Gotta Go Stand Up and Be A Teacher: 50 Things Pre-Service Teachers Should Know

Masks of colour (N.Lemon, 2012)

Recently in a discussion with first year undergraduate Pre-Service Teachers’ (PSTs) the situation of placement came up. In particular we discussed the things they wished they had known prior to going on placement in a school or educational setting. In retrospect reflecting on these things was easier now, as at the beginning of the year the nerves and excitement mixed with not knowing what they didn’t now came into play.

One student, let’s call her Kimberly shared her list of 50 Things a PST should know:

  1. children learn in different ways
  2. children don’t all mature at the same time
  3. children don’t always get it the first time
  4. sometimes less is more
  5. students need time to think/sort through information
  6. being liked doesn’t make one effective
  7. students learn from example
  8. let students have a voice
  9. know your content
  10. don’t be afraid to admit that you don’t know
  11. follow through
  12. follow up
  13. be consistent
  14. take an interest in your students beyond the classroom
  15. learn to use ones voice effectively
  16. don’t complain – act
  17. find a mentor
  18. be prepared to take a risk/move out of ones comfort zone
  19. when preparing lessons go for quality over quantity – keep in simple
  20. be creative in your approach
  21. keep calm
  22. embrace parents/carers in the classroom
  23. learn to work as a team
  24. practise mindfulness
  25. incorporate some relaxation into each day
  26. be broad in your approach
  27. be organised
  28. talk to all staff members
  29. ask for advice/direction/help
  30. be prepared to sing regardless of ones voice
  31. be reflective
  32. stay positive
  33. frame requests positively
  34. trust your gut
  35. don’t try to reinvent the wheel….every lesson
  36. be respectful toward students
  37. continue to learn-PD/colleagues/external experts
  38. embrace ICT
  39. remember to ask who, what, why, where, when questions, not questions that require yes or no answers
  40. don’t take ‘failures’ to heart
  41. expect the unexpected
  42. smile with the students
  43. laugh with the students
  44. remember that they’re children and not small adults
  45. make the room exciting/interesting/inspiring
  46. remember that one can’t fix everything/everyone
  47. get involved
  48. ‘think’ about teaching
  49. be proud of your chosen profession and acknowledge its value to society
  50. engage wholeheartedly with the ‘job’

What would you add to this list?

What do you now know that you didn’t prior to becoming a teacher and wished you had been told? 

What would your list be? 



2 thoughts on “Gotta Go Stand Up and Be A Teacher: 50 Things Pre-Service Teachers Should Know

  1. mauriceabarry says:

    – know your curriculum documents well. Ask for clarification if necessary. A lot of thought has gone into these things and they are the final word on what gets taught.
    – listen carefully to what your students tell you.
    – observe carefully
    – when things don’t go well DO NOT jump to conclusions. Find out what’s gone wrong before devising the solution.
    – pay attention to what other teachers do and adapt your practice accordingly (maybe you mentioned this one)

    BTW–great list!

    • Narelle Lemon says:

      Thanks for the additions Maurice. These are great, I really like not jumping to conclusions…I always say there is a reason for something going wrong and you just have to find out what this/these are.

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