One of the best things about CQUni is that as part of an education degree, you are exposed to the practical side of teaching early on in your degree. Many students can be apprehensive as to whether teaching is the right path for them, so my advice when going on your first placement is this;
“It is your very first taste of the career as a teacher, no longer as a student and as overwhelming as the experience may be initially, it is important to immerse yourself in as many aspects of the prac as best you can.”
I can honestly say I personally struggled with the idea that I was a university student who is so young and new to the idea of teaching actual students, but the expectation is to be an education professional and a role model for students who may not be much younger than yourself. Sitting in the staff room, I felt very out of place. I wasn’t a parent with insight into young people or had extensive life experiences under my belt so, how could I teach these kids anything valuable?
I found myself frantically arranging meetings with other teachers, sending out questions and emails and requests for all school policies and documents for me to read over and study the heck out of. However, as I built a confidence and rapport with my regular students, began teaching and finding a groove in what I was doing, I accepted that I actually don’t know everything, and I will always be learning even as a teacher. After this realisation, I finally felt more a part of the school community. The thing that helped me the most through the challenging points, as encouraged by the CQUni staff, was to constantly reflect on how you’re feeling, what is going on around you and in your brain and set goals you’d like to hit during prac (other than the assessment of course).
I decided to hold my accountability through posting daily prac stories and reflections on my teaching Instagram account (@missforsaith). This practice allowed me to clear the fog from my mind and think clearly about a realistic plan for my overall prac. My mentor teachers noticed the shift in my teaching practice and praised me on my ability to reflect whilst seeing the silver lining in the crazy situations (a manic grade 8 textiles lesson at the time). It is only now that I reflect on that crazy few months, that I can truly appreciate how much I gained and how satisfied and fulfilled I felt. That is how I knew I was on the right path and it gave me a whole new sense of passion and drive to continue my study with the first-hand knowledge from my in-school experience.
If you are about to embark on your first practical experience in your degree or are planning to study Education in the near future, you can find all the information you need about professional experience on the CQUniversity website.