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Memories from Practicum

"One of the best parts of the program is being able to go into the classroom and actively practice what we were taught," said a recent McKay School graduate.


Practicum=practice! Every student in the McKay School teaching programs participate in at least two practicum experiences. This part of the education programs allow you to go into classrooms and practice everything you have been taught in a real-life setting. Here are some stories from both students who have finished their practicum and students who are currently completing it.


Tara Crouch

"I think my favorite experience was my last day. They had a book they had made for me and it was supposed to be a surprise. One of my students came up to me and said 'I’m just too excited and I know you’ll just love it, we did a star student writing about you and made you a book!' It is one of my very favorite treasures that I will keep forever."





Sarah Lyman

"I did my first practicum in the Jordan school District at Midas Creek Elementary. I was in a kindergarten classroom. One day, I was teaching a lesson on the five senses. At the beginning of the lesson I asked the kids just out of curiosity if any of them knew what the five senses were. A little boy in my class automatically raised his hand, stood up, and walked to the front of the classroom and listed four out of the five senses. "

"After he said the senses he knew, he went back and sat down. I went on with my lesson which consisted of some apple slices that each student got and they used their five senses to describe the apple slice. As we were going over what senses we used to discover our apple slices that same little boy all of a sudden realized that he had forgotten one sense. This is one of my favorite practicum experiences because it taught me to never underestimate the knowledge of a five-year-old. I assumed that no student in my class would know what the five senses were but I was glad that I asked them anyway. As a future educator I want to make sure I am allowing my students to reach their full potential by asking questions that may or may not be able to be answered by my students. This experience also showed me that both students and teachers should stay curious in the classroom."


Chris Brown

"Practicum for me was meaningful because I got to witness how real students learn despite their often complex, and sometimes challenging, backgrounds instead of learning about how to teach from a theoretical perspective."

"One specific example of this came when I was giving the class instructions for an activity. I had just turned the class loose to complete the activity when one student refused to participate. I went over to this student, and instead of pushing them to be on task, I simply asked them about their life. The student talked a lot and eventually opened up about how they were being physically abused at home. I sat there, looking at this student, stunned. In class I had learned how to plan a successful lesson. I had learned how to teach students how to read. I had learned how to efficiently manage a classroom. But nothing I learned in class had prepared me to help a student who felt worthless, insecure, and abandoned from the sting of abuse. I continued to listen to this student, and eventually had them help me set up a different activity for the class. I know this likely didn’t make a long term impact on the student, but eventually this individual rejoined the class and even cracked a smile."


"I know that this isn’t a happy practicum memory, but it’s meaningful to me because it showed me that students have lives beyond what happens in the classroom. This experience showed me that teachers can make an impact, not always through the content of their subject, but by the way they treat students who may or not be treated well outside of school."


McKay School students serve nobly as caring professionals that come in contact with students with various needs, struggles and challenges. While Chris' experience with this student is beyond the normal day-to-day interactions teachers have with students. I am impressed that he was able to emulate the Savior and do as He would do, which is to see this student as an individual and find a way to connect with him. This memory illustrates that as a teacher you may have some experiences like this in your future classroom. Be sure to ask questions about your school district's and state's policies for reporting situations like this so that your students receive the care they need in these tough situations.


These three students all had different experiences that demonstrate the beauty and challenges that practicums offer. These experiences gave McKay students an opportunity to apply the lessons they learned in real life. Nothing can prepare you for the education field more than immersing yourself in it. Practicum offers the perfect opportunity to do so and gain valuable experience along the way.


For even more information about practicum, check out our other practicum blog posts where you can find more information about practicum and other practicum experiences. And as always, we would love to chat with you! Reach out to us here to set up a meeting with us or email us at mckayambassadors@byu.edu!



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