Hey! It's Bethany here, and I just finished up my first semester of practicum. It was an absolute blast! I taught in a second grade classroom in the Alpine School District, and had the best time ever.
Looking back, I've been amazed at how far I've come in my teaching journey. At the beginning of practicum, I was SO nervous. I was worried about making a good impression on my mentor teacher, having my students like me, and just getting up and teaching in front of the class. Now that I've finished, I feel so much more confident and prepared to teach in my own classroom.
Here are a couple of my tips for heading into practicum!
The first couple days are going to be overwhelming and THAT'S OKAY! After the first couple days of practicum, I wasn't sure I even wanted to be a teacher anymore haha! I was so tired all the time and often only saw all the ways I was failing. Adjustments are so hard. Once I got into the routine of things, I felt so much better! Just give yourself grace and know things will get better!
Communicate, communicate, communicate! Before practicum even began, I emailed my mentor teacher about all of the lessons and assignments I needed to
complete during my time there. This ensured that my mentor teacher and I were on the same page at all times. At the beginning of each day, we would go over my lesson plans, and she would point out things I could improve BEFORE I even taught it. This helped me become so much more confident in myself and my lesson plans!
Seek to form connections. On the last day of practicum, I cried. You don't realize how much people mean to you until you have to leave them! My second graders were just like that. I really put in the effort to get to know my mentor teacher and each of my students, and it really paid off. I'm learning that relationships take time and effort, and I'm so glad this was a priority for me!
Be receptive to feedback. When I first came into practicum, I had the mindset that I already knew everything and that I was going to be a great teacher right out of the gate. Long story short, I wasn't (I even cried after a lesson because it went so poorly!). I've seen so much growth over the 4 weeks I was with my class. My mentor
teacher and CFA (the person observing you while you teach) gave me such great feedback that I was able to apply and become so much better at teaching.
Have fun and be yourself! You can do this!
I hope these tips help you feel a bit more prepared for your own practicum. Practicum is a time of growth and new perspectives, so enjoy it while it lasts! To learn more about practicum, set up a meeting with me, or my other McKay School ambassadors here!