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Top Tips for School Placement

Jennifer Kennedy, Professional Master of Education 
The idea of starting school placement can be daunting, but don’t worry, below are some tips that will hopefully help you settle into your placement with ease. You will become accustomed with these throughout the year, but it can be helpful to be aware of them before you start your placement.

1. Collaboration with Subject Departments

When you start your school placement, you will meet with your subject departments. In the meeting, the department will make out a plan of what topics they will teach throughout the year for each year group. This is really helpful for when you start your planning, as you will know the order of chapters and topics you will be teaching throughout the year. 

TIP: Ask your subject department for rough estimates on how many classes/weeks each topic should take and use this as a guide when planning your units of learning and lessons. Throughout the school year, make sure to collaborate with your subject teachers, checking in with them with regards to your progress on the topics, and discussing what chapters to assess around Christmas and summer exams.

2. School Policies and Rules

When you start your placement, find out what school policies and rules are in place. There will be policies such as anti-bullying, special educational needs and mobile phones. Schools will have these available, so it’s helpful to read through them at the start of the year and become familiar with them. Ask your cooperating teaching for advice on school rules regarding toilet breaks, whether students are allowed to leave the school grounds during break times and if students are allowed to use their phones during break times. Being clear on these will help you throughout your day and when supervising students. 

TIP: The student journals usually have the school rules in them, so if there are any spare journals available, it is worth hanging onto one for the year.  

3. Extra-Curricular Activities

Extra-curricular activities are a great way for getting involved in the school. It helps teachers and students get to know you a bit better, and for you to get to know them. Instead of just seeing your students in the classroom, it’s lovely meeting with them in a less formal environment. Also, you will probably be meeting other students who are not in your class groups, and so it is a good opportunity to get to know many students within the school, which will help you feel more part of the school cohort.

TIP: If you aren’t able to commit the time to extra-curricular activities, put your hand up for helping out with attending matches, races or school trips.  

School of Education

Scoil an Oideachais

Leeholme, O'Donovan's Road, Cork, Ireland