When we pulled up at the school, I was taken by surprise with how large it was. I suddenly felt nervous about this... my last practicum in Vulcan, AB was with Grade 6 students, and the one before that was in a Calgary kindergarten classroom. My mind began to race with thoughts such as: Am I really ready for this? Will I be able to relate with and impact high school students? Will my Teacher Associate like me? It was a good thing the other student teachers I came with were calm and reassuring- they totally made the introductory experience less nerve-wracking and I am grateful to be teaching in the same school with them! We met the principal, admin staff, and other teachers upon arrival and then set off with our own Teacher Associates for the day.
I was very excited to finally meet my Teacher Associate who teaches Grades 10-12 English and Grades 10-12 Drama at the school. I was awed with how many students she interacts with each day and the relationships she has with them individually. She greeted students by name as they entered class and was great at making them (and me!) laugh throughout her lessons. It was inspiring to see how she was able to bring texts to life by relating it to students’ experiences and engaging them in discussion.
At the beginning of each class, my TA gave me an opportunity to introduce myself to the students. I expressed how excited I was to be welcomed and to get to know all of them. Since I will be teaching a novel studies unit in the English 10-2 class, I jumped at the opportunity to do an icebreaker with them! The students, my TA, and I engaged in a round of Classroom Bingo to learn about each other. Interacting with students this way allowed me to not only remember names, but to gain a better understanding of what they are like- I discovered fun and interesting things about them such as who spoke a second language, who enjoyed/disliked English Class, who had pets, etc. Even though I only did this activity with the class for 15 minutes, I felt it was an effective way to not only get to know the students, but to also have them interact with each other to encourage the positive learning environment I want to foster.
The activity also really opened my eyes to how unique each student in the class is. I discovered that over 50% of the students are English Language Learners (ELL) and that I will be working with an ELL specialist in the classroom. This really excites me! I feel very grateful and honored to be able to make an impact on such a diverse group of students. Even though I will be doing a lot of teaching, I know I will be doing an equal amount of learning from them. With the help and guidance of my teacher associate, I look forward to furthering my abilities and understandings as a future educator.
With all this excitement, nervousness, and anticipation, I have set the following as my goals for this practicum so far:
- Develop meaningful relationships with students to discover and highlight their strengths
- Learn effective differentiated instruction and assessment strategies to enable students to best demonstrate their understanding
- Improve my collaborative abilities as I work cooperatively with my TA
- Improve my communication skills
- Have Fun!!
What a wonderful practicum orientation day it was indeed! I cannot wait to begin teaching and working towards these goals :) Let the countdown to practicum begin! Stay posted and thank you for reading!