Experiential Learning in the McKay School
Do you want to become a teacher, but are wondering how to get experience working in a classroom? No worries—at the McKay School you have opportunities to learn teaching skills by being placed with mentor teachers in local classrooms. We call these experiences "practicum experiences." Just remember that practicum = practice! After taking some foundational education classes, you will have the opportunity to go into local classrooms to work with teachers and students. We asked some current McKay School students about their favorite memories from practicum and this is what they said:
Elliott Roubicek, Middle and High School, SPED
"Last semester I had the opportunity to be in a middle school and a high school special education classroom. Something I love about practicum is that each semester we get to learn from a new teacher who has their own tricks and talents. Although I plan on being an elementary teacher, I learned valuable lessons from my mentor teachers. One of my favorite things I learned this last semester from my teachers is how important it is to play to your strengths. We are all blessed with individual talents and gifts. It's easy to look at other teachers or classmates and wish we could be a bit more like them. Well, as we strive to develop new skills, we also need to use the ones we have. We don't know which students we might be able to reach because of our individual strengths. As I go into student teaching this fall, I'm trying my best to be myself, while also taking this time to learn from someone who has way more experience than me."
Annie Jacobsen, BYU Preschool, ECE
"I absolutely loved being in practicum this last semester! I grew more so much and was challenged in so many different ways. My favorite memory from practicum was doing brain breaks with the students every day. After a big task, we would take about 10 minutes to either sing a song or do a little dance. This gave the students a time to reset and be ready for the next task. I loved these brain breaks because they gave me an opportunity to connect with the students on a more individual level. It was also very fun to see their playful side!"
After practicum, you start student teaching. Student teaching is one semester long and gives additional practice in a mentor teacher's local classroom with more opportunities for you to lesson plan and teach! Some majors also offer the option to complete an internship. This means that you would be the head teacher of your own classroom for the full year. Interns are paid half salary and have mentors that come to their classroom to observe and give pointers. Both student teaching and internships are great options and help prepare students to "educate for eternity."
Want to learn more about the different majors in the McKay School and experiential learning? Click here to meet with a student ambassador!