Time certainly flies when you're having fun! Happy 2021 everyone, with the next practicum coming just around the corner, I thought now would be a great time to reflect on the Adapted Practicum the MT program had in Fall 2020!
When the adapted practicum (AP) was first announced for first year students, everyone was naturally disappointed, but understanding. It's been said a million times already, but we are in unprecedented times, especially when it came to practicum! Looking back, I feel like I had a great AP experience, and certainly learned a lot!
While every AP pod (as they were called) ran differently, here's what I experience in mine. As a member of the Ryerson cohort, I did my AP with my cohort, but everyone else was mixed up according to which school board they wanted to complete their practicum in. I heard it was a nice opportunity to meet other people in the program!
Scheduling wise a typical day went from 9AM - 4PM and generally looked like: Synchronous session (1.5 hours), a Daily Self Care (DSC) break (30 minutes), asynchronous work (1.5 h), lunch (30 min), synch (1.5h), DSC (30 min), and then async (1h). Occasionally things would be moved around to accommodate guest speaker schedules. In an effort to simulate a school environment, clubs were set up, and one of the clubs was the DSC club, which provided different DSC options for everyone to try during the DSC breaks. I heard other pods had 'staff meetings' in the morning for some optional professional development or social time. There was also a program wide PD Day, where everyone got to attend two workshops and a keynote speaker!
A LOT of content was covered during the AP. I built my teacher identity, dove deep into the information about school communities, learned about diverse needs of all different types of students, and practiced planning lessons, units and assessments methods. There was a big emphasis on self-care as well, which I really appreciated as my self-care habits aren't always the greatest. Did you know that most new teachers abandon their self-care practices during the first five years of their career? Self-care is important! Start making some good habits for yourself now, if you haven't already!
I also got to practice delivering my lesson plans to my peers, which felt a little silly, but was a great exercise as I got some really useful feedback from them! I also experimented with creating a virtual field trip, which was lots of fun, and I even had the opportunity to present it later to a group of students!
One of the highlights from my AP experience was hearing from the guest speakers. There was a variety of different perspectives from the guest speakers who came to speak with my pod. We had students, parents, and teachers who spoke on a range of subjects: what's it like in virtual schools, conducting Culturally Relevant and Responsive Pedagogy, exploring outdoor education, creating spaces for LGBTQ+ and Indigenous students, supporting refugee students and families, as well as students with diverse abilities. The information from the guest speakers was so impactful and valuable, as it came from first hand experiences. The messages from the guest speakers have still remained with me, and I revisit my notes from those conversations frequently. I can't wait to put the advice into practice as I head in-person for practicum!
Hopefully that gave you some insights into what the adapted practicum looked like. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out via the contact page!