Good afternoon, everyone. I trust you all had an enjoyable Valentine’s Day yesterday. Interns in schools under the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District have a long weekend as tomorrow Monday is a scheduled holiday. Always nice to have a break. This week we have an unusually low number of intern submissions – 2! Not sure why that is but 2 of course are better than none. Hopefully, after the long Valentine’s Day weekend, we’ll have a greater number next week. I’m sure this speaks to how busy all interns are out there in the schools; sometimes, the days are just not long enough to get it all done! Have a great week.
Feedback From This Year’s Interns
What I admire most about my Grade 4s
I am sure like many other interns, I was extremely nervous going into my internship. At first, I was told I would be in kindergarten, which I was completely overjoyed about. However, just before Christmas I found out I was switched into an elementary class – Grade 4. Of course, I was completely nervous because I did not feel confident in being in an elementary classroom.
Yet, I am so glad I was wrong! After my first week in my Grade 4 class, I knew that I was where I was meant to be. I connected quickly with my students and I have an excellent co-operating teacher who has given me sound advice and has boosted my confidence tremendously.
What I admire most about my Grade 4s is their independence and their curiosity for learning. I have been trying to use inquiry through many of my lessons because I want my students to have a more authentic learning experience. I try to ask many “Why” questions and I find it astonishing with some of the answers they come up with. One thing I noticed when it comes to teaching is if you cannot connect their learning to their everyday lives and experiences, then they have a harder time trying to understand the lesson. Therefore, I have tried to use their areas of interest when creating my lessons because if my students will pay attention to my Math lessons when I use Minecraft examples and understand the new information, then I am going to use Minecraft examples!
Overall, the last six weeks have been quite the adventure. I am someone who believes everything happens for a reason so while I was disappointed when I found out I was not going to be in kindergarten, I know now that elementary teaching may be my calling! I look forward to the rest of my internship and to all the new experiences my internship has in store for me! (Elementary Intern)
Consumed by the internship
I am interning at a high school in St. John’s and I spend the majority of my time teaching Mathematics. The first six weeks of the internship have been both challenging and rewarding.
Most of my day to day life has become consumed by the internship; I spend hours correcting assignments, preparing lessons, and photocopying resources for my students. It’s hard to manage all the work while still finding some time to lead a normal life. Even when I get some “free time”, I often find myself discussing or thinking about teaching. This is not a bad thing though. In fact, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Every time I finish a lesson plan or come up with a new idea for the classroom, I feel an overwhelming sense of achievement, and when something I’ve created works for my students, this feeling is replicated tenfold. In the end, every day seems to bring new and interesting challenges, and even though I finish each day exhausted, I can’t help but look forward to the next. (Secondary Intern)
On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 1)
Recommended Book Resource for Primary and Elementary Interns
On a Snowy Night
Written by: Jean Little (2013)
Illustrated by: Brian Deines
Rosa Rabbit had lived with Brandon since his fifth birthday. Brandon had said excitedly “She’s better than perfect” when he got Rosa for a pet. He loved Rosa, hugged her, and gave her lots of treats.
But, now Brandon is much bigger and is often too busy playing with his friends to pay attention to Rosa. Sometimes he even forgets to feed her.
It is Christmas Eve and Rosa is feeling hungry, lonely, and unloved. Brandon takes her outside to enjoy the snow when one of his friends phones him. Brandon goes into the house and forgets about Rosa.
After a while, Rosa tries to follow Brandon’s footprints in the snow but gets lost. This is when Rosa’s adventure with the animals of the forest begins. Rosa got cold, and a flock of chickadees “fluffed up their down to make a soft, busy blanket against the biting wind”. A squirrel brought one of Brandon’s lost mittens to curl up on, and a raccoon stole the carrot nose from a snowman to give Rosa some food.
Rosa, surrounded by the animals, said in a small voice, “I thought wild animals ate each other”. “Not on this night” said the hawk, “even tasty morsels like you are safe tonight”. Rosa remembered it was Christmas and wanted to go home, and so the animals guided her. When she got home she was in for a surprise. Brandon had been worried about her, and when he saw her “he leaped forward and lifted her into his arms”. Both Brandon and Rosa were happy. Brandon did not need to tell Rosa he loved her, she knew.
Large print with beautiful illustrations to accompany the words makes this a tale that young children will want to hear over and over. And, for many children who sometimes forget to look after a beloved pet, this may be a gentle reminder of the importance of spending time with our pets and not neglecting them.
For an excellent publication titled TEACH MAGAZINE, go to:
There are 2 features I’d draw your attention to:
1) an article titled “No More Permission to Pee” in the January 11/2015 issue available at http://teachmag.com/archives/7757
2) a free, fully bilingual resource accessible via tablets and smartphones available at:
This resource explores the very first Canadian Arctic Expedition, 1913-1918 and should be of interest to Social Studies teachers.
Former Students’ Update
Sean Burton (B. Ed., 2011)
I am currently teaching at the high school in Pond Inlet, Nunavut. This is in fact my first teaching assignment in Canada since I graduated from the program at MUN in 2011. Most of my practical experience has been in South Korea. I will share some comments on my work there as well as thoughts on my return to Canada and my current challenges.
I lived in South Korea from 2008-2010 and returned to Newfoundland to complete my education degree. After that, I returned to Korea for another three years of work. Collectively, the first three years were spent working in the small cram schools that are known simply as “hagwon” in Korean. They were all focused on delivering ESL lessons to young students, and these did little to encourage professional development. I began to search for something better in 2012, and was able to get a position at an accredited international school in Seoul as the ESL co-ordinator. It was immediately a much better working environment, finding myself with a very supportive staff and administration and overall much more comfortable working conditions. I was able to teach in my subject area in the following school year when I was asked to replace the senior high Social Studies teacher. Thus, I consider the 2013-2014 school year to be my first “real” test of ability.
It was a busy year for sure. I never once thought teaching would leave me with a preponderance of free time, but I soon found myself spending many hours after school and on weekends doing work, be it lesson planning, grading, meeting my students, and taking part in certain extra-curricular activities like the debate team. It was exhausting at times, thought I usually felt that the effort was worth it. Honestly I could not ask for better students! Since returning to Canada, there were many times when I wished I stayed until I had seen even my Grade 9s graduate; so much did they brighten my days!
On returning to Canada in the summer of 2014, I applied for many positions, hoping that my experience would count for something. Having heard nothing by September, I must admit I felt rather jaded. I started working in retail in the meantime to get by. As luck would have it, I had a successful interview for a six-month position in Nunavut. Though not as far as Korea, it is still far from home, and with a very different language and cultural environment.
Though I have only been teaching for a few weeks so far, it is very clearly the biggest challenge I have ever faced. The practices I developed in recent years have made me a very organized teacher. I have plans ready and virtually all prep done almost always before the start of a week. My principal concern is adjusting to the local culture as well as the great variety of personalities among my students. There have been many frustrations, and I sometimes feel that I am stumbling ahead blindly.
My colleagues at the school have been enormously helpful, and the administration is very understanding of the myriad issues we face.
So far, one of the biggest concerns I have faced is attendance. I have been told to expect large numbers of students to simply not attend most days. I can scarcely start my first class at 8:30 because most students do not show up until 9, if it all. And some students on my lists have never showed up at all. Considering my last position in Seoul, where it was unusual for someone not to be present, the differences are all the more difficult to accept. Of course there are any reasons why that is the case, and I must do whatever I can to make those who do come feel safe and comfortable. I have already made a good impression on several students, and if they can meet with success in this school year, I will feel that my work and stress was worthwhile. And even though I will be happy to return home in June, the challenges will have made me a more effective educator.
(Editor’s Note: Sean Burton is from Placentia and graduated from Laval High School.)
On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 2)
“Though I teach Freudian, I’m Jung at heart!”
On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 3)
“Teacher doesn’t have her ruler today.
That means we can be unruly!”
Concluding Comments From the Editor
That concludes issue # 7.
A special thank you to those interns who sent in submissions for this issue. Hopefully we’ll have a greater number of submissions for next week’s eMEMO.
Thank you to Sean Burton for his contribution to the Former Students’ Update feature. It’s always both gratifying and informative to hear from our B. Ed. graduates and to see that they’re doing quite well.
And now to our highly popular (!!!) regular hockey comment.
Another great game at St. Bon’s on Friday night. Had a short bench with 5 players on each team and with our 4 on 4 game, 1 person on the bench. Thought that was going to be particularly challenging for those of us who are well along chronologically (i. e., much older!) but it worked out perfectly. In fact, yours truly got his 2nd goal of the year. I know you want the details: team-mate Steve Trimm was on the right wing – passed the puck to me in front of the net – the goalie went to his left side, I shot the puck in the wide-open right side! C’est le but! Oh Steve Trimm is a Science teacher at Baccalieu Collegiate in Old Perlican. Steve is one of our more skilled hockey players.
Still with hockey: a wonderful game between the Leafs and the Habs last night. The Canadiens won it in OT (2-1) but I have to say the Leafs played a very competitive game. Wasn’t impressed, however, with David Clarkson’s hit on Gonchar! I see the Jets beat the Wings 5-4 in OT. Recent trade acquisition Drew Stafford scored 2 goals – not a bad way to start off with your new team! I’m down to the IceCaps game this afternoon at 4:00.
That’s it from the 4th floor of the Education Building – “see” you next week.