“Given that you have completed four prac placements including the Final Teaching Practicum (FTP), what do you believe are the most essential skills and attributes that a student can bring to a placement and why?”
Punctual – Be on time, even better, be an hour early! If you are prepared, with photocopying done, activities set up, it gives such a good impression to your supervising teacher, parents and students. Being prepared also helps your confidence, as you feel prepared and ready to go!
Reliable – If you say you are going to do something – do it! Write everything down if you are having trouble remembering. On practicum there is so much going on, taking quick notes in one notebook kept just for that is a godsend!
Adaptable – My lessons were changed, altered and cancelled daily! Be as flexible as you can because swimming lessons, assemblies, emergency evacuations and many other changes occur daily and you must be able to adapt your lessons to suit – and do so with a smile on your face. I always carried a timetable with me that I could scribble and change when needed. This also gave me a record of the lessons I actually did for future reference, in addition to programming preparation and lesson planning.
Thinking Ahead – You could say that almost being psychic would be a good attribute! Keep your ears open and wits about you. If you can foresee what is coming up, you can plan and have lessons/activities or preparation ready. You can anticipate what is needed. If you know you have an excursion, do the paperwork NOW, not just before the excursion is on, as there is a lot of follow up and collection of documents and money and checklists to complete before you go.
Assertiveness – Practise your behaviour management strategies in the mirror, yes, the mirror! This will help when you are in the classroom. When you say something, be concise, firm and fair and be prepared to carry out exactly what you say. Practise your “Teacher Voice” (or firm, assertive voice) before you get there. Believe it or not, I found this the hardest! The children feel safe when they have boundaries and know that you are firm and fair to everyone in the classroom.
Be “Human” – If you are not sure about the answer to a question, be honest and say you will follow it up, or better still, investigate it together!
Enthusiasm – If you are enthusiastic, your students will be too!
Knowledgeable – KNOW YOUR CONTENT. If you are unsure research it and talk to your supervising teacher. Don’t ever hesitate, your teacher wants you to do the best job you can and succeed!
More prac prep advice tomorrow!