Day 102 (of 183) Teacher Candidate Practicum – things to know
We now have our schools two teacher candidates (BC talk for people formerly known as student teachers) so I’ve been doing some thinking:
1. Job interview starts now. Really – the contacts and impacts you make while on your practicum influence future job opportunities. Not that this means you can’t have bad days, in fact…..
2. Here’s your chance to take risks. Push your comfort zone. Try something new and (hopefully) have it go wrong. This is an opportunity to do different and have supportive colleagues there to help you reflect. Honestly, as principal I get nervous when things run too smoothly for too long – education needs experimentation!
3. Reflect on what you do – what you did – what you are going to do (yes – proactive reflection can be valuable – is your plan for tomorrow in line with what has been going on today) Not saying to blog each day of learning as I am, but find some ways that work for you!
4. Social Media matters – both in terms of “dont’s” (be mindful of your digital footprint and what photos/statements you share: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/why-social-media-can-be-a-minefield-for-teachers-1.3219179 ) and “do’s” (creating a powerful interactive #PLN [Professional Learning Network] can encourage and support you throughout your career: http://www.edutopia.org/blog/twitter-expanding-pln -old but still valuable article)
5. Do a google search on yourself. I will when reading resumes.
6. Don’t leave resumes until the last moment – work on it and update it as you go through your practicum. Essentially a resume should be an archive of your reflections: what have you done and how it will influence future work (and it helps to share what you’ve done rather than what you might do….in theory) what are you proud of? And the resume does not need to be one page (the advice given to me was that many hirers in school districts have old eyes so even 14 font Arial can be beneficial) mine: https://technolandy.wordpress.com/ian-landy-resume/ and yes I should be updating it too
7. In fact, try to do some reflection each day (informal is just as important as formal) and even vent to someone who can be a confidential listening post as needed
8. If you’re feeling like you’re on an emotional roller coaster, you’re right. Teaching is a profession that makes you feel like you’re fabulous one day and incompetent the next (in some schools that can be from one minute to the next)
9. No you’re not done – there is always something more to do
10. The kids in your room are the best the community has – nobody is keeping a second set in storage
11. How you dress does matter. Sure there are spirit days where you can (should) dress different. The attire depends on your school and what your day entails but it’s easier err on the side of looking too good than not. (here is anothers perspective on dress code: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sue-gober/top-10-guide-to-professio_b_5731078.html )
12. Yes it’s normal to have a variety of stressors (especially random phone calls or emails) it means you are reflecting on everything you did.
13. Confidentially is important. Gossip is not – as tempting as it can be. Always better to check with a source directly!
14. Throwing candy into another classroom can be fun (as are other practical jokes), but professionalism always helps when setting a tone of who you are and what you feel is important. Relationships cannot be overvalued.
15. Ask questions – especially of the secretary or janitor – knowing who knows what is where is very valuable to understand the how and why queries!
16. Be prepared. Expect the unexpected. Outwit, outlast, outplay. All key mottos to keep in the back of the head as you embark into a teaching career.
17. There is always tomorrow. This is not a major operation that has to be completed in a certain number of minutes or else!
18. Quality always trumps quantity when it comes to lessons, assessments, outcomes, etc.
19. Visual calendar. Really: on the board, make it clear what you are teaching (and when) and make sure students also see/know what they are learning (and possibly even why – and “it’s on the test” is not an acceptable response)
20. Education is a vocation. It’s more than just a job – it is a life, and you get out of it what you put into it!
21. It’s all about relationships.
Enjoy the experience – it only gets better when you get paid!