That time of year is nearing again. Fall placements are about to begin for all education majors. For three weeks of every semester, all education students go out in the field to learn from current teachers and work in their classrooms. For some education majors this is the best three weeks of the entire semester. You don’t have to do any assignments for your classes or stay up late studying or doing homework. However, for other students this is the time of the semester where all the nerves kick in and the responsibilities shift from homework and assignments to real life applications and a snapshot into your future. Have no fear, listed below are some tips and things to remember to help keep calm during placement.
During placements, all education majors have to go to school as if they were the regular teacher in the classroom. We follow the rules and regulations that teachers do. We wake up at 6:30 a.m. and actually make ourselves look presentable every day, and we stay up until 2:00 a.m. perfecting our lessons for the next day. Some students who are used to their morning coffee and sweat pant routine have a hard time adjusting to what placement is like.
Personally, I love this time of year. Placement is my favorite time of year for a few reasons. I love fall, and placement season means fall season. I love being in the classroom and working with real students. Lastly, and I’m going to break the mold on this one, I love waking up early and making myself looking presentable!
This year placement season is arriving early, with placements starting the week after fall break. My assignment this semester is a bit different than usual and I have to face a few adversities this year. I have been placed at the Barber National Institute where I will be working with students with multiple disabilities. This placement is known to be one of the most challenging ones, yet also one of the most rewarding as well!
Working with students with disabilities is definitely something that takes a special kind of person; a person with patience, understanding and an overall drive to support children–three qualities that I feel all special educators should encompass. Luckily, I feel that I have these qualities and I look forward to testing my strength and drive in the classroom.
As I prepared to go out on my field placement I sat down to make a list of things to do and remember as I am out in the field.
- Remember the reason I am on placement
The reason that Gannon sends education majors or any student on placement is to gain experience in the field and to learn from authentic situations. While I am away on my placement this semester I need to remember that I am there to learn from teachers who have more experience than I do about what I should be doing in the classroom and how to prepare myself for a future in education.
- Be a resource
When a teacher allows a field student into his/her classroom they are taking on a big responsibility. This teacher now has the responsibility of observing me as a future teacher candidate and also helping me to feel comfortable in the classroom. This teacher already has a lot on their plate, therefore I need to remember not to become another child in their classroom that they need to take care of. In theory, I should be making the teacher’s job easier by providing my support and an extra set of hands in the classroom. I need to remember not to sit and wait to be asked to do something but to just get up and start helping whenever possible. Not only will this help the teacher be more productive in the classroom, but it will also reflect positively on the teacher’s view of my educational performance.
- Be organized
One of the most important things to keep in mind when out on placement is to keep yourself organized. I am ahead of the game this semester and I already have a placement binder created. In my binder I have all my cooperating teachers contact information along with my Gannon supervisor’s information for emergency situations. I have a section with all of my appropriate clearances. I have a section for all my assignments that are to be completed while on placement and I have a section for daily notes and observations. If you can go into placement already organized then you will set yourself up for success. Another reminder that goes along with being organized would be to have a planner or calendar designated solely for placement. Inside should have all the designated times and destinations of where you need to be and when. If a cooperating teacher explains that there is parent teacher conference at 4:00 p.m. after school that you are welcome to join her at, then you better mark it in your calendar and remind yourself to be there at 4:00 p.m.
- Be helpful
As previously stated, it reflects very positively on a student when they are helpful without being asked to do something in the classroom. I need to remember that, while on placement, I should be eager to learn and eager to help out in any way that I can. This means that if the teacher gets up and walks around the classroom to help students, then I should be getting up and doing the same thing. I should never have to be told by the teacher to get up and help out, I should already be doing so. If a teacher does not want your support or help in any situation, he/she will tell you that it is not necessary to help. Then you can return to your desk or seating arrangements. It looks better to be proactive than reactive while on placement.
- Have fun
The last reminder that I need to have while on placement is to have fun! After all, placement is my favorite time of year. It is that little reminder of what my future will be like and that should be exciting enough!