We don’t know about you, but our favourite part of university was prac! It was the time that we really got to get in the classroom and do what we love – TEACH!
Having a good practicum experience is important for several reasons:
You Learn by doing – A practicum allows you to apply the knowledge you have gained at uni and implement it in real-world situations. It also allows you to see what works and what doesn’t (and there will be plenty of things that don’t!)
Building relationships – During a practicum, you will have the opportunity to build relationships with mentor teachers, students, and other school staff. These relationships can provide valuable support and guidance during your teaching experience and may lead to job opportunities later.
Professional development – Practicums are an essential component of a pre-service teacher’s professional development. The feedback, coaching, and mentoring provided can help you to identify areas for improvement and to continue to develop your teaching skills for your career ahead.
A prac experience can provide you with a wealth of hands-on experience, networking opportunities, professional development, and even employment prospects for the future. Hence, it is important you make the most of your opportunity.
Here are some of the essential ingredients to help you achieve success while you are on prac:
1. Be organised
Organisation is a teacher’s superpower! Start now, and you will build skills to help you in your career for many years to come.
Being organised includes: Keeping your lesson plans, handouts, and materials together and easily accessible (we recommend a folder). This will help you stay on top of your work and avoid unnecessary stress.
Image by @misslearnerteacher on Instagram.
2. Work on building relationships
Get to know your students on a personal level. Strive to build connections – it will help with classroom management too. Listen to their concerns and show that you care about their learning and well-being. Building positive relationships will help you create a supportive and engaging learning environment.
3. Be flexible
Another teaching superpower! Be prepared to adjust your lesson plans based on your students’ needs and interests. Being flexible will help you keep your class engaged and motivated.
You may also need to be flexible with your mentor teacher. Situations constantly change in schools, and your lessons may need to be changed or rescheduled. This can be frustrating, but it is all part of the experience. Work on your growth mindset and being receptive to constructive feedback.
4. Seek quality feedback
Ask for feedback from your mentor teacher, other teachers, and your students, and take the good with the bad. No one ever gets better and grows from only positive feedback. Use feedback received to improve your teaching and enhance the learning experience for your students.
Also, have your feedback handy (in written form) when planning your lessons. It is important (and impressive) when you display to your mentor teacher that you take what they have told you on board.
Find this feedback form inside this resource.
5. Reflect on your practice
Take time to reflect on your teaching practice. Identify areas of strength and areas for improvement. Then develop a plan to highlight your strengths and challenge those areas needing improvement.
6. Stay positive
Most schools already have their resident negative Nancy. Yes, teaching can be challenging, but it can also be incredibly rewarding. Stay positive and focus on your goals. Remember, every day is an opportunity to make a difference in student’s lives and to further enhance your skills as an educator.
7. Participate in PD and learning
The best teachers are those who constantly grow and learn. It is often a requirement to attend professional development staff meetings on prac, but if it isn’t, ask if you can attend. These are professional development opportunities that you won’t receive at uni, and are what teaching in the real world is really like!
Click here to view our Professional Development Diary.
Through hands-on experience in the classroom, you will develop the skills and confidence needed to become an efficient educator – and remember; teachers make a difference!