Updated: Mar 26, 2019
Congrats on finishing yet another practicum! If you're in first year, you're now probably starting to get the hang of these placements, and how to balance work and life during school. If you're in second year, you're now probably counting down the minutes until classes are done and you're officially a teacher! Looking back at this past practicum, I realized that anyone who has ever completed a placement as part of their program requirements usually holds similar feelings throughout:
Beginning: Nervous, anxious, uncertain...not too great!
Middle: Stressed, learning people's names, learning routines
End: Comfortable, excited, (tired)
...then you're done!
Unfortunately with OISE’s program schedule, unlike other teacher education programs, we still have to come back to the university for a few weeks of class and our MT Research Celebration once practicum is complete.
Once you're back in the "real world" and outside of practicum, you may start noticing yourself using some classroom strategies or sticking to school routines such as:
• Eating lunch at a specific time of day (right at 11:00am for me!)
• When giving presentations in class, using classroom management strategies to get your classmates to pay attention
• In regular conversation with family or friends, using your "teacher voice" (I was called out for this just yesterday)
I'm not sure whether we'll end up growing out of using these strategies and using your teacher voice when you don't mean it, or if we should expect this to become part of our everyday lives as educators.
NOW for an UPDATE!
If you didn’t see my Instagram takeover on the @OISEUofT account... I had a fantastic last two weeks of placement! This was the first practicum where I actually felt that I was part of the department and not just someone's student teacher. I had a lot of freedom to structure my classes how I wanted and use activities to help the students learn.
My school participated in Rivalry Week, where for one week, I had only five students in my chemistry class. Many of my students were involved in Rivalry Week by being part of the sports teams that competed, so I attended the basketball game that was held in our gym. Students really appreciate when you support them and keep up with their lives, and get to know things about them rather than just how they're doing in school. During the last week of class, we showed some photos taken during Rivalry Week that were published in the local newspaper, and students really enjoyed seeing them!
I had to use Screencastify to record lessons during Rivalry Week (the show must go on!) for students to review on the Google Classroom each night. This proved to be very effective in teaching as it allowed them to rewind and go over concepts again as if I were their tutor! They liked it so much, we kept using it for the remainder of my placement. (I opted to not include my face while I taught!)
I made my last day with my chemistry students a very exciting one. We started the new unit the day before, so this was a full-on demo day where I performed four demonstrations of chemical reactions, like Elephant's Toothpaste, Iron Spheres, double displacement, and best of all, METHANE BUBBLES! Here's a video of me doing the methane bubbles demonstration and not listening to my own instructions (Hint - you aren't supposed to flinch...my bad)
My math class had a quiz on the final day, and once they were all done their quiz, they presented me with a card that was signed by the whole class. I still get so excited whenever I see or get called 'Miss'!
Usually at the end of a practicum placement, teacher candidates have gotten used to the routine of the classroom, feel more comfortable, and are also very very tired. This was definitely true of this practicum, just like the others. What changed after this placement, however, was that once March Break was finished, I only wanted to be back in the classroom teaching. I'm very grateful for my four different practicum experiences, and am happy to say that I'm definitely in the right field and am looking forward to starting my teaching career very soon!
So whether you're a first or second year MT student, the semester is almost over! You will do great on those final assignments and you will get a few weeks off for a much deserved (and needed) break.
If you have any questions, comment below, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.