Hosting a Prac student 101: Essential Tips for Mentoring a Preservice Teacher

Choosing to host a practicum student is a gift that you are giving to the education community. 

 

You provide time and space for a preservice teacher to gain practical teaching experience in an actual classroom setting, which is a highly valuable learning experience.

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Over the years, we have had many prac students. Some experiences have been career-changing, and other experiences have been tough. We want to help you have the most positive experience possible. So without further ado, here are our top tips and advice for teachers who are hosting a prac student for the first time:

 

Communicate expectations:

Clearly communicate your expectations, guidelines, and classroom routines to the practicum student. Provide them with an overview of your classroom’s curriculum, teaching strategies, and assessment practices.

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Establish a mentorship relationship:

Act as a mentor to the prac student and create a supportive learning environment. Encourage open communication, provide constructive feedback, and be available to answer their questions and concerns.

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Plan and involve them in lesson preparation:

Discuss the learning objectives, teaching methods, and resources used in your classroom. Give them opportunities to contribute their ideas and perspectives.

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These lesson plan templates are free here. 

Observe and provide feedback:

When observing the practicum student’s teaching, provide constructive feedback. Highlight their strengths and areas for improvement. Offer specific suggestions for enhancing their teaching skills and strategies. 

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Encourage reflection and self-assessment:

Encourage them to set goals and reflect on their teaching experiences. Engage in reflective discussions to help them identify their strengths and areas for growth.

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Setup times for meetings:

Time management can be challenging when you have a pre-service teacher. Set up a weekly time to sit down and plan lessons ahead of time. Set boundaries so your prac student knows when it is best to submit lesson plans, ask questions, seek feedback etc. 

 

Provide varied teaching experiences:

Offer the practicum student opportunities to observe and teach different grade levels, subjects, or student groups. This exposure will broaden their understanding of primary education and help them develop versatility as a future teacher. You probably have a colleague who’d be happy to have an extra pair of eyes and hands for a lesson in the week.

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Foster a positive classroom environment:

Involve the prac student in creating a positive and inclusive classroom environment. Emphasise the importance of respect, empathy, and supportive relationships among students. Encourage them to contribute to classroom management strategies.

 

Model effective teaching practices:

As the teacher, model effective teaching practices, such as differentiated instruction, student engagement strategies, and assessment techniques. Allow the practicum student to observe and learn from your teaching style and methods.

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Celebrate successes and provide encouragement:

Acknowledge and celebrate the practicum student’s successes and growth. Offer encouragement and support throughout their practicum experience, helping them build confidence in their abilities. Give them opportunities in the day to harness those strengths, but also provide chances to work on their areas of weakness.

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Hosting a practicum student is a valuable opportunity to contribute to a future teacher’s professional development. By providing guidance, support, and meaningful experiences, you can help shape the future of education while fostering your growth as an educator.

 

Need more help and support? We have put together this guide to help you with everything you need to know when hosting a prac student, including checklists, feedback forms and printables to give to your student. 

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Click here to access this guide. 

 

 

What to read next:

5 Common Mistakes Teacher Make when teaching Maths

Check out this free place value game

3 things you need to stop doing as a new teacher

 

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