A friend of mine is currently writing her thesis in teaching methodology of mathematics. We are searching for an appropriate translation for the German word 'Lehramtsstudierender'. This is a person who is studying at university to become a teacher, but hasn't graduated yet. We found several expressions like 'student teacher', 'teacher student' and 'teacher trainee' and got the impression that a teacher trainee has already graduated. Is there a difference between a student teacher and a teacher student?

  • 1
    How about teaching assistant? Dec 6, 2017 at 11:10
  • 3
    In the US the academic discipline is usually 'Education', so 'education student'. Dec 6, 2017 at 11:52
  • I agree with teaching assistant (or [post-]graduate teaching assistant, if the person has got their first degree).
    – Mick
    Dec 6, 2017 at 11:58
  • 4
    @NagarajanShanmuganathan In Australia, the term teaching assistant refers to someone working in a classroom (to assist a teacher), not to a person studying to be a teacher. The person might be doing both, but the assistant title doesn't address the student part.
    – Lawrence
    Dec 6, 2017 at 15:42
  • "Student teacher" was very common in US elementary and secondary schools until an increasing number of teacher-preparation programs sought to euphemize the apprenticeship with labels like "teaching intern" or "pre-professional." (As an aside, I've had about 30 of them over the years, and changing the title hasn't made them any smarter...)
    – Rob_Ster
    Dec 6, 2017 at 16:08

3 Answers 3


In Canada the term "education student" is used to describe a person taking courses at a university in a recognized program to become a teacher. "Student teacher" is such a student during a practicum in a classroom.


I learnt at university in a TESOL degree that we call ourselves pre-service teachers. Student teacher/teacher-student is someone who has started working in a school for the first time since qualifying as a teacher.

  • Does anyone else use the term "pre-service teachers"? Mar 8 at 18:13
  • Yes, I have heard of "pre-service teachers". In our university math department, this is used to describe math courses intended for those planning to become teachers. This is in contrast to "in-service teachers" ... those already teaching, but using the university to further their credentials.
    – GEdgar
    Mar 8 at 18:19
  • In the UK, they were called "student-teachers." They were usually in their final year of an education degree at a college or university.
    – Greybeard
    Mar 8 at 19:06

teacher trainer is a person who teaches others to become teachers.

The student is called a trainee teacher or just trainee.

A student teacher is when the trainee actually steps into the classroom, is not yet a teacher and learns by doing.

Both in BrE and AmE.

teacher trainer

teacher trainee
some training to become a teacher in AmE


  • I've not heard this before in America and I know quite a few teachers and am married to a woman who was to start such a program this year but didn't. Jan 5, 2018 at 18:20
  • Well, you better start googling then. It is completely AmE.
    – Lambie
    Jan 5, 2018 at 23:42
  • No need to be sassy. I didn't say you're wrong. Just adding information that it's maybe not that widespread. Jan 6, 2018 at 0:02
  • @AzorAhai-him- trainee teacher or teacher trainee
    – Lambie
    Mar 8 at 18:37

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