Student Snippets A Window Into The Daily Life & Thoughts of SLIS Students

Two Student Teaching Practica

The grande finale of the School Library Teacher concentration is the two school practicums we complete in our final year of the program. Since our certification is for K-12, school library teachers complete two semesters of student teaching practicums: one in an elementary school and one in a middle or high school. With 150 hour requirements each, I spent about three days a week in each of my schools through the course of the semester. The time passes in a flash with teaching, co-teaching, observing, managing the collection, mini-projects, getting to know the students and teachers, and sitting in on as many technology and administrative decision conversations as possible.  

This semester my practicum placement is  Boston Latin School, a 7th-12th grade public exam school right next door to Simmons’ Boston Campus. In a school with over 2400 students, the library is a huge, gorgeous facility with space for over a hundred study hall students in addition to a full classroom. Even with two full-time librarians, there is still lots of work for me to do! The practicum requires eight lessons, and I’ve developed a four-lesson unit with the eighth grade civics teacher on investigative journalism that I am excited about.

So far the biggest challenge in both my practicums has been to hit the balance between being confident in what I already know versus being open to learning more. Teaching can be scary, but if I take a deep breath and rely on my Simmons training and the lesson preparation I labored over, nothing too terrible can happen. On the flip side, I may have a lot of general library knowledge, but I’m humble enough to know that the student volunteer workers in the library (some of whom have been there every day for three school years!) know a lot more than me about how to coerce the printers into working or update a library card account with utmost efficiency. 

My favorite thing about my practicums so far has been when a discussion in class is going really well and the students have a lot of interesting, creative observations to share. Whether it is fourth graders empowered to take action against book banning, kindergarteners sharing about the last time they rode on a train, or eleventh graders flexing their visual analysis skills on a historical photograph, it is always rewarding to hear what students have to say.