My placement experience! Part I:

I recently read a book called “ Resilience” from the Emotional Intelligence series, recommended to me by a friend. I loved it, and it’s only natural that after I finished chapter 4 of the book, I started reflecting on my experience. This conjured up some interesting flashbacks to my final social work placement; particularly my experience of my practice educator.

Part of my social work degree was to complete two separate placements. A placement is where you get the opportunity to put the knowledge and skills you have gained on the course into practice. Therefore working with people in the community. Being a student at placement is both terrifying and exciting at the same time. You have the support of your practice educator and fellow colleagues. But, it is also very frustrating since most people don’t take you seriously when they hear “student social worker”. So I decided to refer to myself as a “social worker in training”. It did not make much of  difference if I am being honest, since the title was often lost in the explanation. Anyway, for me the worst part about placement was not the work but my practice educator. Not only was she unsupportive, she was also very critical of every little thing that I did.

Correct me if I’m wrong but in my mind, there is a difference between constructive criticism and intentionally picking on a person’s shortcomings. As an individual, I believe in self improvement and constructive feedback is one of the best ways to do so. However, I personally found that my practice educator was incapable of doing so unless otherwise asked. The only time that she attempted positive criticism, it was wrapped in a coat of arrogance and served with a hint of judgment. She always had this look that would make you feel 2 feet small for asking a question.

I do also recognise that maybe at times I wasn’t the best audience. This was mostly because I disliked my practice educator and anything she said, went through one ear and out the other. I don’t believe it when people say; it doesn’t matter if you like the person or not, you can learn from them. Yes maybe you can learn from them, but it takes a great deal of self discipline. And this is something I had to actively remind myself of every single day until the end of placement. There were days when I dreaded going into placement because I knew she was watching my every move! And if I made a mistake, I would hear about it in supervision.

Concluding words: Placement was not all bad and I enjoyed working with my service users. Although, I would have loved my placement more if my practice educator could have been less condescending and more supportive of my learning.

8 thoughts on “My placement experience! Part I:

  1. Its great that you were able to apply resilience in your work place. Maybe you needed to read the book to learn how to go through such a tough situation.

  2. I understand you. I once did an internship where my supervisor wasn’t very supportive and I ended up transferring from there because I wasn’t learning much.

  3. I agree with you. It can be so hard to learn from a person who is degrading you. I think its because most of the learning in a placement center happens through modelling.

  4. You don’t need to fret that humans for you,they do more on standing on people’s shortcomings than the positives. I do me all the time without looking back to see whether the only is smiling or frowning.

  5. Me I suck at math on many things. However my teacher always say. If you forget lessons when you graduate its okay except one. Always make people feel important. Until now I still live by that.

  6. Knowing that placement is not all bad, I believe that it was your Emotional Intelligence that reveal to you that there is a difference between constructive criticism and intentionally picking on a person’s shortcomings. Thanks for sharing your placement experience!

  7. I remember my professor in calculus back in college. She is also like your educator so, I really had a hard time enjoying that subject. I can’t really understand her.

  8. I guess your educator instructor was your arch nemesis..I can relate to what you went though.. Some people just get their kicks from making other people sad..its terrible

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