1. During your initial visit, be sure to exchange phone numbers (business/home), exchange email addresses, discuss your schedule and your mentoring teacher’s schedule, and discover what major learning concepts/objectives will be addressed during your placement. Be sure to inquire about dress standards. Many schools are getting very strict about teacher dress codes and you may be asked to leave the school if you violate their code.
2. Review the practicum calendar and schedule. This schedule is a formal agreement between you, your mentoring teacher, the building principal, and your Simpson College professor. It should be honored as such. Your mentoring teacher has received a packet from the supervisor with this information included. Maintain one copy with the log completed each week -- this record will be maintained in your department folder for accreditation purposes. Scheduling changes and adaptations are acceptable, as long as the number of required hours are met, the mentor has agreed to the changes, and your supervisor is informed.
3. Observe and work with the mentoring teacher and the children. Become familiar with classroom routines and procedures. Take initiative. Go to “specials” with the students whenever possible. Go to the cafeteria for lunch, go to recess. Do not plan to spend much time up-front just sitting and observing. Contribute to the classroom -- make yourself an asset to the students and the mentoring teacher from your first day.
4. Create a plan for all lessons you will teach. Ask your mentoring teacher to critique your lesson plans before they are taught and after they are taught. Ask the teacher to complete an observation form for one of your lessons. Schedule a meeting time to discuss your teacher’s assessment of your lessons. Collect feedback information as directed by your supervisor.
5. Observe a code of professional ethics. Be positive and courteous. Do not discuss individual children with others. Use pseudonyms for children and teachers in your written reflections regarding practica placements. Dress professionally.
6. Please appear at scheduled times. The only excuse for missing a practicum day is a serious illness or emergency or a school closing due to weather. The KCCI weather page is a good source of information about school closings (www.theiowachannel.com). In the event of an emergency or illness, call and email both the mentoring teacher and the appropriate college faculty supervisor.
7. Use this opportunity to learn and to establish a professional contact. You will be searching for a teaching position in the future, and the recommendations of all mentoring teachers are critical. When you begin your visits, be sure to introduce yourself to the principal and thank her/him for arranging the placement within their building.
8. Upon completion of the practicum experience, please send a thank-you note to your mentoring teacher (and perhaps the building administrator).