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Practicum Perspectives: Elementary Education

Updated: May 7

I just finished my first practicum semester! I was placed in a full-day kindergarten classroom in Nebo School District and spent four full weeks there teaching at least one lesson a day. I had an amazing mentor teacher who I learned so much from and couldn't have asked for a better class. Here are some things that I learned, I loved, and I experienced:

Teachers are Constantly Learning!

The thought of starting practicum can be a little daunting as you prepare to teach and be observed but my Clinical Faculty Associate, (CFA), school facilitator, and mentor teacher made me feel at ease through it all. For each lesson that I was observed for, I had a pre and post conference with both my CFA and facilitator. At each post-conference they gave me so much great advice and practices that I could try implementing into my teaching. After the conference, my mentor teacher would ask me what advice they gave and if she could improve on anything as well. It amazed me to see my mentor teacher who had been teaching for about 16 years still be willing and wanting to learn and adapt her teaching practices.

Building Teacher-Student Relationships is SO Important

My first day in practicum, my students were very shy and barely talked to me. I made it a goal to build those relationships so that my students felt safe. I noticed that as I learned their names, talked to them about what they liked to do, and played with them at recess, they opened up so much more. As I continued to build relationships I saw behaviors improve and a stronger classroom community. By my last day, my students were begging me not to leave, giving me hugs, and saying, "Don't forget me Miss Brinton." The time spent to build those relationships became so worth it in the end, and I was so sad to leave them.

Be Patient with Yourself

Practicum is so much fun, but can also be overwhelming at times. I went home each day exhausted and overstimulated, while still needing to lesson plan for the next day. Teaching isn't easy but it is the most rewarding occupation. Even on the days where there seemed to be an overwhelming amount of behaviors, I always left excited to come back to see my kiddos the next day... and the cute drawings, notes, and flowers picked outside at recess were endless. These kids that you teach have such good intentions and just need a positive influence in their life to help teach them and guide them. Take time for yourself and remember to be in the moment and learn all that you can, because believe me, it goes by so fast.

I'm so excited to start my second practicum in the fall of 2024 and can't wait to see where I will be placed next. I am so grateful for the incredible faculty and staff in the McKay School who are such amazing mentors to all of us pre-service teachers, because we truly couldn't do this without them. Have more questions about what practicum looks like? Click here to schedule an appointment with a student ambassador!

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