Volume 11, Number 13 – The Final Issue for 2017

Greetings everyone.  This is the final  issue of  The Monday eMemo Blog and it is with some sadness and perhaps a little relief that I type up these next few pages.  It’s amazing how time impacts on everything we do.

With this eMemo we start off with issue # 1 and you feel that 13 issues, wow, that’s a heck of a lot of writing.  However, slowly, albeit regularly, you move along and all of a sudden, it’s the final issue!  What makes doing this eMemo a “thing of joy” is the pleasure and sense of satisfaction one feels when reading the interns’ submissions.

A legitimate criticism of the eMemo might be that the submissions are all too positive.  Fair enough but there are some comments in the submissions, I can think of at least 2 in this volume that were anything but positive, but hopefully realistic.  An editor has no control over that but I would like to think that what is being said in those submissions is indeed true and sincere and I have no reason to think otherwise.

Perhaps those interns who have negative comments to make about their internships don’t feel safe in doing so.  I’m not sure how we overcome that caution because the eMemo, I think, has been very welcoming and encouraging of all perspectives.  Perhaps this is something we can work on in Volume 12 (2018).  Suggestions as to how to do that are most welcome and would be extremely helpful.  Enjoy this final issue.

Feedback From This Year’s Interns

Thank God I didn’t listen
I imagined I would love teaching. My parents told me I would love it, my friends told me it was a perfect fit, and everyone else told me not to do it.

Within the first week of my internship, I realized that the weekends meant nothing to me anymore. All I wanted was to be in the classroom with the 16-year-olds. They became the best part of my day.

My friends would ask me how the internship was going and I would beam. Sure, there were difficult moments, and still are, but those moments are always worth it at the end of the day. I owe this good experience to a few different factors. Firstly, my supervising teacher, who is by far the kindest person I have ever met and there are no words to thank him properly. Secondly, the kids. Over the past three months I have gotten to teach the most remarkable, eclectic group of teenagers, who are wise beyond their years and crave intriguing conversation. They demand a lot and deserve the world. They are a rare bunch who I feel proud to know. Thirdly, the other interns/substitutes/teachers in my school. They are brilliant, genuine, and kind, I couldn’t have done this without them.

All the negative things I’ve heard about education from other people are no match for the happiness I feel every day. Thank God I didn’t listen!
(Secondary Intern)

We as teachers do not just teach curriculum
With just 1 week left in the internship, I look back and wonder where the time went. It seemed like yesterday that I walked into my school filled with nervousness and trepidation, not knowing what I was in for. Such feelings and emotions have largely disappeared and I now truly feel like a teacher -which is a great feeling.

To put it honestly, It has been a challenging and exhausting 12 weeks to date. The internship, I am sure, isn’t easy for any of us, but with hard work and a positive attitude day after day it is a profession that can be very enjoyable and fulfilling. I have already experienced that side of the coin. Through the ups and down and bumps in the road it is important to always remember that we are still novice, practicing teachers getting a snapshot as to what it is like being an educator. As my co-operating teacher has said numerous times, “Rome wasn’t built in a day”. Good things do indeed take time.

Throughout this experience I feel as if I have learned a lot, but with increased learning also comes an increased realization for what you do not know. Teaching encompasses so many things and it is indeed true that we as teachers do not just teach curriculum. Teaching content is one thing, but then there is classroom management/organization and dealing with many other situations that may suddenly and unexpectedly arise. All of these things just take a lot of practice and experience to ‘master’.

All in all it has been a great experience. I know many/most of the students’ names and enjoy teaching them and conversing with them inside and outside of the gymnasium. They look at me as a teacher figure which is very satisfying. I enjoy the school environment and I am confident that with a lot of hard work and further experience it will be a career which I both enjoy and succeed in. At the end of the day all that I or any of us can give is our best, which is what I will continue to do. (Intermediate Intern).

The relationships between students, parents and fellow teachers have been amazing
Well it doesn’t take long for 12 weeks to go by especially in this field. Thinking back to my high school days when I decided to pursue a teaching degree I must have been pretty smart back then because I have undoubtedly made the right career choice! Teaching has given me everything I thought it would and more.

I always wanted a career where I could wake up in the morning and be excited and ready to go and that’s what I have found. The relationships between students, parents and fellow teachers have been amazing and getting to teach has been a great experience.

At the end of the internship I cannot say I am excited to return to Memorial to be a student again and not a teacher but knowing that this is the final three months before I enter the teaching profession makes it all worthwhile. This career defiantly gives more than it takes.  (Intermediate/Secondary Intern)

I have found my calling
Transitioning from the student to the teacher these past few months has been absolutely incredible. I have found my calling and I can genuinely say that I know this is definitely what I’m supposed to do with my life. Giving someone the knowledge they need to understand why, make connections and leave the classroom feeling like they’ve learned something new is such a wonderful feeling. I’ve learned so much in such a short amount of time, and I’ve been blessed to have worked with the most amazing co-operating teachers who have given me guidance and support throughout my internship.

This whole experience has allowed me to grow as a person. The profession definitely comes with its challenges, but along with those come the rewards. Simply hearing a student say, “Thanks Ms.” after helping them better understand a problem, or hearing students talk about something they’ve learned in class to their friends, makes the job all worthwhile.

Over the past few weeks I’ve been catching myself thinking about how much I’ll miss it when I have to leave. Having a few extra days added onto my internship is actually a blessing, I get more time with my students. And to hear them say that they hope there are more snow days so I have to stay even longer warms my heart. They’ve all shown me that teaching has been the right path for me to travel down. And I’m so fortunate to have begun this journey with all of them.

One thing I have come to realize to be true is that, like every job, teaching has its ups and downs, but it’s the type of job that can change someone’s life. And that, to me, is priceless. (Intermediate/Secondary Intern)

The success I am having so far stems mainly from my coaching
I have gained and learned so much from getting involved as much as possible within my school! I had been making the most of my few months here at my co-operating school since the first day, and as my time winds down I reflect on this amazing journey. All along the way I have taken away so much success from my commitment to the school athletics programs, and despite the long days, the results are beyond worth it. Helping coach three basketball teams at my school is not an easy task, and certainly requires countless hours of commitment. Since the first day back in January, I have hopped aboard a very serious basketball program and am loving where it is leading me. It is really showing me how much I love working with the students in a sports environment, and coming from a PE background, I really feel my degree has helped me provide success for my teams.

Every day after school I am there until 6:00 pm coaching one of the three teams, and every weekend since January I have been at a different tournament somewhere across the island. I choose to do this because I love seeing my students get the opportunity to participate in high quality sport, to see their improvements from their hard work, and because I love the game!

The most rewarding part of coaching is seeing the students learn and grow as athletes. When one week they can’t perform a skill, and the next week they can because of their hard work and your hard work as a coach. It truly is a great feeling!

Besides this, I have found that these relationships I have with my athletes have transitioned into success in my classes. These students now respect me more, listen to me more, and treat me as a teacher they have had for years because of how dedicated I am to their school. My relationships I have formed makes me feel as if I have been teaching these kids for years, and I honestly believe this contributes to being an effective teacher. If the students like and respect you, you are off to a good start to having good classroom management. I wholeheartedly believe the success I am having so far, stems mainly from my coaching in this school. I cannot wait to continue to coach them the rest of the year even after my internship ends. (Intermediate/Secondary Intern)

It’s up to the teacher to bring everything back and to de-catastrophize the day
One thing I’ve noticed during my internship in Kindergarten is the possibility of a well-planned day breaking entirely apart and its ending up with a completely different plan come 3:00 pm. I had never realized how good teachers must have the ability to think on their toes, be flexible, and understand that learning opportunities arise everywhere—in so many different situations.

Sticking to the plan is not always a good thing. Speaking for Kindergarten, routine is so important! So often routine can be broken, but it’s up to the teacher to bring everything back and to de-catastrophize the day. That takes a special kind of person! It is a thick stew of personality traits, characteristics, and behaviors that is responsible for a teacher’s ability to de-catastrophize.

Let’s have some fun—Imagine your favorite stew, only think of the vegetables as spontaneity, resourcefulness, creativity, and patience—the meat of the stew is organization. The spices that pull everything together are kindness, compassion, and understanding. The spoon that stirs the pot so nothing burns on the bottom is dedication. The heavy cast iron pot is passion. The stove that cooks the stew is the school community. Every entity is essential for positive results. If one is missing, the stew can be ruined before it even begins to cook. (Primary Intern)

One Mega Thank You to Mr. Maurice Barry
This is to formally thank Mr. Maurice Barry, coordinator of the Faculty of Education’s Teaching & Learning Commons located on the 5th floor of the Education Building.   When the idea of doing The Monday eMemo via a blog came up about a year ago, Maurice was most enthusiastic and offered his help and expertise on getting it set up.  Here we are now with our final issue going out today and all 13 issues have been via blog!

We first started off with Maurice doing the conversion from an MS Word issue to the blog issue upstairs in the Commons; I sat next to him as he tutored me through what he was doing.  4 or 5 issues later, we came down to my office on the 4th and Maurice put me at the driver’s wheel; prior to this of course he provided me with a 2 pager tutorial on how to do the conversion step-by-step.  He was at my side for at least a couple of issues and then it was time for me to “jump out of the nest” and “fly on my own”!  Still being a tad insecure at this point, I made sure I had his cellphone number and his home phone number very near just in case I ran into any difficulty.  I think I may have called him a maximum of twice and for the past several issues I have been doing the blog all by my lonesome!

I am certainly no computer expert nor a blog expert but Maurice being the consummate teacher and a great one at that obviously did a very competent job of teaching me the blog basics.  My blog insecurities have disappeared and the reaction to our blog format has been wonderful.  Now when we start up again in January, 2018 I’m hoping I won’t need a refresher course as retention is sometimes problematic in the learning game!  But if it is, I’m sure Maurice will be there to give me that helping hand.

Thank you, Mr. Barry, for all of the above and it’s always a pleasure to converse and work with you.  You are an invaluable asset to all of us – faculty members and our B. Ed. students; we are most fortunate to have you!

Recommended Book Resource for Primary and Elementary Interns
Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel (1939)
Author and Illustrator: Virginia Lee Burton

Celebrating its 75th anniversary, Mike Mulligan was reprinted in 2014. Sure to entertain all children, it will be especially appealing to young boys. More boys than girls struggle with reading, and teachers and parents are constantly looking for books to hold the attention of active young boys. Mike Mulligan still attracts busy boys who love trucks, cars, and just about anything that moves. The opening lines will draw in even the reluctant:

Mike Mulligan had a steam shovel. Her name was Mary Anne. Mike Mulligan was very proud of Mary Anne. He always said that she could dig as much in a day as a hundred men could dig in a week, but he had never been quite sure that this was true.

Mike Mulligan and Mar Anne had been part of building highways, railroads, and big cities. But now with the advent of gasoline, electric, and diesel shovels, there was no work for steam shovels, and Mike Mulligan and Mary Anne were VERY SAD. Most people were selling their steam shovels for junk, but Mike loved Mary Anne and would not do that to her.

Then, one day Mike read about how the town of Popperville was going to build a new town hall. So Mike Mulligan and Mary Anne went to Popperville and offered to dig the cellar in just one day. The person in charge said it would take 100 men to dig it in a week. Mike Mulligan repeated that Mary Anne could dig in one day what 100 men could dig in a week, even though he did not know if this was true. He even said if they could not do it in one day, they would not have to be paid.

So the challenge was on! They started early the next morning. A little boy came to watch, then more people. “Mike Mulligan and Mary Anne dug a little faster and a little better”. More and more people came as the day went by and Mike Mulligan and Mary Anne dug even faster and better. The people cheered them on, “Hurry, Mike Mulligan! Hurry! Hurry! Dirt was flying and the smoke and steam were thick. “Bing! Bang! Louder! Faster!” Then it was quiet and the cellar was finished. They had dug the cellar in one day!

Then the little boy looked in the hole and asked, “how are they going to get out?” They had dug so fast they had forgotten to leave a way out. Everyone thought hard, and finally the little boy suggested they leave Mary Anne in the cellar as the new furnace and Mike Mulligan could be the janitor for the new town hall. “Why not?” said the people. “Why not?” said Mike Mulligan. So when you go to Popperville, you can see Mike in his rocking chair sitting beside Mary Anne who is heating the new town hall.

Filled with movement, noises, and excitement, Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel is a timeless classic that will be loved by all, and one that cause children to plead, “Read it again”.

On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 1)

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    “Some smartphone, allowing me to drop it in the toilet!”

On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 2)

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“I’m thinking of dropping my acting classes . . .  too much drama!”

Quote of the Week
 Kids can see through to the truth of the matter.  And while the flashy stuff can entertain them for a while, it’s the steady consistency of empathy that keeps them connected to us.  It’s the relationships that we build with them.  It’s the time we invest.  It’s all the little ways we stop and show concern.  It’s the love we share with them:  of learning, of life.  And, most importantly, of people.”  – Lori Gard, huffingtonpost.com

Education Law Corner
Across Canada all provinces have legislation designed to protect children.  This legislation is independent of education or school acts but obviously impacts on how we interact with children in the delivery of educational services. One aspect of all provincial child welfare legislation which has significant implications for educators is the requirement of “mandatory reporting” or the “duty to report”.

Mandatory reporting refers to a legal or statutory duty requiring any individual who has knowledge or a reasonable suspicion that a child is in need of protection to report such a matter to the appropriate authorities such as the Director of Child Welfare or a peace officer.  In practice, these reports are usually made to a social worker or to a police officer.

The literature on reporting child abuse advises teachers and school administrators of the usual legal points they need to be aware of:

  1. You are required by law to report your suspicion of abuse, even if you do not have any concrete evidence to support your belief.
  2. You must make a report to the legally stipulated authority, usually the police, or to the child welfare authorities; reporting only to your principal is not sufficient.
  3. You can be found guilty of a crime if you have knowledge or suspicion of abuse and do not report it to the proper authorities.
  4. Your identity will not be disclosed to the person who is suspected of committing the abuse.
  5. You cannot be punished or prosecuted for making a report that proves to be incorrect, as long as you did so in good faith.

(Retrieved from http://home.cc.umanitoba.ca/~wallind/chapterfour5.html)

On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 3)

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“Careful!  Mr. Ellis is dripping with sarcasm today!”

 Concluding Comments From The Editor

That concludes our final issue for 2017.

Hockey-wise locally:  Not a great lot to report this week.  Friday night we had a good crowd – 14 players and the 2 goalies.  Yours truly had a lack-luster night – 1 assist!  However, 1 assist is better than no assists.  We have approximately 5 games remaining in this season – looks like we will go deep into the playoffs!  No problem there as we are a scrimmage team and not in any league!  Our final game involves our 2 teams playing for the inflatable Stanley Cup and the customary team photo!  Oh, our Cup currently has a leaking issue – some duct tape should solve that problem we hope!

NHL-wise, les Habs have been on a roll especially with the Ottawa Senators!  And this Saturday night, they defeated the Sens again 3-1and the Leafs lost to the Buffalo Sabres by a score of 5-2!  A great night for Habs fans! My turn again to call the Stephenville sister-in-law for some more “vindictiveness”!!!!  C’est bon, c’est bon!!!!!!!!

As this is our final issue for 2017, my thanks to all the interns who took the time and made the effort to send in submissions in spite of an extremely hectic teaching schedule; without those submissions, this eMemo could not exist.  To all those readers who have been most complimentary on our eMemo blog efforts, thank you, thank you, thank you.  And as mentioned earlier, a great big thank you to Maurice.

We will return as Volume 12 in 2018 – issue # 1 should come out on Sunday, January 7, 2018

Best wishes to all  –  Jerome

 

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Volume 11, Number 12

Good day everyone.  Hope ye all had an enjoyable St. Paddy’s Day weekend.  This is our 2nd last eMemo for 2017. And of course, the Intermediate/Secondary interns have 2 weeks left and the Primary/Elementary interns have 4 weeks remaining.  Why the difference in the length of the 2 winter internships – the I/S interns did a 2 week internship back in the fall.  Enjoy the issue.

Feedback From This Year’s Interns

And now I see it from another perspective
As the internship comes closer to its end I find myself looking at teaching from a different perspective. When I was a student myself, I don’t think I fully realized or appreciated the amount of work and dedication that went into what my teachers did on a day to day basis. Sure they taught classes every day, but what I and I’m sure a lot of students didn’t really think about was that each of those lessons were planned by our teachers. Whenever we had labs, projects, assignments or tests, they didn’t just appear out of the blue. At some point a teacher had to come up with it, write it all up and make sure it all made sense, and then printed it all out and delivered it to us.

Now I’m in the teacher’s chair, and as the internship has rolled on, I have taken on more courses and really gotten into the swing of things at the school and now I see it from another perspective. Being in front of the class and teaching the students is only the surface layer of what goes on in the daily life of a teacher. Making assignments and the like for students can be a time consuming task, as can correcting said assignments when they are returned. Of course there are also the extracurricular activities that teachers supervise, preparing for the upcoming classes and any number of other things that may come up.

All this culminates in the realization that teaching can be quite a lot more time consuming than it appears to students. That’s not to say it isn’t rewarding, but it can keep you quite busy nonetheless. You have to wonder what the students think you do and whether or not they appreciate the work you put into teaching them. I had a particularly keen student in my class turn to me the other day and without any warning simply said “You should go on strike.” It was kind of funny to hear this from a student, but he went on to explain that the teachers hadn’t had a break for a while and that we should have one. Perhaps he just wanted a break himself, but I like to think that he understood that his teachers were working hard and appreciated that enough to suggest that they needed some time to relax.

I’ve really enjoyed my internship thus far, and I’m sure I’ll continue to enjoy it up until its end, but I’ll also appreciate having a break when the time comes. I think it’s important for teachers to sit back and unplug from the teacher life when they can and try and strike that work-life balance we’ve all heard so much about. (Secondary Intern)

 I feel I have learned so much
Being so close to the finish line, not only of the internship but also of this degree, I have experienced an emotional roller coaster! This internship has had some amazing highs, resulting from the relationships I have built with my students, to some pretty bad lows, with exhaustion and “problem students”.

I feel I have learned so much from my co-operating teachers, other teachers at my school, the administration, support staff, and least of all, my students! Every day is a new and exciting experience. This internship has reassured me that of all the reasons I have chosen to teach, seeing those “light bulb” moments, and having students open up to you and share their personal struggles and triumphs with you is what makes it all worthwhile.

I am so excited to soon be finished this internship so this degree can finally be completed, and I can start my own classroom, and gain more positive experience. However I am also sad to leave my students.

Hope everyone is taking the time to enjoy what is left of this internship. Can’t wait to hear all about everyone else’s experiences in detail. (Intermediate-Secondary Intern)

 The act of teaching is like filing your taxes, making a souffle
The act of teaching is like filing your taxes, making a souffle, committing a murder; messy and laborious if you don’t know what you’re doing and you often only have one chance to get it right without incurring undesirable consequences for the rest of your life.

Now that my internship is almost over, I can safely say that my experience has been messy and laborious and I have no idea if I did good by these poor unfortunate children who have had to endure my inexperience. My biggest fear was that my inexperience would severely and negatively affect my students’ academic success and psychologically scar them for life. Sure, over time my teaching style and choice in resources may improve, and later classes will benefit from my refinements, but those future kids are not these kids that I am teaching right now, who deserve better than the very best I have to offer (which is not much). Initially I had expected my first semester in Education to prepare me for success in the classroom, but this was not the case. I fumbled and failed in all kinds of ways.

Thankfully, that first semester prepared me for something else, something much more useful than plain old boring success – the art of the contingency plan. Like Batman, who has contingency plans for his contingency plans, my internship experience has helped me come to terms with imperfection, to be prepared for the unexpected path the classroom experience may take me. As long as the goal is met and learning is happening, it doesn’t matter how closely I follow the lesson plan I spent hours preparing. My internship taught me to recognize when learning was happening, and my first semester gave me the tools I needed to adapt to the form and direction learning is taking.

While I will probably never know the extent of the damage I have inflicted on these poor unfortunate students, I can only hope that I will do better with the next batch. After all, the act of teaching is like filing your taxes, making a soufflé, or committing a murder – even when you incur undesirable consequences if you fail the first time, there’s usually another opportunity to try again.  (Intermediate Intern)

Recommended Book Resource for Primary and Elementary Interns

The Beatitudes: From Slavery to Civil Rights (2010)
Author: Carole Boston Weatherford
Illustrator: Tim Ladwig

As you open the book, the words of the Beatitudes greet you, sprinkled across the end page—“Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God”. Since the earliest days of slavery, African Americans have relied on their faith in their struggles against oppression. The Beatitudes (The beginning of the Sermon on the Mount) are the backdrop for this book of poetic prose that portrays the journey from slavery to civil rights.

Told in the first person, the story begins—“I am the Lord your God. I was with the Americans who were torn from the Motherland and cramped in holds of ships on the Middle Passage from Africa to the Americas. I heard them chant: Kum ba ya, kum ba ya”. The vibrant illustrations of the progress of the African Americans illuminate each double page spread, with the words of the Beatitudes running as a footnote across each page.

Goosebumps will ride your arms as you read—“I was with the U.S. Colored troops who fought to end slavery during the Civil War. I beat the drum for freedom”. As you turn each page, you are invited in to the emotions, strength, and pride of African Americans—“I was with six-year-old Ruby Bridges when angry whites heckled her as she entered an all-white elementary school to become its first black student. I held her hand”. And then to present day, “I was with Barack Obama when he took his oath as President of the United States. I was the Bible where he placed his hand”.

This wondrous book ends with a short description of each African American who is portrayed in this story of progress. It is a book for readers of all ages, a tale of sorrow that becomes a tale of celebration.

On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 1)

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    “I forgot my gloves so I had to use my school’s handbook!”

 Quote of the Week

 “Good teachers make a lasting impact on their students’ lives.  When a young person learns from an exceptional teacher, they are more likely to graduate, attend college, and succeed later in life.  Teachers lift up the next generation and enrich our nation, and they deserve our gratitude and thanks.” – Barack Obama

On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 2)

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“When will I learn everything there is to know?”

Education Law Corner 

Several years ago university professors, Joseph and Jo Blasé did a study in the United States which examined the problem of principal mistreatment of teachers.  Their study resulted in a book titled Breaking the Silence published by Corwin Press in 2003.  They stated that “when principal mistreatment occurred through face-to-face interaction, principals frequently escalated and became explosive and engaged in particularly nasty behaviors” (p. 78).  A couple of examples of that explosive and nasty behavior are listed here:

From the beginning he singled me out for criticism.  He criticized me publicly and loudly. . . . He would mock me in front of other teachers. . . . He called me into his office and berated me for over an hour on the proper way to show respect to a principal.  He called me a troublemaker. . . . He ridiculed me in a faculty meeting. . . He said he would always take the word of a parent or student against me anytime.

If the principal did not like what you were doing, he would call you into his office and yell at you, let you know he had the ultimate authority.  He would say he made the decisions and if you didn’t like it, you could leave.

He was scary. . . out of control. . . screaming. . . about to explode.

She was loud. . . had a crabby voice. . . negative. . . If she did smile, it was kind of a nasty smile.  (pp. 78-79)

To the best of my knowledge, no such study of this kind has ever been conducted in Canada.   Does this kind of principal behavior exist in Canada?  In Newfoundland and Labrador?

On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 3)

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“I have trouble with punctuation.  I just don’t have any comma sense!”

 Concluding Comments From The Editor

That concludes issue # 12.  Thank you to those interns who sent in submissions this week.

Hockey-wise locally:  Not much to report this week.  We had 2 new goalies filling in for us Friday night at St. Bon’s – Chris Cardiff (who is a regular goalie playing in various games here in the city) and Scottie Parsons who ordinarily plays as a forward with us on Friday nights.  Scottie stepped in “between the pipes” because he didn’t want us to play with only 1 goalie – a brave fellow indeed!  Anyways, both goalies were spectacular, Chris more understandably so, but Scottie – we were all shocked to see him perform so well!  No sure how he felt the next day – oh those contortions!!!

Yours truly did score 1 goal – far cry from last week’s hat trick! Actually it was a “garbage goal”!  One of our players took a shot at Scottie – he stopped it – it was in the open between his pads – I banged at it and it went in, amid protests from Scottie and his team-mates.  My defense:  the referee hadn’t blown the whistle and the goalie didn’t have his glove over it. Oh, forgot to mention we don’t have any referees!!!!!!! C’est le but!

NHL-wise, les Habs defeated the Sens last night in the shoot-out and “les Leafs” lost to Chicago in OT – a great night indeed;  it was my turn to call the Stephenville sister-in-law for  a little “vindictiveness”!!!!  Habs play the Sens again tonight – this time in Montreal.

Have a wonderful week everyone – Jerome.

 

 

 

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Volume 11, Number 11

Greetings everyone.  This eMemo is being put together today Sunday after the big wind storm much of the province experienced yesterday and last night.  Wow!   Lots of damage done – haven’t heard yet of any damage to school buildings but I’d be surprised if there wasn’t any.  One sure misses that electricity when we don’t have it.  Hopefully, things will get back to normal in the next few days.

The winter of 2016-2017 is one that will go down in the meteorological history books!  I’m sure we’re all looking forward to spring – how’s that for a bit of an understatement; the clock going ahead last night is a good sign.

Intermediate/secondary interns:  you’re going into your 3rd last week.  Primary/elementary interns:  your internship ends 2 weeks later, on Thurs., April 13.  Enjoy the issue.

Feedback From This Year’s Interns

My absolutely amazing, caring, funny, creative, cool, and unique students
Ever since the tender age of eight years old, I knew that I wanted to become a teacher when I grew up. My explanation of why I wanted to do this was that I loved reading and books as much as I loved the giant chests of stickers my teachers had on their desks, the golden opportunity to write on the chalkboard, and to play with sticky tack. My motives have evolved significantly since then (thank god, right?). I loved going to my grandma’s house because she had a small chalkboard in her basement. I would set up and play “school” with anyone who would humor me. Sometimes it would be a class of stuffed animals; sometimes my family members got roped into the whole charade. But one thing has not changed since then: that is my love of learning and my desire to share knowledge with others.

The Education program at MUN has been a phenomenal ride thus far. I shed tears the day I got my acceptance letter. After completing my Bachelor of Arts, I was scared to death that I might not get accepted into the Faculty of Education and would have to settle for something else in life. Relief overwhelmed me the day my fate was confirmed with that letter. My lifelong dream of becoming a teacher finally started to come into fruition.

The first semester of this program was my favorite semester of my entire university career. My classmates are a wonderful group and everyone in the faculty is amazing. It was a little bittersweet leaving St. John’s to come to rural Newfoundland to do my internship, but I have not regretted it. This internship is certainly the most incredible experience of my life. It has affirmed my choice to become a teacher and it makes me feel confident about spending the rest of my life teaching.

Alright, enough of my sappy raving about my journey here. Let’s get down to why this internship is great. The number one best thing about teaching is “drumroll please” –  STUDENTS! Yes! My absolutely amazing, caring, funny, creative, cool, and unique students! I have bonded so closely with all of my students these past months and it really does make all of the difference in the world. Thank you, my B. Ed. instructors, for teaching me about that beforehand. Now I have experienced it and I cannot think of anything more satisfying than teaching something to my students and seeing them actually get it – to hear them in the hallways talking about my lesson – to have them talk to me in the corridors – to see their smiles daily. Teaching is the most rewarding thing and there is no greater feeling than having your students respect you and learn from you. Bless their souls, I love them to pieces and I will be so sad to say goodbye at the end of the term.

I could go on all day about how great my students are, but I will spare you the details. Establishing that bond with them and maintaining it daily has been crucial in making my classes run smoothly. It was a little awkward at first, but once I got into my groove and gained my confidence, everything has been so perfect. My students respect me as I respect them and I can honestly say that I have not encountered any major behavioral issues. I’m pretty lucky! My students are also almost always engaged in class and participate. I try my best to relate the curriculum to them and make it fun and we honestly have such a good time in class while learning.

I know I won’t always have it that easy and there will sometimes be bumps in the road, but if I could give any advice to anyone with an interest in teaching effectively, it would be to start small and build that foundation with your students. Bond with them daily and get on their level. It will make class so much better for the both of you. Students are the reason we teach!  (Intermediate-Secondary Intern)

There is a wide range of reading levels
My experience in the grade 4 classroom for my internship has been an exceptional one.

One topic I would like to discuss is reading levels. In my classroom, there is a wide range of reading levels. I have students who struggle greatly with reading and reading comprehension, while others are at the same level and comprehension as I am. This definitely affects instruction because not all students follow along and rarely volunteer to read in class. Also, when students use their textbooks for activities and worksheets, not all can read and comprehend the sentences which causes the teacher to step in for extra help.

In a classroom of 24 students it is hard to help all students with reading during activities and worksheets. We have created a buddy system where the higher level readers help the lower level readers during activities where reading is required. This system works great in our classroom and could be adopted in any classroom.  (Elementary Intern)

I have come to the realization that there is much, much more to teaching than preparing lesson plans
I can’t believe that the tenth week of our internship is over. As I reflect back on all I have learned, I realize that I have learned a lot in those past ten weeks and have a lot more to learn. A hands-on approach has been invaluable. In my opinion, the best way to learn is by doing. Internships give students that hands-on experience they need.

During this internship, I have come to the realization that there is much, much more to teaching than preparing lesson plans. There are student misbehaviours, cell phone misuse and other distractions that can hinder students’ learning. However, at the end of the day, all that matters is that the students are learning and I have challenged them to reach their full potential.

It has been quite the learning experience. I am enjoying teaching and this internship has reaffirmed my career choice of becoming a teacher. I am both excited and looking forward to my future career as a teacher.  (Intermediate-Secondary Intern)

My school runs an absolutely astonishing Physical Education program
Physical Education (PE): A subject area often viewed as unimportant, the butt of all the jokes, and a “free class”. These are stereotypes that we have all heard throughout our lifetime. During my internship, I have realized just how untrue these statements are.

My school runs an absolutely astonishing PE program. First of all, no traditional sports are played throughout the year. Most athletes have the opportunity to play traditional sports outside of school time, so during PE, the students engross in new, innovative sports. Some examples include ultimate frisbee, goalball, handball, and ringette. PE students also have the opportunity to participate in a wide variety of outdoor winter activities, such as snowshoeing, quinzhee construction, and ski/snowboard trips to While Hills and Marble Mountain.

Furthermore, my school also has a state of the art fitness center. This fitness center is a fully furnished gym, with every piece of equipment, and all of the weights anyone could ever ask for. This fitness center is in use every day before class, where I assist in an early morning workout program. There is also a PE 3100/3101 class that is solely based out of the fitness center. These students use class time to work out on their own, and record their fitness progressions. Healthy Living classes also partake in fitness center activities, such as group workouts, circuits, pursuits, and fitness challenges. This fitness center allows our students the opportunity to become comfortable in a gym setting, and learn how to use the equipment properly. Hopefully, this will lead to a lifetime full of physical activity.

My internship has been phenomenal, and I am ecstatic that I have had the opportunity to be a part of such a wonderful PE program. I should add that each year the PE department goes on a physical activity/adventure based trip. They have been to Switzerland, Iceland, Hawaii, and Costa Rica within the past few years! Long live PE!   (Intermediate-Secondary Intern)

Recommended Book Resource for Primary and Elementary Interns
Poetry Week
This week will offer poems from three illustrated children’s poetry books. The book titles and authors are listed, along with one poem from each book. There are so many wonderful poetry books and too many teachers who are not comfortable reading poetry. So here is a glimpse into the wondrous world of poetry.

Title: Red sings from Treetops – A Year in Colors
Author: Joyce Sidman   (Caldecott Honor Book)

In the winter woods,

Gray and Brown

holding hands amidst falling snowflakes.

Their brilliant sisters—

Red, Orange, and Yellow—

Have all gone home.

Gray and Brown sway shyly,

The only beauties left.

The illustration is of bare trees and two people
holding hands amidst falling snowflakes.

 Title: Days Like This – A Collection of Small Poems
Collector: Simon James

 A Lazy Thought (by Eve Mirriam)

There go the grownups

To the office,

To the store.

Subway rush,

Traffic crush;

Hurry, scurry,

Worry, flurry.

No wonder

Grownups

Don’t grow up

Anymore.

It takes a lot

Of slow

To grow.

The illustration is of tired looking people walking on a busy city sidewalk.

Title: Grumbles from the Forest: Fairy-Tale Voices with a Twist busy city sidewalk.
Authors: Jane Yolen and Rebecca Kai Dotlich

Beauty Sleep

Wake up, princess, time to rise.

Open up your dreamy eyes.

Never mind the prince or kiss.

By no means were you raised for this.

Take the plot back from the witch.

Kick her spindle in the ditch!

There are two Sleeping Beauty poems and in the illustration
objects are flying, including a spinning wheel.

On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 1)

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“Miss the bus again, Riley?”

 Quote of the Week

 “To spend each day helping children unravel their uniqueness is the best job in the world” – Melanie Perez

On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 2)

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“Will this be on the test ?”

On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 3) 

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“It’s a cellular megaphone!”

Education Law Corner
From time to time the question comes up as to whether or not teachers should attempt to break up a student fight in the classroom, elsewhere in the  school building or on school property.

Section 43 of the Criminal Code of Canada condones the use of corporal punishment:

Every schoolteacher, parent or person standing in the place of a parent is justified in using force by way of correction toward a pupil or child, as the case may be, who is under his care, if the force does not exceed what is reasonable under the circumstances.
(http://www.canlii.org/ca/sta/c-46/sec43.html)

Over the years there have been considerable controversy and debate over this section of the Criminal Code and a number of legal challenges have been launched all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada.  These challenges have been on behalf of several civil liberty groups and have argued that this section violated various rights outlined in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The latest challenge to Section 43 came from the Canadian Foundation for Children, Youth and the Law in 2003.  The Supreme Court of Canada heard arguments from this Foundation that Section 43 violated the constitutional rights of children, specifically legal rights (sections 7 and 12) and equality rights (section 15) as outlined in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

In early 2004 the Supreme Court of Canada, by a margin of 6-3, handed down their decision upholding the constitutionality of Section 43.  Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin stated that the general rule is that parents and teachers should avoid criminal prosecution if they use “only minor corrective force of a transitory and trifling nature”.  The following criteria for using corporal punishment were also put forth in the Supreme Court’s decision:

  1. corporal punishment of children under two years of age and teenagers is banned;
  2. parents cannot use any objects while disciplining their children;
  3. punishment must be administered with an open hand;
  4. blows or slaps to the head are prohibited;
  5. the force cannot cause harm, be degrading or cruel, or administered out of anger; and
  6. the gravity of a child’s precipitating behaviour is irrelevant.
    (http://www.canlii.org/ca/cas/scc/2004/2004scc4.html)

In addition to the above criteria for parents, the Court issued more restrictive guidelines for teachers allowing them to use force only in situations to restrain students – such as when breaking up a fight.  It is imperative that teachers be aware of this development as it points out quite definitively that they cannot use physical force in the classroom in a routine manner as has been the custom in the past. A student is behaving in an obnoxious manner or uses vulgarity towards a teacher; the teacher responds by hitting the student.  Under this new criterion stated above, Section 43 can no longer be used as a defense for such teacher behavior.  The best advice for teachers is that under no circumstances should they engage in physical force when dealing with students no matter what the offensive behavior is.  The only exception of course would be in the case of their attempting to break up a fight between students or where another individual is in imminent danger of being injured by the student in question.   In this exception it is perfectly acceptable for a teacher to intervene to break up a fight as long as the teacher does not use excessive force which could result in serious injury to the student(s); the operative word here is “reasonable”.

What about a situation whereby a teacher(s) refuses to get involved and this non-involvement results in a serious injury to the student(s) involved?  I would suggest that the parent(s) might have legitimate grounds to launch a civil suit alleging negligence on the part of the teacher(s), the school and/or the school board.  Food for serious thought!

Concluding Comments From The Editor
That takes care of issue # 9.  Thank you to the interns who sent in submissions this week.   

Hockey-wise locally:  Had another great game at St. Bon’s Forum Friday night.  Guess who got his 2nd hat trick in the past 5 weeks?  You’re right and I’m some proud of me!  Pardon my humility or lack thereof!  One of those goals came on a pass from Glen Rumsey, one of our best players – actually, it was the first shot of the game. Glen was in the right corner, passed the puck to me – top shelf – a thing of beauty indeed!  Thank you, Glen.  One of the other 3 – got a breakaway (I have to confess that I do “hog” the other team’s blue line – our team’s side of course!) – went in on the goalie – did a backhander – deked the goalie – c’est le but!  The 3rd goal of the trio – just banged at the puck in front of the net and it went in!

(NOTE:  I certainly would not want to imply that I’m a scoring legend in these games – nothing further from the truth.  Keep in mind that many other players score 3 or more on a regular weekly basis but because I edit this eMemo, I have the medium to brag!)

Oh, forgot to mention that St. Bon’s Forum has recently been awarded a $100, 268.00 ACOA grant for major refurbishment/upgrading – wonderful news indeed.   The Forum is showing its age and is in dire need of upgrading.

NHL-wise, less than impressed with les Habs as of late; spent all day Friday past flossing the “crow” feathers out of my teeth as a result of their Thursday night 5-0 loss to the Flames – I did receive that dreaded telephone call from the sister-in-law in Stephenville!  Ce n’est pas bon!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Have a great week everyone – Jerome.

 

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Volume 11, Number 10

Good afternoon everyone  – welcome to issue # 10 of the eMemo.  Only 2 submissions for this issue which perhaps speak to how busy the interns are as they move along into their final weeks in the schools. Enjoy.

Feedback From This Year’s Interns

Every dime and dollar
When I actually lift my head from the work that I have fully immersed myself in and realize that I am nine weeks into this internship, I find myself reeling. Where on earth did the time go? I feel like I only just arrived at the school but at the same time I feel like a true regular. This was my first time teaching high school-aged students and I had no idea what I was in for. I was initially nervous. We’ve all heard the teenage horror stories and we’ve all lived them.

I expected this to be an uphill battle, but I never could have anticipated how genuinely this experience would enrich my life – that these students and their rich tapestry of identities weaved together in one room would be something I would grow to look forward to on a daily basis. All I can say is, I have had a rare opportunity to get to know some of the quality individuals that are coming up behind my generation. I don’t know if the bunch I teach are an anomaly or not, but I can at least take comfort in knowing there are some truly worthwhile people getting ready to join us in adulthood.

Teaching has proven to be a thrill. The preparation, the challenge of maintaining organization and deadlines, the energy and performance that goes into each class. I love the excitement before a lesson or an activity I’ve planned, anticipating how the students will react to it. I adore the waves, smiles and greetings in the halls as we bustle from one event to the next. Above all else, I revere that sense of warm satisfaction I get when a student seeks out help because they’re stressed about a topic and they leave feeling confident. To sit with a student and help them towards that “aha!” moment and the gratitude they show when you spend that time to help them is the greatest feeling. It is a whole other level of payment for my job that carries its own weight in value and it tells me that I have made the right choice in pursuing this career avenue.

The only downfall for me now is thinking about having to say goodbye in so short a time and returning to usual student life. I fill up just thinking about it! But I have already made some memories within those corridors that I won’t soon forget. I can’t wait to have an opportunity to make some more. I may not have gotten paid for this internship – hell, I paid for it out of my own pocket! But for me, getting to know and help these kids has been worth every dime and dollar. (Secondary Intern)

One of the most educating and perhaps greatest experiences of my life
I am doing my internship at a kindergarten to grade 12 school on the southwest coast of Newfoundland; it is actually the school I graduated from. I have been placed in the grade 4/5 classroom and luckily enough I knew my co-operating teacher before I started my internship because she was my French teacher.

Even though I knew the school and my co-operating teacher, I was really nervous to begin my internship because I always had my heart set on teaching primary, more specifically, kindergarten and now I was going to be teaching elementary students. I was so nervous because I didn’t know if the students would like me or respect me. Also, I was thinking maybe they wouldn’t want another teacher in the classroom with them; I had so many thoughts running through my mind. However, my first day could not have gone any better and 9 weeks later, I am still having the absolute best time.

I have learned far more than I ever thought possible from my co-operating teacher. She has made the classroom have such a welcoming atmosphere and she allows me to use my ideas when her ideas do not work as she had hoped. She treats me as an equal and not someone who is below her. I could not ask for a better co-operating teacher. Not only have I learned from my teacher, I have also learned so much from my students.

The group of students I am with are wonderful. From the beginning I have given them respect and have been open to their ideas and I can tell that they respect me because for the most part they do listen to what I say to them. I have developed relationships with all of my students. I try to teach my students in different ways and to do different activities with them so I can figure out what styles of learning they like best. This gives me ideas for what I can use in my future classroom. Overall, this has been one of the most educating and perhaps the greatest experiences of my life. (Elementary Intern)

Recommended Book Resource for Primary and Elementary Interns
Light in the Darkness (2013)

Author: Lesa Cline-Ransome

Illustrator: James E. Ransome

This is more than a tale of slavery, it is a tale of hope in the desperate world of slavery. It tells of how a group of slaves learned to read in secret. For all of us for whom it was expected we learn to read as children, for the taken for granted, it is a depiction we cannot imagine. How many of us have heard of “pit schools”, large holes dug deep in the ground and disguised with sticks and branches? This story tells of one group of slaves who faced beatings and death to learn what we consider our right.

Rosa was awakened in the middle of the night by her mother. She quietly follows her Mama, making sure the patrolers don’t catch them. She knows not where she is going, but she follows her Mama faithfully. They stop when they reach a group of bushes that cover a big hole. Mama makes the call of a bird, and when Rosa looks down she sees faces, young and old, gathered around a lantern. Morris, the teacher from another plantation, was taught to read by his master’s mistress long ago, and wants to teach other slaves to read before he dies. “Master says slaves are too dumb to learn. You wouldn’t know it, ‘cause in this school, they are taking in learning like it’s their last breath”.

It was too dangerous to go every night, but eventually Rosa learned all her letters, along with her Mama. Then one night they heard the patrollers stopping above them, and they all held their breath. But the horses moved on and they were safe. However, the patrollers caught two slaves returning to their plantations in the morning and “whipped ‘em so bad, one of ‘em near bleed to death”.

The slaves were scared and no one returned to school, “folks just too scared or just too tired of trying”. Days passed with no school. Finally, one night Rosa woke her mama, but her mama was too scared to go. Rosa would not give up shaking her mama until she got up. When they got to the school, Morris was there all alone. As he started to teach Rosa how to spell her name, they heard footsteps above them. They thought they were caught and would be lashed. But then they heard the call of a bird and when Morris pulled the branches apart to see who found them, they saw many faces, some old and some new, looking down at them. Rosa picked up a stick to mark in the dirt and said to a new girl, “I’ll show you how I write my name”.

Reading how the slaves valued learning to read and what they were willing to undergo to learn will fill readers with respect, awe, and pain. These slaves risked their lives to learn and this book celebrates their pursuit of freedom. As Frederick Douglas said, “once you learn to read, you will be forever free”.

On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 1)

 

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“Under a lot of stress lately, Miss Duffy?”

Quote of the Week

 “I wish I could bring back my teacher to the library and check out a new one.”                              @livefromsnacktime on Instagram

On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 2)

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“I want to be street smart so I can be a road scholar!”

Education Law Corner 

In last week’s issue we briefly discussed the concept of contributory negligence.

In Canada courts consider the principle of contributory negligence when settling negligence or liability suits.  Contributory negligence involves dividing the responsibilities of the negligent act between the accused and the victim.  In certain cases the teacher is not the sole individual responsible for injuries or damages incurred as a result of negligence.

Depending on the age of the student and the circumstances surrounding the specific incident, the student can be found to have contributed directly to the injury or damage.  Students do have a duty or obligation to act with reasonable care for their own safety.  This would obviously involve students of an older age, specifically at the junior or senior high levels.

An example of a court decision involving contributory negligence is Kowalchuk v. Middlesex County Board of Education.  This case involved a student being injured as a result of jumping on a gym mat left outside the gymnasium door.  The school board was found to be 80 percent negligent and the student 20 percent contributorily negligent.  In essence, the court had determined that the student was 20 percent responsible for his own injury.

On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 3)

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“I missed all the presidents on the History test. I was politically incorrect!”

Concluding Comments From The Editor

That takes care of issue # 9.

Thank you to the interns who sent in submissions this week.     

Another wonderful scrimmage game of hockey at St. Bon’s this Friday night past.  14 players + 2 goalies meant that we had 3 changes on the bench and that some of us didn’t haven’t to resort to using the oxygen tank!  For yours truly goals were the usual hard to come by but I did manage to get one: Baccalieu Collegiate high school teacher, Steve Trimm and I got a breakaway – Steve passed the puck to me on right wing, the goalie sprawled to the left and I was successful in lifting the puck up and over – top shelf!  We were both very pleased!

NHL-wise, you are probably aware that les Habs are on a 5 game winning streak, so there has been a significant amount of “crowing” going on from you know who!

There was indeed icing on the cake with Thursday night bringing enjoyment of  “gargantuan proportions” to us die-hard Habs fans:  the Habs won; the Leafs lost; the Bruins lost!  Now it doesn’t get any better than that!!!!!!!!!!!  Of course, I’ve been making the customary telephone calls, several actually, to Stephenville, to a certain sister-in-law who is a fanatical Leafs fan.  Those calls gently “massage” (i.e., rub in) the losses of the Leafs and the wins of the Habs!  As someone once said, “you have to make hay when the sun shines”!  In the uncertain world of NHL hockey, my “crowing” could disappear real quick with the “shoe being on the other foot”.  “Carpe diem” or “seize the moment” I say!

On a more sober hockey note, please go to:  https://www.pressreader.com/canada/the-telegram-st-johns/textview for an interesting story titled “Short Cut” by sports writer, Robin Short detailing his almost losing an eye in a recent hockey game.  It speaks to the importance of wearing visors or face cages when playing hockey, no matter at what level.

Have a great week everyone – Jerome

 

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Volume 11, Number 9

Greetings, everyone – welcome to issue # 9 of the eMemo.  After this week, interns, you have 4 weeks remaining in your internship.  In those 4 weeks a suggestion would be to “consolidate” any of those objectives or goals you’ve set for yourselves in the internship – you may not achieve all of them, but hopefully you will have made significant progress on that journey to becoming a good teacher.  Enjoy this issue.

Feedback From This Year’s Interns

 I did find my “gym voice”
So far, so good! I am interning at a high school in the St. John’s area. I have a relatively quiet personality and therefore at the beginning of my internship I was nervous about every little thing – even taking attendance. Being in the gymnasium for most of my teaching did not help my quietness.  At first, I was scared I would not have a “gym voice” and never find it.

However, that next week, I told myself there was nothing to be nervous or quiet about anymore and eventually I would get the hang of everything; I was right! We are now 8 weeks in and I hardly get nervous anymore. I teach three Physical Education classes, along with two Healthy Living classes and I would not want it any other way. I’ve managed to build a good relationship with my students; I know most of their names now and some of their interests so I can connect to them better— makes teaching a lot easier. I think because of that connectedness I’ve built, the students are more supportive and co-operative back towards me, which makes my teaching experience a breeze.

Oh, I did find my “gym voice” – my co-operating teacher was pretty impressed too!

Can’t wait to see what the next few weeks have in store for me.  (Secondary Intern)

I still get nervous sometimes
I am interning at the elementary level in French Immersion at a school in the St. John’s  area and I have really enjoyed my experience so far. I am more comfortable now with the classroom and my students since we’ve had the time to get to know each other;  they know what to expect from me and I have some idea of what to expect from them.

I also have more confidence when speaking to the class. The first time I introduced a lesson, I swear that all the words went right out of my head. Now I still get nervous sometimes, but I’m more able to manage that stress and I don’t worry if I don’t know exactly what I’m going to say.

I’ve learned so much so far and I am looking forward to the next few weeks of my internship.  (Elementary Intern)

The atmosphere of the school was tense and somber
I’ve completed eight weeks of my internship and time sure is flying by! One thing stands out since being here was my school’s spirit week. The spirit week was a breath of fresh air that came right after our mid-term exams. During the mid-terms I constantly saw students stressed out and upset about their upcoming exams; the atmosphere of the school was tense and somber. When spirit week came along the students seem to get a spring back in their step. Spirit week consisted of activities such as “Husky Olympics”, a dodge ball tournament and “formal Friday” (students dressed up in formal attire). Having activities such as spirit week develops a sense of community within the school which in turn gives the students a sense of pride.

In an era where there is so much emphasis put on reaching outcomes and preparing students for post secondary it is refreshing to see that these types of activities still play a major part in the school. (Secondary Intern)

They are changing the person that I am
Being an intern means that you are constantly learning. Your co-operating teachers are always teaching you by showing you how they teach their students and how they manage their classroom. They teach you by passing on their wisdom, giving you advice and providing construction criticism. You also learn from other teachers at your school, who provide you with information and advice.

But the people that you learn the most from are your students. My students have taught me so many valuable lessons and have been the inspiration behind my personal and professional growth. My students have taught me that it is okay to make mistakes, and it is okay to own those mistakes. They have taught me the importance of getting to know your students on a personal level and creating a strong bond with each and every one of them. My students have taught me that it is essential to be a good listener, and to hear about their concerns and worries. They have shown me that something as simple as a smile can brighten their day. My students have also taught me that being a teacher is a gift, and not a burden.

As an intern I am required to learn about lesson plans, curriculum guides, classroom management strategies and so much more. But the lessons that my students have taught me are not only changing the teacher that I will become, but they are changing the person that I am. (Primary Intern)

I find myself struggling to keep up with the pace
During the first couple of weeks of my practicum, my experience was greater than I had imagined it would be. The staff was friendly and genuine, and I felt quite welcome from the get-go. My co-operating teacher, who had a fantastic rapport with her students, allowed me to observe and assimilate with ease. She seemed to use modern teaching techniques and methods in her classroom, and it was interesting to see how the dynamics of teaching had evolved since I was in middle school.

During those weeks, I had an opportunity to observe and interact with numerous classes outside of my teachable areas including Drama, Music, English, Geography, and History, and I am currently in the midst of teaching units for Geography and English. Initially, I also had plans to join the after-school drama club, and had hoped to organize an after-school/noon-hour guitar class. However, I broke my finger – temporarily derailing some of those plans! Needless to say, my experience up to that point had been quite enriching.

As most, if not all, of the Education students can attest to, the practicum has become increasingly more difficult as time progresses. With my responsibilities growing (i.e.,  grading, lesson planning, lesson revisions, extra-curricular activities, working part-time, etc.), it has been more trying as each week passes. Now, at the halfway point of my practicum, I find myself struggling to keep up with the pace, while simultaneously trying to live a healthy, balanced lifestyle. But, of course, this is all part of the learning experience. For me, the most rewarding part of this internship, thus far, has been connecting with the students; it has been more enjoyable than actually teaching them. I believe that showing an interest in the students as individuals, while also learning their stories, is equally as important as motivating them to complete their work. In fact, in my experience, establishing such a rapport with the students can actually make them better learners, or at the very least, they want to try harder.

On Valentine’s Day, I received a card from a student that said, “You are going to make a great teacher!”. When I read this, it made me feel like I was accomplishing something in the classroom. All in all, I must say that, while I look forward to the end of my practicum, I will miss being in the classroom.  (Intermediate Intern)

The work load seems a bit much at times
At the midpoint of my internship, I am beginning to notice some differences. They appeared so gradually that at first I wasn’t even aware of the changes. The first is how the students react to me as if I was just another teacher. I am no longer “The new teacher” but someone they have begun to accept; of course this isn’t always a good thing but overall I appear to be blending in with the faculty.

The second is my relationships with the other teachers, who have begun to accept me as one of the staff. No longer the outsider but one of many trying to make some difference in the lives of the students.

The biggest difference, however, is how comfortable I feel. The nervousness is gone, I no longer second guess if my lesson plans will meet my co-operating teacher’s approval. The work load seems a bit much at times, just trying to stay ahead of the classes I am teaching. But, should I have the opportunity to teach these classes again, I can see how much easier it will be the next time.

By recognizing the differences between where I was when I started and where I am now, I feel that I have made the right choice. I can truly see myself thriving as a teacher. I am actually excited for what the future has in store for me.  (Intermediate-Secondary Intern)

Our Congratulations to Dr. Sylvia Moore

Dr. Sylvia Moore of our Happy Valley-Goose Bay campus, recently published her first book titled Trickster Chases the Tale of Education McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2017). According to Dr. Kahente Horn-Miller, a professor in the School of Indigenous and Canadian Studies at Carleton University, this book “illustrates the power of Indigenous storytelling as we are taken on a journey of decolonizing research through the story of a researcher, Crow, and the salmon that inspired two communities to come together”.  We congratulate Dr. Moore on this wonderful achievement.

Recommended Book Resource for Primary and Elementary Interns

The Magic Pillow (2008)
Author: Demi

Illustrated in Demi’s signature GOLD overtones, The Magic Pillow is based on a Chinese story from 700 A. D. Ping, the protagonist in Demi’s tale is based upon Lu Tung Pin, one of the Eight Chinese Immortals, the Patron Saint of Literature. His goal was to destroy greed, ego, passion, jealousy, and ignorance.

Ping was from a poor family. One day he went into the mountains to collect firewood and got caught in a snowstorm. A kind innkeeper agreed that he could stay the night until the storm passed. A magician was staying at the inn and was performing tricks. Ping was entranced with the magic, but then became sad when he remembered the poorness of his family. When Ping told the magician about how poor his family was and how he would never have much, the magician replied, “The greatest gift of all is having wisdom, for with wisdom you can find the truth! You can become enlightened!” He gave Ping a pillow to sleep on and told him that all his wishes would come true while he was sleeping on the pillow.

As soon as Ping lay down, he fell asleep and began to dream. He dreamt he was grown up, married to a rich girl, living in a palace, and prime minister of the land. He was powerful and happy. But then, things began to change as others became jealous and envious of him. He was put in jail, lost everything, and after a long time regained his freedom and riches. As time went on in his dream, Ping’s sons and grandsons became rich and famous, but then they, too lost everything, were jailed, and eventually regained their riches and power. Ping saw his family’s fortunes rise and fall, rise and fall—“money was like a flash of lightning in a summer cloud, power was like a flickering lamp, and fame lasted no longer than a bubble in a stream”.

When Ping woke, it was morning and the sun was shining. When Ping returned the pillow to the magician he thanked him, “. . . it has given me great wisdom. Now I know what it would be like to be a great man and have money, power, and fame. And now I know that I am happy just the way I am!” As Ping went home to his family, he sang all the way.

“He who finds peace in his heart has found his palace of gold”.

On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 1)

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“I’m a problem child.  I’m majoring in Math!”

Quote of the Week

There are three things to remember when teaching:  know your stuff; know whom
you are stuffing; and then stuff them elegantly. – Lola May

On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 2)

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Education Law Corner

In an earlier issue we discussed negligence and how negligence would be determined in a court of law. One important concept in negligence is that of contributory negligence.  The Canadian Law Dictionary defines this concept as:

“Conduct on the part of the plaintiff that falls below the standard of care to which he should conform for his own protection and that, when combined with the defendant’s negligence, was a legally contributing cause bringing about the plaintiff’s harm or injury.  The defence of contributory negligence has but two elements, namely, that the injured person did not in his own interest take reasonable care of himself, and by this want of care, contributed to his own injury”.

More on the practicalities of contributory negligence in next week’s issue.

 On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 3) 

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“I keep reminding myself why I teach – to leave my mark on
future generations that will take years of therapy to erase!”

Concluding Comments From The Editor

That takes care of issue # 9.

A word of thanks to the interns who sent in submissions this week.     

On Friday night past we had an “interesting” game at St. Bon’s – 1 goalie and a total of 10 players which meant that, because we play 4 on 4, we had 1 player on the bench when it came time for a shift change!  Our only goalie, Dave Rockwood, did double net-duty as every 10 minutes, he’d “boot it” down the ice to the other net.  If we were shooting on an empty net, we had to hit one of the posts for it to be a legitimate goal.  Obviously, overall, not one of our better games but we did enjoy the workout.  I managed to score an “empty net” goal:  I was in the right corner, shot the puck in front of the net, hit one of their players’ skates, and then the puck gently hit the left post.  I thanked him for the “assist”!  Probably not worthy of a TSN video clip!

NHL-wise, missed the Habs-Leafs game last night due to another commitment but was delighted to hear les Habs beat the Leafs in OT.  It was good to get that win – badly needed!

And, as usual, feedback is always welcomed from the current interns and from the general readership.  My email address is jdelaney@mun.ca

Have a wonderful week everyone – long term forecast looking good – Jerome

 

 

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Vol. 11, Number 8

Hello everyone and welcome to issue # 8.  Another week or so and February will be done.  Interns, you are over half-ways through your internship.   One constant aspect of teaching is that it’s always at “warp speed” and time, or a lack thereof,  is always a challenge.   Best wishes to all of you on the “second  half”.  Enjoy this issue.

Feedback From This Year’s Interns

I don’t love being an intern but I love being a teacher
I have always wanted to be a teacher, I am one of the few who have never changed their mind about their career choice. I remember being in Grade 5 and asking for a whiteboard for Christmas so I could play school- and now, here I am! Almost a teacher.

After a busy fall semester, I was more than excited for my internship. However, I have not enjoyed it as much as I hoped that I would. I love teaching, don’t get me wrong. I love making lesson plans, correcting, and getting to know the students. I don’t love having someone watch me teach. I feel like I cannot fully be myself having a seasoned teacher listen and watch every lesson that I teach. It makes me feel very nervous. I know that this is all a part of the process, but I am longing for the day that I have my own classroom, my own desk, and no one supervising me! (Secondary Intern)

I do not think there are many professions out there that are as good for the soul as teaching is
I have heard it said that parenting can be described as dealing with all the struggles (which may be plentiful), but that it is all worth it when you have those moments you hold dear; these are the moments that take you by surprise, and force you to take a deep breath and realize how truly blessed you are.

I feel this sentiment is so true to teaching! I have had moments in the classroom throughout this internship that make me feel as if I will never be able to be fully in control of the entire classroom, or that I do not have the words (or sense) to explain a concept properly; however, none of those scenarios really matter in the grand scheme. My students I have gotten to work with over the last 6 weeks have become my bright spot among any of the struggles, even if they are the ones causing the struggles! There have been mornings that I have woken up, not 100% committed to going in, but once I walk down the halls and get a simple good morning from a student my entire mindset changes.

I do not think there are many professions out there that are as good for the soul as teaching is. (Secondary Intern)

Those feelings of nervousness and stress dissipated
Preceding my return to begin my internship, I sustained a leg injury that delayed my arrival to teaching by one week. This week was agonizing, as I dealt with both the physical pain of healing, and seemingly more great, the nervousness and intimidation of standing at the front of highly populated classrooms of noisy teenagers. I am not an unconfident person, but it takes a certain type of individual to stand in that position. Was I that person?

After only a few days of assuming my role as an intern, those feelings of nervousness and stress dissipated, and what remained was a feeling of ‘home’. The joy of knowing I have chosen an occupation that makes me feel this way is nothing short of spectacular. Sure, I have my struggles, and challenges, and shortcomings to improve, but what I first viewed as a team of judgmental youngsters ready to tear me apart was instead a group of children, looking for direction, guidance, education, and often just a friend. (Secondary Intern)

I was very nervous and unsure as to what to expect (especially in a different country)
Hello everyone! I am completing my internship in Harlow, England with a beautiful grade one class of thirty! First when I began my internship, I was very nervous and unsure as to what to expect (especially in a different country). The staff and children were all so welcoming that it only took approximately a week or two to become immersed in their school community. One concern I had was adhering to the different abilities within the classroom. The classroom was arranged in groups of four/five (based on ability in both Math and English) and each lesson was differentiated based on each group. It has since become easier to differentiate lessons, especially once I started to get to know the students and what may work best for them.

However, there is also another concern that I had when first arriving. Both Math and English are the two most emphasized subjects here. The children have these subjects every day and there has to be some evidence of their work, pasted or included in their work books in some way. Through my understanding, these books are often looked at and are used as evidence for when inspectors (governed by Her Majesty) come to the school to ensure the school is meeting certain guidelines and doing what is expected, and of course, adhering to the children’s needs. Personally, I am not a fan of worksheets for every Math and English lesson. However, I understand that things are different here and it is what needs to be done. All other subjects have a little more flexibility though! In saying how different this is, it now allows me to try and be more creative than ever, so I can still engage the children in these subject areas, which is something that I have been working on throughout my internship.

Lastly, I wanted to mention how incredible this school is in terms of meeting the needs of every child and offering them the assistance they may need. This school has after school clubs every day during the week and every day there are two-three options as to what club the children may want to attend. Even on some Saturdays, teachers go into the school and do activities with the children to teach them life skills that they may not otherwise learn in their home environments. I had the pleasure of baking with some students on a Saturday and getting them involved in measuring and preparing a treat! I will be truly sad to leave the children in April. One student recently said ‘Miss, I wish you didn’t have to leave us at Easter.’ It’s moments like that, that reinforce just how right I think this profession is for me.  (Primary Intern)

Teaching Core French has proven to be a challenge
I am currently interning at a junior high school in the St. John’s area. I have wanted to be a teacher since I was six years old, and I’m happy to follow through with a lifelong dream.

Junior high is a lot more difficult than I ever thought it could be. I mostly have good days, but they’re not all perfect. I’m teaching Social Studies, Religion, Health and two Core French classes. I absolutely love my Social Studies, Religion and Health classes, and find them super enjoyable. These classes make me feel confident in my choice to pursue a focus area in Social Studies.

On the other hand, teaching Core French has proven to be a challenge. I’ve found that my students have no interest in learning the language, and it is very hard to motivate them to learn. On top of that, having a VERY small classroom doesn’t help with classroom management. I’ve observed one of my French classes in another classroom, and the classroom dynamic was totally different than it is in our French class. Core French is a constant challenge for me, and I’m still learning how to approach teaching the language in a way that will motivate them to learn. Hopefully by the time I’m finished my internship, I’ll feel successful with my Core French classes, and feel that I’ve finally made learning French interesting and worthwhile to them. (Intermediate Intern)

These supports have been invaluable to me
I feel very lucky with the course load I’ve been given during my internship here. By chance, as I’ve been placed with several different co-operating teachers, in each of the four classes that I am placed in, there is some additional support. These supports have been invaluable to me as I go forward.

In the two grade ten Math classes I am teaching, there are student mentors (higher grade students who assist students and answer questions during class work time). With larger class sizes, having one additional person in the room who can answer student questions is an incredible benefit.

In both of my Technology courses, there is a highly skilled IRT. I have been warned that this is not the case most of the time, especially in the workshop. He is extremely knowledgeable about how things work in the shop, and works extremely well with all of the students in the class. He and I and my co-operating teachers are always busy assisting students in these classes. Even with three teachers in the workshop, many more students have questions.

When I started teaching during my internship, I was very anxious about getting started. Thanks to these supports, it’s been much easier to get used to the ropes of being a teacher. I am getting more and more comfortable in my new role as a teacher. My co-operating teachers have all encouraged me to consider how I would approach certain situations without the supports in place that I have in those classes. This has certainly been an excellent point for personal reflection. I’m glad the training wheels are on for now, but I’m also reflecting on how to modify what I’m doing and looking forward to my future in this career. (Secondary Intern)

Classroom management has proven to be the biggest challenge
This internship has been the ultimate learning experience. While I am having a great time doing something I totally love, there have been challenges as well. Classroom management has proven to be the biggest challenge for me personally on this internship. Overall, my students are generally well behaved and they’re a really great group of people, but one class in particularly can be VERY disruptive and off-task. First when I began teaching, I found myself becoming increasingly discouraged by the constant disruptions, as it felt that very little teaching and learning was occurring. I would plan all kinds of different activities and it seemed that everything would fall flat because so much time was being spent on repeating instructions and trying to talk over students. I realized that I wasn’t having fun and neither were the students.

After talking to some other teachers who were teaching this same group of students I found that they were having the same sorts of issues. A couple of these teachers mentioned how the pattern of disruptive behavior had gotten to the point where they found themselves “losing it” with the students, and two of the teachers had even called the vice principal in to have a chat with the group. It was obvious though, that reprimanding the students had not changed much for these teachers, nor did the stern talks from the principal. In fact, all this seemed to do was frustrate and discourage the students and they began talking about how “All the teachers hate us, Miss”. I knew I needed to find a way to address the behavior, but I also knew that I absolutely did not want my students to feel like I hated them or I was out to get them.

After much reflection, I decided that instead of punishing or reprimanding the students for their off-task/disruptive behaviors I would begin a system whereby they would be rewarded for on-task behaviors, thus encouraging them instead of discouraging them. While they still need some reminding from time to time, the classroom dynamic has changed significantly since I implemented this system and it seems to be working well thus far. The students are motivated to do things to help themselves and their classmates earn rewards, and it makes them feel better about themselves and their abilities when I focus on what they’re doing right instead of what they’re doing that’s disruptive or off-task. This has further strengthened my relationship with these students and contributed to an overall more positive classroom environment – both on their part and mine. So, my advice to any other interns struggling with the same sorts of issues: try to focus on (and reinforce) the positive, instead of the negative. (Intermediate Intern)

Recommended Book Resource for Primary and Elementary Interns

The Giving Tree (1964)
Author: Shel Silverstein

A powerful book about giving from the prolific Shel Silverstein, known for his humorous poetry adored by so many and known for the songs he wrote for Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show. This poignant tale is one of love and tenderness. Parents and teachers will recognize themselves in this book. Students may not get the same perceptions from the story, but each student will emerge with his/her own feelings.

The story begins, “Once there was a tree…and she loved a little boy”. The illustrations are pencil drawings on a stark white background, no more is needed to convey the story. Every day the little boy played with the tree. He gathered leaves to make a crown to wear, climbed the trunk to swing from its branches, and ate the apples from the tree. He played hide and seek and slept in the shade of the branches. “The boy loved the tree… And the tree was happy”.

But as the boy grew older, his interests changed. He did not come to the tree as often and the tree was lonely. One day when the boy was a teenager he came to the tree looking for money. The tree told him to pick his apples and sell them for money. “and so the boy climbed up the tree and gathered her apples. And the tree was happy”.

The boy stayed away a long time and when he came back he was a man. He wanted a house. The tree offered up her branches, and after the man cut the branches to use for his house, “the tree was happy.” The man eventually cut down the trunk to build a boat, leaving a stump. “And the tree was happy…but not really.”

The next time the tree saw him, the boy was an old man. The tree said, “I am sorry, but I have nothing left to give you.” The old man did not need much anymore, “just a quiet place to sit” as he was tired. The tree said, “Sit down and rest”. And the boy did. “And the tree was happy.”

Meant for young and old, this story will leave readers and listeners with lots to think about or maybe to remember.

Article on the Reality of Teaching

For this excellent article titled “Quality or Quantity – Finding a Balance” written by Alexander Lambrecht of the Northwest Territories (NWT) Federation of Labor, go to:  https://www.ntfl.ca/labour-views-february-15-2017-quality-or-quantity-finding-a-balance/

On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 1)

cartoon-2017-22

“I got an F in Art class for my effigy of the principal!”

 Quote of the Week

It’s all good! –  Pete the Cat
(Go to:  http://www.harpercollins.ca/childrens/feature/petethecat
and click on “I Love My White Shoes” Song.

 On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 2)

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“I got all Zs because I fell to sleep in class!”

Education Law Corner 

An important concept in Law is that of due process and of course it is equally important in Education/School Law.  A very “legalesed” definition from the Canadian Law Dictionary defines this concept as:
. . . [giving] persons specifically affected by the decision a reasonable opportunity of presenting their case, [being listened] to fairly and {having a decision reached] untainted by bias.

I realize that schools and classrooms are not courtrooms so how is such a concept operationalized or “practiced” in our classrooms?  Basically, I think it means that we as teachers are expected to treat our students fairly and with respect in incidents of a disciplinary nature.  Some might say this is rather subjective and perhaps they are right in saying that.  However, fairness and respect implies that we give the student(s) in question the opportunity to explain their “side of the story” and that we are polite and respectful in our interactions with the student(s) involved.  In years gone by, it was not uncommon for school administrators to denigrate students when they were being disciplined in the office.  By denigration I mean shouting at students, using very derogatory comments towards those students – overall being very “snarky” with those students.  This kind of behavior towards students is anything but professional and I would hope that this kind of behavior is non-existent today (Sidebar:  This may be a tad naïve of me!!!!).  As educators we should be role models for all of our students and negative treatment of students does nothing to encourage students to do better.

In disciplinary matters, the “bias issue” is a challenging one, more so for the teacher of the student involved in the particular incident and less so for the school administrator if s/he is asked by the teacher to be involved in the disciplinary issue. The teacher is on the front line when dealing with discipline issues in the classroom whereas the administrator is at some distance from that front line.  I’m not suggesting here that discipline issues not be taken seriously and that they be treated in a frivolous manner.  Rather, my point is that when disciplinary sanctions such as detentions, suspensions, and parent meetings are invoked, the manner in which they are invoked and handled should be respectful and with fairness in mind.

On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 3) 

cartoon-2017-24

“Kiss me before the Biology teacher finds me!”

Concluding Comments From The Editor

That concludes issue # 8.

Our usual thanks to the interns who sent in submissions this week.     

St. Bon’s hockey-wise, overall, we had another great game on Friday night – 16 players and the usual 2 goalies. We thank Daniel Penney, a Level 2 student at Holy Heart High School, who filled in for us as our spare goalie.  Oh, yours truly did get 1goal Friday night – I was in front of the net, shot the puck at Rocky and to both his surprise and mine, it went through the “5 hole”.  Now, it was no Shea Weber-like shot but at a decent velocity, even if I have to say so myself!  I was so proud!!!!!!!

NHL-wise, I was delighted to see a coaching change with les Habitants this past week.  I was hoping that assistant coach Kirk Muller would get the nod; however, it was not to be.  But I’m ok with Claude Julien.  Having said that, his debut Saturday afternoon against the Winnipeg Jets was an unsuccessful one but then maybe, a little time is needed for him to develop some “chemistry” with the team.  However, time is of the essence as the Habs have several teams closing in on their first place standing in the Atlantic Division. We Habs fans live in hope!  And my sympathies, albeit somewhat facetious, to the Leafs on their 6-3 loss to the Senators Saturday night!

As usual, feedback is always welcomed from the current interns and from the general readership.  My email address is jdelaney@mun.ca

Have a great week everyone, with no snow, hopefully  –  Jerome

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Vol. 11, Number 7

Greetings everyone and welcome to issue # 7.  Winter is moving right along and Environment Canada is predicting another snow storm tomorrow Tuesday and possibly Wednesday.   Not sure what the latest snow accumulation is for St. John’s and vicinity but methinks it must be getting up there.  Ah, que sera, era!

Our new feature, An Education Research Study which debuted last week, was well received and we have another study featured in this issue.  Enjoy!

Feedback From This Year’s Interns

Allow yourself to reflect on your mistakes
I am interning at the intermediate level and if I could pass on one piece of advice to my fellow interns it would be to allow yourself to reflect on your mistakes. I’ve always considered myself to be an introspective person; however, since teaching full time during this internship I have discovered that it is an extremely humbling process. Teaching various subjects to a wide range of students has really opened my eyes to the way I handle difficult situations. I would be lying if I said I handled every situation perfectly. This is where introspection comes into play. If you are unable to step back after a tough class and assess what happened, why it happened and what you did, then I feel as if growth and longevity are inhibited. It can be really tough to think back on our mistakes as a means to move forward.

To share a personal example, I was teaching grade seven Social Studies and I was leading my students through a step by step process on how to properly fold sheets of paper that they needed for an assignment. Mid-way through the explanation I forgot how to do it. My instructions became unclear and I eventually remembered it but, by that time most students were confused and looking at me like I was an alien. It was quite embarrassing but I took a moment, swallowed my pride and apologized to them for my bad instructions. We restarted the activity and it went well. They were super understanding, which I find is mostly the case with students. They know you are an intern and that you’re new to teaching. If you can allow yourself to admit your mistakes and take the steps necessary to prevent them from happening again, you will grow as a person and a teacher. In this case I realized that I needed to better prepare for lessons that I was unfamiliar with. I also learned that step by step instructions for grade 7s need to be at a very slow pace to ensure all students can complete the activity.

I am sure we have all encountered people who cannot accept their own mistakes and try to deflect, but I truly feel that teaching is a deeply introspective career and to become a great teacher, one must allow oneself to reflect on and process one’s mistakes. The most important thing is to recognize our errors and move forward as an improved version of ourselves. (Intermediate Intern)

A surprise to me how much I am enjoying this experience
I am a junior high school intern in a school in the St. John’s area. Previous to this internship I had spent my fall internship at the high school level. There I had few discipline issues and my mentor teacher suggested I try the junior high level if I wanted more experience dealing with classroom management.

I was very nervous prior to starting in January, but it is amazing how after a few days I felt that was a real member of the classroom. I was a member of the classroom because I immediately had a role in helping students to reach their ‘full potential’.  I wonder if you all felt the same way; did you seamlessly start helping students from the back of the room? Did you get in close proximity to students who were disturbing other class members to get them to be quiet and pay attention? I don’t think I’m wonderful, or at all someone who is completely necessary within the system as an intern, but I do feel that the classes I’m working in needed an extra person to help the Grade 7s and 8s to reach their full potential. I don’t know how the teacher survived and was able to teach all the students previous to having a helping hand (and as the interns at my school like to say “free labor”. Why do I say this? Well in some classes we have 34 students, with the class being a mixture of student ability levels and with an emphasis on inclusiveness I don’t know how we can help everyone reach their full potential without more help.

Okay that is my small comment on classroom sizes and the style of teaching that is within the system.

I love going into class every day. It is a surprise to me how much I am enjoying this experience. I help in the mornings with the breakfast program. This has allowed me to meet the students on a different level and to see how helpful such a program is. The breakfast program in our school is parent-driven, with little help from teachers. I understand it was not always this way, but there is a strong dedicated group of parents helping to ensure that each student has the opportunity to start their school day fed well. The smiles and politeness are the gifts that we all share together. I also try to help with the drama program, taking the lead from another student intern who has more experience in that area. I help with a community connections group who make soups for community groups, and I have a blast playing intramurals.

My class load has been slowly increasing but I really have appreciated having access to previous power points, student booklets, review sheets and tests. Without these gifts of a lot of work from predecessor interns my workload would be over the top, but I am modifying the previous work to suit my style. I started teaching two classes of Religion, enjoying the opportunity to teach Hinduism, Buddhism and Innu. I’m currently covering the topic of tobacco smoking. I called the smoker’s hotline and brought in a presenter for two classes. This is a good opportunity to introduce students to other ways of teaching. I reviewed the presenter’s material and asked her to change some things to more suit the grade levels and then I suggested she use a follow along work sheet for the students. This made her presentations more applicable, so much so that my mentor teacher suggested other teachers contact the smoker’s helpline for more presentations. Now when I start on Health next week I am struggling with how to cope with the nervous and slightly embarrassed laughter when we look at our human bodies in the text books!

I have been teaching grade 8 Science and next week I’ll take over the Grade 7s. In order to make these prepared presentations my own I have included more local examples.  Of course, I still have lots of discipline issues….but each day I try to ask another teacher how to handle such issues. Some of it is making sure the students understand my expectations. Some of it is knowing a student’s name, or talking with them between classes and getting to know something about them. One piece of advice was to save one student a day, meaning connect with one long enough each day by listening or helping them and then that student has a wider platform to continue their learning process. I started staying with one student longer each time I helped them; this seems to stop some of the continuous questioning. Also another hint I was given was when students tend to a problem and then gaze around the room, you should encourage them to immediately put their pencil to the next problem to try and stop the distractions. I have been told I remind one boy of his grandmother, and by another boy that I smell like the outside, like trees…. I need to find the balance between wanting the students to be working all the time, to allowing them to experience a safe, caring and just classroom in order to learn on their own the skills that will help them to be engaged members of their and my community. (Intermediate Intern)

I need to improve on my classroom management skills
I’m really enjoying my internship so far: I’m placed in a senior high school in St. John’s. So far, I’ve taught Canadian Geography, Career Development, Skilled Trades, and World Geography. I’m hoping to get in with another teacher to teach Canadian History soon.

I was apprehensive when I first started teaching, but that feeling has dissipated. I can now focus on improving my teaching abilities. I have no problems with class preparation or delivery of the material, but I think I need to improve on my classroom management skills: for example, my Skilled Trades class is somewhat unruly. I’m sure it will come with time.

Teaching doesn’t feel like work to me. I greatly enjoy the preparation and when you get in a groove, correcting can be enjoyable as well (especially if your students do well!). I am looking forward to next week already.  (Secondary Intern)

On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 1)

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“I love my little monsters!”

Quote of the Week
“I have witnessed the softening of the hardest of hearts by a simple smile.” –  Goldie Hawn

 Job Opening: Immediate Position in Thailand – British Columbia Program

Spend the rest of the winter in beautiful Thailand! We have just received a last minute position in Bangkok, Thailand at a British Columbia off-shore program.

Our client is looking for a Physics 11, 12 and Chemistry 11, 12 teacher for their Bangkok school. This is an immediate start until June 30, 2017 with the option of signing for additional years. Salary range is $42,000 – $49,000 CAN depending on training and experience.

If you are interested and available for an immediate start, please email me today and I will arrange a time to discuss further details of the position with you by video Skype.

Sincerely,
Andrea Dinan
Senior Recruiting Manager
Solutions that Work

It’s Academic Educational Staffing Ltd.
Vancouver ~ Toronto

Toronto Office:
Suite 2500 – 120 Adelaide St. West
Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5H 1T1
Direct:416-646-4355
Office: 416-642-8566 ext: 206
Skype: ad-itsacademic
adinan@itsacademic.ca
http://www.itsacademic.ca

An Education Research Study
Researchers:  Dr. Henry Schultz, Faculty of Education & Dr. Beverly Fitzpatrick, School of                                                Pharmacy
Title:                 Teaching Young Students to Self-Assess Critically

Teaching critical thinking skills is important for young students (Lipman, 2003), and self-assessment is important to students’ learning to think independently (Brookhart, 2007). We conducted a study with grade 4 students to improve their critical thinking and self-assessment skills, using formative assessment.

Student learning was determined through students’ responses to formative assessment tasks as part of the intervention, a pre and a posttest, and pre- and post–instructional student focus groups. The intervention improved the clarity of student responses to a story, but did not affect the logical relevance. However, intervention students could discuss the clarity and relevance of their answers to questions, and could articulate how they improved their answers. Their self-assessments aligned more closely with those of the researchers.

 On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 2)

v11-02-07

“When do we learn about computer dating?”

Education Law Corner
The past couple of issues have been detailing various cases of teacher misconduct.  The only 2 provinces that publish this information are Ontario and British Columbia through a couple of publications titled Professionally Speaking and Learn. These publications are published quarterly by the Ontario College of Teachers ()CT) and the Teacher Regulation Branch of the BC Ministry of Education respectively.  Issue # 6 of the eMemo provided details of one such case from BC.  This issue gives details of a disciplinary case in Ontario which resulted in the teacher having his teaching license suspended for 3 months.  Some of the words in the summary below may be offensive to some readers but in the interest of non-censorship, we do not edit out such language.

Member: Bruce Leslie Hyde
Registration No: 460267
Decision: Suspension, reprimand, conditions

A Discipline Committee panel suspended the certificate of Bruce Leslie Hyde, a former teacher at the Durham Catholic District School Board, for engaging in a repeated pattern of verbal and physical abuse of students. This matter was heard by the panel on February 2, 2015, October 7, 2015, and April 22, 2016. Hyde, who was certified to teach in August 2002, attended the hearing on April 22, 2016, and had legal representation.

His unprofessional conduct, which happened in 2010, included: • hitting a student and/or students in the face; • pushing a student and/or students; • using words like “asshole,” “fuck,” “shit,” “bullshit,” “dick” and “faggot”; and • instructing a student to “sit his fat ass down.” As part of his board’s investigation, he was instructed not to have any contact with any students. Despite this instruction, Hyde contacted a student and/or students via telephone and/ or Facebook to discuss the students’ complaints. His employment with the board was terminated in April 2011.

The Discipline Committee panel found Hyde guilty of professional misconduct and ordered that his teaching certificate be suspended for three months and that he appear before the panel immediately following the hearing to receive a reprimand. It also directed the member to successfully complete, at his own expense and prior to seeking or engaging in employment where a certificate is required, a pre-approved course on classroom management and boundary issues.

In its written decision, the panel stated, “The Member was found guilty of similar misconduct in 2009. He was ordered to take remedial courses with respect to classroom management and appropriate methods of disciplining students. Despite that sanction, the Member engaged in a repeated pattern of verbal and physical abuse of students in 2010 and 2011. Clearly, the Member did not “get” the message that this type of conduct is unacceptable.”

 Please Check Your MUN Email Accounts
Interns, you are asked to check your MUN email accounts on a regular basis as that’s the only email address we’re expected to use to contact you.

Submissions Not Published in the eMemo
Interns, if you have sent in a submission for the eMemo and it has not yet been published, that’s an oversight on the editor’s part.
You are asked to email me (jdelaney@mun.ca) at your earliest convenience and the submission will be in the next issue of the eMemo.
I don’t think that’s happened thus far this year but please bring it to my attention if/when it does happen.

On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 3) 

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“He’s getting ready for Speech class tomorrow and he’s
out collecting his thoughts.”

Concluding Comments From The Editor
That takes care of # 7.

Our usual thanks to the interns who sent in submissions this week.  Thank you also to Henry and Beverly for their research study submission.   

Hockey-wise, overall, another great game at St. Bon’s on Friday night. Goalies, Dave Rockwood and a former MEd student of mine, Sarah MacPherson were absolutely “sensationale” between the pipes with an amazing amount of “flashing the letter” and shutting us forwards down big-time! Please note that in my own case, that’s not a hard thing for a goalie to do and Dave, aka “Rocky”, seems to delight in doing that to me on a regular basis!

NHL-wise, les Habitants continue to do terribly and as Robin Short suggested in Saturday’s Telegram, it may be time to fire Michel Therrien; I’d even go so far as to suggest firing Marc Bergiven as well! With the tremendous talent the Canadiens have, there is something horribly wrong with their on ice performance in the last several games and when that happens in NHL hockey, it is not uncommon for coaches and managers to take the fall and become “collateral damage”!  Easier and obviously more practical to fire coaches and managers than the full team!  That’s my hockey rant for this week.

As usual, feedback is always welcomed from the current interns and from the general readership.  My email address is jdelaney@mun.ca

Have a wonderful week everyone – Jerome

 

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