classroom of young students, encouraging and inspiring them to achieve their goals. 

SEE: The Distinct Qualities of a Great Leader

4. You’ll Have References Available against Employment

Student-teaching connects you to experts in employment and education. Also, you’ll have references available against employment, education, and student-teacher programs.

If you’re a recent graduate or are currently studying, working with an experienced teacher will give you valuable real-life teaching experience with your chance to try something new each day. 

As well as being an enjoyable and rewarding experience, being a student-teacher can also help your CV stand out from the crowd.

SEE: Skills To Put On A Resume

5. Student-Teaching Helps Blend Theoretical Knowledge with Practical Experience

Student-teaching is a great way to gain practical experience, meet other teachers, and learn about teaching on the job. The program offers aspiring teachers an opportunity to combine theoretical knowledge with practical experience. 

Also, it is an essential tool that supports teacher education and helps students become better teachers when they enter the classroom. A key component of the program acknowledges that the student-teacher has limited classroom experience before the placement.

Ultimately, the benefits of being a student-teacher will help you to gain the knowledge, confidence, and skills to enter the classroom with confidence. You’ll also get to know your cohort of other student teachers and work with them throughout the year. 

In many teacher education programs, the final term of student-teaching occurs in a professional teaching environment. Here, you’ll develop skills such as lesson planning and evaluation.

Why Are Student-Teachers Important?

A student teacher’s observation and participation in lessons conducted by their supervising teacher allow them to gain insight into classroom management. That includes ways of interacting with students, handling group dynamics, and behavior issues. 

This is an important period in the career development of a prospective teacher. Student teachers are responsible for planning lessons, observing and assisting with classroom instruction, and reporting their observations of classroom teachers to their supervisors.

Also, they often receive academic credits towards their teaching degree for working as student teachers. Student-teachers are also important because they help the school system fill in the gaps caused by the lack of teachers. 

They are also important because they give you a glimpse of what a career in teaching will be like and how to cope with situations in front of students and other teachers. 

Additionally, it helps graduate students figure out if teaching is truly their calling. It also lets you decide if you can cope with the rigors of teaching and determine your career path.

SEE: Reasons Why Teachers Are Important

What Are the Advantages of Student Teaching?

Student teaching is a rewarding and useful experience that many teachers find to be the most valuable part of their entire education. The biggest advantage of student teaching is getting real-world experience in a classroom environment. 

Teaching experience not only helps you decide if teaching is really the career for you, but connects you with more experienced teachers who can offer advice on how to succeed as a teacher. 

Also, earning your teaching certification while student teaching means that you will be able to begin working as a teacher right after college graduation – no need to take additional courses or tests.

Other advantages of being a student-teacher, prac teacher, or pre-service teacher include:

1. You Will Learn How to Build Relationships with Your Students 

As a new or rookie teacher, you need to learn how to establish trust with your students and make them love being in your class.

Student teachers are at the very start of their teaching profession, and they often feel nervous and unsure of their new role. For your students to feel more at ease, it’s imperative to have a solid relationship with them. 

This training will show you how to reach out to parents, engage students actively, and build relationships with them so they will want to be in your class. 

Also, it allows you to learn how to prepare engaging lessons and activities that keep students engaged from start to finish.

SEE: Collaborative Learning: Strategies and Benefits

2. You Get Lots of Support and Advice from Your Mentor 

Student teaching gives you the chance to apply your knowledge and skills in a classroom. You get lots of support and advice from your mentor, so it’s an effective way to complete your training and become a teacher.

Of all the advantages of student teaching, none is more important than having a mentor to guide you through all aspects of being a teacher. 

This can range from lesson planning and how to incorporate new strategies in the classroom, to troubleshooting technical issues with classroom equipment. 

During these challenging times, your mentor will be there to help you navigate and resolve any issues that arise in the classroom.

SEE: What Work-Study Is: A Comprehensive Guide

3. You Have an Opportunity to Try Out Different Teaching Methods 

Trying out different teaching methods helps you see what works in a variety of classroom situations. That also gives you a chance to reflect on your own methods and try out fresh ideas.

Pre-service teaching also allows you to test out different educational approaches to learn what works best for you and your class.

4. You See First-Hand Why Certain Techniques Work and Which Techniques Do Not Work for Certain Situations 

While going through your student-teaching experience, you will learn firsthand why some techniques work and why others don’t. You’ll also learn from a teacher’s perspective and develop impressive skills in the process. Learning these lessons now will help you in the future as an educator.

SEE: The Complete List of Teaching Styles and Skills

5. It Helps You Decide If Teaching Is the Right Career Path for You

Through this training, you’ll learn the roles and responsibilities of teachers, supervised teaching, and other aspects of teaching. This also includes the challenges associated with teaching and the stress that comes with the job.

From there, deciding if it is the right career path for you becomes relatively easy. It also opens you to the opportunities associated with the profession like tutoring jobs and profiting from selling online courses.

What Are the Disadvantages of Being a Student-Teacher? 

The negative side of being a student-teacher is that the work can be difficult and there is little time for yourself. You have to come up with lesson plans, you take classes and you still have to put up with school stuff. 

However, being a student-teacher can be one of the most rewarding parts of education or it can be one of the most challenging. How much support you receive and who you work with will greatly impact the experience.

Below are a few disadvantages of pre-service teaching:

1. You’ll Need to Find Time for Class, Teaching, and Studying.

Being a student-teacher is an exciting job. In addition to learning in the classroom, you’ll also have the chance to gain hands-on experience outdoors! However, with all this potential experience comes a lot of responsibility. 

But if you’re planning to become a teacher, you’ll need to make sure there is time for everything. Practice usually lasts for an academic year, and in-class teaching experiences are very intensive. 

2. The Practice Becomes Challenging If Your Supervisor Is Difficult to Work With.

Several student-teacher supervisors are harsh and unforgiving, treating them as expendables and deeming their supervision a waste of time. The stress of dealing with a difficult mentor can easily overwhelm someone who hasn’t yet developed the skills to deal with such people.

3. Student-Teachers Do Not Get Paid 

Students and interns do the same job as regular teachers do, but the difference is that they are unpaid, and get no salary or other benefits. 

Student teachers in many cases have to rely on financial support from their own families to meet their needs. Families of student-teachers also have to pay for their supplies and expenses.

FAQs

Do you need certifications to be a student-teacher? 

No, a student-teacher does not need a teaching certificate. Anyone who is studying for a position in education can be a student teacher, including undergraduates and graduate students.

How much do student-teachers earn?

Student-teachers do not earn money as it is part of their mandatory training before graduation. However, you can make money by offering private tutoring services to children, or selling customized lesson plans.

How do you become a student teacher?

A bachelor’s degree in elementary education or any teacher training program is required to become a student teacher. Before graduating from college, you become eligible to serve as a student-teacher at a school where you get practical experience.

Conclusion

Although the title “pre-service” refers to someone who has yet to receive his or her license, student or pre-service teachers are still teachers and are to be treated as such. 

In addition, student-teachers are valuable members of the community because they bring new perspectives, ideas, and enthusiasm to change the world. 

Finally, student-teachers help fill the gap caused by the dwindling numbers of teachers in the educational system due to low pay. This among many other reasons is why teachers deserve more pay. Read more on the importance of better pay for teachers.

I hope you found this article helpful. Thanks for reading