high school practicum: wrap-up introduction

04Feb10

Even though I can hardly summon the comprehension to begin to accept this fact, today was the last day of my high school practicum.  My initial plan was to post frequent updates of my triumphant return to the little town I grew up in, but it turns out that I’ve been having way too much fun with it to chronicle it all.

In between each of the past thirty-one nights I’ve spent on the den couch at my parents’ house, I’ve cautiously weighed the pros and cons of small town livin’.  You see, the librarian at my alma mater (under whose tutelage I’ve been working) is retiring at the end of next year.  From the moment I stepped in the front lobby on the first day, everyone stopped me in the halls to remind me that the position would be opening.  It was nice to know that I’d be welcome there, and it encouraged me to get even more out of my practicum.  Learning as much as I could about the school and library opened my mind to the possibilities of what I’ll be able to do with my librarianship.

Speaking of stepping in the front lobby on my first day, this is what greeted me:

That’s right- it’s a taxidermic wolverine, a constant reminder of the ferocity that these students exhibit in academics, athletics, music, and all other educational and extra-curricular endeavors.  Little did I know that the furry/deceased mascot in the school’s entrance would be my first glimpse into a pretty rad month.

One of the things that I love most about my program at Syracuse is that I am responsible for a pretty good chunk of my education.  Sure, it can be easy to miss a deadline or procrastinate beyond the legal time limit, but it also allows me to think about my progress and focus on the areas that I need to improve upon.  Going into my high school practicum, my big area for improvement was teaching.  I don’t have a problem with the whole public speaking thing, but it’s quite important to me that my lessons are informative, useful, and at least somewhat enjoyable for the students.  When I dropped the education degree track way back in undergrad, I let the teaching ship sail… and I was pretty nervous about bringing it back into the harbor.

Luckily, my host librarian was really great about letting me work on these skills.  She’s legendary for her collaboration efforts, so most of the time I was slated to be in the library had already been booked by various classes working on projects.  Over the course of my practicum, I executed lessons to three different classes (four sections of each), assisted with research projects for four or five other classes, and logged serious one-on-one instruction time with lots of other students.  It taught me a whole lot about pacing lessons, preparing activities, and how to interact with students.  For instance, did you know that most high school sophomores don’t know who John Hughes is?  That fact alone rendered two-thirds of my jokes unfunny because they didn’t get the cultural references.  Talk about a travesty.

When I packed up a month’s worth of my stuff and fled the city, life was a little scary.  I’d just finished up my last real graduate class, recently quit my job, and finally gotten back to seeing the people I cared about on a regular basis.  I was feeling a lot of trepidation about (temporarily) abandoning my life like that, but things clearly worked out for the best.  I had a blast, and it only further solidified how awesome being a librarian is going to be.

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2 Responses to “high school practicum: wrap-up introduction”

  1. 1 Rebecca B

    I’m with you on the John Hughes reference. Such a waste! Glad everything went well for you!

  2. 2 Andrea

    I recently came across your blog — don’t remember how! — and I’m starting my school library practicum on Monday. So reading this is good timing for me. Glad to know that you had a good experience.


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