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  • Writer's pictureStudent Ambassadors

Bethany Gold's Practicum Perspectives

This semester I had the incredible opportunity to do my practicum in a 5th grade classroom in the Provo School district. My mentor teacher was amazing and my sweet students were some of the kindest, funniest, and most thoughtful people I've ever met. As I look forward to interning in the Provo School District in the Fall, I've been thinking about all I've learned over the past several weeks in practicum.

  1. Connection Takes Time, (especially with the older kiddos). After a successful last practicum in 2nd grade, I was excited to be in a classroom with older students. I learned quite early on, however, that building trust and taking on a role of authority with older students takes time. Whereas my second graders immediately trusted me and saw me, not just as a student, but another teacher, my fifth graders took a while to warm up to me and even longer to see me as an actual leader in the classroom. However, once that trust and connection was earned, the relationship with my students grew and blossomed into something really wonderful. When the time came for me to leave, there were tears shed on mine and my students' part. It was a really tender moment.

2. Lesson Planning is an Art. I've always been in awe of those teachers that can plan entire engaging lessons on a sticky note and somehow create the perfect amount of content to fill the time. Both of my mentor teachers have been incredible examples of this. It wasn't until this practicum that I finally began mastering this art. My final week of practicum I started teaching full days. It was literally impossible for me to make entire lesson plans when I was planning the content for 6 or 7 blocks the following day, so I resorted to brief notes. I remember the first day I came in with a sticky note tucked into the Wonder's curriculum book. I was so proud of myself, and the lesson went beautifully! I even had some extra time at the end that I was able to do some quick thinking and fill in with another think-pair-share discussion. Lesson planning quickly and effectively involves a lot of practice, trusting yourself, and being flexible in the process. Embrace these attributes in yourself! You can do it.

3. Be Confident! This is my biggest tip, but it's so hard! In my first practicum, my observer from BYU (called a CFA) and mentor teacher would often comment that I needed to be more confident while teaching. It wasn't until this practicum that something clicked and my mentor teacher pulled me aside and said "You were so confident and comfortable up there! You've come so far." I was so proud of myself I almost started to cry! This newfound confidence came from constant practice, rehearsing/vocalizing my lessons beforehand, and also doing some calming techniques before I would teach (like taking deep breaths). You ARE a good teacher. You've got this!

I hope these tips help you feel a bit more prepared for your own practicum. Practicum is a time of practice and growth, so enjoy it while it lasts! To learn more about practicum, or to set up a meeting with me or my other McKay School ambassadors, click here!

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