Practicum

The speed of life is the theme of life.

In only five weeks, it feels like a lifetime has passed.  I have completed the majority of my second practicum – I have about 40 hours remaining and I should be done on March 8.

I have finally gotten my “trial by fire”.  The past five weeks have been spent primarily in teaching classes.  I’ve gone from shaky and nervous to…better.  Still kind of uncertain about what to do when problems come up, but much less apprehensive about getting in front of a class.  I’ve learned a lot about how much material kids can handle in a class session, which has been a help to me as well.  I no longer feel like I need to go crazy memorizing my notes in advance.

The school I’m in is a real challenge.  Classes are large, and because of the demographics of the district, it’s rare to have a class without at least 3 or 4 difficult students.  I’m constantly dealing with bullying, backtalk, tantrums, and unwillingness to participate.  It’s all good experience, but I don’t feel like I’m making a ton of progress with the kids, and I’m not convinced that I’m cut out for a city school.

What’s interesting though is that seeing kids in their “natural habitat” (yes I just said that) I don’t mind them.  I’m not someone who thinks kids are unconditionally adorable and innocent, but being on their turf I seem to be able to relate to them.  I’m hoping to set up some shadowing experiences at other kinds of schools so that I can observe a wider variety of students.

It’s been a good experience.  It’s sometimes fun, and often stressful.  I find that as an intern, I appreciate the fixed schedule – it makes it easier for me to stay on top of things and plan.  I may feel differently when I have my own library, but I feel like the fixed or hybrid schedule at least gets the kids into the library once a week.  Perhaps a flexible schedule would allow that, but on individual terms, which I would be in favor of.  In any case, the fixed schedule guarantees that I see at least 12 classes a week, which has been the biggest benefit of this practicum.

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