Help I have a field experience this semester!

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 their fieldwork (you may also call it clinical). Field placement is an opportunity to work with students at a school for a short period of time. It's kinda like mini-student teaching. You are required to teach lessons, observe, and learn from this experience. Although you are in a short-term field placement, this does not mean you can just go through the motions. Take your responsibilities seriously because your work directly impacts the lives of students. You are working with kids and that my friend, is a great gift. The following tips will help you make the most of your field experience right from the start! 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 by participating in this experience you are able to develop as a teacher.

  • Work within a variety of field placements don't just do a placement because of 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 of your comfort zone and contacts meaning get out there and put 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 a (freshman, sophomore, junior, senior), we are required to obtain hours in the field. This is such an exciting part of my learning journey as I get to apply to see what I have been learning in the classroom.

I am emailing to inquire about any opportunities to work with you this semester in your classroom as a part of the field experience. 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 2 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.

Thank you.

Your signature here,

Sign the email as the professional educator that you are, and you may want to include your pronouns as well.

How do I get to know the kids if I'm only there 1x a week?

This is a great question I know it can be tough to get to know students even if you are there one time 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 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

  • Dress professionally

  • Be reflective throughout the process

  • Ask for specific feedback

  • Go beyond 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?

This is a fantastic experience to document 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 about your placement (grade, school, etc.)

  • Lesson plans that are embedded in 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!