Shake it off: Practicum Jitters

by Susan
Master of Teaching


If you had the chance to go back to high school, would you do it again? For intermediate/senior teacher candidates (TCs), it’s most likely “yes!”.

With Fall practicum occurring in the month of November, TCs will do just that – return to high school! My experience back in school has been quite an eye opener. It seems as though students are given much more autonomy in schools and teachers are sometimes “competing” for the attention of their students over personal devices such as cellphones and laptops. Or maybe because I am now looking at high school through the lens of a teacher and not as a student.

I will be teaching the chemistry unit in a grade 10 enriched science class, so my expectation of the students will be high and I’m sure the students expect a high quality delivery from me as well. Right about now, some nervousness is starting to creep up. I’m asking myself “Am I creative enough?” and “How will I keep these kids engaged?”. Luckily, I have an experienced associate teacher (AT) who will be mentoring me as I get to know the school, her department and her students.

The jitters disappeared just as fast as they crept up because the weeks leading up to this first practicum was full of advice. My classes not only prepared me for my teaching subject like how to plan a lesson with ministry requirements in mind but also understanding the basics in adolescent psychology, fundamentals of teaching and issues related to secondary schools. Not to mention everyone in my cohort (including the instructors) is so supportive of each other. We gathered together after the first observation and found that many of us all shared the same concerns and nervousness. To top it all off, one of my classmates had the brilliant idea of having us write “warm fuzzy” letters to everyone in the class and placing them in envelopes with our names on it. We took our warm fuzzies home and read them the night before heading out to our practicum school once again. Reading all the nice comments from everyone reminded me of all the good qualities I have as a teacher and I am more confident than ever starting my practicum!


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