Good afternoon everyone and welcome to issue # 9 of the eMEMO. Interns, February is but a memory and you’re into week 9 of your internships with 5 weeks to go. As many of you have expressed in your submissions over the past several weeks, you are not looking forward to the end of the internships. That’s a good thing – consider the alternative. If you were looking forward to the end of your internship, that might be telling you something!
Have a great week and hope you enjoy this issue.
Feedback From This Year’s Interns
Has been challenging at times
I am currently completing my internship at a junior high school, teaching Grades 7, 8, and 9. It has definitely been an experience so far. My co-operating teacher has a background in Special Education, so I have many students with a broad range of exceptionalities in my classroom.
It has been challenging at times, but it has definitely been an amazing learning experience. I have learned a lot about developing my lesson so that it meets the needs of a diverse population.
My biggest challenge thus far has been developing a successful classroom management regime. The first couple weeks of taking on teaching responsibilities, I struggled to keep the students on task and to keep the chatter to a minimum when I was trying to deliver my lesson, but as the weeks went by and as the students began to view me more as their ‘regular teacher’, I have made significant progress, and have developed a number of different strategies to maintain management in my classroom.
In the true fashion of a former excellent professor of mine, I have made a great effort to get to know my students, and to develop positive relationships with them. I cannot believe how fast this internship has flown by, and I am so reluctant to have to leave this school where I have been welcomed so openly by both staff and students.
A great experience
I have really enjoyed the last two months. The environment of my placement school is very welcoming. The teachers and staff are helpful, and the students for the most part are really good. I feel lucky to have so many resources at my fingertips. It has really helped keep this internship relatively stress free.
My school recently has been working on putting off a musical and my getting to help out with it has been an amazing experience. The students are so talented and really shine on the stage. Even back stage the atmosphere is fun. No one appeared to be overly nervous or have stage fright.
In the classroom I have not experienced any major troublemakers or classroom management issues. I am sure this is just me being lucky. The one issue I have is cellphones!! That issue seems to be a common one and unfortunately here to stay for a while.
All in all, it has been a great experience and I am definitely going to be sad to leave. (Secondary Intern)
The excitement certainly outweighed the nervousness
I was excited to start this internship as I was lucky enough to be in the same junior high school, with the same teacher as my two week internship. Furthermore, my co-operating teacher taught me Grade 8 Social Studies, so being able to look at him from two entirely different perspectives is a major plus. Sure, I was a little nervous before it all started but the excitement certainly outweighed that nervousness.
Junior high is a fascinating age group; one period a kid could be happy go lucky, and the next period s/he could be down in the dumps. So much
can happen in their lives at any given point that gives them a high or makes them feel low. A lot of the kids I teach are smart, well-behaved and just plain funny. There are always going to be “those kids” that stand out a little more and require a little more positive attention, but sometimes those are the ones that make those classes enjoyable.
The most important thing to do is to have fun and that is exactly what I have been doing for the past two months. I won’t at all like it when it’s over. (Intermediate Intern)
It is very rewarding
I am in a school from Grades 7-12 in a rural community outside of the city. I am teaching Physical Education classes, Social Studies and Canadian History. Coming into the internship I was very nervous wondering what courses I was going to teach and how many by the time it was over. So far into week eight I have taken over five courses and I love it.
I am glad that I am teaching more than just in the gymnasium because it has given me an idea of what it’s like in the classroom and how different an environment it is. My students are responding to me better now and I have a wide range of students participating in class. As many people say, this type of job isn’t easy, but it is very rewarding when you are seeing your students learn something new every day. I can’t believe we only have five weeks left; time is surely flying by.
This week I am going on a ski trip with my students, hoping to walk away with no injuries! Glad I am able to be with such a friendly staff and involved in as many extracurricular activities as I can. I hope everyone else is having a blast and enjoying the rest of their internships. I know it can be tiring at times but it will all be worth it in the end. (Intermediate/Secondary Intern)
Feel incredibly lucky with my placement
I’m teaching at a public school in northern Canada at the senior high level. I feel incredibly lucky with my placement, the students, staff, and community are all amazing. They’ve all been incredibly welcoming and it was a pleasant surprise to see a lot of other “east coasters” amongst the staff.
One concern I have, without judgments against the staff, is the negative stigma towards students who are placed in remedial/basic level courses. Assumptions are made about these student’s capabilities and as a result the motivation on the teacher’s part to engage and push these students is significantly lower. Phrases such as “they’re just the basic class” or “you can only expect so much from them” are used all too often. I’d like to think that in my teaching career I will take a stance against that attitude towards these students.
I feel like I will learn a lot from my experiences during my internship and I hope everyone else is also having a fulfilling experience on their internships. Stay positive! (Secondary Intern)
Have gained a great deal of knowledge
I cannot believe how fast time is going. It only seemed like yesterday I was about to walk into the school where I was once a student and begin teaching classes. Part of the reason why it feels like time has gone by so quickly for me could be because of the all the snow days I have gotten since I started. To date, I have gotten nine snow days, which is very unusual. I think the only time a teacher or university student doesn’t wish for snow days are those doing their internship. I try not to let it cause me stress (because I may have to make them up) but overall having snow days can also be a learning experience in itself. I have quickly come to realize that no matter how much I plan, organize or prepare myself there is always some chance that something unexpected may occur. This has taught me to be flexible with my schedule and plans but also causes me to be sure to use classroom time wisely as every minute is valuable.
Along with the self-growth I have experienced in the short six weeks of my internship, I have also gained a great deal of knowledge from my wonderful co-operating teacher and other staff at the school. My co-operating teacher is someone who I have looked up to since I was in grade 5 and I am overjoyed that I get to share this experience with her, and will be forever grateful that she has taken me under her wing and is helping me learn how to be the best teacher I can be.
I also have been blessed with being able to work with a number of other staff members who are supportive and always willing to lend a helping hand in my learning process. (Elementary Intern)
On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 1)
“That has a nice ring to it!”
Recommended Book Resource for Primary and Elementary Interns
The Child’s Story
(Original Story by Charles Dickens)
Retold and Illustrated by Harvey Chan (2000)
Probably best suited to upper elementary ages and older, including adults, this story was first published in the mid-1800s. However, it is a timeless journey that we all take through our lives, in this evocatively painted picture book. It begins, “Once upon a time, a good many years ago, there was a traveler and he set out on a journey. It was a magic journey, and was to seem very long when he began it, and very short when he got halfway through.” Readers will recognize where they are on the journey as they travel through the pages.
First, the traveler meets a beautiful child, who says “I am always at play. Come and play with me.” And, so he plays with the child, in the sun, in the rain, in the wind, and in the snow—with toys and lots of adventures. But then, “the traveler lost the child…and went upon his road…”, until he came upon a handsome boy, who said, “I am always learning. Come and learn with me.” So, the traveler stayed and learned with the boy. But, just as he had first lost the child, the traveler lost the boy. Next on his journey, he met a young man, who said, “I am always in love. Come and love with me”.
Eventually, the young man married, and one day the traveler lost him and his wife. He started travelling again and came to a middle-aged gentleman, who said, “I am always busy. Come and be busy with me”. This gentleman had a wife and children, and the traveler stayed with them for a while, and even travelled with them. Eventually, he and the family came to paths in the road, and one by one the children took the different paths. One child even went to Heaven.
As each child left, the traveler saw the gentleman “glance up at the sky above the trees, where the day was beginning to decline, and the sunset to come on. He saw, too, that his hair was turning gray.” They kept travelling until they came to a path that was darker than the rest, when the lady stopped and said, “I am called”, and they heard a voice along the path call out, “Mother, mother.” The father’s hair was now white, and tears streamed down his face, but he kissed his wife good-bye as she joined their son in Heaven. The traveler and the gentleman continued on alone, until the traveler again lost his companion.
He kept travelling until he came upon an old man, who said, “I am always remembering. Come and remember with me.” So, “the traveler sat down by the side of that old man, face to face with the serene sunset; and all his friends came softly back and stood around him. The beautiful child, the handsome boy, the young man in love, the father, mother, and children: every one of them was there, and he had lost nothing.”
“And I think the traveler must be yourself,
because this is what you do to us,
and what we do to you.
This Week’s Recommended Web-Site
This website gives suggestions for classroom management techniques and “positive behavior support”.
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.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: Clicking on the above url didn’t work for me but when I copied and pasted the url into my browser, it did work!)
Former Students’ Update
This feature is unavailable this week but will return in our next issue.
On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 2)
“No more sticking body parts in the vice!
I’m sending you to the vice principal.”
On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 3)
“How many years have you been with us now, Walter?”
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
Concluding Comments From the Editor
That concludes issue # 9.
The usual thank you to those interns who sent in submissions for this issue.
Can’t pass up the opportunity to comment on last night’s Habs v. Leafs game. I was delighted to see the Habs defeat their arch rival by a score of 4 – 0! I didn’t find the game overly exciting, except for the first period, but the result was indeed a good one – at least for Hab’s fans! My sister-in-law (a retired primary teacher) in Stephenville was not impressed when I called her after the game to offer my condolences on the Leafs’ loss!!!!!!!!
Re our St. Bon’s game, we had 19 players + 2 goalies of course, another wonderful game! Had a new player with us, a Steve Penney (B. Ed., 2006) who was in my Education 4420 (Legal & Moral Issues in Education) class in the 2006 spring semester. Steve was on the other team and played quite well; he may be traded to my team next week!
Yours truly got one assist: I passed the puck to Roger Flood, Roger passed it to Ken Smith and Ken scored – c’est le but! It was a close game but we lost by a couple of goals. But overall, lots of fun and lots of banter and bragging rights!
“See” you all next week with issue # 10.