Updated: Jun 9
Hello edumagicians, welcome back to another episode of the edumagic podcast. I'm Dr. Sam Fecich. In today's episode, we're talking to students who have just begun fieldwork (you may also call it clinical). Field placement is an opportunity to work with students at a school for a short period. It's like mini-student teaching. You must teach lessons, observe, and learn from this experience. Although you are in a short-term field placement, this does not mean you can go through the motions. Take your responsibilities seriously because your work directly impacts the lives of students. You are working with kids, which is a great gift, my friend. The following tips will help you make the most of your field experience immediately! I will answer YOUR questions related to field experiences - here we go!
Why do I even need to complete a field experience? Can't I just student teach?
Fieldwork is a critical component of education. Participating in this experience allows you to develop as a teacher.
Work within a variety of field placements. Don't just do a placement for convenience - do it for the learning.
You can get a variety of learning experiences across your certification area and grade level.
How do I even go about finding a field placement?
Some colleges and universities set up your field experiences for you, so check to see if this is the case. If not, then I recommend:
Going outside your comfort zone and contacts means getting out and putting yourself out there. Don't just get a placement based on convenience; instead, choose a placement based on the learning experience.
Sending a professional email inquiring about the field placement opportunity. You can send something like this:
Good morning Mr., Mrs., Miss, Ms. ________ (cooperating teacher last name here),
I am _______(your first and last name) and I am a _______ education major at _____(College/University). As (first-year, second-year students, juniors, or seniors), we are required to obtain hours in the field. It's an exciting part of my learning journey as I get to apply to see what I have been learning in the classroom.
I am inquiring about an opportunity to work with you this semester. As a part of a field experience class. Here are some details about my field placement:
My placement begins _______ and ends ________.
During this field, I am required to ______(list all field requirements here, for example, teach two lessons, observe a specialist, interview a principal, etc.).
I need to obtain ____ hours in the field.
Please reach me at ____ (cell number) or reply to this email. I look forward to hearing from you and possibly working with you.
Your signature here,
Sign the email as the professional educator you are, and you may want to include your pronouns.
How do I get to know the kids if I'm only there 1x a week?
I know it can be tough to get to know students, even if you are there once a week for a short amount of time. Here are some strategies I suggest:
go beyond the field requirements and volunteer in the classroom for more hours
greet students as they come in
Learn their names before you leave the classroom on day 1 - challenge yourself to learn everyone's names and something interesting about each one. Jot down strengths for each student.
Have conversations during the non-instructional time, such as lunch, recess, etc., to get to know students better.
What can I do to stand out during fieldwork?
Invest time in planning quality content and creating engaging lessons
Keep communication channels open between yourself and the co-op.
Observe and connect with others in the building
Create an about field student intro letter for admin, families, and students. Meet the student teacher letter episode here.
Show up for yourself and your students.
Be reflective throughout the process.
Ask for specific feedback.
Go beyond the requirements for the course and invest in your learning.
Be prompt and timely.
Ask questions and engage in professional discussion.
Jump in - don't just sit in the back of the room.
How can I showcase my field in my digital portfolio?
Document it in your digital portfolio. Grab your digital portfolio online course here. Create a tab on your digital portfolio with subpages for the various field experiences you have had throughout your college career. Each of your field experience pages should include:
Brief description of your placement (grade, school, etc.)
Embed lesson plans on the page along with reflection pieces!
Pictures of you teaching (just ask your co-op to snap a quick pic while you teach)
Pictures of projects, materials, or final products that students did as a result of your teaching.
When including pictures of students, be sure to have appropriate permissions! Permissions from families and the school.
Remember you have the EduMagic in YOU!