So You’re Going on Prac

It’s nearing that time of the year again – the start of prac. Whether you are a first year or fourth year student, it can be a daunting experience for everyone – mentor teacher included (yes, that right – having a pre-service teacher can be daunting for some). While on prac, you really need to make a fantastic, long lasting impression. I say this because you may be welcomed back as teacher one day. I loved being on prac. I learnt so much from working with my mentor teachers and staff within each different school community. I still use some of the practices that I learnt from my first year of prac in my classroom today. This year is my fifth year of full time teaching – and boy has time truly flown. I have had some pre-service teachers and an intern and will be having another one later on in the year. I thoroughly enjoy having pre-service teachers in my class. I always use it as a time to reflect on my own pedagogy and love learning new things from prac students. Here are some of my tips to survive your prac:

  • Meet you’re your mentor teacher prior to your placement – This is a great way to meet on a more informal level and get some background info on the class and school.
  • Be organised – Bring your own pencil case and diary. Most of the time your teacher will let you borrow and use their things. But having your own at the start, is a major plus and shows great initiative.
  • Don’t be late – If you and your teacher discuss an arrival time, be there at that time. Most teachers use the morning to do prep for the day and the same expectation will be placed on you.
  • Take notes (lots of them) and ask questions (lots of them) – Take along an empty notebook and write. Write about everything. Write about what the students do when a teacher says that or what displays are around the room. Just get permission from your teacher first. The same goes for asking questions. This is where you will gain a lot of industry experience from your mentor.
  • Dress for success – Obviously you knew this would be one of my tips! I seriously can’t stress how important this is. I’m not talking about going all glitz and glam but I would encourage you to look the part. You are after all considered a teacher for the next couple of weeks. Keep reading for some outfit ideas.
  • Learn every students’ name on Day 1 – the sooner you build your relationship with your class, it will be the best thing that you can do.

These tips are just my own – there are a lot more I could add but I don’t want to scare you! If you have any to add, please leave them in the comment box below.

Ok, so let’s get to the fun part – what to wear! I have taken some inspiration for these looks from some key fashion trends for this Autumn. For each theme, I have created two looks. Up to size 14/16 and over 14/16 (after a lot of request).

Grey

Grey is massive right now and yes, the more grey the better.

Sizes 6 – 14

Grey #1Get the Look

Top ll Skirt ll Flats ll Scarf ll Bag

Sizes 14+

Grey #2Get the Look

Tunic ll Skirt ll Flats ll Fedora ll Cuff

Stripes

Stripes are a neutral. They never date and can be found anywhere and everywhere. You can team stripes with back, a block colour (red) or for the more adventuress, try clashing them with another print.

Sizes 6 – 14

Stripes 1
Get the Look

Cardi ll Top ll Pants ll Shoes ll Necklaces

Sizes 14+

Stripes 2

Get the Look

Dress ll Jacket ll Scarf ll Flats

Shades of Blue

Blue is a great colour to wear. Classic navy works well on all shapes and sizes.

Sizes 6 – 14

Shades of Blue #1Get the Look

Dress ll Blazer ll Flats ll Necklace

Sizes 14+

Shades of Blue #2Get the Look

Top ll Pants ll Flats ll Studs

What will you be wearing on prac?

Alex x

  • Comments ( 18 )

  • avatar
    Leigh

    Great advice. I always dressed to impress whilst on prac many years ago ? however, I find I’m constantly disappointed at the lack of effort many (not all) prac teachers put into their appearance ?

    • avatar
      whattheteacherwears

      I’m working on that Leigh!

  • avatar
    Tiffany

    Looking the part is definitely important – it’s essential to make a good first impression! Just remember to keep your attire professional and suitable for the age group that you teach.

    Playing the part is where the hard work comes in though. My advice to prac teachers would be to explore the school beyond your faculty areas. Just because you teach English doesn’t mean you can’t see how things are done in a Science room, or how Special Education teachers support their students.

    • avatar
      whattheteacherwears

      Great tip Tiffany!

  • avatar
    Mel

    And make a point of getting to know ancillary staff. Cleaners, the photocopy lady, and other admin staff are always key people in any school to know! Dress like its a job I terview – it might actually turn out to be just that!!!

    • avatar
      whattheteacherwears

      Very true Mel.

      My Mum is the BSM in a school and she is the person you really want to impress.

      • avatar
        reneelouisemay

        What is a BSM?

        • avatar
          whattheteacherwears

          Business Services Manager 🙂

  • avatar
    Caris

    Thanks for the post! I’ve been trying to wrap my head around what to wear for the last 3 months! This will be my first prac so my attitude towards attire is to dress up- I can always scale it down if the school is more casual, but once you rock up looking like you don’t care, I imagine it would be hard to bounce back from that.

    I’ve also bought my own mug to take with me 🙂 We were all warned that its a big no-no to use other teachers’ things in the staff room!

    • avatar
      whattheteacherwears

      Oh Caris – how exciting!

      Your first prac is always very memorable. I totally agree about dressing up. So much easier to go down.

      Enjoy, Alex.

  • avatar
    Amy

    Thanks for this Alex. I’m going to be doing my 4th prac next month and am really looking forward to the new challenges. In terms of advice, one thing that really upsets me is when other prac students don’t dress appropriately. Yes, they may look nice, but are showing a little too much! I do know of a prac student who has been sent home to change on the first day because tattoos were showing. I’m sure that probably wouldn’t have left a very good first impression!

    • avatar
      whattheteacherwears

      Totally agree Amy. You never know what opportunities may arise on prac.

      I hope you are a great prac.

  • avatar
    Kim

    Thank you for sharing these tips. I am off to start my 4th year placement next week. 🙂
    Kim

    • avatar
      whattheteacherwears

      Good luck Kim – not long now!

  • avatar
    Mel Norris

    Thanks for these tips! Going on my final prac next week and I bought a few things very similar to what you’ve suggested. Yay!

    • avatar
      whattheteacherwears

      Good luck Mel – enjoy your prac!

  • avatar
    MorganKate

    Reblogged this on Double Tree of Life and commented:
    This is a personal fav of mine. Not only is she amazing her blog is including plus size styling too. A Great Post <3

  • avatar
    reneelouisemay

    I live in Melbourne and our placements always seem to be in winter. Some of the accessories in this were for the cooler months I could see, but I’m wondering if you could do something for those of us who arrive to school when it is one degree and the oval is covered in frost.

    What I struggle with is dressing warm and professional when it is cold. Last year was okay because it was only 4 weeks long, but even by the end of that, it felt so repetitive, switching between two coats, and a wool turtle neck (thank the Lord for turtle necks coming back in).

    Perhaps there is no answer to this, but what would you recommend when you need to be really warm, have a 10 week placement (so I want to have varied outfits and stand out) and as a student can’t afford to buy heaps of coats?

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