When hosting a student teacher, I feel it's important to get them involved right away. The first part of class I get them involved in is our Mathstarter. This is our warm-up problem or activity at the start of class. I will start with coming up with the problem and having the student teacher then go over it with students. After a week or so, I'll have the student teacher find the problem to do as the Mathstarter.
The next step I do with a student teacher is have them watch me teach/navigate through 1st hour and then they will do the subsequent hours of that same course. They can take notes on how I give directions, how I talk to groups of students, etc. and then they get a chance to do it in the hour(s) after that that are the same course. I typically have two preps so I usually just have them do one to start. For example, this fall I had Ms. Jenkins (student teacher from GVSU) teach 2nd and 6th hours for 8th grade math after I led 1st hour. After a few successful days of this method, I then switch it up and have the student teacher teach first. I'll then teach after them so they can compare how things went in both situations. We then discuss what parts they liked about their hour and parts they liked about my hour. This allows them to try things on their own but then see how clearer directions given by me and/or different pacing could make the lesson go smoother.
Once the first unit is done as described above, I usually have the student teacher use my materials to plan a unit. I give them the backbone (if needed) and have them change what they want. I usually share with them the notes packet and schedule I used the previous year and have them change up the in-class practice and activities as much as they want. This gives them pieces to plan but doesn't overwhelm them with too much. I also try and add in my second prep at this time. It depends on how much the student teacher wants to take on, but I like to have them feel the workload of two preps. I feel this is realistic for a secondary teacher.
The final unit that they are responsible for is one that I have them build from the ground up. I give them our district curriculum map and pacing guide as well as the materials (currently using Holt textbooks) and have them do it all. This is a great experience for them as this is more realistic as to what they may see in their first year of teaching. I am there to help trouble shoot and listen to their ideas, but I want them to feel what happens if they over plan or under plan. I think it is important for them to feel the emotions of things going right or wrong that they have planned and as long as no children are harmed, I let the student teacher have free reign. I may warn them that something might not go well, but I want them to try any of their ideas.
Throughout the semester, I try and have the student teacher experience many different aspects of teaching. I've created a checklist for myself so that I can keep giving the student teacher ideas. Some things I want them to try and other things are discussions I want to be sure have with them. Please feel free to use this checklist and add, change, delete, etc. to make it work for you.
If you are an educator who hasn't opened your doors to a student teacher yet, please consider it in the near future. Contact a university near you and see what the steps are to obtain a student teacher. It will open your world to new ideas and help the future of teaching too!