Hey! It's Ashley here! I just finished my first semester of practicum in a special education severe classroom setting. I was assigned to a 2nd grade classroom in Nebo School District and I loved it so much!
Practicum looks a little different for Special Education majors compared to some of the other education majors. For our first practicum, we are assigned to an elementary school at the beginning of the semester and we go 2 days a week, Monday and Wednesday, for half of the day all semester long!
There were a couple major things I took away from my practicum experience this semester.
#1 Jump into teaching, especially if you feel uncomfortable about it.
The first few weeks I mostly observed my mentor teacher as she taught, managed the classroom, and managed problem behaviors. I was definitely nervous to jump into teaching because I felt inadequate in my abilities. However, as soon as I did, I LOVED IT! I was definitely uncomfortable, but that is the only way to grow!
#2 Practice, practice, practice.
The only thing that helped me feel more comfortable with teaching was teaching! A month or so into practicum I began to teach small group reading instruction every day I was there. Every time I taught I felt more and more confident in myself and my abilities. My mentor teacher coached me along and always gave me great feedback on how to improve my teaching.
#3 Love it for what it is.
I learned quickly from others in my cohort that all mentor teachers are different. Everyone has different strengthens! it important to focus on the strengths of your mentor teacher in practicum. I learned so much from the way my mentor teacher prepared instruction, handled classroom management, and planned for behavior management.
Overall, I loved practicum! I loved learning all I could from my mentor teacher. Being in the classroom helped me gain so much perspective on how to apply the concepts I learn in my classes to real world classrooms. I am so excited to do my second practicum next semester!
As always, if you have questions about practicum or anything in the McKay School click here to schedule a meeting with me or our other amazing student ambassadors!