As a teacher-in-training, a teaching placement can be exciting and intimidating at the same time. Having a clear idea of what you hope to achieve during your teaching placement can help you to focus on what is important and perform better. Here are some tips to enable you to make the most of your teaching placement.
Get To Know The School
Be sure to visit the school before your placement. This will help you to answer a lot of pertinent questions from the dress code to where you should park. It is best to get a lay of the land before your first day so you know exactly where your classroom and other important places—such as the school nurse’s office and the staffroom—are. You never know if you will need to visit them in a hurry.
Visiting the school beforehand will allow you to meet your new colleagues, especially your class teacher and your mentor teacher. These could be one person or two separate people. Talk to them to understand their expectations and the requirements of your class and school. If they are willing, you may want to exchange personal contact details so you can ask any last-minute questions.
Although it is ideal to visit the school early, it may not be practical for all training teachers. If you are unable to visit in person, be sure to communicate with your future mentor teacher and school by email to clear up any questions before the first day. You will appear more passionate and conscientious to your school and mentor and also feel more confident and comfortable during your placement.
Build A Relationship With The Students
Part of the preparation for your placement is to ask for the class timetable and teaching topics of your class. Ask your class teacher about the children in your class. Things that you might want to inquire about include their interests, personalities, attainment levels, and individual learning styles. This shows the class teacher that you are interested in the students and invested in their needs and study outcomes.
During your placement, try to build a relationship with your students. Understanding your students is essential to communicating with them. Effective communication ensures that you will be able to connect with them and teach them successfully. Pay attention to your students as individuals and talk about their interests.
Learning how to walk the fine line between love and respect is a big lesson for trainee teachers. It is easier for you to be the ‘good guy’ but there may be times when you have to be tough with the students. Ask the class teacher about student and classroom management policies in the school and keep them in mind. When in doubt, ask your mentor teacher for suggestions.
Remember You Are There To Learn
It can be tempting to rush into your teaching placement with ideas to reinvent the wheel. Curb your enthusiasm and remember that you are a guest in another person’s domain. Therefore, you should try to remain respectful of their process and take your cues from them. Start by observing how they teach and interact with the students.
At the beginning of your practice, try to keep to the teaching strategies already in use in the classroom. A sudden change in teaching techniques and interaction approaches can be disruptive, particularly for younger students. As you build a rapport with the students, you can incorporate some of your ideas and teaching methods.
Class teachers will appreciate it if you are proactive and helpful. Having a trainee teacher in their class can add to the workload of a teacher so offer your support as a teaching assistant when you can. This will also help you to gain insight into how they plan and get ready for classes. Be prepared to receive feedback, positive or negative, and try not to take it personally.
Cherish The Highlights
The long hours of teaching in a classroom and the hard work of preparation can make the teaching placement experience less dreamy than you imagined. However, there is much reward to be found as well. The relationships that you build with your students and the sense of achievement you get when they succeed are irreplaceable.
Commemorate this special connection and experience with a yearbook. Online high school yearbook companies can help you to create stunning yearbooks that feature the best moments of your teaching placement. Some of them offer bulk discounts so you can give a copy to all the students and teaching staff that made your experience unforgettable.
Your mentor teachers are imparting a lifetime of their experience and knowledge to you. Be sure to say ‘thank you’ for their time and effort. Aside from creating a customized yearbook album, you can consider buying morning tea or bringing some homemade treats for everyone in the staffroom to show your appreciation.
A teaching placement is a priceless classroom experience for aspiring teachers. Through diligent preparation and a learning mindset, you can enjoy the opportunity and better your skills as an educator. Cherish the highlights and you will always find reward in a teaching career.