Reflecting on my 1st week of Practicum

Wow! I can’t believe how quickly this last practicum block is going by already. While it’s been an incredibly busy, unexpected sort of first week, I have to say, I am having a great time so far. And to say I’m relieved and excited about it would be an enormous understatement.

On Tuesday morning, I woke up feeling more nervous about a student teaching placement than I think I ever have in my nearly five years of post-secondary education. Why? Because for the first time, I would be student teaching in a Grade 6/7 split classroom. I’ve tutored several students in this age group, but have never been responsible for teaching to a classroom full of them. Slowly but surely however, I felt my fears dissolving one at a time. My first day was definitely not ideal, considering the snowpocalypse that took place the night before. At the peak time, there were five students in my host classroom, and as the weather worsened, they began to trickle out. The school began calling parents and guardians to pick their children up around lunch time, and after catching a ride with the school’s French teacher and struggling through the tiny mountain of snow covering the driveway to my apartment, I was home and happy to have at least met a few of the students that I would be teaching for the next four weeks.

Due to other unexpected circumstances, the kids had a series of supply teachers for most of the rest of the week (side note: I have two different Associate Teachers at this placement– one teaching Math and Science in the first instructional block of the day, and one teaching Literacy, Social Studies, Art, etc. for the rest of the day). However, I still found this to be a valuable experience; it provided me insight into the life of a supply teacher (which I will soon be living), and it gave me valuable time to get to know my new students. For some strange and unexplainable reason, I had the unfortunate misconception that Grade 6s and 7s would be as tall as my 16 year old brother (who’s now almost six feet tall), and intimidating to boot. But to my surprise, the class seems like a wonderful group of kids (most of whom are shorter than me). They are a very high energy bunch, but the majority of them are friendly, incredibly curious, and very eager to learn and share ideas with one another.

Each day during the morning block, the class has been busily preparing for a school Science Fair, which is taking place this Friday. The excitement in the room is undeniable, and talking to each of the students about their projects has given me some great insight into their unique interests. It has been so much fun being able to help out, and the little memory notes I’ve left for myself this week have been nothing short of amusing. Some examples include: “Don’t forget a ziploc bag for [insert student’s name here] slime!” and “Buy Skittles and M&Ms for Science experiment.”

Overall, I am incredibly excited for what is in store for the rest of my Winter Practicum block. I have a feeling that it is going to be another invaluable learning experience, and a fantastic opportunity for me to learn and grow as a teacher.

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