And the bells are ringing out for….No, not Christmas just yet…but the undeniable shrill of the word Teaching Practice. For many student teachers this is an Observation week in schools to prepare them for their four week block of Teaching Practice this coming January.
It is definitely the most nerve wrecking time for any student teacher and I still remember the fear I felt at the mention of Supervisors, METIS and schemes of work! Everyone who has been there will tell you – January flies by and before you know it Teaching Practice is over and you are back to assignments and general college work.
With everything you have learned in college so far, you want to be able apply it to every lesson and say to yourself ‘I did my best‘.
If you are supervised during a lesson, please remember that every student teacher will be given constructive criticism from their supervisor – you are a student teacher and their criticisms will help you become a better teacher. Nobody is perfect and Teaching Practice will definitely help you on your road to becoming an great teacher!
Even if your Teaching Practice experience isn’t quite what you hoped for, I always maintain that with a positive attitude you can overcome the toughest/worst days with ease!
Here are some key pointers to remember about Teaching Practice;
- The Teaching Council, which is the regulatory body for teachers, has published a Code of Professional Conduct for Teachers, which is intended to guide teachers’ professional judgement and practice and you can download here Code of Professional Conduct for Teachers . They have also published a Guidelines for School Placement which many student teachers will find invaluable over the coming weeks.
- I know how stressful Teaching Practice can be and the lead up to it alone is overwhelming for so many student teachers. It is important to remember that you will have brilliant lessons, lessons that did not go as you had hoped and there could be an unruly student who may upset you on the inside and you really cannot wait to just head home for a cup of tea and a little cry! When you do feel stressed or slightly anxious, take the time to go for a walk, listen to music and relax. I always felt so much better after a little break if I had a tough day or if I felt a little stressed. If you really are finding it all too much, have a chat with your college peers or your supervisor – remember they are there to help you 🙂
- Teaching relies heavily on vocal communication, which puts pressure on your voice and your vocal health. Your voice is a vital tool of your trade, so make sure you protect it (www.ASTI.ie). This can be done by drinking plenty of water and breathing properly and calmly.
- For me, the key to a successful Teaching Practice was organisation. I constantly made (what seemed like) never ending to do lists, jotted down ideas that came to me at the most random of times and I always had my folders up to date. Always photocopy student work and have your lesson plans up to date.
- ALWAYS back everything up – weather it is on a USB, Google Drive, email – always have a back up and a have a hard copy.
- I remember a lecturer in Mater Dei Institute of Education, Elaine McDonald telling my class – to treat every class like it is your first time having them. I have always done that and it keeps me motivated for every lesson to this day.
Over the next few weeks on my blog, I will be uploading lots of resources that I have used on Teaching Practice over the last four years and resources that I still use today, which some of you might like to use. Sometimes students simply do not know where to look for resources, some fear to branch out into the unknown or some students genuinely don’t know how they’ll have the time to fish out resources with schemes and lesson plans to be drawn up in the process.
I have uploaded a FREE downloadable School Checklist for all student teachers who may find it useful on Observation week in preparation for Teaching Practice in January.
Please let me know through my blog/Twitter/email what lessons / topics you are doing and I will try gather more resources/upload information if I know it is a common topic for a lot of people.