Greetings everyone and welcome to issue # 10 of the eMEMO. Interns, only 4 weeks of your internship remaining – how quick this semester has gone! Just the other day when you walked into your schools for the first day of the winter semester. Make the most of your remaining weeks with your students. We look forward to your returning to campus and having you back in our classes. As I always mention in my first class after the internship, you’re returning to us as “transformed people”, hopefully in a most positive way! If applicable, may you have an enjoyable St. Paddy’s Day long weekend. Oh, forgot to mention that we begin a new feature in this issue titled Pic of the Week – enjoy!
Feedback From This Year’s Interns
A very rewarding experience
I am currently teaching Grade 11 and 12 Math courses at my former high school. It is a very rewarding experience and even more exciting than I ever imagined.
Adjusting to life in a larger school has been a challenge, but, has also
provided me with a positive learning environment. Teaching basic, academic, and advanced Math courses has allowed me to interact with and teach students of varying backgrounds.
When I decided to pursue an education degree, I was very nervous about public speaking and classroom management but this internship
has helped me grow and overcome those initial concerns.
With only a month left to the internship it is very difficult to not think about missing the school, staff, and students because it has been the experience of a lifetime. It will be very sad to leave but I am very thankful to have received this placement. (Secondary Intern)
They are not always easy to deal with
The best way to describe my internship so far? I am absolutely loving it. I am actually sad that it is ending so soon; I’ve grown attached to the students and will miss them dearly. I have learned so much, and I am very thankful for the experience.
One of the most valuable lessons I have learned so far is to never
give up on any student. They are not always easy to deal with, especially if they have a reputation for being that way, but we must do our best to try and get through to them. Just the other day, while getting photocopies, a student was in the copy room for having being kicked out of class. This student is known to be difficult and defiant, as he usually refuses to do any work or respond to instruction. I tried to get him to talk, but he was having no part of it. I decided to go at it from another angle. I started talking about things that I figured he would be interested in, and that he would be surprised that I also liked: paintball, video games, etc. Bingo! “Miss!! Really?! You like that
stuff?”. We proceeded to talk for the rest of the period, and we even spoke about school and why he does not usually do anything. This is a student who only glared at me before. When the bell went. he got up to go to his last class, but before leaving, he stopped and said, “Nice talking to you, Miss. Have a good one”.
Another teacher saw this happen, and once he left, she came
over to me, shocked, and asked how I did it. Just being able to get him to talk to me, and in a positive manner, was a huge step forward. Even though it was only a half hour of talking, I am so proud of him. It takes time, but success stories are indeed possible. (Intermediate Intern)
I knew I was in the right place
When I decided to become a teacher I was really looking forward to and focusing on teaching high school and high school only. I have a lot of experience working with that particular age group and enjoy working with them very much.
Of course when it came time for my placement I was placed in a jr. high. At first I was a little annoyed and disappointed, but quickly changed gears and focused on the new task at hand. From the moment I walked
into my new classroom and met my students, I knew I was in the right place.
All my students were very shy but curious to meet me; yet the energy was electric, all at the same time. They were all so curious to know who I was, where I came from and what my deal was. I quickly bonded with all my students and continue to have a great relationship with them all.
I find with jr. high students that there is a lot more energy in the classroom and patience is indeed a must! However, at the end of the day it is all worth it when you are able to make that connection and help these young, scared, ambitious students understand and guide them.
I know we can’t always pick our choice when it comes to teaching and you sometimes just have to take what opportunity is given to you. But, I now know and feel that jr. high is where I belong and where I want to be. (Intermediate Intern)
Giving the students a choice in how they want to learn
To date, I am very much enjoying my internship and looking forward to what my career as a teacher holds. From day one I felt it was necessary to make an effort to say good morning or hello to everyone (staff and students) and learn everyone’s names to help establish a rapport. My experiences so far have been both rewarding and successful.
I began by stating my expectations of the students to them, which ranged from respecting others in class to hard work and effort, so there would be no surprises for anyone and our learning environment would be both conducive to learning and enjoyable. I feel this approach has greatly influenced my classroom management as classes generally run quite smoothly. Speaking to the students outside of the class has also influenced this, as I make them aware I am available to chat whenever possible.
Another thing that I have noticed thus far in my internship is that giving the students a choice in how they want to learn course material is also very important. Students learn in many ways; therefore, material should be presented and represented in a way that is adaptable for any student. I recently finished up a Grade Nine Social Studies project in which each student was assigned to a particular group. This project involved explaining four regions of Canada during the 1920’s. Each group was to prepare and give a presentation about their region; however, it was up to the students to decide how they wanted to present. Every student in each group had a different job; some students were responsible for researching visuals, while others were responsible for picking out key facts from different websites. The remaining students worked on piecing together the slideshow for presenting. All students expressed how much they enjoyed working on this type of project – mission complete!
With that being said, despite this success, I have also experienced some challenges that come with this profession. For example, there are some students who do very little work and seem unmotivated. Whenever I face one of these students, I begin by talking to him/her one on one and offering my time outside of class should extra assistance or an ear be needed. Unfortunately, none have availed of my offer yet, but I feel it is important to let them know that the extra time is there if they need it. It shows that you are willing to go that extra mile for your students.
To conclude, I am thoroughly enjoying my internship and dreading for April to come as I am in no way ready for this experience to be over. In saying this, I am very excited about what my future career as a teacher holds and I am genuinely looking forward to making a difference in the lives of my students every day. (Intermediate Intern)
I had my first “proud teacher” moment yesterday
I’m doing my internship in a K-12 school, and I teach Science, Chemistry, Math, Health, and Geography classes in every grade except the 9’s. So far the internship has been a wonderful experience where I’ve really put myself out there. I’m interning at the school where I would ultimately like to work full time, so I haven’t held back at all with regards to extracurricular activities. It’s a small community, so it’s no shock that the staff and students are all very welcoming and all extremely respectful. To put it into perspective, the very first thing I noticed when I walked into the school the first day is that none of the lockers have locks on them; there’s no need.
I’ve had teaching experience before this, but in primary education, so I sort of knew what to expect. That being said, I had my first “proud teacher” moment yesterday. I just finished teaching a chapter in World Geography 3202 that relies heavily on case studies. The students were totally uninterested and you could tell their brains were turning to mush! There was, however, no way around the case studies (trust me, I racked my brain trying to figure out other activities!). I assigned a research project after finishing the last case study and gave the classes free reign over how they presented their projects, and what they were going to research as long as it was within the topic.
I handed out a rubric so that they knew exactly how they would be graded, but explained that they had the choice of presentation media. I was a little unsure of how this would go, because up until now they have never had any kind of options like that. They don’t do research projects in any of their classes, and out of 31 students only one knew what a bibliography was. Every single one of them totally lacked confidence, and kept saying they had no idea what they were doing.
I prepared myself for the worst as they handed their final projects in. So far I’ve only corrected approximately half, and the quality of the work is outstanding! Each project I read makes my heart a little warmer as I think, “They got it!” Even though none of them felt confident in their ability, they went above and beyond to make those connections that I hoped they would. It fills me with joy to know that when I hand these back, I’ll be able to make them feel that much more proud of themselves because they pushed themselves to do what they thought they couldn’t.
I’m learning a lot, especially about myself
Heading into week 10 of the long internship I can’t believe that we only have a month left. I am thoroughly enjoying my time at a junior high school and I’m learning a lot, especially about myself.
For the most part I am teaching French Immersion Science, but I have also had the opportunity to lead a few Special Education workshops with the pervasive needs class in the school. This has opened my mind to potentially pursuing special needs in the coming years.
I’ve definitely made a few mistakes during my teaching experiences, but the kids have been very understanding, I tell them that we are all learning together. They probably think I’m being foolish but it makes me feel better about the whole experience. I am currently responsible for two classes of Grade 7 Science and two classes of Grade 9 Science. Even though I am teaching the same course to both classes, they are both comprised of very different students with varying levels of understanding. I really am learning how to teach to the individuals in a class while also adapting material to fit the needs of a class as a whole.
I also love getting to talk to staff, especially younger staff who have been nothing but encouraging. Even young subs are optimistic and tell me tricks of the trade on how to get more sub days, since I will probably be in the same position come September!
Overall I feel blessed. I am definitely going to miss all of the kids and the welcoming staff. Can’t wait to see everyone when we go back to class! (Intermediate Intern)
The importance of developing healthy relationships with students
I strongly believe in the importance of developing healthy relationships with students, both inside and outside of the classroom. This is true across all grade levels, for all students, in all courses, regardless of academic capability.
During this internship I have been helping out a fair amount with the intramural sports program, as well as with the Grade 8/9 boys basketball team. I have a couple students who are involved in these programs, from each of my Grade 9 Math classes, with whom there are also some classroom management concerns. Working with them outside of class has paid huge dividends and garnered me a great deal of leverage with them in the classroom environment.
My co-operating teacher often remarks on how receptive they are to my teaching and their willingness to respond to me when working with them. It is my belief that when students see you giving your free time, it reinforces the notion that you are truly invested in them, their learning, and every aspect of their development. Students are perceptive to this and will respond positively.
All the best to all interns in the few short weeks remaining. (Intermediate Intern)
Has helped me grow as a teacher
Teaching in a school with Grades 7-12 certainly gives you a taste of the differences in students as they transition from junior high to senior high. I am lucky enough to see this in real time as most days I have Grade 12 Physical Education and then switch right over to a junior high Physical Education or Science class. Being able to experience these grade levels back to back allows me to see the benefits along with the challenges that are present with both areas at the same time.
I think the biggest challenge has been changing the way I teach from senior high back to junior high. Having more mature students in the senior high level compared to 13 and 14 year olds in junior high, especially in Physical Education, makes you take the same unit and present it in a completely different format. Being forced to change my teaching methods quickly in this way has helped me to grow as a teacher and to fill my “toolbox with a lot of tools”.
I am grateful for having being placed in such a fantastic school for my internship and can confidently say that my career choice couldn’t have been any more perfect. The students and staff have made me feel like I
have been teaching here for years and that my input on school activities and student learning is valued. I am more than excited to start my life as a teacher and influence the lives of many students on my journey!
Having students on your side is ultimately the best way
I can’t believe we’re 2/3 done our internships!! Although mine is going fairly well, I do find it overwhelming at times. I’m teaching mostly Français and Math courses at a 9-12 school and I’m very lucky to have TWO amazing co-operating teachers with many years of experience. At first I found it a struggle to have two teachers and I found myself getting along with one more than the other just because of our similar teaching styles and sense of humor.
However, I have to say that at this point I’ve very grateful to have two VERY different co-operating teachers to show me different ways of doing things. I found I’m growing more as a teacher every day and I’m loving my placement.
I’ve definitely learned that having a sense of humor and interacting with my students outside of the course material (building a relationship with them) is one of the best methods for classroom management. While I always find myself using proximity interference and other techniques we learned about without even thinking about it, I have come to realize that having the students on your side is ultimately the best way to win them over and have them opened up to learning new things. (Intermediate/Secondary Intern)
Interested in Teaching in England
UTeach is presently recruiting teachers for England for September, 2015. UTeach will be hosting a workshop here in the Faculty of Education to provide information about teaching and living in the UK.
When: Monday, March 23, from 5-7 pm.
Where: The McCann Centre (E2030B).
To register please send your résumé to Caitlin King by March 18th 2015 at firstname.lastname@example.org
Pic of the Week
This pic was sent in by Kent Edwards (front row – white baseball cap) doing his internship in Deer Lake. Kent and his buddies were playing “shinny” on an outdoor rink. He writes: “This is what I’ve been up to whenever I get free time – which is not as often as I would like sometimes, but that comes with the territory. That’s George “the puppy” up front next to me (he was a popular draft pick in the 2-on-2 tourney held on my friend’s backyard rink). George belongs to my dear friend Jamie Parsons, and despite that red jersey Jamie is sporting (with what appears to be a XXXXXX XXXX on the front), he’s actually a pretty decent guy!!!!!!!!!”
(Editor’s Note: The Xs represent a pejorative term that Kent used to
describe the storied logo of the Montreal Canadiens. I took “editorial license” here and replaced the term with those Xs. Obviously, Kent is a Toronto Maple Leafs fan!!!!)
On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 1)
“We have substitute teachers, so what’s wrong
with my idea of substitute students?”
Recommended Book Resource for Primary and Elementary Interns
The Right Word: Roget and his Thesaurus
Written by: Jen Bryant Palatini (2014)
Illustrated by: Melissa Sweet
A sensory delight of pictures and words – “The Right Word” will titillate your senses! Starting with the end pages, there is a feast of
images and words for readers of all ages. Peter Roget was born in 1779, (beginning, baby, infant, tadpole, child, youth, lad, youngster, whippersnapper, student, adolescent, teen, scholar, grown up, manhood,
middle age, prime of life, maturity, to wind up, draw to an end, close) and died in 1869 at the age of 90. Peter began making lists of words when he was a young child, and began his first book at age eight. On the cover he wrote: Peter, Mark, Roget, His Book. Every year he added new lists of words to his book. “Words, Peter learned, were powerful things. And when he put them in long, neat rows, he felt as if the world itself clicked into order.
Peter was a tall, thin, shy teenager who spent hours reading books and making lists of words. He thought, “if only all the ideas in the world could be found in one place, then everyone would have one book where they could find the best word, the one that really fit.” Peter graduated from medical school in Scotland at age 19. His uncle thought he was too young to become a doctor so he began teaching Math and Science. Eventually he became a doctor, but still worked on his lists. In 1805, he finished his first big book of word lists with more than 15,000 words. He kept his book on his desk and used it for himself.
When Peter was 45 he married and had children. A few other people published books of lists, and Peter read them all. Peter’s children thought their father’s book was much better. In 1852, Roget published his Thesaurus, a word that means “treasure house” in Greek. People loved his book and it sold immediately to thousands of people. Peter kept on adding to his book, so that “today, whenever you need it, you can still find “THE RIGHT WORD”.
Peter’s son took over as editor when Peter died, and then eventually, Peter’s grandson Samuel. Roget’s Thesaurus has continuously remained in print to this day. I hope everyone who reads this review has a copy of his thesaurus, and if you are like me, you will never look at it quite the same way again after learning how it came to be.
This Week’s Recommended Web-Site
This website helps with designing a philosophy of classroom management and is rich with a wonderful assortment of K-12 teaching resources.
Reference: Principles of classroom management (4th Canadian edition, 2016) by J. Levin, J. F. Nolan, J. W. Kerr, A. E. Elliott & M. Bajovic. Toronto: Pearson.
On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 2)
“Always remember that they’re more afraid of you
than you are of them!”
On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 3)
“Want to see her squirm? Ask her about the
birds and the bees!”
Concluding Comments From the Editor
That takes care of issue # 10.
The usual thank you to those interns who sent in submissions for this issue.
Re NHL hockey this week: It’s been a tough week for fans of les Habitants! On their road trip which concluded in Phoenix last night, the Habs lost 3 of their 4 games, going home with a mere 3 points out of a possible 8. Ce n’est pas bon! Yours truly had a full diet of turkey and crow this week – hard to get all those feathers out of my mouth! But, in the words of TSN’s Gino Reda, “That’s hockey”.
Another entertaining and delightful game at St. Bon’s on Friday night. Yours truly was held pointless. Did have several shots; some of them, not a great number, actually hit the goalie! Let’s write this week off and hopefully more success Habs-wise and personal-wise next week! I guess it does help me engender a modicum of personal empathy for some other NHL teams, especially one that I’ve already mentioned earlier in this eMEMO!
Have a great week everyone.