Practicum Perspective: Elementary Education
I am in my first practicum of the Elementary Education program this semester, teaching a kindergarten class at a school in the Jordan District, where I have learned a lot!
I have absolutely loved my practicum experience because
I have been able to apply and put into practice everything I have learned in my foundational classes
I have learned a lot from my mentor teacher about what works and what doesn't
I get the opportunity to organize, plan, and teach lessons
I have been able to build relationships with the students in my practicum class by getting to know them, working with them, and hearing their silly stories, which has been my absolute favorite part of the whole experience! Kids are so funny!
What is practicum?
For those of you who aren’t too familiar with what practicum is, practicum is practice! It's time for those who are preparing to become educators to learn from a mentor teacher and practice teaching in a real classroom. Check out our FAQ video to learn more about practicum!
Putting Everything to Practice:
For the first 3 semesters in the program, we're in foundational classes learning about classroom management, child development, teaching math, literacy, and all that good stuff. In practicum, we get to take our toolbox with everything we have learned throughout those 3 semesters and actually do it. We get to teach! Sometimes it may be a little discouraging, sitting in classes and learning so much and not actually seeing it in action, but practicum is great because you get to actually apply and see what you have learned in your classroom!
Working with a mentor teacher has been awesome as well because I get to observe how and what my teacher does that works, and get to take some of those ideas to apply in my future classroom. I look up to my mentor teacher, and I am grateful for all the advice and ideas she has given me that I will incorporate into my future classroom! A tip from me, for those going into practicum, would be to get to know your mentor teacher. The first few couple of days may seem a little intimidating and it may be even a little awkward but once you get to know them, and you get to work, they realize that you are there to learn from them! I feel like once I established a relationship with my mentor teacher, she gained more trust in me and she was even more helpful and willing to give me tips, share ideas with me, and gave me more opportunities to teach!
Lesson Planning and Teaching:
I don't know about you, but sometimes I would get kind of tired of writing lesson plans and not actually getting to teach the lesson plans I created in my foundational classes. In practicum, you write lesson plans but you actually get to teach those lessons! It's a fulfilling feeling, to see your creation in action so, hold on! Keep writing those lesson plans in your classes because it really is great practice and it makes writing lesson plans for a real lesson you will actually teach, easier! They will pay off, trust me!
Building relationships with students:
Getting to know the students in my class and building relationships with them has been my all-time favorite part! "Children are so funny!" I used to hear that all the time but I didn't really agree or disagree with that statement. However, after being surrounded by kindergartners for 10 weeks, I can confidently say that that statement is true! I have been able to build relationships with my students by working with them one on one, cracking jokes, listening to their stories that sometimes are so random but funny, and teaching them! I have learned that building relationships with students is by far the most important thing a teacher can do. With a solid foundation and relationships built on trust and respect, quality learning will happen in our classrooms!
Practicum is great! At first, it may be a little scary and overwhelming, but once you get the hang of it, it feels so natural to teach and you feel more and more comfortable teaching each time! I can't wait for you all to get to this part of the program and experience this joy for yourself!