8 Tips for Hosting a Student Teacher in the Art Room

Ah, student teaching. If you are like me, you can still recall the highlights (and lowlights) of your student teaching days. I will always remember when a veteran science teacher told me that a certain student I was struggling with would fit in the kiln–as if cooking a student was an acceptable solution. Needless to say, our student teaching experiences have a huge impact on our teaching.

Now, as a teacher, you may be on the other side of student teaching. You are the one guiding the next generation into the amazing world of art education. In my 14 years of teaching, I have had 3 student teachers and there are a few things I have learned.


Today I’d like to share 8 tips for hosting a student teacher in the art room.

hosting student teacher

1: Read all the information from the college.

The college I have worked with does a great job of sending out a supervising teacher packet the quarter before a student teacher starts. Even though all 3 of my student teachers have come from the same college, the requirements have changed for each of them. These changes have included what they expect from me, from the student teacher and how I am to turn in my supervising reports. Make sure you know what is expected of both of you!

2: Meet the student teacher before he or she starts.

You will most likely be given an information packet about your student teacher, but meeting in person is very important. An initial meeting is a great time for you to share any information you want your student teacher to know, to discuss your expectations and for the student teacher to share with you. Topics for this meeting include where to park at school, dress code, the student teacher’s out of school responsibilities and exchanging cell phone numbers or email addresses.

My student teacher Megan
My student teacher Megan


3: Outline a plan.

During the first day or two, you and your student teacher should outline when and how everything is going to happen. Some things to plan include co-teaching right away, extra teaching days (because things like snow days and deaths in a family can happen) and observation time at the end of student teaching where he or she can observe other teachers in the building.

4: Demonstrate good teaching.

If we’re being honest, we all know we let things slide from time to time. When you are a supervising teacher, you have to bring your “A” game every day. You have to be a good example for your student teacher in all your different roles at school. He or she will follow your example.

5: Co-Teach as much as possible.

Having the student teacher watch and watch and watch doesn’t really help him or her. Co-teaching helps the student teacher learn names, routines and teaching strategies without the requirements of lesson planning or grading.

6: Allow the student teacher to teach.

While this can be the hardest part, it is also the most important. During the planning part of student teaching, I share the concepts the students will need to cover during the student teacher’s time, but he or she is responsible for creating the lessons. While we are co-teaching, the student teacher is working on developing his or her own lessons. We spend  a lot of time working through the pros and cons of the lessons, but ultimately, they have to be lessons that the student teacher creates. Your job is to help your student teacher learn how to teach what they want to teach, not to teach them them to copy what you have been doing.

Your job is to help your student teacher learn how to teach what they want to teach, not to teach them them to copy what you have been doing. 


7:  Provide support, reflection and guidance.

While my student teachers are teaching, I “hide” in the back of the room. I am close enough to hear and see what is going on but hidden enough that the kids forget I am there. I keep sticky notes of observations throughout the day and we discuss them as we go. Once a week we have a formal, sit-down evaluation where we discuss what is happening during the next week, what went well and what still needs work. Keep in mind that your student teacher is not you. He or she will do things differently. Your job is not to clone yourself, but to help him or her learn how to be a quality art educator.

My secret hiding spot
My secret hiding spot


8: Complete your requirements.

As your student teacher finishes his or her time in your classroom, is it easy to put off the last few things required of you as a supervising teacher. Complete all the paperwork for the college. Write your student teacher a letter of recommendation. Finally, take some time and reflect on what you have learned from your student teacher.
If you’re considering hosting a student teacher, I would wholeheartedly recommend it. I have been blessed with 3 good student teachers, one of which went on to become my long-term maternity sub. They each had different strengths and weaknesses, and they were all so much fun to work with.

What was the best part of your student teaching experience? Any funny stories? Anything you wished you had learned but didn’t?

What is keeping you from hosting a student teacher?


Jennifer Carlisle


Jen is a middle school art teacher from Norfolk, NE who loves exploring and teaching art through traditional and digital art mediums.


  • toby

    I have had some great student teachers over the years…and then I’ve had some others….the stories I could share! But I will remain professional!

  • ML

    I have had 12 or more in the 21 years I’ve taught. I will say I’ve had more positive than challenging teachers/situations. Your tips are great tips that I to go by. The one that I think is important is that you’re in the room, “hidden” in the back so you can hear what’s going on and take notes. All to often I’ve seen teachers leave the room for great amounts of time (more than 30 minutes at a time) and I’ve always wondered how they could accurately assess and give feedback while they were out of the room. Thanks for your tips! Marylynn

  • Cindy

    I have had six student teachers in 15 years. This last one was challenging
    She could teach well but she was often late and requested to leave early too many times .
    Our preps she would call her mom everyday and plan her nail appointments and graduation party. She called out twice and was manipulative with asking my principal to
    Leave early and me the day prior with a dr appointment. I called the college twice and they were supportive and asked me to do another observation to include the issues above. She was only 24 but she made it hard for me to talk with her about policies and she bent all the rules.

    • Lisa

      That sounds like a really difficult situation. I had a student teacher years ago like that; I regretted having her. I had a student teacher who just finished before winter break and he was a very nice person, good teacher, easy to work with. He did try to bend the rules once or twice to take Friday off. When I said “no” he respected that. They are young and don’t always “get” that we can’t just take Friday off to start the weekend early!

    • Jennifer Carlisle

      Just like all our students aren’t perfect, neither are the student teachers. I always feel a little “older” after finishing with a student teacher as they remind me how “grown up” I am (and I am really not that grown up). Cindy it sounds like you had someone who should have been directed into a non-teaching direction much earlier in her college career.

  • Erin

    Great tips! One I’d like to add is the importance of establishing a space for your student teacher to work (if you can snag an extra teacher desk, great–but a small table tucked out of the way will work as well) and safe space for him/her to store personal items, like lunch, coat, etc. I’ve found that these small things go a long way in making student teachers feel comfortable, welcome, and at home in your space.

    • Jennifer Carlisle

      Agreed. We usually switch places with my “hiding spot” starting as his/her desk (but out in the open).