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Bridging Theory and Practice: The Benefits of Hosting Teacher Candidates in Your Classroom

Bridging Theory and Practice: The Benefits of Hosting Teacher Candidates in Your Classroom

Hosting Teacher Candidates

Teacher candidates, or student teachers, play a pivotal bridge between theory and practice as they complete practicum sessions of the pre-service programs. The decision to have a teacher candidate in a classroom not only supports accreditation requirements, it’s an investment in the future of education. There are numerous benefits of hosting a teacher candidate which I experienced as a candidate myself, a host teacher and a principal. 

Practical Application of Theory: 

One of the primary advantages of placing teacher candidates in classrooms is the opportunity to apply theoretical knowledge in a real-world setting. While academic coursework equips them with concepts and methodologies, the classroom experience allows them to witness the nuances of teaching, classroom management, and student engagement in action. Implementing learning under the supervision of a seasoned teacher provides the opportunity to dialogue and refine practice. 

Mentorship and Professional Development

Having a teacher candidate in the classroom fosters a mentorship dynamic between the candidate and the experienced teacher. This relationship provides valuable insights, guidance, and feedback, nurturing the teacher candidate's professional growth. Mentorship is a reciprocal process, benefitting both the candidate and the experienced educator through the exchange of ideas and experiences. 

Exposure to Diverse Learning Environments

Teacher candidates often have the opportunity to experience various settings, including different grade levels, socio-economic backgrounds, and cultural contexts. This exposure enriches their understanding of diverse student needs, learning styles, and challenges. It equips them with the adaptability and cultural competence needed to support and internalize diversity and inclusivity. 

Classroom Management

Classroom management is a skill that requires practice and refinement. Having a teacher candidate in the classroom allows them to observe and participate in the development of effective classroom management strategies. Through hands-on experiences, candidates learn to create positive learning environments, establish clear expectations, and address behavioural challenges. 

Innovation and Fresh Perspectives

Teacher candidates bring fresh perspectives and innovative ideas into the classroom. Their recent exposure to contemporary teaching methods, educational technologies, and research allows them to introduce cutting-edge ideas in their practicum placements. This infusion of new ideas benefits the candidate, students and the host teacher, promoting a dynamic and engaging learning environment. 

Increased Student-Teacher Ratio

With a teacher candidate present, the student-teacher ratio in the classroom effectively decreases. This enables more individualized attention for students, fostering stronger connections between educators and learners. The additional support can be especially valuable for students who may require extra assistance or benefit from differentiated instruction. It’s also a great opportunity to do individual conferencing and assessments with students while there is a pair of extra hands circulating the classroom.

Recruitment and Retention

Hosting teacher candidates in classrooms can contribute to the recruitment and retention of talented educators. Exposure to a positive and collaborative teaching environment encourages teacher candidates to consider supply teaching at specific schools or applying to permanent positions in working climates they have already experienced. Additionally, teachers who engage in mentorship often find the experience rewarding, contributing to the overall satisfaction and longevity of educators in the field.


Hosting a teacher candidate is beyond fulfilling a graduation requirement for teacher training programs. It is a symbiotic relationship that benefits the candidate, the mentor teacher, and, ultimately, the students. By providing an authentic and immersive experience, teacher candidates return from their placements equipped with the practical skills, insights, and passion necessary for a successful teaching career. The investment in teacher candidates today is an investment in the future of education.

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Meet the author:

Nina Jaiswal, an Educational Consultant and former Superintendent of Education, offers valuable insights for educators, both experienced and new. As an expert witness in school liability, discipline matters, compliance, and policy, her perspective is essential for understanding the complexities of education. In addition to consultancy, Nina dedicates her expertise to coaching staff at all levels, focusing on career growth, promotion preparation, leadership development, and competency strengthening in educational matters.

With over 13 years on the Accreditation Review Panel for the Ontario College of Teachers and a history of teaching at the University of Toronto and York University, Nina's voice is grounded in extensive experience. She has significantly contributed to professional learning at the Ontario Public Supervisory Officers’ Association (OPSOA) and served as a coach for the Ontario Principals' Council. Recognized for impactful partnerships with community agencies and families, Nina is a driving force behind fostering public confidence and elevating student achievement.  

Nina's writing is an indispensable resource for anyone eager to delve into the dynamic world of education.