Volume 12, Number 12

Welcome to the final issue of the eMEMO for 2018.  Needless to say, doing this eMEMO blog gives me great pleasure. Specifically, it’s most gratifying to see that our teacher interns are approaching the internship with a very positive but realistic attitude, knowing full well that the act and art of teaching is fraught with mega challenges as well as many instances of great satisfaction.

Thank you to those interns who sent in submissions during the semester and a special thank you to those interns who sent in 2 submissions.  .

The first issue for Volume 13 (2019) will go out on Monday, January 7.

This year, thanks to Mr. Maurice Barry of our Faculty’s Teaching and Learning Commons (TLC), our Concluding Comments transitioned into a video insert and in spite of some growing pains, it developed into a decent commentary, even if I have to say so myself!  This would not have been possible without the wonderful and most enjoyable assistance from Mr. Barry.

And lastly, thank you to those of you who sent in positive comments and suggestions for the eMEMO this year. “See you” in 2019.

Feedback From This Year’s (2018) Interns

I began tutoring an exchange student from Brazil
Throughout the entirety of my internship placement at Exploits Valley High, I have had the opportunity to do some English tutoring both during school hours and afterwards. Having done some tutoring before, I was definitely up for the offer when asked by my  co-operating teacher. During the initial three weeks of my placement, I began tutoring an exchange student from Brazil during lunchtime twice a week to help him prepare for his English 2201 midterm.

The student came with a large group of Brazilian Grade 11 students on a temporary exchange program that was to run from September until mid-January, but this particular student had decided to stay in Newfoundland to finish Grades 11 and 12. I thought this a very brave and admirable feat, as he had only been working on learning to speak English for 9 months when I returned for my placement in January. While still becoming accustomed to our language, culture, and school system, he decided that being away from his family and friends for another year and a half in order to receive a more advantageous education was worthwhile.

We continued to meet once a week even following his midterm as the student happily achieved a 73% on his exam, which he was quite enthused about – citing our sessions as a major source of his success. Thus, we continued our tutoring sessions once a week, just to make sure he was fully comprehending everything we were currently covering in class.

As I grew to know the student more and more, I also began to notice his heightened sense of the English language. His biggest issue for the get-go had been linked more so to language comprehension as opposed to understanding or analyzing literature. This week we meet for what looks to be our second last tutoring session, and I am quite proud of the student’s development over the last 12 weeks. He is now well on his way to becoming trilingual while also maintaining an 80% average in English 2201. This has by far been one of the most inspiring parts of my entire internship experience.  (Secondary Intern)

Those students sure grow on you
Right from the very beginning, I was cautioned by other teachers that teaching junior high would be absolute madness. They warned me that classroom management would be difficult and it would be challenging to keep the students on task. Well, they were right. It certainly is challenging at times and my students are not always on task but I can say with confidence that my extended internship has been an absolute pleasure. Even though it has proven to be tough at times, I am sad to see it soon coming to an end.

I have honestly surprised myself with how much I have connected with my students in such a short period of time. I love that I’m able to joke with them and have fun while I teach. I have developed a relationship with my students where they can chat with me like a friend but still respect me as their teacher (which I feel is a very important balance to have). I have learned that it is just as important for teachers to get to know their students as it is for them to know the material that they are teaching. I never imagined that I would enjoy teaching junior high as I do. What can I say, those students sure grow on you!  (Intermediate Intern)

It has cemented my devotion to working rurally
I have been awarded the special opportunity to be an intern in the same school that I attended during my Primary/Elementary school experience.

Teaching children that are growing up in the same rural area as myself has granted me with an exceptional insight into the future of those growing up in the area. Like many rural communities in the province, population is a particular concern, and moreover, a concern for the school’s status. Having the ability to discuss pride for their home towns and to discuss the future is a task that I feel is crucial and meaningful. I have been enjoying my lovely grade four class of 14, and it has cemented my devotion to working rurally and doing what I can to help make a change to their future. (Elementary Intern)

I can’t imagine NOT doing this for the rest of my life
There’s less than one week left to the Winter Internship. I’ve got a horrible cold, a backpack full of ungraded assignments, and I’ve been living on takeout for three weeks. I feel like crap, to put it lightly. And I’m only teaching 2 courses! This is madness! How will I ever survive a full schedule of courses? Especially if I’m squeezed into a position where I have to teach a class I’m unfamiliar with (there are more that fall into this category than ones that don’t). I can’t imagine doing this for the rest of my life.

And yet, I can’t imagine NOT doing this for the rest of my life. Things may be rough, but spending every day with these amazing students makes it so much better. Their enthusiasm makes me forget about the crap, the stress, the physical woes and mental exhaustion. Besides, sleep is for the weak. If they can do it, with all the drama that comes with teenage life, so can I. I need to – to make school a place worth going, to make these 3 years a little more enjoyable for them. And even, dare I say it, attempt to make it a little fun. I had my students fill out a “performance report” about me yesterday, and I’m happy to say: so far, so good. I guess I can handle takeout for a few more days!  (Secondary Intern)

I am sad to see it come to an end
This internship has been so much more than what I expected it to be. When I first started my internship I had many mixed emotions about how it would go or if I would enjoy teaching high school students, but here I am at the end and I cannot imagine myself doing anything else.

I love being able to interact with my students and hopefully create a positive impact on their lives. You never know what they are going through so being able to be there for them during the day is the least I can do.

I am sad to see it come to an end but I have learned so many things from my co-operating teachers and am grateful for everything they have taught me.  (Secondary Intern)

The empathy that these precious five-year olds showed me is incredibly sweet
What an amazing time I have been having during the internship thus far. Everyday my students teach me something new. I am in a Kindergarten class with twenty unique children, no two are the same, not even the two sets of identical twins in my class. The staff at the school has been fabulous, so welcoming and ready to answer any questions I may have.

I recently missed some time because of sickness; the empathy that these precious five-year olds showed me is incredibly sweet. They would ask everyday where I was or if I would be fine. Just because they are five does not mean that they do not understand. The fact that they missed me means I must be doing something right.

Sometimes you wonder if you are doing everything that you can do, do they notice what they are doing for you, or do they even care. Chances are the smallest thing that you do they appreciate. I always think of how you have such a short time to impact their life. (Primary Intern)

 I will certainly miss each of my students
I cannot believe that the internship is about to come to an end. Looking back, it is hard to believe how much I have learned in such a short period of time. I was unsure of how I would feel returning to the same school I attended as a student; however, I knew instantly that I had made the right decision. The teachers there took me under their wing and did whatever they could to help me learn and become a better teacher. Having 4 co-operating teachers, I was able to see a variety of teaching styles which helped me develop my own style. It seems as if my style is a combination of all 4, I hope this means I have taken the best from each of them.

With just one short week left, I am eager to have a little break from the hectic lifestyle of a teacher. However, I’m sure it won’t take long for the reality to kick in that I will not be returning after Easter break. I will certainly miss each of my students and will look forward to being back in a classroom very soon.  (Intermediate-Secondary Intern)

Both caring too little and caring too much can be problematic
My school just finished parent teacher interviews, and I made two troubling observations: 1) We didn’t see any of the parents that we needed to see (the parents of children who were failing, for example) and 2) The parents of children who would actually meltdown if they got less than a 90% on a test or assignment were really intense.

In one case, a mother asked us what she could do to make her child perform better, and when we looked, the child had a 96% average. I told her that her child was already performing amazingly, a comment that the mother did not appreciate. It was very strange. Like everything else, I guess, there are problems with extremes – both caring too little and caring too much can be problematic.  (Secondary Intern)

The approach didn’t feel organic
I, like many of the other interns, was apprehensive about what to expect coming into this winter internship. The school I was placed at was one I’d never been in so everyone and everything was a brand new experience to me. The lack of familiarity was somewhat intimidating, but also exciting. Even though I didn’t know anyone, that also meant they didn’t know me and so expectations for both sides were relatively murky. This fresh start meant I could try new things that I hadn’t tried before since nobody knew my style or my personality.

At the beginning, I opted for the more straightforward and more assertive approach. The first several classes I had butterflies and I didn’t feel entirely comfortable standing in front of a full class and speaking. I experimented with different speaking strategies, teaching strategies and interaction methods. It took me about 2 months, but now I finally feel comfortable with where I’m at. In the beginning I felt like I was forcing certain things and the approach didn’t feel organic. However as the weeks passed, the students became more comfortable with my approach. The last few weeks have been especially great because now it feels natural to step into a classroom and begin to teach. I was so focused on finishing and completing my lesson plans in a particular way that I wasn’t allowing the lesson to grow organically, and that means allowing students to talk, ask questions, provide suggestions and discuss a variety of matters.

This is now the last week of the internship and I have mixed feelings on it. On one hand I’m looking forward to finishing it up and being one step closer to becoming a full-time teacher. On the other, it feels like just as I’m hitting my groove and becoming comfortable in my own skin, I’m suddenly removed from the environment I was developing in for the last 3 months. I’m excited for some more free time and seeing some of the interns on a regular basis, but I also like being occupied. I’ll certainly miss seeing a lot of the students around on a regular basis as well. (Intermediate/Secondary Intern)

 Failure needs to stop being a bad word
I am teaching Intermediate English Language Arts and Drama.  One of the common things that I have experienced among many of my students is the pressure and stress that come with having to deliver work and receive a mark for it.  For them, the idea of getting a less than desirable mark is the be all and the end all of their experience at school.

I have spoken with my students a number of times not only about marks, but also about their response to the marks that they get.  Our culture and our academic system has nurtured a very uncomfortable relationship with failure among people both young and old.  I tell my students that failure is the only time when humans get to improve, learn, and grow, and that their marks are not a reflection of their intelligence or quality as people.  When marks do not turn out the way that a student wants, then is the time for them to ask: “Do I have a strong enough work and study ethic?” “Am I going to let one bad mark break my self-confidence?” “What exactly did I not get?” “Do I need to campaign for myself to receive additional help?”.

Failure needs to stop being a bad word; let’s help our students to embrace failure as another opportunity for learning and growth.  (Intermediate Intern)

I realized how important it is to ignite a love for learning in children
During my internship, I observed my co-operating teacher take time out of one class to ask different students what they wanted to become in the future. Each reply was unique to the student and some responses included “doctors”, “nurses”, “astrologists”, “teachers”, “dentists”, etc.

As I thought about this question and answer session, I realized that education is all about helping people discover and develop their gifts, talents, and abilities for the betterment of society. I realized that aspects of education have a huge impact on the lives of individuals, their families, their communities, their place of work, and the entire world around them. I realized how important it is to devote time and attention to learning new things to ultimately acquire skills, values, beliefs, and habits. I realized how important it is to ignite a love for learning in children at a very young age, so that it will follow them throughout the rest of their lives. After all, children have so much energy and excitement! I realized how important it is to instill wisdom in our children so that they can be prepared for adulthood. (Intermediate-Secondary Intern)

I’m not sure if I plan to spend the next 30 years of my career in teaching
The internship is almost over, but there is still much to be done.  As I write, I am sitting next to a stack of assignments and tests that must all be corrected and returned before I finish up my last week at school. Over the last couple of months, my bags of books, binders, and lessons plans have become permanent fixtures that follow me everywhere I go.  I don’t remember ever being this tired as a student myself; it’s a big adjustment knowing that now, everything I do has a direct impact on other people’s lives instead of just my own.

This was something I was very nervous about when I started the internship. There are many days where I need lots of guidance from my co-operating teachers and I didn’t always know the best way to do things, but I do feel that I’ve learned a lot and become a little more confident in my own abilities since the internship began. As of right now, I have taken over teaching full-time in all six of my courses; a couple of months ago, I had no idea how I would manage it all, but somehow, I have.  Above all, I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how well students seem to respond to my teaching. My school has a great group of students who are always keeping me on my toes.

At the moment, I’m not sure if I plan to spend the next 30 years of my career in teaching.  I’ve loved getting the opportunity to work with so many great students, but found that teaching in my particular subject area to be a less enjoyable experience.  In the future, I would love to continue working with students like the ones I have now, but a different job outside of teaching languages might be a better fit for me. Nonetheless, I’m glad to have had this opportunity; of all my six years at MUN, this semester has challenged me the most, but it’s also been the biggest learning experience I’ve had so far. (Secondary Intern)

Quote of the Week

Sometimes the most brilliant and talented students do not shine in standardized tests because they do not have standardized minds.

(Diane Ravitch)

 On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 1)

Cartoon 1834

“We used to be BFFs but after the worm-in-the-planner
incident, I’d say at best we’re frenemies!”

On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 2)

Cartoon 1835

“Sorry I can’t remember your name but hey, I never forget a face!”

Education Law Corner
This week we have another example of a teacher being reprimanded for his inappropriate conduct towards students in his classes.

Member: Louis Gilles Parent, OCT
Registration No: 283438
Decision: Reprimand, conditions

A Discipline Committee panel reprimanded Louis Gilles Parent, a teacher employed by the Algoma District School Board, for inappropriate conduct. Parent, who was certified to teach in February 1998, attended the hearing on August 2, 2017, with his legal counsel.

Parent grabbed a disruptive student’s binder and dropped it onto the student’s desk from a height in order to get his attention. It landed on the student’s fingers.

The Discipline Committee panel found him guilty of professional misconduct. The panel ordered that he appear before it to receive a reprimand. In addition, he was directed to complete, at his own expense, a course on classroom management. In its written decision, the panel stated, “The Member ought to have communicated his displeasure with the student’s behaviour using his words rather than resorting to the type of conduct in which he engaged.”

Source:  Ontario College of Teachers Professionally Speaking magazine (March, 2018).

 On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 3)

 Cartoon 1836

 

 

 

 

 

 For follow-up, please contact:

 

 

Jerome G. Delaney, Editor
Associate Professor – Educational Administration
Faculty of Education
Memorial University of Newfoundland
St. John’s, NL Canada A1B 3X8

Telephone:  709-864-2071
Facsimile:   709-864-2345 Email:  jdelaney@mun.ca

 

 

 

 

Advertisements
Posted in special issues | Leave a comment

Volume 12, Number 11

Welcome to the 2nd last issue of the eMEMO for this year; how quick these past 11 weeks have flown by!  As the old saying goes, “Time flies when you are having fun” but then it seems to fly by even if you aren’t having fun!

 

We have some very interesting submissions this week and we thank those interns for sending them in.

Hope you enjoy each of them.

Feedback From This Year’s (2018) Interns

Respect is earned rather than demanded
One aspect of teaching that I was initially concerned about at the beginning of my internship was whether my students would respect me.  I knew that in order to manage my classroom well and facilitate learning, a level of mutual respect would have to exist. What I did not know was how to establish this.  Of course respect is earned rather than demanded.  Would this be easier said than done?

During the first few weeks, I put enormous effort into my lesson planning and delivery of instruction which allowed for slow progress in setting the respectful atmosphere in the classroom.  What I soon came to realize was that the little extras helped me to build a stronger rapport with students much faster.  From helping out with extracurricular activities and chaperoning field trips to simply greeting students in the hallways or allowing them to hang out in my classroom during recess and lunch, there are many ways to get to know students.  We could discover what we had in common, discuss their goals for after high school and earn the respect of one another.

I knew that I was working toward overcoming my apprehension about being seen and valued as an authority figure when my classes became more co-operative.  The once chatty student now nudges a peer to say “shh! Miss is talking!”  Seeing students outside of the classroom environment and showing that we genuinely care about their lives and success can make a world of difference to our ability to teach effectively.  (Secondary Intern)

Treated me as one of their own
Well, we only have two weeks left of our internships, which feels bittersweet. I had the opportunity to work outside of Newfoundland and Labrador for my internship. I am happy to be going home soon, but also sad that I’m leaving a place that took me in and treated me as one of their own. The community, staff, and students have certainly made my time here very memorable. From inside a classroom, where I teach students that are having fun, and outside the classroom where they challenge me to a snowball fight and a game of tug of war (Winter Carnival Day), to me joining a curling team with other teachers, which now has a three-game winning streak right now.

Interning in a K-12 school, I have been able to come very close to remembering everyone’s names, which was a great deal for me because I am terrible with remembering names. The school is all about the students and making sure that no student falls through the cracks. To assist in this process, teachers are broken up into teams and once a week they chat about students having issues or are slipping with their work. They then make a strategy to help the students continue to be the best that they can be. I think this could be something that our own province could implement in their overall education plan.

I have also received a number of professional and personal opportunities throughout my internship. I was able to attend a large teachers’ convention, where I met fellow teachers and sat in on several fantastic sessions that have and will continue to help me grow as a teacher. Personally, I feel that I have grown more than I ever imagined possible. I have experienced so many things. For example, I saw the Northern Lights, which were amazing (unfortunately the picture I took does not do it justice). I have learned so much and I am just getting started.

The last thing that I would like to leave you all with is some advice. Go on adventures, do something that you never would imagine yourself doing, travel, experience various places, foods, and cultures, even if it is small and bring it back to the classroom. Students will love to hear stories about your adventure! (Intermediate-Secondary Intern)

I’d rather they learn fewer topics
The education system tends to simplify content for the students. To some degree, that is to be expected.

However, the extent to which we have, shows that some middle grounds are not the best of both worlds, but the worst of them. We tell students that acids make H+ and bases make OH-, when really, “H+ donor” and “H+ receiver” are only slightly more complicated, without causing as much confusion among students genuinely interested in Chemistry as to why ammonia is a base.

We tell students that heated gases increase in pressure, which in a flexible container increases volume, but we never give them the formula by which they do. Even though doing so could help them figure out “how much” something would expand, and double as Algebra practice that would help them study for their Math test at the same time.

We avoid phrases such as “time derivative” like the plague (at least in Academic Math) when it seems like it would be so much more efficient in the long run to briefly explain the concept so that a great many Math (and Physics) concepts would make more sense to them.

If we’re to simplify it this much, we may as well simplify it even further to avoid misrepresenting these topics at all. If we aren’t, let’s represent the topic closer to how it actually is. If that means fewer units and/or chapters, so be it. I’d rather they learn fewer topics, if it means learning them as they are, than be fed a distorted version of a lot of them.  (Secondary Intern)

I have discovered that it does, in fact, take a special type of person to be a teacher
The time has finally come. After four and a half grueling years of university, the time had finally come to take a step out into the ‘real world’ and flip to the opposite side of the desk. A teacher. The career that I have dreamed about since I was a boy. Grade five, six, seven… twelve. Whenever prompted to discuss my plans after high school or what I wanted to do with my life, the response was always the same. I wanted to inspire, motivate, help, support, and learn. I needed a career that could support all of these ambitions and through little research or thought I had found it: a teacher. Every step, every decision, and every critical choice that was made was decided upon only after deliberation as to how it would benefit my dream of becoming a teacher.

The culmination of all of these moments had come to fruition on a blustery day in January, as I walked through the doors of a school for the very first time as a teacher. What was I to expect? Despite my years of experience working with youth through various recreational activities and programs, this is different. This is the first step of my career. The next thirty years of my life will be shaped, altered, and molded from my experience as an intern. However, I am only an intern for three months. Three months? A figment of time so small, so insignificant; how could the events in a three-month span be so important to impact the rest of your life? Simple. For me this is not just another course needed to complete my degree, another hurdle to jump. No. This is serious. This is what I had been working towards my entire life. I cannot be unoccupied for any small amount of time before uneasy thoughts rush through my mind. What if I am unprepared? What if the students don’t like me? What if I am incapable of success in this profession? What if I ruin someone’s dreams? It is often said that it takes a certain type of person to be a teacher. What if I am not that ‘type’ of person? Did I just waste four years of university; four years of my life? The outcome of any one of these thoughts is devastating to imagine. Thankfully, it wasn’t that bad.

As the first day came and went, the second, the third, I began to feel comfortable in my environment. A routine had been established, situational awareness acquired; where to go, what to do. It was getting easier and easier. Positive thoughts began to replace the negative ones that had been occupying my mind. I began thinking to myself, “Hey, I’m actually pretty good at this”.

A turning point for me was during recess and lunch in a setting that was perhaps more intimidating and foreign than the classroom – the staff room. How do teachers act? Are they anything like me? I had no idea. I was a college kid. For the past number of years, the number of assignments that were completed next to a bottle of beer outnumbered those that were not. It was the norm for people my age, I’m practically still a kid myself. I didn’t know how teachers acted. Standing outside the staff room door, thinking back on my own high school experience, I had no idea what to expect. I was about to open the proverbial door to Narnia, into a foreign world that I did not know. What I was greeted with was astonishing, yet marvelous. Rushing, panic, sighing and the faint cuss filled the room. Folks were lined up at the Keurig like the last rations of coffee were being distributed for the semester. Shortly thereafter, my ear caught glimpses of a conversation across the room: “Watch the game last night, by’?”, followed by, “Yes sir, sat back on the couch with a couple beer and a few chips.” Introductions followed and before long I was in on these conversations. These people aren’t so strange. They were all just ordinary people, with the same goal, trying to find the easiest way to get there.

These events all transpired two months ago. Since then, copious amounts of photocopying, grading, organizing, and lesson prepping has taken place.

Today, I feel confident, empowered and capable. I can do this. My life work has not been for naught and I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. I am nearing the end of my internship and my sense of self-confidence has never been higher. Students are approaching me in the mornings, teachers are making small talk in the corridors; all is well. I have a solid foundation of how school functions and what goes into the everyday process of being a teacher. I know that I have made the right career choice and I am excited to see where these next thirty years will take me.

The final turning point? It began when I returned home from school and stared at myself in the mirror after a stressful and tumultuous day: “Matt, it is only three months.” Three months? A figment of time so small, so insignificant; how could the events in a three-month span be so important to impact the rest of your life? The answer, they cannot. Sure, there will be moments that I take with me once I leave that school and there will be experiences that cannot be replicated nor replaced. But there will also be moments that are forgotten, bad days that fall by the wayside. The fact is that no successful teacher is an expert from day one. I am not perfect nor can I be expected to know everything from day one. This is the first leg of a thirty-year career, there is much for me to learn. We all start somewhere, have different backgrounds, and bring different areas of expertise to the classroom. These areas of expertise can only be enhanced by experience and unfortunately, experience cannot be gained through a textbook. It takes time.

I have discovered that it does, in fact, take a special type of person to be a teacher. You need to have resilience, drive, passion, empathy, and the motivation to never give up on your students, or yourself. I have these qualities. I am that special type of person. I am a teacher, but first; I am an intern.  (Intermediate-Secondary Intern) 

High school students of today have literally grown up with cell phones
During the first week of March, which would be the ninth week of my current internship placement, quite a peculiar situation arose involving student cell phone usage during school hours. Student cell phone usage during allotted class/teaching time is obviously quite a common hurdle to be overcome within modern learning environments. The high school students of today have literally grown up with cell phones either at their
hip or in their hands; thus, their inability to navigate through day-to-day life without the guidance of their cellular devices is somewhat understandable.

With this in mind, the NLESD has graciously provided their students with FREE wi-fi access across (most) of the province. This gift of empowerment, like most of its kind, comes to the students with some form of responsibility. Upon connecting to student wi-fi, the cell phones of each student are automatically banned from and unable to access many popular media outlets such as Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram.

Free student internet access has been provided to students at Exploits Valley High for several years, but throughout my internship placement there have been several points in which the school’s Internet network was either incredibly hindered or shut down completely. Tech support from the NLESD pinpointed the problem during the opening weeks of March, as they identified several third-party programs (such as VPN) students

had been downloading, installing, and accessing during school hours in order to bypass network restrictions and utilize banned apps such as Snapchat. As operating systems become more resistant to attack – mostly due to better patching of vulnerable code – third-party applications are now responsible for the vast majority of compromises. The problem with such third-party programs being that various studies indicate that 85
percent of the network exploits and/errors are products of third-party programs or plug-ins, including Oracle Java and Adobe Acrobat, Reader and Flash.

When it comes to running third-party software – whether it’s outsourced, open-source or commercial off-the-shelf – students, like anyone else, must be on guard. In the case of the central region of the NLESD, most students are not. So many students joined in on this defiance of school board policy, that by March 5th the internet access at Exploits Valley High (and other schools across the province) were so hindered/congested that the entire school board’s network needed to be completely shut down. After several days NLESD tech support had determined exactly what was clogging and interfering with the school board’s networks and students were made to sign an agreement declaring that they would not download or utilize any third-party programs that bypass security/restrictions such as VPN.  (Secondary Intern)

Quote of the Week

The mediocre teacher tells.  The good teacher explains.  The superior teacher demonstrates.  The great teacher inspires.   (William A. Ward)

On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 1)

 Cartoon 1831

“I saw your slam dance with Principal Almsted on Facebook, Miss Kelley!”

 Recommended Book Resource for Primary and Elementary Interns

Lifetime: The Amazing Numbers in Animal Lives
Author: Lola Schaefer (2013)
Illustrator: Christopher Silas Neal

Most children are fascinated with nature and numbers. They love animals and they love to hear stores about them. Children, too, love to count. When children come to Grade 1, they want to count out loud, as far as they can go.

This author illustrator team have combined the two notions in a book that will capture the attention of your young students, from the book cover of trees with a number in each knot hole to the end pages of a crocodile trying to catch numbers. The illustrations are done in earth tones with the bright green of life and energy standing out on each page. Just as young children are full of life and vigor, so is the action on each page.

The author has estimated “how many times one particular animal performs one behavior or grows one feature in a lifetime”, based on scientific information. Each animal in a particular species will be unique but the numbers used in this book are averages. And so the tale begins with “In one lifetime, this spider will spin 1 papery egg sac. Fragile. Don’t touch!” I learned so many riveting facts about these different animals, and hope this team produces a sequel to a book that will delight readers.

In one lifetime, caribou will grow and shed 10 sets of antlers, woodpeckers will drill 30 holes, red kangaroos will birth 50 joeys, can you imagine carrying a baby in your pouch 50 times?! Giraffes will grow 200 inches (508 cm) tall and have 200 spots. A male seahorse will carry and birth 1000 baby seahorses in its pouch, and so much more.

At the end of the book there are detailed facts about each animal and a lesson on what an “average” means. And then, a last section called I Love Math. Altogether, this book has a lot of value for young students, and perhaps even us older ones!

On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 2)

Cartoon 1832

“This could take a while.  Today we’re talking about light years!”

If We’ve Missed your Submission

Please email the editor at jdelaney@mun.ca and we will publish it in the next issue.

Education Law Corner
This week we have an example of a teacher being reprimanded for his inappropriate conduct towards students in his classes.

Member: Gennady Gefter
Registration No: 206539
Decision: Reprimand, conditions

A Discipline Committee panel ordered a reprimand for Gennady Gefter, a former teacher with the Toronto District School Board, for a repeated pattern of inappropriate conduct, despite the school administration’s interventions and the board’s disciplinary measures. Gefter, who was certified to teach in July 1994, attended the public hearing on June 13, 2017, with his legal counsel.

The panel heard that Gefter had overly aggressive teaching methods. He was impatient with students and made several of them feel upset and discouraged, rather than fostering a learning environment in which students could grow and develop. The panel found Gefter guilty of professional misconduct and ordered him to appear before it to receive a reprimand.

It also directed the member to successfully complete, at his own expense, a pre-approved course on anger management and appropriate language to be used with students. He needs to do so prior to undertaking any teaching position or any position for which a Certificate of Qualification and Registration is required. In its decision, the panel stated, “Teachers are expected to encourage their students, regardless of a student’s proficiency in a particular discipline.”

Source:  Ontario College of Teachers Professionally Speaking magazine (March, 2018).

On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 3)

 Cartoon 1834

“That’s the unhealthiest school in the district.
Their mascot is a chicken nugget!”

For follow-up, please contact:

Jerome G. Delaney, Editor
Associate Professor – Educational Administration
Faculty of Education
Memorial University of Newfoundland
St. John’s, NL  Canada A1B 3X8

Telephone:  709-864-2071
Email:  jdelaney@mun.ca

Note:    This eMEMO is also available on my blog @ www.themondayememo.wordpress.com

 

Posted in Volume 12 (Winter 2018) | Leave a comment

Volume 12 Number 10

Hello to everyone out there in eMEMO-land! You are about to read (I hope!) issue # 10.

Had a record number of submissions last week (10) – this week we’re down to 4.  But as per usual, the comments are all of excellent quality and some are extremely poignant.

Enjoy.

Feedback From This Year’s (2018) Interns

These kids blow my mind
Before starting my internship, I was terrified. Unlike many of my peers, high school had not been a great experience for me. Throughout my schooling experience, I had struggled with, as many teenagers do, debilitating mental illness. Little did I know, that my experiences as a teenager would be foundational to my educational philosophy; essentially, forming a distinct part of my ‘tool box’.

Re-entering a high school, I’m embarrassed to admit, was a shock to me. I had expected my role as an educator to be just that, a role where I taught students the curriculum. Little did I know, that it would become so much more than that. Students today are of a different generation; they learn differently and see much of the world through a very different lens. Additionally, they have a lot to deal with. Today’s youth are exposed to and plagued by a plethora of drugs, distractions, and just the mundane day to day activities that seem like the end of the world when you’re 15.

As students have gotten to know me, I have begun to hear about their struggles. Slowly but surely, students have begun to open up to me on a level that blows my mind (of course, it is on a professional level) but it is still crazy to me that students are asking me questions regarding their future with issues like anxiety, etc.). And I, have become an accommodating listener. Honestly, without my past struggles, I don’t know if I would have been able to effectively understand theirs.

They say, whoever they are, that everything happens for a reason. Honestly, I don’t know if I’ve ever believed that until now.

These kids blow my mind!   (Secondary Intern)

At my Kindergarten graduation I declared my passion to teach
Teaching is everything I thought it would be, and more. At my Kindergarten graduation I declared my passion to teach, and despite some wavering moments I stand here in dress pants and heels, plan book in hand, and feel like I have finally accomplished my very first dream.

My biggest fear when I began this internship was that I would just be a “by the books teacher”, that I wouldn’t be able to reach the students or build relationships or go beyond to help them, but I’m glowing every second I spend with a student and know that I am guiding them, whether academically or in another element of their lives.

I feel assured that this is the career for me, and that with experience under my belt I will be able to fill the giant shoes I set for myself in this profession, which is to impact as many students as I can (positively of course) and know that I’ve made some small difference. (Intermediate Intern)

I was actually a bit disappointed with my teaching early on
After finishing off week # 9 of the internship, I’m looking forward to what the remaining weeks have in store.  I sometimes didn’t feel this way earlier in the internship; I was actually a bit disappointed with my teaching early on.  Classes often didn’t go quite the way that I wanted them to, and a large part of the problem was that I hadn’t figured out my own teaching style.

I can definitely say that I’m not discouraged anymore!  Every week I’ve been able to improve upon my teaching in some way, and with each small step, the classes become more enjoyable for me and my students.  I’ve learned that it’s the little things you do that make all the difference.  Most importantly, I’ve seen the enormous effect that a teacher’s self-efficacy has on the entire class.  Even though I still make little mistakes every day, I’ve become more confident in my ability to teach my students, and they seem to be getting much more out of my classes.

Now that the end of the internship is approaching, I wish that could stay at my school for a while longer.  Although teaching can be tiring and leaves me with a shortage of free time, there’s no beating the feeling you get after a successful day at school.  (Secondary Intern)

This nervousness drastically affected how I was teaching
Entering my internship, I was most nervous to perform well, and prove to myself and my co-operating teachers that I would make a great teacher.

This nervousness drastically affected how I was teaching, I came to discover. I was overthinking every action, and every word. I didn’t want students to dislike me, and I didn’t want to show a teaching approach different than my co-operating teachers.

The students at my school are wonderful, the staff is great and the overall community has been so welcoming that this fear of failing was unnecessary and actually lead me to failure in some ways.

I’m happy to say that after a few weeks of holding back, something clicked and I let my inner teacher and inner self be exposed. What I noticed is that by not holding back, students wanted to get to know me more. My co-operating teachers trusted me more. It is now at the point where I feel like the classes are my own, my confidence has sky-rocketed, I have complete control over the classroom and feel not like ‘just an intern’ but an integral part of the school culture and community. I could not be happier with this journey and my chosen career path.  (Secondary Intern)  

Quote of the Week
Sunday is a teacher’s day of rest.  Do the rest of the laundry, finish the rest of the housework and grade the rest of the papers! (Unknown)

On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 1)

 Cartoon 1828

“I can’t believe I flunked my Philosophy final. I was wearing my superman underwear and everything!”

Recommended Book Resource for Primary and Elementary Interns

Marie Curie
Author and Illustrator: Demi (2016)

Marie Curie was one of my heroines when I was in grade 4, so when I saw this latest biography of her life I couldn’t wait to purchase it, and it did not disappoint! Demi has used her signature gold tones to accentuate her illustrations, bringing to life the first woman to win the Nobel Prize.

Maria Salomea Sklodowski was born in Poland in 1867. Her mother was a principal and her father taught Physics. Maria was fascinated by his Physics instruments from a very early age. She learned to read at age 4, and was always top of her class, even though she was two years younger. Maria spoke Russian, Polish, and French. She lost her sister when she was eight and her mother when she was ten.

In 1893 she graduated from university in Paris with an advanced degree in Physics and a scholarship for another year. She met, fell in love with, and married Pierre Curie, another brilliant physicist. They worked together to make many scientific discoveries, including the creation of radium, which was one of the “greatest contributions to the world of modern medicine”, and in 1903 they received the Nobel Prize in Physics. They had two children when tragedy struck in 1906—Pierre was killed in a traffic accident.

Marie eventually took over Pierre’s professorship at the Sorbonne to become the first female professor at that university. In 1911, Marie Curie was awarded a second Nobel Prize, this time for Chemistry, “making her the first person to win the Nobel Prize twice”. However, her long exposure to radium ended with her becoming ill, and she died at age 66.

But Marie’s belief was that “humanity would draw more good than evil from new discoveries. And so, throughout her life’s work, she never hesitated in the pursuit of knowledge”. This book is a motivation to all of us, young and old, to keep trying, to persevere, and to be determined. It should be enjoyed by all.

On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 2)

Cartoon 1829

“My Dad’s a car salesman. I can bring you a candy apple Ferrari!”

If We’ve Missed your Submission
Please email the editor at jdelaney@mun.ca and we will publish it in the next issue.

Education Law Corner
This week we have an example of a misconduct case which involved a teacher’s inappropriate behavior with a female student.

Member: Kenneth Charles Derr
Registration No: 406845
Decision: Suspension, reprimand, conditions

A Discipline Committee panel suspended the certificate of College member Kenneth Charles Derr for engaging in inappropriate conduct with a female student on a school trip. Derr, who was certified to teach in December 1996, attended the hearing on July 12, 2017, and had legal representation.

Derr conducted himself inappropriately by wrestling with the student on a bed in her room, and entering the bathroom while she was showering and throwing cold water over the top of the shower curtain.

The Discipline Committee panel found him guilty of professional misconduct. The panel ordered that his teaching certificate be suspended for six months and that he appear before the panel immediately after the hearing to receive a reprimand.

In addition, Derr was directed to complete, at his own expense, a course on boundary violations. He was directed to do so within 120 days of the panel’s decision.

In its written decision, the panel stated, “As educators, members hold a position of trust and authority. They are expected to know and respect the boundaries of the teacher/student relationship. In this case, the Member failed to recognize the emotional impact of his actions on the student and demonstrated insensitivity to the need for privacy of adolescent girls.”

Source:  Ontario College of Teachers Professionally Speaking magazine (March, 2018).

On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 3)

 Cartoon 1830

“She’s like a GPS for careers.”

For follow-up, please contact:

 

Jerome G. Delaney, Editor
Associate Professor – Educational Administration
Faculty of Education
Memorial University of Newfoundland
St. John’s, NL  Canada A1B 3X8

Telephone:  709-864-2071
Facsimile:   709-864-2345

Email:  jdelaney@mun.ca

 

 

 

Posted in Volume 12 (Winter 2018) | Leave a comment

Volume 12 Number 9

Greetings everyone – welcome to issue # 9.

Last week we had 3 intern submissions; this week we have over 3 times that number (10) – wow!  As mentioned before, this speaks to the frenetic pace you student interns are working at especially as all of you are entering the last month or so of the internship.

Delighted with the quantity and the quality of this year’s submissions.  There are a number of submissions that I’m sure have brought a few tears to our eyes and I speak here from first-hand experience. And we don’t even know these students!

Enjoy and I’m sure we can all learn from these intern experiences.

Feedback From This Year’s (2018) Interns

 I’m so lucky to be a teacher.
Junior high is a truly under-appreciated age group.

Throughout my life I’ve heard that junior high students are rowdy; they are rambunctious; they are mean; they are smelly; and they don’t care about school. This is the attitude of many teachers.

But that’s not what I see at all. I love their high energy! It puts me in a good frame of mind and it makes me excited about teaching Science. I love their chattiness. We can have great discussions and learn from each other. Junior high students aren’t mean – they’re in the process of learning right from wrong and they need a good teacher to show them that path. Yes, they can be smelly, but there’s always room for personal growth.

After finishing the 8th week of my internship, I can proudly say that I love teaching junior high students. I do believe these students care about school. I know that because they want to learn about the content that matters to them. The curriculum should be adjusted to give these students a meaningful experience that’s needed for their growth as individuals.

I’m so lucky to be a teacher.  (Intermediate Intern)

Everyone is different and you have to find what works for you
It’s been 8 weeks since the start of my internship and I cannot believe it is soon going to be over. The last 2 months have been very informative and interesting, and I have learned so much. The road started out a little bumpy as I wondered what had I gotten myself into. Standing in front of a class of 30 Grade 8s who were watching in wonder can be very intimidating. There were numerous occasions where I wanted to run for the hills! After calming the initial fears of messing up in front of the class or completely forgetting my lesson plan, came a new set of woes.

This was the classroom management aspect of teaching. I don’t think you can really know how you are going to react until you’re standing in front of class and a problem occurs. Unfortunately, my first reaction was absolute panic! I wondered what am I going to do, what is the best way to react, and how do I keep this issue from escalating into something worse. The answers to these questions were in no way clear and because of this, I simply responded in the best possible way I could think of at the time. This situation troubled me as I questioned my response and wondered if I reacted in the proper way. I soon realized that the best thing to do was to get advice from the experts. I decided to ask other teachers how they would have responded in this situation and to my surprise, the responses varied.

While all of the advice was very helpful, I think the best response I received was that “everyone is different and you have to find what works for you”. This was quite possibly the most important thing I have learned from this internship so far. This advice not only applies to classroom management, but to all aspects of teaching. I think it is very important for a teacher to come to the realization that there is no perfect way to teach and no right way to react to any situation. All we can do is to do our best for our students and this is only done by staying true to yourself. Since this situation, that is exactly what I have been doing, and so far it has been working. I feel as if I am starting to develop my own style of teaching and I am so excited to learn more about who I am as a teacher. The more classes I teach, the more knowledge I gain about what works for me as a teacher. I only hope to continue to learn even more in the coming weeks of my internship. (Intermediate Intern)

This student makes me feel as though this is all worth it
Since the first day of my internship, I knew the next four months would not be without its challenges with this particular class. Now, about halfway through, I have realized that even while trying to overcome these challenges, I can truly feel that I am having a real impact on the lives of these students.

I am finding that students in upper elementary are at the age where they begin to test their teachers to see how far they will let certain behaviors go. At first, I found myself very unsure of how to react to their little tests, wondering if it was worth acknowledging or if I should pretend it didn’t happen and move on. I quickly learned that when it comes to reacting to student behavior, it is really on a student by student basis. I have come to know these students as individuals and absolutely love each one of them.

There is one student in particular that has made me feel that I am making a difference to him. This is a student that is known to act out. There are reasons at home that may indicate why this behavior is happening, and the behavior, therefore, is often simply ignored. When I began teaching this class, this student wasn’t very open to change and would act out more during my classes than classes with my co-operating teacher. Over the last month or so, this student has come to respect me for the way I respect him. I have often been surprised by arms wrapped around me only to turn around and find out that it is this student. This student makes me feel as though this is all worth it!(Elementary Intern)

I greatly enjoy teaching so far even if it has its hurdles and quirks
Over the last two months, I have experienced a great diversity within my internship. I have gotten to experience a wide variety of situations in my teaching experience, and I’ve certainly learned a lot. I have to say that I greatly enjoy teaching so far, even if it has its hurdles and quirks.

My favorite thing is simply interacting with the students and helping them learn. While I often experience nervousness over whether or not I’m teaching them effectively, or whether or not my lessons will go over well, nothing makes me happier as a teacher than actually helping the students learn, answering their questions, and actually getting to see them grasp new concepts and ideas.

That is not to say it’s all perfect. Teaching certainly has its difficulties. Some days go great, other days even your best classes can’t be controlled or simply won’t work. Some students just want to butt heads with you at every occasion, and nothing perplexes me more than the students that actively mock the importance of their education. Preparation can also be difficult, especially when you try to create tests or projects that are both effective in testing their learning while also being enjoyable and sufficiently difficult.

Overall though, I feel that I’ve made the right choice in becoming a teacher. For all the difficult or tiring things I’ve encountered, I’ve had more situations where teaching or even simply talking with students has brightened my day in way that I’d never experience in another career. (Secondary Intern)

The young kindergarten students had absolutely captured my heart
One thing I can say for sure is that I love teaching. At the start of my internship I admit that I was quite nervous; what if I don’t end up enjoying teaching as I thought I would? What if the students hate me? What if I just don’t have what it takes to be an effective teacher? All of these thoughts and worries were running through my mind constantly until the day I stepped into the classroom to meet my co-operating teacher and students. After that first day, all of my worries had disappeared. Within minutes of entering that classroom, the young kindergarten students had absolutely captured my heart.

These last seven weeks have been amazing and I am so thankful to not only my amazing co-operating teacher who has taught me so much, but also to my kind-hearted, sweet young students. Every day with these children brings a new adventure and a new learning experience. I wake up each morning excited to see how the day is going to go and what we are going to learn together. Things may not always go quite as planned nor will we always finish an intended lesson, but sometimes those are the days when we learn the most. (Primary Intern)

How much a small class size affects the students’ relationships with one another
I grew up and have lived in St. John’s for most of my life. When the opportunity to take an internship at a small rural school arose, I decided to take it on for a new experience.

Compared to urban schools, the most obvious difference is the class size. The advantage of such a small class is that I have built strong relationships with each of my students, and I can give them the attention they deserve. What I didn’t expect is how much a small class size affects the students’ relationships with one another. After spending every day together for years in a group of only 4 or 5 students, it’s easy to wear on each other’s nerves. Still, I wouldn’t trade in that tight-knit atmosphere for a larger class. (Elementary Intern)

The best quality to practice in a professional setting is to have perspective
It is hard to believe that I have just 4 weeks left to my internship.

I have spent the last 2 months back in my hometown, which in itself has had tremendous perks. After nearly 5 years of living in St. John’s, returning home has recharged my passion for both the town and the high school.

I was once told that the best quality to practice in a professional setting is to “have perspective”. This advice has helped me grow so much on my internship thus far. As an intern, I have seen and heard so many things that immediately make me want to ask the question “why”. Why is that student constantly disengaged? Why did the administration choose to approach a situation like that? Why am I doing exam duty for the fourth time in two days?

It is important to have perspective.

As my internship continues, I ask the question “why?” less and less. Instead, I take a moment to understand the context of each scenario. This allows me to grow as a teacher and as a professional, and I personally feel like I am able to do my job much better once I have a different perspective on situations that would otherwise cause internal conflict with myself.

Overall, my internship has been going great. I am doing my best to climb up the ladder and gain the respect of both my students and colleagues by having perspective on each of their decisions. Can’t wait to see what the final month brings.  (Secondary Intern)

The challenges you may face seem minuscule compared to the rewards you will reap
My internship has taught me so many things but the one thing that I consistently remind myself is that we need to have patience. Students are coming here in the mornings from broken homes, with hungry bellies, and anxious minds—I’d probably misbehave or zone out in that situation, too! These faces in front of us are, first and foremost, children and teenagers. And regardless of how many times little Jimmy speaks out of turn or Sally missed the instruction because she was zoned out, we need to keep that in mind.

A few words of encouragement to all pre-service teachers:

As a teacher you will consistently be planting seeds of knowledge, respect, hope, and determination. It may not flourish immediately, they may need nourishment and encouragement—but at least the seed is there. If, in our short time with them, we do not see the results from the seeds we planted, we shouldn’t worry, nor should we give up. The seed is there to one day be set into motion when introduced to the appropriate fuel. After acknowledging this, you will realize that the challenges you may face seem minuscule compared to the rewards you will reap.

Always have a kind soul, a compassionate heart and an open mind, and you will quickly become the teacher that you aspire to be.  (Intermediate-Secondary Intern)

I couldn’t help but belly laugh
Reflecting upon the last 8 weeks of internship, I can honestly say it has been all I hoped for, and more. What I notice most are the individual personalities of each student and how their personalities shape their learning experiences.

They come in each day, excited to tell you of all the events that have happened since they last saw you – less than 24 hours ago. So far, each child in my class has made an impression on me and on what kind of teacher I hope to be.

One of my favorite moments of the internship thus far was the day I taught my first full lesson. As the teacher told the students I would begin teaching them that day, one of the more shy students in the class stood up in front of all his peers and proclaimed: “MISS! It’s your bigggggg day!” I couldn’t help but belly laugh at his genuine excitement for me to teach my first lesson in their class. This took the edge off of me completely and I knew then that teaching was exactly the profession I was meant to pursue.  (Elementary Intern)

You can learn so much from others if you are open-minded
“Wow! I am over half way through my internship. Time sure does fly when you’re having fun – cliché, but true. To say I am enjoying my internship would be an understatement. The staff are phenomenal; however, returning to my home school may have something to do with that. I knew that the staff were great before I began my placement, but now I have gotten to develop a mature, professional relationship with them all, and it is so enriching. Tip: you can learn so much from others if you are open-minded in doing so.

Yet, what this post is really about is the students and how much joy they can bring to teachers’ lives. I was absolutely shocked by this. You meet a significant number of students throughout a school, and each one has unlimited potential. I never realized how moving it can be to watch students learn, and see their excitement as they make connections themselves. I said to a student as they were discouragingly completing a writing assignment, “You can do this! I know you can do this.” They looked at me, smiled, and continued to work with a different attitude. Sometimes all it takes for students to become motivated, is for a teacher to uplift and encourage them in their abilities. As a teacher, to see a student be encouraged and succeed because of you, is an unexplainable feeling. This is one of the reasons why we teach – to encourage students so that they are able to see their own potential.  (Intermediate-Secondary Intern)

Quote of the Week
In learning you will teach, and in teaching you will learn. (Phil Collins)

On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 1)

Cartoon 1825

“Kevin passes his monkey bar exam!”

 Recommended Book Resource for Primary and Elementary Interns

Sitting Bull Remembers
Author: Ann Turner (2007)
Illustrator: Wendell Minor

Sitting Bull of the Sioux Nation is a historical figure known to all. The beautiful illustrations of Wendell Minor capture the freedom of Sitting Bull and his people, and follow his journey into captivity, from where he tells his story of memories. The two page historical note at the end verifies the authenticity of the portrayal of this leader.

The book opens with a two page spread of Sitting Bull in a darkened reservation hut…”in this dark room, in this place of fences, strange smells., and men with yellow eyes where finally I am caught and cannot get free, I close my eyes again and I am home again… The book continues with Sitting Bull recounting his childhood and growing into manhood. He describes a day when he was fourteen and hunting, when a couple of hunters did not get a buffalo, “That day I shot four buffalo and gave away two, so no one would go to his tipi empty-handed”.

This depiction of Sitting Bull shows him as a courageous leader with vision and spirituality, who with the coming of the white men, and the misunderstandings and distrust between the white and the Sioux nation, ended up in captivity. In his words, “here I am, the medicine man, the war leader, caught like a bear in a trap without claws (they took my weapons) and with only some of my people left. Now the white men give us food, and the once proud warriors are like toothless old ones, dependent on gifts”.

Told from the perspective of Sitting Bull, the paintings and words are powerful and evocative. It is a story for people of all ages, and a piece of history we should all remember, adding meaning to the title, Sitting Bull Remembers.

 On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 2)

Cartoon 1826

“Food fight!”

If We’ve Missed your Submission
Please email the editor at jdelaney@mun.ca and we will publish it in the next issue.

 Education Law Corner
This week we have an example of a misconduct case which involved a teacher accessing and possessing child pornography.

Member: Brian Anthony Mallette
Registration No: 458298
Decision: Revocation, reprimand

A Discipline Committee panel revoked the teaching certificate of Brian Anthony Mallette, an occasional teacher formerly employed by the Toronto District School Board, for possessing and accessing child pornography.

Mallette, who was certified to teach in July 2002, did not attend the hearing on August 16, 2017, and was not represented by legal counsel. Mallette was found guilty in a criminal court of possessing and accessing child pornography. He was sentenced to four months of imprisonment and placed on probation for three years. He had in his possession approximately 150 images of child pornography and 40 video files of varying length. Virtually all of the images and videos depicted pubescent boys, some looking as if they could be 10 to 12 years old.

The Discipline Committee panel found Mallette guilty of professional misconduct and directed the Registrar to revoke his Certificate of Qualification and Registration. He was also ordered to appear before the panel within 90 days of the order to receive a reprimand. In its written decision, the panel stated, “Through his egregious conduct, the Member has jeopardized the public’s trust in the teaching profession, and he has perpetuated the cycle of violence and abuse involving children who are the subjects of pornography.”

Source:  Ontario College of Teachers’ Professionally Speaking magazine (March, 2018).

 On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 3)

Cartoon 1827

“Yes, Mr. Gearhart, you’re just as my son described you.”

For follow-up, please contact:

 

Jerome G. Delaney, Editor
Associate Professor – Educational Administration
Faculty of Education
Memorial University of Newfoundland
St. John’s, NL  Canada A1B 3X8

Telephone:  709-864-2071
Facsimile:   709-864-2345 Email:  jdelaney@mun.ca

 

Posted in Volume 12 (Winter 2018) | Leave a comment

Volume 12 Number 8

Another week has passed by and here we are – issue # 8 of the eMEMO.

Not sure why but this week we received only 3 submissions.  However, the content of those 3 submissions is exceptional so I could quip, “Well, we don’t have quantity this week but we sure have quality”!  Actually, that’s not really true; we have quality every week with all the submissions sent in.  This really speaks to how engaged the interns are out there and there will be times when they are too busy to send submissions in – totally understandable.  Enjoy.

Feedback From This Year’s (2018) Interns

My students have stolen my heart
There are many days when I leave school, ready to throw in the towel. I may be frustrated because the students were not listening, possibly acting rudely, or maybe I am just tired of dealing with some childish things from students who should be old enough to know better.

Yes, it is a difficult job in this way and no, sometimes it may not feel like it is worth it. Today, I had a student come to me at lunchtime, and another come to me after school to tell me about the struggles they are having at home. One is a student who has autism, who broke my heart by telling me about his difficult home life, the struggles he has had in the last two years, and how he has been bullied for being different. He proudly showed me his tux for graduation, told me about his girlfriend who is attending the prom with him, and expressed his concerns about life after high school as an adult with autism. This student does not open up to people; yet I must have made an impact on him because he felt comfortable enough to talk to me about all of these things.

After school, the story was a little sadder and my co-operating teacher had to make the choice to report what was happening, and we are now waiting for the next steps on how to proceed. This student is excellent in every way; top of her class, beautiful, intelligent, and extremely kind. To hear about the battles she is fighting at home absolutely crushed me.

Today, I realized that my students have stolen my heart. I have only known these people for a couple of months, and today I realized how protective I am of them, how invested I am in them, and how I really want the best for them. Yes, they make me want to pull my hair out, they make me want to quit, they make me want to hit my head against the wall sometimes. But, they are my kids, and I am there for them in any way they need me. (Secondary Intern) 

In my Grade 8 classes I have seen and dealt with a lot of drama
Seven weeks ago I started my internship, and it has been a pleasurable experience thus far.

I decided to go to a junior high school located in the inner city, rather than going back to my hometown on the west coast of the island. Getting to learn the inside of a new school, seeing the different rules and regulations, and meeting new staff members and absorbing all the advice they are willing to share, has made this internship a valuable experience.

One concern I do have, however, is the fact that during these three months I will only be teaching junior high students English Language Arts, which is my minor. I wish I was provided the opportunity to teach Science (my major) in a high school setting to see the difference. I am aware that high school is more curriculum-driven and fast-paced whereas in junior high it is much more flexible and much less curriculum-based.

On the second day of my internship, I immediately took over the grade seven English Language Arts program and began the poetry unit with them. Shortly after, I was working with two classes of Grade 8s. I thoroughly enjoyed being thrown into the teaching so early in the game. Although I have been sitting in and watching other teachers teach on periods that I do not teach, I honestly feel that the more practice I get teaching, the better. It takes a while to earn the respect and to build relationships with two classes of “hormonal” Grade 8 students!

From the beginning, teaching the grade sevens was a breeze. Although they were my biggest class of 26 students, their beaming personalities and enthusiasm was delightful. I quickly learned their names/nicknames and have quickly gained a positive relationship with the students where I found I could joke around with them and be myself. Getting them settled down as they walked through the door was my first concern. I quickly learned that standing by the door as they walked in to greet them and remind them to quietly take out their books was very helpful. My second concern was getting them to raise their hands when they wanted to speak during discussions. I learned that starting off any question with “Now raise your hand if you…” to remind them was also beneficial.

As alluded to earlier, teaching the Grade 8s is a totally different ball game. Somewhere over the summer, grade sevens turn into these totally different creatures. It is no longer “cool” to learn, and suddenly everyone else’s opinions of them is all that matters. In my Grade 8 classes I have seen and dealt with a lot of drama, both inside and outside of the classroom. This ranges from bullying, fighting, or students dealing with problems with their home lives. Their motivation to do well in school has also dropped significantly for most students. My Grade 8s will often not participate in things if they are not being graded. Defiance is also a major concern. When you ask a chatty student to move to another seat and he refuses, it definitely puts you in a pickle. I learned that the best way to handle this situation now, is to go over to the student and quietly tell them that they must move or go to the office. If they still refuse, page the office and someone will come and collect the student. Thankfully, this has not happened to me, as the students know how embarrassing it would be to be taken out of the class. Overall, I still enjoy teaching the Grade 8s, but some days are better than others.

I feel that I have gained so much knowledge and experience already over these past two months. I look forward to what the next five weeks will teach me. It will be a sad day when I have to say goodbye to my students, Grade 8s included!  (Intermediate intern)

I am learning just as much as they are
I have been fortunate to get the opportunity to work in northern Alberta for my internship. I have gotten the chance to experience an entirely different place while also teaching twelve energetic Grade 2 students. The community, teaching staff, students, and my co-operating teacher are all making my experience here very memorable.

My roommate is an intermediate/secondary intern and when school is over and we are home, it is always interesting to hear how our days went. We compare our lessons, grade levels, subjects, and different experiences with each other. We both had the opportunity to go to a large teachers’ convention in Edmonton (Alberta Teachers’ Association) in which we met wonderful teachers and sat in on a number of valuable sessions that will help us in our internship and as future teachers. I am enjoying my time here teaching and learning. I make sure I tell my students that I am learning just as much as they are!

My advice to other young teachers is to travel and experience different places if you get the chance. It is an adventure!  (Primary Intern)

Quote of the Week
How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard!  (A. A. Milne)

 On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 1)

 Cartoon 1822

“But Miss Linsey, I’m sure it’s a bookworm!”

Recommended Book Resource for Primary and Elementary Interns
The Word Collector
Author and Illustrator: Peter H. Reynolds (2018)

Jerome collected words, words he heard, words he saw, and words he read. “Certain words popped off the page”. He liked short, sweet words such as spark and bloom. He liked two-syllable treats, such as treasure and whisper. Sometimes he found words he did not understand, but they were marvelous to say, such as aromatic and vociferous. He filled his scrapbooks with words. He organized his collection – dreamy words, science words, sad words.….

One day when he was carrying his collections, he slipped and his words went flying. But when he went to pick them up, he noticed something new and exciting. His collections had become jumbled and there were big words next to little words, sad words next to dreamy words…

So he began to put words together, such as “cascading stars”, and he began to write poems and then his poems became songs. He began to realize that some of his simplest words were powerful – “I understand”, “I’m sorry”, “thank you”.

Jerome collected even more and more words. “The more words he knew, the more clearly he could share with the world what he was thinking, feeling, and dreaming. So one day, Jerome pulled a huge wagon of words up a hill and emptied his words into the wind. He saw children below skipping about collecting his words, and Jerome “had no words to describe how happy that made him”.

Simply told with charming illustrations, this book will help to get children excited about words and the power of language.

On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 2)

Cartoon 1823

“The only time I favor anarchy is during government class!”

If We’ve Missed your Submission
Please email the editor at jdelaney@mun.ca and we will publish it in the next issue.

Education Law Corner
This week we have an example of a misconduct case involving a teacher who purchased stolen goods from a student.

Member: Farhez Lakhani
Registration No: 203080
Decision: Suspension, reprimand, conditions

A Discipline Committee panel suspended College member Farhez Lakhani, a department head at the York Region District School Board, for disgraceful conduct. Certified to teach in June 1995, Lakhani attended the hearing on August 16, 2017, with his legal counsel. Lakhani purchased stolen goods from a student. He also encouraged other teachers to do the same and allowed the student to misappropriate property that belonged to the school.

Following an investigation by police, he was charged with possession of property obtained by crime under $5,000. The charge was withdrawn after Lakhani completed 50 hours of community service. The Discipline Committee panel found Lakhani guilty of professional misconduct and suspended his Certificate of Qualification and Registration for two months. He was directed to appear before the committee immediately after the hearing to receive a reprimand. He must also successfully complete, at his own expense, a course regarding professional ethics. He needs to do so within 90 days after the panel’s order.

In its decision, the panel stated, “Members of the profession are expected to serve as positive role models for students at all times, and the Member fell far short of this expectation.”

Source:  Ontario College of Teachers Professionally Speaking magazine (March, 2018).

 On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 3)

 Cartoon 1824

“Baby Formula!”

For follow-up, please contact:

Jerome G. Delaney, Editor
Associate Professor – Educational Administration
Faculty of Education
Memorial University of Newfoundland
St. John’s, NL  Canada A1B 3X8
Telephone:  709-864-2071
Facsimile:   709-864-2345 Email:  jdelaney@mun.ca

 

 

Posted in special issues, Volume 12 (Winter 2018) | Leave a comment

Volume 12 Number 7

Welcome to issue # 7 of the eMEMO.

By now all you interns continue to be into the “thick” of your teaching internship.

I’m sure you have all had your respective challenges, one of which might have been/will be “Do I want to do this for the rest of my working life?”, regardless of your teaching at the Kindergarten level or teaching level 3 courses in a large senior high school!  That’s one of the very reasons we have the internship.  I guess it’s akin to finding yourself career-wise.  Nobody said this was an easy process.  Some of you have wanted to be teachers since “in utero” (well maybe not quite that early) but I think you get the point.  Some of you have periodically vacillated from one career to another, with teaching being one of a number you have considered.  This process is different for everyone.  Good luck with this “bigger picture” aspect of your internship.

Enjoy!

Feedback From This Year’s (2018) Interns

The pleasure of returning back to the school I graduated from
I am just about 5 weeks into my internship and it is continuously getting more hectic but also more enjoyable at the same time. I had the pleasure of returning back to the school I graduated from just 5 short years ago which I thought would be awkward but actually knowing many of the teachers made the transition from student to teacher much easier.

I have multiple slots of the same course and it didn’t take long to realize that sometimes regardless of how much you prepare for your lesson, it may not go very well. I have had a couple experiences that has made me second guess if I have the ability to be an effective teacher because my lesson I thought was spot on, was a complete failure. I have also had many successful lesson with great feedback from students which makes me completely forget about the failures I have experienced.

We just recently finished up a week of exams which meant a lot of down time for us teachers to prep and get ready for the upcoming term. This allowed me to have a lot of one on one time with my co-operating teacher to design and fine tune a complete unit for me to deliver in the next couple weeks. Although I feel my lessons are very good, I know that they may not go perfect but it will be my ability to adapt on the fly and not let the small failures dictate my views of the teaching profession.

The past 5 weeks has been everything I had hoped it would be. I have made many great relationships with students and had the opportunity to learn and develop as a teacher under the guidance of my 2 great co-operating teachers. I look forward to the many weeks to come. (Secondary Intern)

It’s not perfect but it’s real
I have been enjoying my internship since day one, but I realize that no matter how planned and organized you are, your plans may quickly change. I learned that being a teacher means you must be flexible and sometimes you have to go with the flow. What I mean by that is your lesson don’t always go as planned, sometimes the students just don’t want to listen, and it will take longer to get through the lesson because you have to remind them that they have to listen and behave.

Sometimes you may even get through a lesson a lot earlier than expected because things went really well, and then you have to think quickly and come up with another activity you can do. I have learned thus far that it is always better to have more activities prepared for a lesson than not enough, because when you finish the lesson early the students start to get loud if they know the teacher doesn’t have anything else planned for them to do.

I am starting to learn these types of tricks when preparing for my lesson plans, such as preparing extra activities that students can do when they do finish early. I am beginning to learn the realities of being a teacher and that it’s not perfect, but it’s real, and every day is a wonderful experience and a new lesson learned! (Primary Intern)

We absolutely need to center our lessons on our students
Junior high is not what I had expected. Prior to the short internship in the fall, I had built up a perception that junior high was riddled with behavioral issues. I had felt that the Science curriculum for lower grade levels was comprised of simple subject matter, or, diluted science. Lastly, I had held the opinion that teachers who were middle of the pack were the ones “stuck” teaching this age group. Considering these beliefs, my perception had been slowly accumulated through stories from both friends and colleagues teaching these grade levels and from my own, minor interactions with Grades 7-9. With my brief introduction to junior high in the fall and now into this long internship, I have realized the error in my own biases.

Junior high students are in the height of physical, emotional, and social development. Their hormones are raging and many are desperately trying to determine who they are, while continuing to balance who others think they should be. The behavioral issues I have noted in my own time in the classroom most often stem from one student or another trying to push the class boundaries and show their peers, “This is who I am, look what I am doing”. Some days it is a bit funny to watch but it is important to remember that we were once in their shoes and that every action and reaction we were able to garner had such a deep effect on us at the time. As teachers, we need to remember that some of our students, even in junior high, are far more sensitive than they let on and it is something we should not forget. This means giving students who mess up, opportunities to redeem themselves and to share their better selves, reminding them that today is today and remembering that ourselves.

Teaching Science at the Grade 7 level is far more difficult that I had envisioned. Grade 7s are developing their scientific literacy and only have 12-13 years of experiences with the physical world to which they can frame their observations and understanding of assumed scientific understanding. One of the most important lessons I have learned in this internship is that we absolutely need to center our lessons on our students and not on ourselves as teachers. I had thought teaching heat transfer (conduction, convection, and radiation) would be a breeze. . . until I learned that many students struggle with the abstract concept of particles and particle theory. Repetition of content in different ways, breaking up a single class into small chunks (e. g., lesson-practice-lesson-activity), continual structured questioning, and regular revision is very necessary at this level to ensure that we are providing students with the best chance of understanding these fundamental scientific concepts that make up the foundations of later sciences.

Lastly, those in the teaching ranks in junior high are far from the middle of the pack. These teachers are masters at behavior management, geniuses of structure, and leaders in balancing academic and social learning. Collaborative partnerships allow for teachers to put their heads together to better support the student body during assessments and to share tactics about what is or is not working for some of their shared students.  Especially so as students are finding their own way on the path of self-discovery, their teachers are able to share with one another when a student is having a particularly off-week. Are teachers in junior high perfect? No. I can say though that I have been very lucky to work with teachers who are so focused on developing the whole child rather than focusing solely on high class averages. The job here is hard and the stakes are high. Very much I look forward to cultivating a culture of trial and error in my future classroom.  (Intermediate Intern)

Making a real difference in the world
I often hear people ask, “Well what are you really going to do about it?” regarding social justice issues.

What will I do about issues surrounding systemic racism, sexuality, gender identity, socioeconomic status, culture, religion, mental health, abuse, immigrant status and more recently newsworthy: gun control, in “real” life?

I will pursue a career in which I can change the lives of youth every single day and work to make a change in our society one human being at a time. I will be a positive influence in an otherwise negative world, a shoulder to cry on, an ear to bend, a hand to lend, and a role to model.

My education internship has provided me the privilege and opportunity to begin the journey of making a “real” difference in the world – and I look forward to spending the rest of my ‘working’ days continuing this journey. (Secondary Intern)

The makings of a great teacher lie within their hearts=
When I found out that I was able to do my internship in the school that I once attended, I was pretty excited. Not only is it in my hometown, but the same school that my own kids are attending. I place great importance on student learning and involvement in schools and knew from experience that the school was a great fit for me and my children. The school as quoted by my son “makes him feel safe”, and that makes me as a parent and educator more aware of the implications of a school environment on student learning. We all want our students to thrive and learn, and what better way to do that than being in a comfortable safe place surrounded by meaningful relationships.

The closeness of the school community, support for students and staff, and concern for one another is quite apparent at my school. Even though the school has a small population of students in the primary and elementary level, the different personalities and variation among student learning is abundant and provides a great opportunity for learning about individual differences. I have been engaging actively and positively with teachers and students, and throughout my experiences in the classroom have learned to teach with confidence. This is especially important at any level of teaching. When you are confident in what you are doing, you enjoy it more; when you enjoy it more, those around you do too.

I believe that the makings of a great teacher lie within their hearts. I have witnessed firsthand what good teachers do, and I am continuing to work towards developing the skills to be one myself. I really am enjoying my internship and understand the importance of my role not only in the classroom but to students’ lives and their learning. I have learned a lot so far and look forward to the weeks ahead. The many hugs, smiles, laughter, tears, and even boogers (lots of – lol!!!!!) that have been shared among the students in my Grade One classroom are priceless. I see them learning and growing every day. Their enthusiasm and lack of enthusiasm at times deepens my motivation to teach, to take a hand, open a mind, and touch a heart. (Primary Intern)

A Big Thank you to Bachelor of Education Student Samantha Pitts
Mega thanks to my Effective Teaching (Education 4005) student, Sam Pitts for providing with some wonderful feedback a few weeks ago re my video insert in the blog version of this eMEMO.  Sam, very delicately and very diplomatically, suggested that I was not being my usual self in these videos.  She further suggested that I not read from a prepared script and that I be more like I am in front of my classes. I couldn’t agree more as I knew I was a tad “stiff” with the prepared script, not looking into the camera, more pre-occupied with not going on and on and on (as I sometimes do in my classes!).

So, the last couple of issues, I have made an extra effort to be more relaxed, without the script and hopefully looking into the camera more.  Last week’s was better than 2 weeks ago – I’m still not where I want to be but I do think I’m getting there.  My camera man, Maurice Barry is a great help to say the least!  What astounds me the most about all of this is that I do not go on and on and on and I’m not using a clock!  Miracles do happen in our Faculty of Education! 

Quote of the Week

You got to try a little kindness
Yes show a little kindness
Just shine your light for everyone to see
And if you try a little kindness
Then you’ll overlook the blindness
Of narrow-minded people on the narrow-minded streets.
  (Glen Campbell, 1970)

 On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 1)

 Cartoon 1819

“There has been a recent departure of a front tooth,
and free movement of a molar.  Brushing and flossing
are done daily, on fears of cavities, gingivitis, and
gum rot. Bubblegum chewing is currently at a minimum.”

 

Recommended Book Resource for Primary and Elementary Interns

White Socks Only
Author: Evelyn Coleman (1996)
Illustrator: Tyrone Geter

Grandma tells the story of when she was a little girl in Mississippi. She slipped into town one day without permission, dressed in her Sunday white dress, clean white socks, black patent leather shoes, and carrying two raw eggs in her pockets. She wanted to see if an egg would fry on the hot sidewalk, just as everyone said. On the way she passed Chicken Man from Africa, sitting on his porch. Folk said he could do all kinds of strange things, including turning people into chickens if they didn’t do what he thought was the right thing to do.

After a mishap with one egg, and then finding out that the second egg would fry on a hot sidewalk, she became thirsty. She saw a water fountain with a step stool for children to reach the fountain and a sign that said, “Whites Only”. She knew what the sign meant so she took off her black shoes and stepped onto the stool in her clean white socks.

As she was drinking thirstily “this big white man with a black and white bandana ‘round his neck” grabbed her and pushed her to the ground. He shouted at her and took off his belt to beat her. A group of white people gathered around her as she began to cry, scared and not knowing what she had done wrong.

Then the amazing happened. An older black woman stepped up, removed her shoes, and drank from the fountain. Black folk after black folk did the same. White folk yelled at all of them, and the man with the belt started hitting the child and everyone else he could reach who was black. Then the second amazing happened. Everyone went quiet and moved aside as Chicken Man started coming toward the fountain. He pulled off his shoes and drank from the fountain. When he finished, he pointed “a crooked finger at the white man”. The white man “was as still as a statue”.

Chicken Man helped the child up, the black people surrounded her, and then took her home. Nobody ever saw the black man again, and nobody asked why the “Whites Only” sign disappeared, and why a big chicken was near the fountain every day!

 

On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 2)

       Cartoon 1820

“Is there a no-hugging policy here?  At my last school,
I had a real crush on a teacher just like you.”

Research Study:  Educators’ Perceptions of the Characteristics of Effective Principals

This is a study yours truly is currently involved in and is scheduled to be completed by late spring/early summer of this year.  It is open to all educators, active and retired.  The survey will take approximately 30 minutes to complete and all participants are eligible to be entered into a draw for an Apple iPad.  If you are interested in participating, please email the editor at jdelaney@mun.ca

If We’ve Missed your Submission
Please email the editor at jdelaney@mun.ca and we will publish it in the next issue.

Education Law Corner
This week we have an example of a teacher misconduct case involving incompetence.

Member: Corinne Bernadeth Christina Braam-Carew
OCT Registration No: 421934
Decision: Reprimand, conditions

A Discipline Committee panel reprimanded Corinne Bernadeth Christina Braam-Carew, a former teacher with the Peel District School Board. The panel found her guilty of professional misconduct and to be incompetent. Braam-Carew, who was certified to teach in October 1998, did not attend the public hearings on October 20, 2016, and April 3, 2017, nor was she represented by legal counsel.

Her performance as a teacher was unsatisfactory based on three teacher-performance appraisals conducted by her principal. The panel found that she displayed a lack of knowledge, skill or judgment and disregard for the welfare of her students. The panel ordered that she appear before it to receive a reprimand. She was also directed to complete, at her own expense, an Additional Basic Qualification course or an Additional Qualification course, which covers curriculum, lesson planning, instructional strategies and assessment of student learning. She needs to do so prior to returning to teaching or taking any teaching position for which a Certificate of Qualification and Registration is required.

In addition, upon returning to a teaching position, she needs to make all reasonable efforts to have her employer carry out two teaching performance appraisals within two years after returning to teaching. In its written decision, the panel stated, “The seriousness of the Member’s conduct in failing to teach her students diligently, and her refusal to improve her practice when support was given, indicate to the Committee that a reprimand is necessary. A reprimand allows the Committee to directly address with the Member the problem of her disengagement and disinterest in the improvement process.” The panel added, “Given the Member’s failure to participate in the discipline process to date, the Member has shown a lack of accountability for her actions. The Committee has concerns regarding the Member’s governability, given her failure to engage in this process.”

Source:  Ontario College of Teachers Professionally Speaking magazine (December, 2017).

On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 3)

Cartoon 1821
“Bernie’s a great educator.  All over the world,
people learn from his mistakes!”

For follow-up, please contact:

Jerome G. Delaney, Editor
Associate Professor – Educational Administration
Faculty of Education
Memorial University of Newfoundland
St. John’s, NL  Canada A1B 3X8
Telephone:  709-864-2071
Facsimile:   709-864-2345 Email:  jdelaney@mun.ca

 Note:    This eMEMO is also available on my blog @ www.themondayememo.wordpress.com

 

Posted in Volume 12 (Winter 2018) | Leave a comment

Volume 12, Number 6

Greetings to all from the 4th floor of MUN’s Education Building.  We’re almost halfway through the month of February and according to all reports from the “field”, we understand that things are going well for you interns.  I’m delighted with the submissions thus far and even more delighted with the increased number of Primary and Elementary submissions this year.  Keep those submissions coming from both the Primary/Elementary groups and from the Intermediate/Secondary groups as well.

Hope you enjoy this issue.

Feedback From This Year’s (2018) Interns

I have definitely chosen the perfect career
The past 5 weeks have been extremely enjoyable and have flown by! I have already learned so much more than I had ever imagined I would from this experience. It makes me that much more excited to start my teaching career and to someday have my own classroom.

So far from this experience I have been introduced to many different resources that I have never seen before, and as my internship goes on, I am becoming more familiar with them and how to use the resources. Something I have learned from the curriculum is that it is packed full, and not each and every resource needs to be used to effectively teach students, but the ones that are used are definitely useful, and they engage students in a fun way.

I am certainty enjoying this experience and I feel I have definitely chosen the perfect career for myself. I love creating relationships with the students and seeing them strive to be the best they can be.  (Elementary Intern)

More chances to show my own style of teaching
It’s been an experience, to say the least.

It’s been a full 5 weeks. 5 weeks of snow and rain on and off. Things are finally starting to ramp up academically here – we aren’t doing review or writing exams now. The reality of grades has started to hit certain students and you can actively see some students stepping up their game so to speak.

I’m finally getting to teach again, new material rather than review. I’ve gotten a request from a student to replace my co-operating teacher at one point, which was entertaining, and feedback from a few parents I’ve run into in the school parking lot about their kids liking having me as a teacher, so that’s always a mood booster. I’m glad to be planning lessons and teaching again, rather than just reviewing and correcting tests. I’m getting to put a bit of creativity into things…or my own personal spin on the lesson is a better way to put it. In grade 8 science we watched The Magic School Bus, the episode where they learn about how light works, and why colors look the way they do. I might be teaching now instead of being a full time student, but I still appreciate when I get to see a video in class.

Here’s hoping the next weeks continue to be a pleasant experience, and I get more chances to show my own style of teaching to my students. (Intermediate/Secondary Intern)

Cognizant of finding my personal teaching balance
“Sir, what socks are you wearing today?” They ask me with a smirk, and as I show them my “Adult in Training” socks, I get a few laughs. Good, it feels like the ice is kind of broken. I go right into my first lesson about Indigenous people. Not an ideal first lesson to teach, a dark story that I make sure no punches are pulled. Gord Downie pauses during his last Hip concert to tell Canadians that something “really bad” is happening up North. There, my first set of lessons – done, and one girl asks me “Sir, are you a Donald Trump supporter?”. I quickly say “I don’t support people who hate”.

These are just some scenes from my internship so far as I remain cognizant of finding my “personal teaching balance.” The balance when teaching between acting with your head, heart and sometimes wanting to be “hip” is hard and not ideal. Sometimes I lean too much to one side and distort who I am as a person. That’s ok though, I’ve made mistakes and I’ve had accomplishments during this internship. Through it all, at the end of the day I do what I can to make sure that my students know that I care and that just like them I’m learning too.  (Secondary Intern)

I always knew that I wanted to be a teacher
I always knew that I wanted to be a teacher and I knew that this internship would be the “real test” to see if this was the career meant for me. I am almost halfway through my internship and I am loving every day. Each day I am faced with a new challenge and learn something new.

The biggest challenge so far has been classroom management. Going into my internship, this was to aspect of teaching that I was the most eager to learn about. I have had many conversations with my co-operating teacher about classroom management and how to effectively manage a large group of children. She told me that the strategy that she has used from the beginning of the year is developing a sense of community in the classroom. I reflected on this and have also decided to take this approach in my teaching. This has been working great for me so far and I am very happy about the amount of respect that I am seeing from my students.  (Primary Intern)

Minus being tired I am really enjoying my internship
Thus far I am really enjoying my internship. Even though it’s tiring, it is worth it.  I decided to go back to the school I graduated from. I know the majority of the staff and students.  Knowing the teachers is really helpful, and more comforting for me, but knowing the students definitely has some negative and positive aspects associated with it.

I feel like all I do with my time after school is plan for my courses until I go to bed. It is definitely harder and more time consuming to make your own lessons from scratch – so, if anyone already has their lessons provided to them, consider yourself blessed.

When the students were writing their midterms though, this gave me extra time to plan for my courses because the junior high students were the only grades that had school.

I have not had any major issues with behavioral problems until recently. I find the Grade 8’s the worst with controlling their behavior but I was already warned about this before starting my internship.

Minus being tired, I am really enjoying my internship thus far and I am certainly learning new things every day. I can already notice a difference in myself from the beginning of January until now.

I hope all is well with everyone!  (Intermediate/Secondary Intern)

Going great thus far
Now that exams are done here everything is starting to slowly get back to normal.

While it was great to be able to see all of the prep and organization that went into midterms, I wish that I was in the classroom teaching during those two weeks. A number of teachers on staff who I have talked to over the past week have all said something similar to that both review week and midterm week get them out of their groove and it takes a day or two to get back into rhythm.

The exam midterm week temporarily delayed my being able to transition into another course, so I am only going to be at 3/6 beginning this week. When I started my internship I had one co-operating teacher who taught Grade 9 Math and all Level III Math courses. My co-operating teacher preferred that I go with another teacher to experience more non-Level 3 Math. I was fortunate that I was placed with another teacher for Math 1201 who was very welcoming and helped me feel comfortable even though I was quite nervous.

I have had the opportunity to sit in on some Social Studies courses. My major is in History and my minor is in Math, so I was really excited to sit in on those classes. The teachers were also very welcoming and most receptive to sharing their knowledge and tips with me.  They have also told me that I am quite welcome to come into their classes at any time.

I teach Grade 9 Math and Religion with my co-operating teacher, with Religion only being taught twice in a 7 day cycle and the rest of that slot is for Grade 9 Math. I found it an eye-opening experience, mostly on the basis of teaching style. In Math, you are going over formulas, equations, and properties most of the time so you have to be more structured in your approach to teaching.  However, with Religion you can have less structure and engage in more conversations about a variety of topics which I very much enjoy. My co-operating teacher has pointed out to me several times that he can see a difference in how my teaching style switches between the two courses and how I have a natural ability when it comes to just speaking.

I am also helping with one of the clubs at my school; they play fighting video games every Thursday after school, and I am really enjoying being a part of it. Two of the students from one of my co-operating teacher’s Level III Math courses told me just before exams that if I wanted to play instead of supervising them, they would love to have me be part of it while I am here. I took them up on their offer and it has certainly made the club more exciting for me, being able to talk to students in a different setting and just having a good time doing something we all have an interest in.

My internship is going great thus far and I am enjoying every minute of it.  I will be sad to leave in March, as are a lot of us, but I cannot wait to hear what everyone else has learned from their experiences and learn from them on how I can improve my teaching.

Hope everyone is doing well with their internships and I can’t wait to hear about all the stories and experiences we’ve all had.

P.S. I know the internship is going to get rough from this point on, but remember that through all the planning and correcting to take a little down time and enjoy the little things!   (Intermediate/Secondary Intern) 

A personal and professional journey

Being an intern in my former high school has been both a personal and professional journey. I feel like no amount of classroom lectures could have truly prepared me for the challenges of teaching in a secondary school environment. This is a profession where one learns by simply doing. All the theory our textbooks can offer is simply a tool that must be used by a capable individual in order for it to be effective.

While I have learned a great deal in the areas of lesson planning, classroom management and student-teacher relationships, the most significant knowledge I have obtained during this internship has been about myself. There are days where I walk out the doors of my school at 3 pm with a beaming smile on my face, still riding the high that my successful activity in period 5 gave me. On the other hand, there are days where I sit in my cold car at 8:15 in the morning wondering anxiously if I have sufficiently prepared for the day that lies ahead of me. It is this dichotomy that has allowed me to better understand myself and the profession I have chosen to enter. I have learned to ride the roller-coaster that is teaching and have grown to be able to roll with the punches that have been thrown my way.

The structured teacher lifestyle is vastly different from the flexible student ways that I have known for the past several years and as such, this internship has marked one of the greatest life changes I have undergone to date. I regularly have to remind myself that I am doing o. k. and that no matter what challenges are thrown my way, I will be able to face them head-on and persevere. It is by embracing adversity and learning from my mistakes that I will find personal fulfillment. A task I am well on my way to completing after the first half of the great journey that has been this teaching placement. (Secondary Intern)

I can be happy, friendly and approachable and maintain authority
I’ve learned so much already! Prior to starting my internship, I was having a difficult time imagining exactly what a day in the life of a high school teacher would be.

I did my short placement at a k-8 school, so it has been a totally different experience seeing how a 9-12 high school runs and I am thoroughly enjoying it! I was initially worried about my ability to establish authority in the classroom but have found students for the most part to be very respectful. Though I’ve had to be firm in some circumstances, I’ve been pleased to realize that I can be happy, friendly and approachable and maintain authority in the classroom.

I am still working out what my standards will be in my own classroom but overall have found students receptive and eager to learn, work and behave respectfully. There is still so much to learn but I am encouraged by my experience so far and so happy that I am enjoying teaching and the school environment in general so much! I am excited to be a full member of a school community and am looking forward to leading extracurricular activities and working to make school a welcoming place.  (Intermediate/Secondary Intern)

Quote of the Week

Upon returning from the field trip to the zoo, the principal asked the teacher how she enjoyed the outing. Oh, it was horrible!” she said.  “The snakes stuck out their tongues and the monkeys kept making faces at us”. 

The principal answered, “Well, you know what they say.  Boas will be boas and gorillas will be gorillas!”  (Anonymous)

On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 1)

Cartoon 1816

“When it comes to spending quality time-outs
with the teacher, I corner the market!”

The Napping House (1984); The Full Moon at the Napping House (2015)
Author: Audrey Wood
Illustrator: Don Wood

This husband and wife team created the much loved Napping Hose in 1984, to the delight of children everywhere. Told in the tradition of This is the Hose that Jack Built, we begin, “There is a house, a napping house, where everyone is sleeping”. It continues with the cozy bed, the snoring granny, the dreaming child, dozing dog, snoozing cat, a slumbering mouse, and then finally the flea who causes pandemonium when he bites the mouse. Children will laugh with delight as the creatures, one by one, go flying off the bed as the cat claws the dog, and so forth. And when Granny breaks the bed the appealing colorful illustrations add to the madness and capricious delight! The story ends with the napping house, “where no one now is sleeping”.

The 2015 Full Moon version is complementary to the original in that it begins, “There is a house, a full-moon hose, where everyone is restless”. The bed is a wide-awake bed, granny is sleepless, the child is fidgety, the dog is playful, the cat is prowling, and the mouse is worried. Until… a chirping cricket sings his song that soothes the mouse, calms the cat, gentles the dog, and so forth. It ends with the boy hugging the granny “in the dreamy bed, in the full-moon house, where no one now is restless”.

In the original tale, the illustrations are light in color, on a light blue background, but bright, emphasizing the cacophony that is created by the flea as everyone wakes up. In the full moon version, the background is dark blue, almost purple, as nighttime suggests that everyone should be sleeping. These books are about fun, which appeals to young and old.

On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 2)

       Cartoon 1817

“He keeps invading other children’s space.”

Research Study:  Educators’ Perceptions of the Characteristics of Effective Principals

This is a study yours truly is currently involved in and is scheduled to be completed by late spring/early summer of this year.  It is open to all educators, active and retired.  The survey will take approximately 30 minutes to complete and all participants are eligible to be entered into a draw for an Apple iPad.  If you are interested in participating, please email the editor at jdelaney@mun.ca

Editor’s Note

If you are attempting to read this eMEMO via my blog, you may be having difficulty accessing the site (being asked for a password etc.!).  Not sure what’s going on there.

A number of readers have sent in suggestions – thank you – and the one that seems to be most reliable is:

www.themondayememo.wordpress.com

Just click on the latest issue and you are good!

Education Law Corner
This week we have another example of a horrendous case involving teacher sexual assault.

Member: Kenneth Gavin Bernard Williamson
Registration No: 150105
Decision: Revocation, Fine, Costs

A Discipline Committee panel revoked the certificate of College member Kenneth Gavin Bernard Williamson for engaging in repeated violent sexual abuse of a child. Williamson sexually exploited a boy repeatedly over a long period of time. He gained access to him through a program meant to help vulnerable youth. Certified to teach in June 1980, Williamson did not attend the hearing on December 5, 2016, nor was he represented by legal counsel. Williamson was convicted of buggery, indecent assault and gross indecency. He was sentenced to four years’ imprisonment. The criminal charges were ultimately stayed due to an unreasonable delay in the courts.

The Court of Appeal did not overturn the factual findings made by the trial judge or the fact that a jury had found Williamson guilty. The Supreme Court of Canada only dealt with the issue of unreasonable delay and did not consider the factual findings made by the trial judge. The Discipline Committee panel found Williamson guilty of professional misconduct and ordered that his Certificate of Qualification and Registration be revoked. It also imposed a $5,000 fine and costs of $10,839. The panel imposed the fine for a number of reasons. It found that the member’s conduct was one of the worst violations a person in a position of trust could commit upon a child. Williamson showed no remorse for his conduct during his criminal trial, did not acknowledge the tremendous damage his abuse had inflicted upon the victim, and did not participate in the College proceeding.

The panel found the costs were warranted given Williamson’s rationale for failing to participate in these proceedings — namely that he was financially secure and did not plan to teach again and, therefore, did not need to engage in the College’s processes. By failing to communicate or engage in discussions with the College, Williamson required the College to incur the full costs of a contested hearing, which placed significant emotional burden upon the witness in this case. In its decision, the panel stated, “The Member abused a vulnerable child who saw him as a father figure. The Member has preyed on a child for his own sexual gratification, and he should never again have the privilege of being certified as a teacher in Ontario.” The panel added that the sustained sexual abuse had a significant detrimental effect on the victim’s mental health and his quality of life. The abuse damaged him psychologically and caused him lifelong pain.

Source:  Ontario College of Teachers Professionally Speaking magazine (December, 2017).

On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 3) 

Cartoon 1818

“I failed my existential philosophy exam.
I wasn’t really there at the time!”

For follow-up, please contact:

Jerome G. Delaney, Editor
Associate Professor – Educational Administration
Faculty of Education
Memorial University of Newfoundland
St. John’s, NL  Canada A1B 3X8
Telephone:  709-864-2071
Facsimile:   709-864-2345 Email:  jdelaney@mun.ca

Note:    This eMEMO is also available on my blog @

www.themondayememo.wordpress.com

 

Posted in special issues, Volume 12 (Winter 2018) | Leave a comment