Module 2: Welcoming Students into the School Community

Module 2 Progress

Essential Questions

  1. How can we include our pre-service teacher as a positive part of our classroom community for the duration of their field experience?
  2. How can we create a positive learning environment so our pre-service teacher feels accepted and respected?

Why is it important to welcome your PST into the school community?

The practicum is an integral component of teacher education, providing pre-service teachers with authentic classroom experiences with in-service teachers so that they may learn their pedagogical craft (De Leon-Carillo, 2007; Grudnoff, 2011; Segall, 2002; Wyckoff, Grossman, Boyd, Lankford, & Loeb, 2009).

Just like welcoming your PK-12 students on the first day, it is important to welcome your pre-service teacher (PST) as it will set the tone for the entire experience.  You need to ensure the environment is supportive and academically stimulating for both the PK-12 students and the PST, making sure the PST knows they belong in your classroom.

Imagine walking into a middle school classroom on your first day as a PST.  You meet your Mentor CT for the first time at the classroom door and are told to sit in one of the empty desks in the back of the classroom and observe. No introductions to students. No explanations about procedures.  Would you feel comfortable? Would you feel like you are part of a team?  Now, imagine if you could walk into the middle school classroom on your first day, already having met your Mentor CT and know where you are to place your belongings. You are encouraged to walk around and help keep the PK-12 students on task and help 1:1 as you see fit.  In which environment do you think the PST would thrive? Which Mentor CT would you like to be placed with for the semester?

Questions for Reflection

  1. What did you do to welcome and introduce your last PST?
  2. Did they feel welcome? If so, how did you know? If not, what would you do differently?

Here are some examples of things you can do to welcome your PST into the classroom community:

  • Meet with your PST before their first day, explaining procedures and what to expect
  • Provide the PST with a designated space to place their belongings and sit (as appropriate) within the classroom
  • Have an item to welcome them to the classroom (e.g. school sticker, keychain, etc.)
  • Develop an intentional process with the PST for introducing them to the class. For example, have the PST create a “me “ bag or poster or have the PST complete an “All about me” document which can be posted in the classroom. (include a video of a PST sharing their “me” bag/poster/basket including anticipated time allowed (e.g. 5 mins or less)*)
  • Letter home from PST to parents/PK-12 students
Note to Pre-Service Teachers