Placements are an important part of your experience helping you to gain insight into the variety of employment opportunities open to you at the end of your course, as well as developing those all-important skills required by employers. You might feel excited but also wonder what it’s really like so you might be interested to hear from a student currently studying the Education Studies degree who has shared their experience.
What is your favourite placement memory?
My favourite placement memory was my first day of placement at Lincoln Castle. I didn’t just observe the workshop, I was actually able to take part and learn with the pupils who were visiting on a school trip, which was really exciting!
What is the funniest thing that happened on your placement?
I lead a Medieval Banquet as part of one of the workshops at Lincoln Castle and this was my first time leading the activity, so I was very nervous. There is a part of the banquet where the children are taught a medieval dance and I completely forgot the steps! I had to think on my feet and improvise my own routine, which was…interesting! But I think it worked!
Have you ever cried on placement (for good or bad)?
Thankfully no I haven’t... but I think I might when my placement ends!
What was your biggest challenge on placement?
My biggest challenge on placement was leading my first activity independently. This was when a group of 60 Year 2 pupils visited The Collection Museum and the activity I led was a craft activity where children created a Roman brooch. The children were split into three groups, so I delivered the activity three times. I felt very anxious as this was my first time leading an activity without any support from my colleagues, yet I was excited to properly get involved with helping lead part of a workshop. The activity went smoothly and improved each time I delivered it. All the children and teachers engaged with the activity and paid attention to what I was saying, and every child successfully created their own Roman brooch to take home. Some of the children ended up making a brooch for me, which was really sweet!
What did you expect before you went on placement?
I was expecting to simply just observe some of the workshops, and maybe lead a couple of activities towards the end of my placement. However, the staff at the sites I worked at were always so accommodating and I was given endless opportunities to get involved with the teaching. In comparison to some of my previous work experience placements I completed at school and college, I’ve really felt like a part of the Investigate Learning team and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my placement - I don’t want it to end!
What did you learn about yourself on placement?
On placement I developed skills such as team working and leadership, communication, determination and perseverance. I learned about the importance of reflecting on my own practice, and that sometimes it is okay to make mistakes as you always learn from them.
Did you feel prepared for placement?
I did feel very prepared for placement as we received a lot of support from our tutors, particularly with finding and securing a placement. We completed a mandatory safeguarding course prior to starting our placement and we were also given a detailed placement workbook to complete, which I found really helpful as I knew what to expect and look out for during my time on placement.
How were you supported on placement?
As well as supporting us in finding a placement, we were encouraged to email the module leader if any problems occurred (which thankfully for me, they haven’t!) In addition to this, we had two ‘call back’ days where we came into University and discussed our experiences of placement, and how these linked to the assignment, which I found very helpful.
The staff members at my placement were also very supportive, they’ve often given me opportunities to support or lead activities, and I’ve really felt like part of the team. They’ve been so inspiring and you can see their passion for heritage and history. Their enthusiasm has empowered me to make the most of every opportunity given, take part in as many workshops/activities as possible between the heritage sites, and really make the most of my placement.
How have your experiences on placement changed you?
My placement has changed me as an individual as I had opportunities to reach my full potential and go out of my comfort zone. I have so much more confidence talking to and leading an activity to large groups of children, and so more confidence in my own abilities as a result.
Did you build any special relationships on placement?
I feel like I’ve built relationships with the staff at Lincoln Castle, where I spent most of my placement. It was such a pleasure to work with Jen and Sarah, they really made me feel welcome and part of the team and their enthusiasm for the history of the castle was so inspiring. They’ve ensured I had opportunities to set up and lead parts of and full activities and I thoroughly enjoyed every single day of my placement - no two days were the same!