My Practicum Experience
It was extremely difficult to blog during my ten-week long practicum but here is a snippet of my experience:
The first few weeks were difficult as I was really nervous and terrified to start. I realized how hard I’ve worked for years to be in this program and I felt the pressure from myself to not just do well but to be perfect. Little did I know that trying to be perfect was probably the worst (and best) thing I could do for myself.
Perfection should never be an end goal of an educator. We never want our students to be perfect at everything because we encourage mistakes, failures, and mess ups so that we can continue to grow and take risks. However, for some strange reason, I thought that I could or had to be a perfect teacher at day one of my practicum. I even bought some fancy pants, thinking that would help me stand out. After a few weeks, I felt exhausted trying to keep up a persona that was not my own natural self. I kept rehearsing my “lines,” going to bed stressed, waking up tired, and focusing on the little “mistakes” I made that day.
It was not until the five-week mark when I had my mid-point meeting where I really heard the realistic facts of how I was doing. At this point, I was given really useful advice on how to manage my stress and where I needed to put my full energy and focus on improving. I felt my body and mind relax a bit more, as the weeks went by after the halfway point. I reminded myself to enjoy my time with my students, and when I did I felt so much more comfortable at being my own version of being a non-perfect teacher. I felt more myself.
People to Thank
I was blessed with an amazing trio-team of my SAs and FA who gave me their full support throughout my whole process. It was a privilege to work alongside them and to see their strategies in dealing with a variety of students and issues. Their grace and confidence in their classroom were amazing to witness. I appreciate and want to thank them for believing in my growth and pushing me daily to become a better educator.
I also wanted to thank my fellow teacher candidates, as their laughter, honesty, and company helped me feel that I was not alone.
Lastly, I wanted to thank the entire McMath Wildcat community. The students, administration, teachers, teacher librarian, and support staff have all been incredibly welcoming. I can’t thank them enough for being wonderful to all of the UBC teacher candidates.