Good day to all of you and welcome to eMEMO issue # 3. Winter is obviously settling into the St. John’s and neighboring areas with very cool temps and an abundance of snow. I’m no great fan of winter (except that it means hockey is alive and well!) but I guess we should make the most of it and enjoy it as much as we can! The “snow dance” seems to be gaining “traction” in schools as I’ve heard that phrase a couple of times this past week and to date it seems to be working with at least 2 snow days for students and teachers here on the Avalon peninsula. Hope you enjoy this issue.
Feedback From This Year’s Interns (2014-2015)
From Across the Pond
I am doing my internship overseas, in Harlow, England, so that is an adventure in and of itself. While the anticipation and excitement of having this experience abroad was great, it also provided me with some natural thoughts of concern and trepidation. Before arriving, I wondered what the school would be like, or would the staff and students be receptive towards me? Would I fit into their school? Would the curriculum be vastly different than Canadian schools? And even the basic thought of will I enjoy myself? These worries and concerns were quickly dispelled after arriving. Upon finishing my second week, I can honestly say I feel absolutely at home. The staff at this school are unbelievably kind, knowledgeable, and willing to help in any possible way. I don’t feel like an intern; I feel like I am a member of their team and that is comforting since I know that I have someone to turn to for advice, assistance, or guidance. Truth be told, we interns need as much of that as we can get!
I’m also feeling very lucky in the sense that I not only have just one teacher with whom I am working, but also several other teachers. I have my primary co-operating teacher in History but I also have two other teachers (Humanities and English) with whom I’m getting the opportunity to work closely. So I’m getting the opportunity to learn and “pick the brains” of not only one but three great teachers. This also means I get to teach a variety of grades from Year 7- Year 10 which expands my experience even further.
I already know this internship is going to be a phenomenal experience and a valuable part of my journey to becoming a teaching. Being abroad and getting to witness and teach in an entirely different school system and curriculum is eye opening and is already making me so aware of different ways to teach and educate students. I have started teaching lessons this week, and I’m happy to be back in the classroom, undertaking my passion – teaching. The students are a pleasure to teach and they are full of questions and curiosity, especially those regarding life in Canada!
I look forward to reading more about everyone’s experience; the eMEMO really helps me feel connected to everyone even from “across the pond”. All the best interns; make the most of this experience. I know I am! (Intermediate/Secondary Intern)
Filled With Mixed Emotions
On January 5, 2015 I walked across the snowy parking lot of my internship school, filled with mixed emotions of excitement and anxiety of what lay before me. My nervousness quickly disappeared when I was warmly welcomed by the staff and recognized and greeted by some of the students from my previous two-week internship. With the forecast of a snowstorm and the prospect of school closure, the staff gave specific instructions to the interns on how to effectively perform the “snow dance”. We must have done a good job because school was closed the next day, resulting in a short work week. I quickly realized that teachers are just as excited for a snow day as students are!
The first week was mainly an observing one. This week I began teaching Science 1206. I am loving every minute of my teaching experiences!
I am endeavoring to make my lesson plans as engaging as possible, and allowing time for individualized assistance. I strive to maintain a good classroom control for optimum learning. My co-op teacher is very helpful, relaxed and patient, and I am so pleased that he is already allowing me to teach independently. I feel at ease with teaching his classes, knowing he is readily accessible to help me with any issues I encounter. Next week the midterms begin, and I will be invigilating in the exam rooms. Then . . . let the correcting begin!
I have been learning the students’ names and getting to know them on a personal level. I was anxious to become involved in extra-curricular activities in the school, so I approached the drama teacher and offered my time and energy. I am now co-director of the school play for the drama festival. I am looking forward to what the rest of my internship has to offer. (Secondary Intern)
Both Rewarding and Challenging
The first two weeks of my internship have truly opened my eyes to the world of teaching and have shown me how the teaching profession is both rewarding and challenging. I am very fortunate to be completing my internship in a Kindergarten classroom and to be working with an outstanding co-operating teacher who exhibits a real passion for teaching. The school has also recognized me as a part of their staff and I feel very privileged to be there.
During the second week of my internship, I have made the transition from observing the teacher and the students to participating in teaching various lessons. I am captivated by how the students are always so engaged and excited to learn new concepts. It is very interesting to interact with them because of their different personalities and honest opinions. I find it very fulfilling when the students who have been struggling with a particular concept are able to acquire an understanding of the concept. I have thoroughly enjoyed my experience thus far and I am looking forward to the coming weeks! (Primary Intern)
To Say I Was a Little Nervous
To say I was a little nervous going into this internship is a bit of an understatement! However, after finishing the first week successfully, I was ready to start teaching in week 2. My co-op teacher started me off slowly, instructing short 10-15 minute activities and taking on more and more each day. So far, it has been a great experience. I really enjoy teaching each class the course material and I’m starting to learn how different classes respond and act.
It has been very interesting to see how student personalities really shape how a class acts. I also enjoy learning each personality and trying to change my teaching style according to how students respond. I think my favorite part of this week was when students quickly asked interesting questions on a boring topic that I was teaching! It felt great to have students intrigued by my lesson and I’m looking forward to what the next few weeks hold! (Intermediate-Secondary Intern)
The Difference in Their Attitude
Well here we are, two weeks in to our long-internship. All in all, it has been an enjoyable experience so far. I have not done a whole lot of formal teaching yet, but I have experienced something that I personally view as valuable information for the future. We are always told to try and see things from the students’ perspective, as well as the teachers, but what of the substitute teacher?
From Monday to Wednesday my co-operating teacher was out sick due a bad case of the flu, so he had a substitute to come in for that time. Because of this, I was able to see what the class was like the week with the substitute at the wheel, compared to before when my co-operating teacher was at the helm. Right when the students came in Monday morning, you could see the difference in their attitude. When the first student came through the door, you could see the tired eyes of Monday morning perk up, and a smile emerged on their face. They expected a free class, and prepared for such a situation.
It is worth mentioning that these students (Grades 10 to 12) had seating plans, and so immediately they sat in places they were not normally supposed to. They never really got the opportunity, however, for that free class as myself and the substitute had detailed lesson plans from my co-operating teacher, and I knew most of the seating arrangements, but even so there was a different feeling in the classroom. They were more talkative than usual, and often drifted off into their own world. The substitute at times had difficulty in keeping them in check with seat work, but being provided with a detailed plan allowed him to continue with the lesson and with me there to help on some of the finer points. Seat work was another matter altogether, where everything but the work at hand.
At one point German disarmament in the 1930s was turned into a discussion about 18 varieties of apples during an activity. While this was a good laugh in my head, it meant little was getting done. This was the case for the three days my co-operating teacher was out. It took twice as long to get through the material, and it was difficult to keep the noise level down. They were not bad students, and things could have been a lot worse, but they were different people from those I had observed the week before. It was eye opening to see what a radical difference there was in those same students, which may have been worse if I, a constant figure from the week before, was not there. Even with my interference of just being there, I believe it gave me a small look at what a substitute needs to prepare for each time he or she gets called into a classroom. For that reason I think this was a valuable experience, and one I wanted to share with you all. (Secondary Intern)
On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 1)
“I thought schools weren’t supposed to encourage gangs!”
Excellent Maclean’s Article
“Inside Your Teenager’s Scary Brain”, an excellent article by Tamsin McMahon in the January 12/’15 issue of MACLEAN’s magazine, is worth reading. Go to http://www.macleans.ca/society/life/inside-your-teenagers-scary-brain/
Recommended Book Resource for Primary and Elementary Interns
By Patricia Polacco (2014)
Based upon Patricia Polacco’s family history, this story of how her family came to America from Ireland will entice readers of all ages. Back in Ireland, Patricia’s great-great grandmother Fiona grew up listening to her father tell the story of how he met his wife by following a trail of pieces of her lovely lace that led to her house. Fiona learned to make the finest of laces like her mother, a skill she took to America when her family was forced to leave Ireland because of hard times.
When Fiona’s family got to Chicago, they lived in great poverty with other immigrants, working in bondage for rich families to pay for their passage to the promised land, and toiling in the evenings to put food on the table. But, when it was discovered that Fiona could make lovely Irish lace, her skills were in high demand. Fiona’s family saved Fiona’s lace money to be able to get to Michigan one day and have their own land.
Then one evening, when Fiona and her sister were home alone, a great fire broke out in the neighborhood. Fiona grabbed the money tin and her lace and fled with her sister. The streets were in chaos with people everywhere crying and screaming. Fiona’s sister sobbed as she feared their parents would never find them. But Fiona, who was wearing her sewing scissors around her neck, started to cut her lace in pieces and left a trail all the way to a spot where she and her sister huddled for hours.
It was morning when they heard the voices of their parents, both who were clutching pieces of sooty lace. They had followed each piece until they had found their daughters, crying that this was Fiona’s “most beautiful creation—soot and all—for it saved you both…and us as well. We and generations after us will cherish this lace.”
They were right. Most of the brides in Patricia Polacco’s family have worn a piece of that lace in their veils or carried it in their bouquets or pinned it next to their hearts on their wedding gowns. Patricia Polacco keeps a piece framed in her home to remind her of her legacy.
Former Students’ Update
This feature is unavailable this week but will return next week.
On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 2)
“Nice try, Avery, but effort doesn’t start with an F!”
On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 3)
“I got sent home early for driving without a license.
I drove the teacher up the wall!”
Concluding Comment From the Editor
That’s it for issue # 3. Thank you to those interns who sent in submissions for this issue.
We’ve been receiving several submissions from intermediate/secondary interns and for that we are most appreciative and grateful. We encourage primary/elementary interns to send in submissions as well. Of course the P/E interns, in addition to their internship work in the schools, are also taking an online distance course, Education 4425 (Introduction to Educational Administration) during the winter semester. This is obviously quite a heavy workload and it’s understandable that time is at a premium. However, if P/E interns could submit at least 1 submission to the eMEMO during the winter semester, that would be more than wonderful. It’s important that we hear from interns at all grade levels.
Our 2nd scrimmage game of hockey took place at St. Bon’s on Friday night past. We had a great game and those of us older players are noticing that the “Saturday morning creaks” are getting less and less and that’s obviously a sign that we are transitioning well!
This week yours truly had a couple of “perfect hockey nights”: Wednesday night past the IceCaps scored in OT to beat the Portland Pirates by a score of 2-1. When I arrived home, les Habs were down 2-0 to the Blue Jackets; however, 3 power play goals by the Habs resulted in a 3-2 victory – wow! And, “icing on the cake” was added the next morning when I saw on TSN that the Leafs had lost to the Anaheim Ducks 4-0!!!!!!!
Last night (Saturday) was a “déjà vu” evening all over again! IceCaps won against the Pirates by scoring in OT again (3-2); Habs beat the Islanders 6-4 and the Leafs lost 3-0 to the St. Louis Blues! Doesn’t get any better than that! Sorry about the “gloating”!
“See” you all again next week.