After finishing a Bachelor of Science on a full basketball scholarship in the US, Swinburne Online student Benjamin Louis returned home to Australia to pursue his passion for teaching. He recently completed his first placement and among the highlights, were handmade baked goods.
“There were a number of highlights throughout my four-week placement. The best was being given a handmade cake from a student after helping her the day before with a series of math equations.
“It was also great teaching lessons I had planned, and seeing the students respond positively and with enthusiasm. Just being around the student’s energy and willingness to learn was a massive highlight in itself.”
On top of online study, the Graduate Diploma of Teaching (Primary) student is also a full time personal trainer and was able to work before and after school hours during his teaching placement. He says that when organising a placement it is important to get in early.
“I met with the school early, 3 months before at least. I scheduled a meeting with the Principal expressing my interest in doing a placement with students in grades 2-6,” Benjamin says.
“From there I was set up with a grade 5 mentor teacher. The tips for organising a placement provided by Swinburne Online helped me to prepare for initial contact with the school.”
The 25 year-old was able to experience and teach all subjects throughout the placement including Literature, Grammar, Math, Science, Humanities, Art, and Physical Education.
“During the first few days I predominantly observed the classroom dynamics and teaching style of the mentor teacher, helping correct work and give students any assistance.
“I was required to be at staff meetings at 8.30am and leave school after pick up at 4.30pm. After the first week I was encouraged by my mentor teacher to help her plan the next weeks lessons and see which lessons I would feel comfortable conducting.
“This provided an opportunity to really use the skills the online course had given me, being able to put theory into practice.”
However, undergoing placement was not all work, during recess and lunch if Benjamin wasn’t eating or working he’d get out to interact with the kids.
“The students definitely appreciate you spending time with them. And I thought it was important to get out there and kick the footy or watch them playing their favorite game.”
Benjamin says the main point he got out of the placement was seeing different styles of teaching and communicating with students.
“Seeing other teachers operate their classrooms helps you understand different teaching styles. The placement has given me a good base that I can definitely build from. Being unique and confident with your own abilities is key to being the best teacher you can become.”