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This week’s Expert Contributors
Dr. Kathy Hibbert – Associate Dean, Teacher Education
Carolyn Wilson – Practicum Manager
Katie Mentone – Program Coordinator
When will I know my practicum placement for Practicum 1—the one that starts in November?
Carolyn: We know you want to know your practicum placements as early as possible. Our goal is to have your placements ready approximately 1-2 weeks before practicum starts.
One of the challenges in making practicum placements is that things often change in schools and in teachers’ lives, and not all Associate Teachers who volunteer in May and June can follow through when the November practicum actually arrives. As well, some teachers who did not volunteer months ahead of time may decide closer to the practicum block that they would like to host a Teacher Candidate after all. It is really stressful for Teacher Candidates to be given a practicum assignment and then to have it changed when an Associate Teacher withdraws. That is why we try to seek a balance between notifying you early (when the placement could change!) and notifying you later (when the placement is much less likely to change).
Can I be placed in a French First Language school? I am in the French specialty and am a native speaker of French.
Katie: The Ontario College of Teachers does not permit us to place you in a French First Language school because this Faculty is not accredited to offer a French First Language program. If we were to place you in a FFL school for a practicum, the OCT would not accept that practicum as part of your program and you would be short on credits and practicum days when it came to graduation. The good news, however, is that we can help you arrange placements in French First Language schools for your two Alternative Field Experiences in Year 2!
Why is the workload so heavy?
Kathy: We know the workload is heavy. Teaching is a demanding profession, and the workload during your Teacher Education program is not unlike what you will experience when you are in your own classroom.
To help you manage, we have deliberately left Fridays open for you to meet with your colleagues, engage in group work, spend time in the library to do assignments or attend visiting speaker sessions.
We routinely review our courses, workload and program through a process of ‘curriculum mapping’ and ongoing research. All your instructors know your feelings about your workload, and are considering carefully the amount of work they ask of you. Talk to your instructors if you need flexibility with due dates.
Learning how to balance work and the rest of your life is part of what the program is about. This is a full-time professional program so be sure you have set aside time for full-time commitment. If you find yourself unable to manage, come in to the Teacher Education Office and talk to us. We want you to succeed and will do all we can to support you.