How to be a Professional Teacher Candidate

by Caitlin
Master of Teaching student

Well hello blog-o-sphere, its 2016! That means I have 3 more months of school and 1 more practicum to go until I get to wear my graduating gown. A lot of you have been sweet in your emails, or face-to-face interactions to ask how I am feeling now that I am nearing the end…and to be honest I am relieved. I cannot wait to finish! Not to say that I did not enjoy my time at OISE, and I am still enjoying it. But I graduated from high school in 2010, went straight to Ryerson for four years and then came directly to OISE. Thats six years of reading theories, waking up early for practicum and long nights writing reflection papers! I am ready to start volunteering in my old classrooms, getting more involved with the Church again and having the opportunity to breathe!

As I mentioned above, I have been preparing myself to become a teacher for a long while. I’ve had my fair share of classrooms, associate teachers and many students that together they could create a parade. Throughout my experiences, I have come across the best tips to become an outstanding teacher candidate. I thought I would share my wealth of knowledge to you, and remind you that this profession has to be taken seriously. We are educating the young minds that are incredibly impressionable. Lets be the best teacher, or teacher candidate we can possibly be! So here are my steps to being a a professional teacher candidate:

  1. Manners Matter- When you are out on practicum, you want to leave a positive impression on everyone. Even if you are shy or introverted, make it a point to be polite and greet all the staff in the school. They may strike up a conversation with you, impart some wisdom or ask you for your expertise on something. By doing this, I have taught an intermediate class art or suggested a cool restaurant for a teacher to try. It doesn’t take a lot to be part of the school community. (Bonus tip: leave a “thank you” card in the staff room on your last day, to remind the teachers you were there.)
  2. Dress, Act and Appear Professional- I know it may be difficult to dress nicely for practicum, especially if you are lacking in the funds department. But try your best to look and appear professional in your appearance. One of you my favourite quotes is: “You can never be overeducated or overdressed.” I am not saying dress up in formal clothing everyday, but looking put together is better than looking like one of the students.
  3. Social Media Lockdown-I will be the first to admit that I am locked onto my phone all the time, and I’m constantly checking my social media. But I am very private with my stuff, and I keep my profile private as well. I am very much an open book with my students, but my personal life is something I want to keep separate and private. I would advise you to privatize your social media accounts if you use them, or censor what you post.
  4. Inappropriate Pictures- I am not directing this tip towards nude or partying pictures, but more towards pictures of students. Even if your social media account is private, you should never post pictures of students without their consent. If we are teaching students to become digital citizens and to respect others’ privacy, we should be practicing what we preach. I see so many teacher candidates posting pictures of their students, and all their faces are visible. I understand those pictures are precious to you, but do the kids a favour and blur out their faces for their own protection.
  5. Visit as much as possible-One of the most frequent questions my students ask me is if I am going to visit again. And I always make it a point to do so. For a couple of reasons. Firstly, I miss teaching once I step back into my classrooms at OISE. I am itching to get back and see them. Secondly, its good to check in with your Associate Teacher and inform them on major news. Lastly, I try and visit the principal when I am back. Its good for them to see you are trying to come back and help out. This shows them your eagerness and commitment to the profession.

I hope these tips were helpful. If you have any tips you think I should add, comment down below and let me know!

I should be finding out my practicum information in the upcoming weeks, so check back to see what grade I will be teaching next!


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