Practicium Obstacles: Stay Strong and Move Past Them
Most states require their teachers to be licensed. To earn that license teacher candidates must complete practicum hours. Practicum hours consist of observation, hands on tutoring, lesson plan creation, implementation and assessment. You would think since there is such a huge demand for good teachers that schools would be eager to help a teacher candidate earn his or her practicum hours. To the contrary though, setting up the hours is a nightmare.
Many colleges make it difficult to set up practicum hours by not allowing students into the classroom until the first day of class. This means the student does not know what hours are required until the first day of class. Sometimes the hours are required right away, and other times students have a week to set things up.
Once you know what is required it is time to call schools. This means a call to the principal first of all. This is not an easy process. Most principals are busy and do not take calls. So, you leave a message and hope they will return your call. If you are lucky enough to get one to take your call you are told that they have to speak to the teachers to see what class they will put you in. So then you wait again for them to get back to you regarding your practicum hours. This usually means you have to call the principal several times, leave a message and wait for them not return your call. It is extremely stressful but keep on top of it, eventually you will get lucky and a principal will follow through.
Another problem is that many teachers do not want someone observing in their classroom. I’ve ran into this more at the middle school level than elementary level. It makes me wonder what they are hiding to make them so apprehensive at allowing a future teacher to observe in their classroom.
Once you pass the hurdle of the observation hours you are met with yet another obstacle, implementation of your lesson plans. This one is rough because many teachers do not want someone else implementing lesson plans in their classroom. This is understandable in many instances because teachers are being placed under a microscope and worry about someone messing up their scores. Many districts also have strict programs that do not allow for any new interventions or lesson plans.
Most of the practicum must be done in a Title 1 school and they are the schools that are least helpful because they are under government radar.
It may seem hopeless and like you will never stand a chance of earning practicum hours. Don’t give up! Keep calling the principal to set up your hours. Speak to your professor about the problems regarding lesson implementation. In most instances you can create lessons around the schools curriculum and content. Then teach them during down time in the classroom. Some schools will also let you teach them to their learning disabled students who need more interventions.
Diligence and perseverance will pay off in the end and you will be able to get into a classroom and complete the hours needed to move on to the next step of licensure, student teaching
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