Teaching practice: how to not be taken advantage of

How to not be taken advantage of during teaching practice main image of a classroom

Teaching practice: how to not be taken advantage of

So many student teachers are taken advantage of during their teaching practice periods. I of all people should know, because this happened to me during each and every practical/practice session.

How to not be taken advantage of during teaching practice image of an upset student teacher

The problem is that quite a few schools act as if they are doing you a favour, by allowing you to come and do your compulsory practice period by them, as a student teacher. The reality however is that by law they as schools are obligated to allow a certain number of student teachers to visit for teaching practice purposes per year. Therefore you are totally in your rights to be there!

How to not be taken advantage of during teaching practice image of an apple on a book with the caption "Teaching Practice"

Ways that schools “use and abuse” student teachers vary. However the most common type of violation is when the schools use student teachers to teach on their own. Very often it happens that student teachers are made to run whole classes for days (or even weeks) at a time. The reason they (schools) do this is simply to save themselves a buck; as student teachers cannot demand any form of remuneration for their time and efforts during practicals.

How to not be taken advantage of during teaching practice image of Boggle blocks spelling out the word "TEACH"

So just what is supposed to actually happen during your teaching practice periods then? The answer to this question is quite simple. All you are meant to do during your compulsory teaching practice period is to assist your assigned mentor teachers and “teach” alongside them. You are NOT meant to teach any classes on your own. You are also not meant to run any school sports, or do anything outside of assistant teaching.

How to not be taken advantage of during teaching practice image of the words "Just Assist And Learn" written on an image of a student teacher assisting a teacher

Another problem that occurs is that student teachers are not given a chance to do their mandatory university assignments during practicals. Each year I was kept so busy playing full-time teacher for the school I did my practicals at. I therefore had to squeeze my assignments into little private moments I got with the children at the end of the day. Also, many full-time teachers, teaching at the schools you are assigned to, are not very inclined to allow “outsiders” into their space/classrooms. Therefore, very often student teachers are forced to use the full-time teachers class work and assignments and pass these off at their own ideas for assignment purposes; losing valuable marks in the process.

How to not be taken advantage of during teaching practice image of the words "No Time Given" written on an image of a clock

Teaching practice periods are a time that most student teachers despise and dread, for the reasons mentioned above (amongst others).These periods are unfortunately compulsory (albeit not very beneficial or practical in reality). They need not however be times in which you, as a student, are taken advantage of. Below I shall be sharing a few tips on how to prevent yourself from being taken advantage of during practicals:

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  1. Know your rights and what the school can and cannot expect of you. Speak to your University about what the school can legally and realistically expect you to do whilst visiting them. Then flat out refuse to do anything more than this; if the school requests it. If the school’s staff tries to be nasty to you because of your refusal, simply report their asses to your country’s Department of Education.

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  1. Don’t be afraid to report schools that are using you for purposes other than those that are allowed. It is the school that will get into trouble for doing this, not you as the student. Also, if you have reported a school, no university can expect you to go back to that school. So don’t stress too much over having to see any of the staff that treated you in an ill manner again. The proper way to report a school that was ill-treating or misusing you is by speaking to your university about the occurrence first, and then only going to the relevant education authorities (such as the Department of Education).

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  1. Make sure the school you are going to be doing your practice period at knows what your University expects you to do (assignment wise etc.) whilst you will be visiting them. Be quite clear outright on what your university requires you to do, and state the importance of being allowed the freedom to do just this.

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Note that the school you are doing pracs at is allowed to make use of you for certain school related tasks however, such as;

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  1. Playing assistant teacher to your assigned mentor teacher.
  2. Helping out at school related sports and other functions; provided these are taking place during school hours.
  3. Being involved in day to day school related events and tasks.

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Only report the school to your university and the necessary authorities if;

How to not be taken advantage of during teaching practice image of the words "What's not Allowed" written on a blackboard

  1. The school is making you run complete classes on your own.
  2. Some of the staff are bullying you or not allowing you to do your assignments.
  3. Certain school staff are trying to make you run school related events for them.
  4. The school is making you run their aftercare classes.
  5. You are being used as a substitute teacher when staff do not show up for work.
  6. There is a general nasty attitude towards you as a student teacher, that makes it very unpleasant for you to visit the school.

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Below are two valuable links worth a read if you are a student teacher going into your first teaching practice period:

http://lawhigheredu.com/122-rights-of-student-teachers.html

http://www.leeds.ac.uk/educol/documents/154020.htm

Remember, just because you are a student does not mean you have to take the bull and abuse of others.

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Academics Can Kill Your Sanity 2017

Edit: Even though you are ‘just a student teacher’, you do have a voice. DON’T be afraid to use it no matter how intimidated you feel. Remember that no type of ill-treatment is okay. Don’t have the attitude of ‘I’ll just ignore it’. More and more students are admitting to me how afraid they are during pracs. It really doesn’t need to be this way. Follow the tips given above and if they don’t help, report the schools. The more student teachers’ report ill-treatment, the more likely change will come about.  You have the right to your education. This includes the right to fair and rewarding teaching prac periods. Hold your head up high and take no bull! Good luck. Here’s hoping you have an amazing, fair teaching prac session!

 

The end of year “Holiday Mode Curse”:- How not to lose your study interest

how not to lose your study interest main image of a woman swimming in the ocean on holiday

During long holiday breaks, many students tend to lose some or all of their interest in studying. Why this happens is because studying is incredibly boring in comparison to just about any other activity we chose to do during our off time.

how not to lose your study interest image of a bored man

No matter how we try and “fun it up” the fact remains that no candy coating will ever make studying even half as interesting as even the most mundane of tasks/activities we undertake during our holidays.

how not to lose your study interest image of the word 'enjoy'

Many students even quit their studies after long periods of recess. So just how can we ensure that we don’t lose our passion/will to study and become part of the statistics? Well, your self control does have a lot to do with it. However, there are a few tips and tricks you can try such as:

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  • Read up on some of next terms work during your holidays, in the evenings before going to bed. If you are starting a new year after hols and don’t have your study materials as of yet, simply turn to the internet to read up some interesting facts or latest developments in the field you are studying. By doing this, you brain goes into the same mode as when you are studying at varsity/college. You will still be in “holiday mode”, but not to the degree that your study priorities/life are forgotten.

how not to lose your study interest image of a woman reading on a beach

  • Discuss your studies with your family or friends once in a while during your break. This way your educational endeavours will always remain in your subconscious, as opposed to your brain pushing thoughts of your studies into the furthest, darkest corners of your mind.

how not to lose your study interest image of three friends chatting

  • At least once a week, take a time-out where you just sit with a cup of coffee and reflect on all your long term goals. Use the time to remind yourself of why you are actually studying.

how not to lose your study interest image of a cup of tea or coffee

  • Put up some varsity/college reminder items. Items such as school posters or flags. Even photos or flyers from the most recent epic party will work, as long as you have something up on the wall that constantly reminds you of your fabulous life at varsity/college.

how not to lose your study interest image of a 'Harvard' wall flag

And there you have it. A few basic ideas of how not to lose your passion/interest for resuming your studies after your vacation time is over. If you can think of anything else to add, feel free to do so below in the comments section.

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  Academics Can Kill Your Sanity 2017                                                                                      (www.academicscankillyoursanity.com)

Edit: I have been having another thought concerning how not to lose your study interest during holidays. Why not create an informal holiday “students club”? How this will work is you will create an online page on which to share some funny information. You will then invite other students who are studying in the same field as you to join. Once you have enough members you can begin adding bits of funny info (such as funny news articles or jokes). Anything will work as long as it is funny and pertains to your field of study. By doing this, you will keep the thought of your studies in your subconscious.

Always remember, grammar matters!

Why is grammar important? Always remember, grammar matters main image

So many students tend to forget half of what they learn during their years of formal study. This is especially true if they deem what they have been taught as being unneeded or unnecessary. These days unfortunately, proper grammar usage tends to fall into that category of being something “not really worth holding onto” in the eyes of many.

Why is grammar important? Grammar imageJust look at the world around us, it’s filled with slang and other horrid language usage just where you turn. We are exposed to it in the movies we watch, on posters we walk past daily, in the lyrics of songs we listen to, in magazines we read, on social media and unfortunately on many websites we visit, to name but a few.

Why is grammar important? Slang image
It is for just this reason that I have decided to write this piece in order to warn you not to let go of your impeccable grammar, as doing this can and will severely affect your life, as well as your future. The main reason why proper grammar is so important is simply because it is the very foundation on which any successful communication rests. Even the slightest grammatical errors can cause various misunderstandings as these errors might severely alter the meaning of what you are trying to put forth.

Why is grammar important? Always check for spelling errors imageProper grammar is also a sign of professionalism. A good example of this would be visiting a website with abysmal grammar, and then visiting one on/in which the grammar is absolutely perfect. Which one would you deem as being the most professional in nature? Exactly, you would naturally see the one on which perfect language structure was used as being the most professional of the two.

Why is grammar important? Professional language image

This rings true in day to day life as well. If you speak and write using perfect grammar, others will deem you as being professional. The opposite applies of course for less than perfect grammar.

Why is grammar important? Less than perfect grammar image

Using proper grammar also makes one seem more intelligent in the eyes of others. Say for instance there are two gentlemen who walk into a job interview. The first one is highly intelligent although his grammar usage whilst speaking leaves a lot to be desired. The second person on the other hand is a lot less experienced than the first with a much lower IQ to boot, however he possesses the skill of being able to converse with others using perfect English. Who is going to stand out more and come across as being the most intelligent candidate during the interview though? Well let’s take the story a little further and see.

Why is grammar important? Question image

Both candidates are given the same question, which is; “in what way do you think you can benefit this company should you be hired?” The first man answers by saying, “there’s lotsa ways I gonna benefit your company, because I’ve lotsa skills and stuff”. The second man simply states, “I shall benefit this company by being loyal and giving my utmost”. I think it’s quite clear by now which of these imaginary candidates comes across as being the most intelligent. It is also quite clear which one will be offered the fictional job.

Why is grammar important? You are hired image

Proper grammar usage makes you memorable and boosts your reputation as well as creating a lasting and great first impression. Therefore whatever you do, hold onto your language standards and ALWAYS make sure to practice good grammar.

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Academics Can Kill Your Sanity 2017
(www.academicscankillyoursanity.com)

Want some more good advice? Then follow this link.

Extra note of advice: If you face serious issues with proper grammar usage, consider using an online grammar checker for your formal typed documents. Grammarly is a good choice, but there are tons of other equally good resources online. Just do an internet/Google search for more.