In Term 4 Crystal Jackson undertook a 6-week teaching placement in the Hospitality faculty at Westport Campus. It was a valuable learning experience for everyone involved.
Teaching practicum sometimes called Teaching Practice and most commonly called 'Prac teaching,' is probably the most challenging and exciting part of teacher training.
Prac teaching has a dual role. While testing the soon to be teacher, they are also being assessed. It is an exciting and stimulating part of the teacher education course. It's the first taste of being a classroom teacher and an early chance to put to use new skills as a classroom teacher into practice.
Participating in the teaching placement gave Crystal an insight into the diversity of student learning needs and allowed her to use a variety of classroom management strategies learned from working with different staff members.
Crystal met with the Head Teacher of the faculty on two occasions to get ready for her placement. She had a look around the campus and viewed the programs she would be delivering over the 30-day placement. This prepared her and made her more comfortable in her new working environment.
Over her placement, she was able to reflect on her own growth in the areas of confidence, resilience, and patience. Crystal said her placement gave her an insight into junior secondary education and behaviour management techniques. She gained more confidence in front of classes as she developed better techniques for ensuring the classroom lesson ran smoothly. She also developed a better understanding of how to differentiate her teaching style to adapt to how her students processed information. This allowed her to build positive connections and relationships with students and colleagues.
One crucial aspect Crystal learned was meeting the learning needs of all her students and differentiating their learning styles according to their needs. Part of the training was to identify the students that may require individual learning. She modified assessment tasks and activities and incorporated a variety of teaching and learning strategies into her lesson plans so that students of all learning styles felt inclusive. Most of the lessons delivered were hands-on practical lessons where the students were doing something, e.g., practical cooking lessons, making coffee, or conducting research and experiments for their design portfolios.
Trust between students and teachers is vital in developing relationships so students can feel safe and valued. Knowing your students and how they learn can foster trust and relationship development, enabled Crystal to make connections with students and create a cohesive learning environment.
Crystal is currently studying at Charles Sturt University Wagga Wagga via distance education studying a Bachelor Secondary Education - TAS - Food Technology, Design, and Technology. She graduates on 30 November after completing her practical at Westport Campus.
She would extend her gratitude to students, teacher and teaching aides who taught her so much during her placement, in particular, special mention to Ms Heidi Speers, Fred, Viv, Sharon, Judy, Jill, and Brian. The experience has reinforced to her that this is the career path she wants to pursue.
Crystal choose Westport Campus as her teaching place as it was close to home and has a good reputation. She particularly enjoyed the variety of courses offered to students at the Campus and the extraordinary teaching staff. Crystal would love to work in the local area, so any position that becomes available she will most definitely throw her hat into the ring.
Crystal has lived in Port Macquarie for the past 17 years and absolutely loves Port Macquarie. The climate, the beautiful coastline, the people the, fabulous restaurants, cafes and farmers’ markets.
Why wouldn't you want to work and live anywhere else?