EIT Candidate Teachers on their practicum placements for the year have had a bonus learning added to their experiences – online teaching.
The 28 Candidate Teachers at EIT Hawke’s Bay Campus and four at EIT Tairāwhiti Campus are all in their third and final year of their Bachelor of Teaching (Primary) degree. They began their practicum placements at primary and intermediate schools in both regions days before the recent COVID-19 Alert Level 4 lockdown began.
Dr Emily Nelson, EIT’s Programme Coordinator, Bachelor of Teaching (Primary), says the placements were “away practicums”, which meant the Candidate Teachers were individually placed at schools outside EIT’s partnership network.
She says the EIT Teacher Educator team is proud of the Candidate Teachers for the way they have tackled the added challenge.
“They are innovating, connecting authentically and making the most of this opportunity. The final practicum is a rite of passage and it’s an acknowledgment of how far Candidate Teachers have come in their teaching journey.”
“At this point they can sustain a responsive teaching and learning programme and integrate within teaching teams as junior colleagues, so this online practicum has thrown them a curve ball that they are all stepping up to respond to.”
Dr Nelson says that the Candidate Teachers were tailoring their practicum to the approach of the school they are at.
“One Candidate Teacher is organising all her planned teaching experiences through Te Whare Tapa Whā framework, planning for students’ physical, mental, spiritual and whānau wellbeing. Another Candidate Teacher is making regular i-movie compilations of students’ Seesaw posts to share the learning amongst the class community.”
Dr Nelson says that under Alert Level 3 some CTs went back into their practicum schools to assist as ‘bubble teachers’, teaching students of essential workers.
One of the EIT Candidate Teachers, Mia van Dulm, says this was not the practicum she was expecting, but she has loved the experience of working online with two Eskdale School teachers and a combined new entrants’ class of 38 students.
“The two teachers had a really good teamwork approach and we split the learning between the three of us, using the Seesaw classroom App.”
“We could set general assignments for the whole class or individual groups, and they really loved doing their reading, phonics and some maths activities.”
Mia says the online learning was not just about the students being stuck in front of a screen, but they were encouraged to get out and do things as well.
“There’s a class blog as well, so they’ve been posting pictures of them baking, building huts and forts and going on bush walks and things. They can connect with one another through that, which has been really awesome.”
Mia, who will be looking for a permanent teaching role from next year, says she has no doubt that this is the career for her.
“It’s been a huge learning curve basically, but I’m grateful that EIT was able to allow us to keep going despite the lockdown, because this is the reality we will face as teachers next year, no doubt.”