Questions to ask at university open days

Questions to ask at university open days: Image of a university open day

There is indeed no doubt that the best way to learn more about prospective universities/colleges is by attending their open days. Once there, it is quite useless to simply walk around, checking out the place, without asking the proper questions. Sure it is important to look around to see if you like the campus, however, asking questions is the key to guiding your future decision regarding where you wish to study. In this posting, I shall be sharing with you some great questions you can ask at/during open days. These questions are by no means extensive, but should allow you to cover all the important bases.

Questions to ask at university open days: Image of a university campus

18 basic but great questions to ask at university open days:

Questions to ask at university open days: Image of a university building

  1. What types of degrees/courses are on offer?
  2. Are financial aid packages offered?
  3. Are tutoring programmes offered?
  4. How large are the average class sizes?
  5. How many students live on campus?
  6. What types of extra mural activities are made available/offered?
  7. Is there a student union?
  8. How safe are the dorms and campus? What security measures are in place?
  9. Are there opportunities for part time jobs in and around the campus?
  10. What teaching/instruction methods are in use at the university/college?
  11. What dorm choices are on offer?
  12. Are any types of pets allowed in the dorms?
  13. What are the basic dorm rules?
  14. Are students allowed to hang items in the dorm rooms (on the walls)?
  15. What assessment methods are in use at the college/university?
  16. Are graduate job placements offered by the university/college after graduation?
  17. Does the university/college run job fairs?
  18. What documents are needed in order to enrol and when do application registrations close?

Questions to ask at university open days: Image of a university building

Do some research regarding what other questions to ask during open days, and whatever you do, make sure you DO attend several open days before deciding on which college/varsity you will be attending. Three or four years is a very long time to spend at a university/college you despise, so be sure to make the right choice!

xxxxxx

Academics Can Kill Your Sanity 2017

(www.academicscankillyoursanity.com)

Edit: Be sure to ONLY apply at colleges you can afford to attend. It is always devastating when someone gets accepted into a school, and then cannot afford to pay the tuition. Also, remember to apply for scholarships/bursaries asap, if this is the route you wish to go in! Just keep in mind that bursaries and scholarships are not ever guaranteed, so don’t bank on these.

Good luck! Here’s hoping you get into your varsity/college of choice!

How to curb your homesick blues

Leaving home and going to university/college can be quite a big adjustment and many new first year students find this transition an incredibly hard one to make; often leaving them homesick. However, you can make your move a little less daunting by following these tips:

  1. Arrange to have a Skype session with your family/friends at least once a week during your first four months of moving to college. This way the distance between you and your loved ones will not seem so huge
  2. Keep regular contact with your nearest and dearest on social platforms/apps such as WhatsApp. We are living in the age of technology so make use of it. You mom will in anyhow most probably harass you endlessly on Facebook and WhatsApp; just like you never left home!
  3. Try and make new friends ASAP. This is easier than it sounds if you just know how. Sign up for and get involved in various social clubs, go to every meet-and-greet you hear about and just be active in college live in general; you are guaranteed to meet new people this way.
  4. Make your room/surroundings more homey by bringing your own curtains and bedding from home, adding a plant or two, putting up posters, pinning photo’s of friends and loved ones to notice boards (or the wall); anything that makes the ‘living space’ feel like your own.

Good luck and remember, being ‘the new gal/guy’ is not something that lasts forever; neither do ‘the homesick blues’.

xxxxxxx

Academics Can Kill Your Sanity 2017

(www.academicscankillyoursanity.com)

 

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:

How to not be taken advantage of during teaching practice image of the words "Some Tips" written on a blackboard

  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.

How to not be taken advantage of during teaching practice - image of squiggly patterns

  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).

How to not be taken advantage of during teaching practice - image of squiggly patterns

  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.

How to not be taken advantage of during teaching practice - image of squiggly patterns

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

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

  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.

How to not be taken advantage of during teaching practice - image of squiggly patterns

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.

How to not be taken advantage of during teaching practice - image of squiggly patterns

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.

xxxxxxxxxxxx

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!