In a short summary; stress, nerves & excitement.
In a longer description, honestly so much more than that!
I promise you, this will be the best (but most exhausting) time of your life if you really are passionate about what you study. And how do you know that you are enjoying it you may ask? Each day passes you by in a flash, time will run away with you and before you know it you are back in your normal routine… like me now.
Initially, my university told me I should get in touch with the school I was going to work at, introducing myself and attempting to retrieve the information I needed about the establishment for my own benefit. Wherever you end up on a work placement, I would highly recommend putting in the extra time to research the place before you go. What I mean by this is their values, location, staff (if possible) and policies. All this information will put you in a great position to enter the working team of the establishment, and by knowing the protocol already, you will look much more professional. Of course, it is OK to ask questions if you are unsure of something, people would much rather you ask than go ahead and carry out something that may be totally incorrect.
Upon initiation, it is important to find a balance between acting the role of your profession, and reminding yourself that you are, in fact, the trainee, which means you are there to learn from others. In order to do this, it would be wise to put in the extra effort to become acquainted with all staff, not just the people specific to your area. This way, you will feel much happier in throughout your experience, knowing your peers are more than happy to support you. Try not to become frustrated when you don’t get things right first time. I know, it’s easier said than done, but your still learning! Allow yourself to make errors, after all, that is how we grow as people.
Prepare yourself for the most exhausting period of your life so far, and no, I’m not being dramatic when I say that. Going on a work placement is a lot of work if you strive to gain the most out of your time, but you certainly will reap the rewards in the long term. For the last 5 weeks, I’ve been waking up at 5:30am, getting home from placement at 5, eating and showering, and then planning until 9pm. The days are long, but they are rewarding. I look back now, whilst I’m sat in the sunshine feeling a little empty as it were, and think – “how did I even do that?”. But I did it because I love it, and job satisfaction is so so important in comparison to the pay check you receive at the end of each month. Don’t do something for how much money you could earn, do your job because you LOVE it – after all, you may end up taking it up for the rest of your life.
A little about my individual experience:
During my teaching placement, we had a variety of tasks to complete for evidence to provide in our future assignments, one of them being to create a display on a foundation subject (i.e. not maths, English or science), of which would intrigue the pupils to learn more about the topic. Adjacent to this is an image of the area I created. I am very proud of myself for putting this together in such a short amount of time, and can reflect now, on how much effort I put into this display and it’s aesthetic on the eye.
Love El xx