Hi! My name is Elliott and I'm studying Special Education with an emphasis in severe disabilities. This semester was my first experience as a practicum student and, wow, it was a blast! Practicum is an opportunity to be in a real life classroom for a few days each week. During this time, we get to practice the skills we are learning in our classes and complete assignments given by our professors. Some of the these assignments include giving assessments to the students, practice teaching lessons to a small group of students, observe and record data on strategies the teacher uses and so much more!
I had the opportunity to be in a self-contained kindergarten class this semester. It was so much fun! There were ten kids in the class, one main teacher, and two para-educators. From what I understand this was a pretty typical number of teachers and students in one class. In this kindergarten, the students are at school for a half day, so I was with them from the beginning of the day until noon. I got to see their routines, how the teacher managed the classroom, and different behavior management skills.
One of the most important things I learned from this experience is how important it is to be patient as a teacher. This patience can be shown in many different ways. It can be waiting long enough so that a student can answer a question, it can be when a student is learning a new skill and they need repetition to succeed, it can be when students don't get along and you have continually help resolve conflict, and it can be seen within yourself. There were many times where I realized that I needed to have patience with myself because I'm learning and don't have all the skills yet.
My all time favorite thing that happened during this semester was with one young student. This student had been working on their computer during the whole semester to pass this one lesson about rhyming. He had to match rhyming words but couldn't seem to grasp the concept that some words have the same sounds at the end and therefore rhyme. I had worked with him often, trying to explain rhyming, and doing so many different things to help him understand. After months, he finally passed the unit. I have never seen this child more excited about anything. He jumped from his seat and yelled "I did it, I finally did it!" It was the sweetest thing. After this experience, I learned that it was worth it to wait and endure teaching a child a new skill because when they eventually get it, they are thrilled and you feel so fulfilled for taking the time to work with them.
Practicum has helped me feel more prepared for what is ahead of me. I can see that I am gaining more of the necessary skills to become a successful teacher and that makes me so excited! This experience has also solidified my desire to be a teacher. I can better picture myself being the teacher in a classroom and I can't wait for that day to come!
If you have any questions about practicum, it's purpose, and what to expect meet with ambassador to learn more! Click the link to schedule a meeting.