By Amanda Szramiak –It’s always a little daunting to get the email from the field placement coordinators addressing you and your cooperating teacher. The long, polite email that thanks your cooperating teacher for doing a service for the education community is an awkward introduction especially since you know nothing about this person. You can Google the school you have been placed at and do a little detective work, but usually you have no idea what this experience will entail.
I have heard horror stories about difficult field placement. I have had nothing but great experiences in the schools I have been in, and I have been so fortunate to work with teachers who are genuinely interested in helping me becoming a successful teacher. I sympathize with my peers who have been less than lucky, but I have always been thankful for my great luck. While field placement entails good and bad days, I think it important to develop skills in learning how to deal with so many people in the education world.
Represent Marquette Positively. As a Marquette student, it is important to represent MU in a positive way. During my field placements, I try to make sure I am giving Marquette a good name. Whether I ask my cooperating teacher questions to strengthen my teaching or I say hello to the secretary, I make sure to always have a smile on my face.
Be overly prepared. Why yes, I already finished that lesson plan I am teaching in two weeks and it is already in your inbox. You want me to cut this paper in half? Already done. Being overly prepared in every aspect that I have control over in my placement has helped me tremendously. The last thing I need is to forget to write a lesson or bring certain forms back so I find it extremely helpful to be as prepared as possible for my placement hours.
Don’t take it out on the students. I don’t take the bad days out on the students. I think it is so important to realize that everyone in your field placement school is going through something. The students or teachers could be having bad days so I think it is important to remember that. I also think it is imperative to try and not take your own bad days out on the students.
Make friends with others in the school. The security guard loves me. Every time I check in and check out, he has a smile on his face and he always asks how I’m doing. I also have made friends with a teacher in passing, and their smiles reassure me on rough days.
Use this as a learning experience for future jobs. I have been thankful for all my positive experiences. However, I did always wonder how realistic it was that I had just happened to be in great classrooms with amazing students and equally wonderful co-ops. I didn’t necessarily want a bad placement, but I was worried that I would get to my first year teaching and be in for a rude awakening. On good days and bad days, my field experiences have given me some really helpful ways to deal with people in the working world. I have learned so many different classroom management strategies, and I think this will only help me in my future classroom. I want to make meaningful lessons that engage my future students rather than just reading verbatim off a textbook. I have learned to appreciate my field experiences as they will help me become a better educator.