I have waited for my practicum to arrive for months! Now I am close to completing it. It truly is an exciting opportunity to learn and gain real life experiences in my field. I thought I was ready for my practicum as I felt very competent in my abilities because I was sure that the information from my classes had prepared me well for it, but I was in for a surprise. My skills were challenged and refined with each experience. Through my experience I gained comprehensive knowledge that I had once learned in class but had to experience for myself to evolve all that I had learned. The first week of my practicum was a little tough and it was because I was still not sure what was the right way in supporting my students, I did not know if I should be soft or firm. After I finally learned a strong base for supporting my students, I was pulled back by the classroom teacher. She told me that I was supporting the students more than I should have. She wanted to stimulate independence in the students. At this time I sat back and reflected upon some of the strategies that I had learned from her. Reflecting back on my daily journals made me aware of what was going on. Now I completely understand why our school required the practicing students to write these daily journals. It has really opened my eyes. Reading the journals that I have written made me acknowledge my capabilities and the areas that I needed improvement upon.
In the first week of my practicum I was on a rocky wooden roller coaster. But, as the days went by I got to learn more about how I wanted to teach my students. I have begun to adapt the strategies that were passed down to me for the teachers and other Educational Assistants. By going through this learning process I have started to confidently approach my students. When I started to feel and become more positive about my abilities that is when I started to see the positive things emerging my way.
I have been fortunate to have great classmates with which I have built a good friendship. The times when I struggled the most is when I would message them and would tell them how stressful my day had been, and having them support me has been great! It is a different kind of support then of that of my family because my classmates understand the struggles that I am going through as they might be experiencing them too. Nonetheless, the obstacles and challenges have had a profoundly positive influence on me; I am much more secure and self-assured of my abilities. The challenges in my practicum journey that I thought would paralyze me, have instead made me discover my potential and strength as a Special Education Assistant in my field.
The impact that my practicum experience has had on me has allowed me to develop my personal philosophies and values that propel me to further my studies in the field of supporting children with exceptionalities. Being a Special Educational Assistant requires one to possess many skills. Dealing with children is not an easy task, yet doing it out of passion makes a whole lot of difference — the path is truly rewarding. This field has changed my life and heart for the better. As I continue to go further through my practicum experience, I have come to realize that I have made an excellent career choice.