Challenges of student teachers during teaching practice exercise

Teaching practice is an important component of becoming a teacher. This is the case because it exposes student teachers experience in the actual teaching and learning environment (Perry 2014). During teaching practice, a student teacher is given the opportunity to try the art of teaching before actually getting into the real world of the teaching profession (Kiggundu & Nayimuli, 2009).

Menter (2009) remarked that student teachers perceive it as “the crux of their preparation for the teaching profession” since it provides for the “real interface” between their lives as students and membership of the teaching profession. As a result, teaching practice creates a mixture of anticipation, anxiety, excitement and apprehension in the student teachers as they commence their teaching practice (Perry, 2014).

Despite the enriching experiences during teaching practice, student teachers also experience challenges which in a way can hamper their ability to derive maximum benefit from the exercise and also has impact on the students and the community.

Atanda (2013) viewed student teacher is a student undergoing college-supervised instructional experience; usually the culminating course in a university or college undergraduate education or graduate school program leading to teacher education and certification. In addition he stated that student teaching is required for students who are not yet certified to teach. It is different from a practicum, which is required when a student already holds certification to teach, yet wants a certificate extension to teach another area of specialization; they are both college-supervised field-based experiences (Davis & Hall, 2013).

The student teaching experience lasts about the length of a semester or quarter; long enough to fulfill the college’s assigned tasks. It is an unpaid internship. This experience gives the prospective teaching professional an opportunity to teach under the supervision of a permanently certified master teacher (Isaac, 2012).

The student teacher is usually placed in a neighbouring or participating school. The student teacher is monitored by the cooperating teacher from the school, as well as a supervisor through the college. The supervisor acts as a liaison between the cooperating teacher and the head of the college’s student teaching department. The student teacher normally shadows the cooperating teacher for about one week, eventually gaining more responsibility in teaching the class as the days and weeks progress. Eventually, the student teacher will assume most of the teaching responsibilities for the class including class management, lesson planning, assessment, and grading. Thus, the student teacher is able to more fully experience the role of the teacher as the classroom teacher takes on the observation role in the class. The supervisor, as well as cooperating teacher, monitor the progress of the student teacher throughout the experience, ensuring satisfactory work (Morrow, 2007).


Atanda, A. I. (2013). Towards effective school: The emerging role of classroom teachers. Botswana: University of Botswana.

Davis,J. & Hall, J. (2003). Building reciprocal relationships in the student teaching practicum. The Education Specialist, 19(1), 1-33.

Isaac, S. (2012). Correlation of Theory and Practice. Sree Abirami College of Nursing, Coimbatore: India.

Kiggundu, E. & Nayimuli, S. (2009). Teaching practice: A make or break phase for student teachers. South African Journal Education, 29(3), 345-358.

Menter, I. (2009). Teaching stasis: Racism, sexism and school experience in initial teacher education. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 10, 459-473.

Morrow, W. (2007). What is teachers’ work. Journal of Education. 1(41), 3- 20.

Perry, R. (2014). Teaching Practice for Early Childhood: A Guide for Students. Retrieved on 12th January, 2016 from

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