Student teachers - and a winner!

Here in the E-Z Class (soon to be known as Learning to be Awesome), we have just had an amazing student teacher - Whaea Aimee.  She was really awesome, and only a first year!! I was thinking about student teachers and how they get training for this pretty mammoth job we all have, and it got me thinking about my own experience as a student.

Here in New Zealand there are two different ways you could be trained.

  1. You could do a bachelors degree in just about anything, and then complete a 1 year graduate diploma of teaching.  This is pretty much the only way to go if you are teaching high school (with the exception I think of P.E. teaching).
  2. You go to Teacher's college (normally with no other qualifications other than what you gained at high school) and complete a three year bachelors degree. (There are some courses that are four years here, but you usually gain a graduate diploma too as part of this course).
I was in the second - and more common - group.
I spend three years learning about becoming a teacher, and had 5 different placements in 5 different schools over those three years.  I was 18 when I had my first classroom experience - talk about nerve-racking!!  
We also had a few one off experiences in the Normal schools in Palmerston North.  (A Normal school is a school that is affiliated with the university and is required to have student teachers whenever needed.  As far as I'm aware the fully registered (not beginning) teachers at these schools have no choice over when they are getting a student in their class.  They are paid a little bit extra all year round to compensate)

My 5 experiences went like this

Year one
  1. 3 weeks in a year 2 class (grade 1) - observation and reading books to the kids only - with another student teacher.
  2. 3 weeks in a year 7/8 class (grades 6/7) - a couple days full control only
Year two
  1. 4 weeks in a year 3/4 class (grade 2/3) - 1 week ish ful control
  2. 4 weeks in a year 5/6 class (grade 4/5) - 2 weeks full control
Year three
  1. 8 weeks (split into 2 four week stints) in a NE/Y1 class (PreK/K - 5 year olds) - 4 weeks full control over the two blocks.
I felt completely unprepared for my first class - which ended up being year 8's!! (grade 7).  I had collected all these resources for a junior class and then ended up teaching at a high school for my first two years!! Talk about crazy. I was 21 when I had my first class all to myself - all the time!

How does your training compare to what I had here in New Zealand?  Leave me a message - I'd love to know!!  

And the winner of the latest giveaway - I'm celebrating!! - is....

Congratulations.  I will be in touch soon to send you your prize!!



  1. In Ontario, Canada, most people obtain a degree in whatever they like and then go to a one-year program for their Bachelor of Education. This is changing to two years in the not-so-distant future. For those who know they want to be teachers, they can try to get into Con-Ed where they also have placements in their undergrad and are guaranteed a position at the Faculty of Education for their final year. I did this first method. And back then I had a placement in a grade ¾, then a grade ½, and finally a kindergarten class. We went two days a week to our placement for several weeks and then we had a four-week placement.
    Grade 4 Buzz

    1. It's so crazy how different it all is!! I so didn't feel ready by the time I was sat in front of my own class - and will be trying extra hard with any students I get to prepare them for how much work is actually involved in this crazy job!


  2. I personally have a bachelor's degree in Media Communications. When I decided to go back to school for a teaching certificate, I had the option to get a second bachelor's degree (2 more years) or get a master's degree (2 years). I went with the Master's degree, which was a poor choice for our economy (we didn't know that at the time) because it makes me too expensive for many school districts.

    As for training, I think we did 120 hours of observation, teaching lessons here and there. We had to do a specific number of hours at each grade level (K-3, 4-5, 6-8) in urban and suburban settings. During my first year, I wished desperately that I had had more training on classroom management rather than all the practice writing formal lesson plans.

    1. Oh that's annoying! Thankfully here in NZ (so far as I'm aware at least anyway) no teacher is "too expensive" based on their qualifications. Our pay scale is relatively easy to follow, and a masters doesn't actually get you any extra pay. Having a post grad diploma does - but only at the other end, as in your pay scale continues past the regular degree scale.
      I agree totally with the classroom management! It wasn't until about my 4th year in that I really felt like I had some strong classroom management skills!
      Thanks for commenting!!


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