Since people who will be graduating from the same program as us are about to head out onto their final practicum (or first or second!) we thought we would give you our best advice today…

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Meaghan’s Advice:

1. RELAX – I know this is so hard to do when you are feeling the pressure of everyone watching you and that your career is hanging in the air but, trust me, you will be fine! Just relax and do the job you know how to do.

2. Don’t strive for perfect – Mainly because it’s unattainable, but also because you might forget about the learning. Take criticism as a compliment because those teachers care that you improve. I wish I had done this more often on my own practicum… Once you’re out in the job world you don’t get the privilege of receiving expert advice on a daily basis.

3. Teach who YOU are – You are not and cannot be someone else for your practicum. I can’t tell you how many times I was told to “fake it til you make it” with a teaching style that just wasn’t me. Teachers are incredible for so many different reasons and you too will be incredible in your own way.

4. Get involved – Particpating in the school culture is one of the best things that you can do. Coach a sport, run a club, or simply help out at the school concert or play. It doesn’t have to be much if you are feeling overwhelmed but get your face out there and see your students outside of the classroom.

5. Enjoy yourself – Practicum is a unique experience that you won’t have ever again and there are sooo many fabulous things about it! Soak up knowledge from all the amazing teachers around you and love every second with those beautiful souls in your classroom.

Karley’s Advice:

1. Take time for yourself. Practicum (and teaching in general) can be all-consuming if you let it be. Make sure you take some time for yourself during this practicum placement. I’m currently working in my first full time contract and my strategy to ensure a restful, rejuvenating weekend finds me putting my school books away Friday at 3pm and not looking at them again until Sunday around 4pm. This takes a bit of organizing before putting the books away for so long, but it’s worth it! My weekends feel like they belong to me and not my job.

2. Document, document, document. Take pictures of student work samples (especially of projects/assignments you created!) Write down funny things your students say. Keep detailed notes in your teacher daybook. I am a journal fanatic, but I don’t like journaling in the traditional way. I love looking through my old practicum photos and notes; they’ve definitely served me well for this blog!

3. Make friends with your school’s staff, including the custodian, librarian and office staff. Knowing key people in your school will only make your life easier. During my final practicum I made a point to get to know the teachers in my school and now some of those teachers are my closest friends. I’m being serious when I say these people save me on average three times per week by responding to my “mayday text messages” with excellent advice and outpourings of love.

4. Make time to eat good food. My biggest struggle right now is healthy, wholesome meal prep. Teaching is a busy gig and although I love cooking, I only love doing it when I don’t have 47,000 other things to do. This is a predicament because my husband and I are often scrambling at dinner time. If you come up with a surefire way to meal plan, please share the love!

5. Go to bed. Just stop everything at 10pm, turn off your phone (yes, every night) and go to sleep. Your brain will thank you, your mentor teacher will thank you, your students will thank you. (Yes, I turn off my phone every night at 10pm and it’s one of the best things I do every day).

We wish you all luck and hope that we can be helpful to anyone who might need it during this final stretch! If you have a question or idea for a topic we could blog about let us know. We were in your place ourselves not too long ago and we want to support you in anyway we can!

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