College Practicium: Plan Ahead For The Most Benefical Experience

When making the decision to go to college to become a teacher it is important to know that practicum will be a part of the licensing process. Knowing what to expect might make this experience a little easier. Practicum is when you, the student, enter the classroom to observe, plan lessons, and implement those lessons. It is a fun time and it can be a stressful time too because Title 1 public schools are not what they used to be. Teachers aren't allowed to plan curriculum anymore and schools are not eager to allow anyone to have students on an individual basis unless they are special need students. I looked forward to this portion of my degree only to find it difficult and unyielding.

Public schools now require teachers to use district implemented curriculum. The teachers  cannot modify the curriculum in any way. It must be followed strictly. There’s no room for special accommodations, fun activities or any other creativity the teacher might add to the lessons.  Teachers are not able to teach the whole child. They are supposed to teach all students the same. This makes it extremely hard for a college student who needs practicum hours for license and degree. The teachers can't just let someone come in and change any of the lesson or daily routines. This experience however is what every teacher candidate needs to enter into the teaching profession.

Schools are under such strict guidelines that they cannot allow a college student to come in and teach a lesson that he or she has prepared to just one student. The student will then miss the structured lessons and fall behind. The district lessons cannot be excused as per the district alignment. The only way that a college student can work one on one with a student is if that student is in special needs.

These problems make it extremely hard for a college student to complete practicum hours at public or Title 1 schools. One solution to this problem is to complete as many practicum hours as possible in a private school. Private school teacher have say in their students lessons. They have a curriculum provided for them but also are allowed to make out lesson plans and modify when needed. They are allowed to teach the whole child.

Before each class with required practicum find out if the hours have to be done in a Title 1 public school or if they can be done at a private school. If the class requires that you do practicum at a Title 1 school, get in touch with the principal as soon as possible and ask to work with a student who has learning disabilities.  Unless your degree is special education though ask for a student who has mild learning disabilities.  If your college will allow you to complete your hours at a non-Title 1 school, find a private school in your area. The experience will be more beneficial because you will really get to learn about teaching and how to teach.

Practicum hours are hard. It is a learning process and takes a lot of time.  It is stressful finding a school to complete the hours at when so many schools no longer allow teacher s to develop their own lesson plans. Plan ahead to find a school that will provide the most educational college practicum experience that will benefit  you most  of all when you move on to your teaching career.

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