The Top 3 Things My Elementary Education Practicum Taught Me
Have these months been flying by or is it just me? For those of you who are not aware, I am finishing my first year in the education program and for the month of March, before schools closed, I was on practicum! Where to begin? There is so much I could tell you and this blog could go on forever, but I’ll give you a little insight of what it was like and some things I learned along the way. Join me on this journey!
Before practicum, I was incredibly nervous! Believe me when I say I have had not one but many sleepless nights in anticipation of my first day. One thing I am grateful for is that we were well prepared before jumping into it all. From January-February we took part in eight modules that were geared towards specific areas such as learning to teach English language learners or running around the gym for P.E/Health class. We finished off with a strategies module that allowed us to create a “toolbox” for ourselves to take with us as we entered our practicum. Though we were prepared by very knowledgeable and passionate teachers, still the closer the month of March got, the shakier and more excited I felt.
On my first day of practicum, I was not alone; my good old friends, nerves and anxiety, decided to join me, but so did optimism and positivity. I knew that it was okay for me to feel anxious and nervous, and I knew that it has been my passion to become a teacher for so long and it’s all about how I see myself in the class, how I incorporate myself into the school and become part of the community. This is what I was working for, I told myself. My first day was incredible! I felt extremely blessed to be in the grade 4 classroom that I was in. Everyone in the class was super welcoming and curious. It was all new to every one of us and we were all eager to find out how it was going to unfold.
As a couple weeks went on, I began teaching more and more lessons which involved me getting up in front of the classroom a lot more. It was quite nerve-wracking for me but as I started teaching, it began to feel natural and let me tell you, that is the best feeling!
The top 3 things I learned:
Throughout this journey, I have learned lots of things and have grown so much. However, the top three things that I would want to share with you are ones that I feel will make your practicum go a lot more smoothly!
- Make an effort to get to know your kids’ names on the first day!
This may be really simple, but it was actually quite difficult for me to do this because I was so nervous! But I tried my best, and the kids bond more with you when you make this effort. Making that initial connection with students is so important.
- Ask a lot of questions!
These kinds of questions are ones you should ask your mentor teacher, supervisor, AND the kids in your classroom! I made a strong effort to get to know my students by asking them questions about what they liked, disliked, what they were reading, what they were doing, etc.! You start to really know who the kids are.
- Go to the staff room!
As an introvert, this was quite difficult for me! I did lots of things throughout my practicum that were difficult for me because I was shy, but I figured why not try something new and get to know people because this was going to be my life. I suggest you go to the staff room and make new teacher friends! They have lots of insight to share with you. Even if you’re just sitting there and listening in on some conversations on your first day, there is always going to be something to say at some point!
And that’s it for my first year! I can’t believe it! Time goes by so fast and I’m so grateful to have had the experience that I did, when I did. Thanks so much for listening to my journey.