The Fifth-Year Concurrent Education Experience: The final two placements!

Four weeks; four weeks is all we have left until we are done university for good. After five years of working very hard, having multiple all-nighters, finishing tons of lesson plans and having the most amazing education classes, it is finally paying off. We will be finishing up our last few weeks as a student teacher, and will be opening a brand new chapter with endless opportunities.

Some of you may be wondering, “What can I expect in my fifth year throughout my final blocks of placement?” You may have heard about the “scary” faculty advisor who makes the random visits to assess your teaching skills or that you will have multiple all nighters just to stay afloat with your lessons on a daily basis. Well, you can breath easy because these are all absolutely false, and the fifth year is meant to prove to you that Nipissing has prepared you to fullest, and it is your time to shine!

Your final nine weeks are split up into two different placements, one being three weeks, and the other being six weeks. Each placement will be in a different division, for example, I am primary/junior so my three-week placement is in a kindergarten class, while my six-week placement is in a 4/5 split class. These placements are set up to quickly integrate you into the classroom and teach, but you will be successful! Within the first three weeks, you will be up to 50% teaching time, and by week 6, you are teaching 100%. This may seem very intimidating, but with the training Nipissing has given me, I feel very prepared and filled with fun ideas.

From experience, I can tell you that these placements are huge learning curves. You learn so much theory and information in teacher’s college, and now it is your time to apply it. You will start to create your own beliefs about how you want to manage your class, what techniques work/don’t work, how long your grade can concentrate, and what type of lessons work and which do not. I have learned so much during the last 6 weeks, and it has made me a better teacher. It is also really neat to see the theories you learned about teachers college working inside the classroom. It really enforces what you have learned when you see it in action.

During these 9 weeks, you will have a faculty advisor come in to meet you and evaluate your teaching. This sounds very scary, and you may be very nervous, but try to remember to enjoy yourself, and just be yourself. (Note: They schedule a meeting with you and do NOT show up randomly!) The amount of training you have had a Nipissing, and the teaching tools you have learned, have already set you up for success. All you need to do is have fun with the students. A faculty advisor is not looking for the things you cannot do, but rather they are looking for the things you do really well. They may suggest strategies to try that may work better with the class, but overall, you will do very well! It is a scary and nerve-wrecking day, but when it is all finished, and you pass, you will feel so relieved and will be excited to finish your home stretch of the final weeks.

Another thing you may hear about is lesson-planning being very time consuming, and this is true. Lesson plans do take a long time, but they make you aware of exactly what needs to go into every day lessons. The best part of lesson planning is the reflections. Reflections allow you to look back and think about what you taught, and how well it went. It is a great way to learn from what you have done in the past, and will make you a more successful teacher. Another good thing about lesson plans in your fifth year is that you are almost done. By the start of your final placement, you will be doing day planning, and it saves you so much time, but you will still produce the same quality of teaching in the classroom.

Lastly, my advice to you is to take in any experience you can get in the classroom. Take advantage of any opportunities or meetings that become available to you, because it is in these opportunities that I have walked away with the most new knowledge. The time at your placements goes very fast, and before you know it, you will be done university, so enjoy this time with the students. The students will love being with you in the classroom, and you will love teaching them, which makes saying goodbye to them very difficult. Good luck to all the future concurrent education students; make Nipissing proud!