Greetings to everyone. Welcome to issue # 10 of the eMEMO. Things have been relatively quiet here on campus this past week . Interns are reminded that Monday, March 25 is the upcoming date for registering for courses for the Spring Semester. The MUN ladies’ basketball team competed in the Atlantic Division playoffs this weekend at UNB in Fredericton. Have sent out an email checking on how our team did; hope to have some news to report before this eMEMO goes out later this afternoon. Enjoy the “read”.
Feedback From This Year’s Interns
Both positive and negative aspects
My Internship experience has been great thus far. Of course, there are both positive and negative aspects to it with regard to student behavior and respect but overall it has been an interesting ride.
Behavior, respect, and even motivation have changed a good bit from what it was like when I was in high school. I find the students have little interest during class and with even attending school. Not only is this an issue, I find respect to be a major issue with regards to interns/substitutes. This isn’t something that has really changed from what I can remember but I do find it to be challenging as an intern to gain any respect from students which I guess is understandable. We aren’t their regular teachers, so why listen to us, right?
There have been days where I have come home and just felt discouraged but told myself, it doesn’t happen every day, and the pros outweigh the cons of teaching. I enjoy getting up on front of the class and seeing those students who want to learn, or even those students who struggle to have their ah- ha moments!
One thing I do find difficult is classroom management. My main focus now is to get things down on the board with hopes they understand the material. I find it hard to know what is actually happening behind me and managing that while concentrating on my lesson.
All in all, I am loving my internship and it is definitely teaching me lots about the environment I will soon be in! (Secondary Intern)
A great way to promote student growth
Throughout my internship I have been lucky in being able to get involved with coaching a couple of different school sports’ teams. Seeing the students and interacting with them outside the classroom setting is a great way to see the students in a different light. You build
personal relationships with them and gain their respect.
I find students really appreciate it when teachers give up their extra time to help them and this shows in their classroom behavior. Also, I have just recently returned from a school field trip to Marble Mountain. We took 56 students to ski/snowboard for 4 days – 2 days of skiing and 2 days of traveling. This was a terrific experience. The weather was great and the students had a blast.
After returning from this adventure, I’ve noticed that I can’t walk through the halls of school without a student coming up to me talking about the trip. Also, I’ve noticed in my classes that I do not have behaviour issues with some students that are known to be more challenging in many of their classes.
We have 4 weeks left in our internships and I encourage any interns who haven’t had a chance to get involved with extracurricular activities, to do so, if you get the opportunity. It’s a great way to promote student growth. You won’t regret it! (Secondary Intern)
When to be firm, when to pick your battles
As many previous interns and teacher friends alerted me to, the first thing I noticed about my internship was the fact that I needed to learn and practice classroom management strategies. In fact, I feel my internship has been a crash course in classroom management (when to be firm, when to pick your battles, etc.). I think it is one of those aspects of teaching that one has to simply learn by doing (it would be difficult to learn this effectively from a textbook).
Even though my strategies sometimes differ from my co-operating teacher’s, my co-operating teacher provides me with constructive commentary and suggestions to help me along the way. Overall my internship at the primary/elementary level has been very positive. (Primary/Elementary Intern)
My internship is going great. I absolutely love my class, co-operating teacher and school. Could not have asked to be placed somewhere any better. My teacher is nice and helpful and I am learning a lot from her. I am enjoying every opportunity I get to teach lessons and be in front of the class.
I am learning more in my internship than I have the whole degree I think!! 🙂
My school includes me with everything that is going on. I did parent interviews today which went great and it was nice to meet some of their parents.
I will be really sad leaving at the end of the month. I have made some good friends on staff and I will find it very hard saying good-bye to my class. They are so sweet and lovely, I will definitely miss them.
And lastly, having to do a course during the internship is very difficult and most challenging, time-wise. (Primary/Elementary Intern)
Has not been at all what I expected
My internship has not been at all what I expected. My co-operating teacher’s health has not been good right from the start so I have found myself teaching 100% of the classes and doing most of the planning since the third week of the internship.
For the last six weeks I have been very busy planning lessons, teaching and basically just surviving. A couple of weeks ago, another teacher started to help me and became my new co-operating teacher. She is fairly new to teaching however and although very kind and willing to help, I have found that the situation has been more of a team-teaching situation (which has been very interesting in itself).
Despite the stress of “trial by fire”, I have learned a lot and above all, have realized that teaching is definitely a good choice for me. I really enjoy being with my students and coming up with exciting new ways to learn.
Another bonus about being very independent in my internship is that I was able to experiment with lessons, classroom management, and evaluations. I am now looking forward to finishing up and moving into the next phase of my education. (Intermediate/Secondary Intern)
What you put into your job, you get back
I am teaching Music at a rural high school in Nova Scotia. It is comprised of about 950 students from grades 9-12. When I first arrived at this school in January I was walking in at the end of the first semester when a lot of testing, final projects and class work were being completed. In that time I was able to observe how to compile a fair exam, exam supervision protocol, final playing evaluations, and how to enter marks into a program they use at my school to report absences and marks call PowerSchool. This program also allows the students to check their grades and absences online.
Although there are only 3 music classes (General Music, Instrumental Music, and International Baccalaureate Music), our plate is very full with concert band, 3 jazz combos, wind and brass quintets, beginner music lessons which rehearse Monday-Friday either after school or at lunch.
These past two weeks most of these band rehearsals have been put on hold as we have been putting on a high school musical production of RENT (3h 30mins). I am lucky enough to have my former high school music teacher as my co-operating teacher. When I was in high school I knew that he put his time in for the school’s music program to flourish, I just did not realize how much time. During these past 2 weeks with lesson planning, editing parts and play rehearsals, he has been spending 14+ hours at the school. I think it is remarkable the dedication this man puts into his job. It is a good example of “what you put into your job, you get back”. His high school bands sounds great (especially the pit band that just put on 4 shows of RENT), his students are well educated in the subject of music, and he is respected by students and staff alike.
These last couple weeks I have been jumping in and teaching the majority of the classes. It is a great feeling when you teach a concept to students and then see them apply it on their own. These past 9 weeks have been an amazing learning experience and have solidified that yes I do in fact want to teach! (Secondary Intern)
Definitely positive and negative aspects
There are definitely positive and negative aspects to my internship. There are students who have received major scholarships and there are students who are so lazy that it hurts. Finding a way to cope with the disparity is by far my biggest challenge.
The students who are causing problems in my classes are few in numbers but they require so much of my time that sometimes I wonder if I am spending enough time with others. I worry about the students who simply cannot meet deadlines. Seeing how the staff reacts to situations makes me realize that I am not alone. How can you help someone who does not want to be helped? I don’t think my next thirty years will help me with that one.
On a positive note, the teachers at my school seem to genuinely care about the students. Many students are producing great work and have a positive work ethic. Those students are often left out of the conversation because they never cause any grief. I try to think about the positives as much as possible because that is why I go into the school every morning. (Secondary Intern)
Enjoy being a teacher more than a student
With only 3 weeks remaining in the internship I find myself wondering where the time went. The past 9 weeks have been a great experience and I have enjoyed it to the fullest.
Unfortunately we will all be back in MUN soon writing papers,
preparing presentations and studying for exams. I can honestly say I enjoy being a teacher more than a student!
Overall, I believe I have learned a great deal about myself as a teacher and how a school works. By keeping busy and getting involved, the time has been flying by. All I hope for now is three more enjoyable and beneficial weeks before this internship ends.
Having a realistic experience
I have been reading many of the interns’ stories and descriptions of their internship thus far and most of what I have read have ALL had headings suggesting that their internship is the best experience, and that everything is going swimmingly.
I feel as though I am having a REALISTIC experience with mine, which means some days are fantastic and inspiring and others leave me exhausted, questioning myself on “what did I do wrong?”. I am reassured however that these feelings are completely natural and are all signs that I am experiencing the ‘real deal’ which I am more than grateful for.
I had a student come to me the other day asking how one goes about doing an English degree and then told me she was initially doing business but because of the way I teach Shakespeare, she’s reconsidering. I went home and told my mom that this was a true example of a day when I know I have made the right choice. Of course, like anything there are struggles, and when I say struggles, I mean particularly with cell phone use. It frustrates me to no end but because half of the staff at my school encourage it and the other half does not, it’s hard to know when and where to draw the line.
I do however throw around the word ‘respect’ to my students like it is nobody’s business and that usually tells them to put their phones away. During my two week internship (at the same school), I really enjoyed my co-operating teacher and could not wait to go back with her, and while I do still like her, I now consider her methods of teaching to be somewhat questionable. She prefers to be friends with her students as opposed to an authority figure who takes disciplinary action when needed. I sometimes feel like the bad guy in the classroom because I won’t start talking or lecturing until there is complete silence, or I make them write notes because I am a firm believer that students learn while they are actively writing notes down. Having gone to this particular school however has left a positive note with me owing to the fact I am so familiar with everything including policies and protocols and this is definitely to my advantage.
I bond with older teachers on a regular basis and often hear “Ms, we just saw your picture downstairs on the wall” which is, of course, a great conversation starter (ha ha). I am saddened that there are only 3 weeks left to this internship because I am now feeling I have a hook with these students and they truly want to learn from me. Even though it is not finished just yet, I can safely say I will be forever grateful for this internship and cannot wait to start teaching!!!
Wondering if I made the right career choice
When I first started this program I was wondering if I made the right career choice. And now while doing this internship, I am very happy with my decision. It has given me the chance to teach Math at the secondary level.
At first I dreaded getting up in front of a class full of teenagers because I was unsure about how good I would be. Now I actually enjoy doing it and the more I do it, the more excited I am about getting my own classroom.
My co-operating teacher is always there to give me advice and she has done a lot to guide me in the right direction. As the term goes on, she is allowing me to take more control of the class so that I can become more comfortable when I actually start teaching. Being able to interact and help students is definitely the best part about this experience. It allows me to teach a subject that I truly enjoy while at the same time being given the opportunity to help someone with their learning.
Recommended Book Resource for Primary and
GOLDIE and the Three Bears
Written and illustrated by: Diane Stanley
New York: Harper Collins, 2003
Goldie knew what she liked and did not like. “I want PLAIN pasta with JUST butter and NO green things please”. And, when Goldie loved something, “she loved it with all her heart”. But, Goldie did not have any friends because she was so particular; she kept waiting for someone she could love with her whole heart. Then, one day on her way home from school she got off the bus at the wrong stop. Looking for somewhere to call her mom, she found a house with no one home and peeked in. She saw three sandwiches on the table and felt hungry. When she tried the first sandwich, it was too sweet, the second one was too bland, but the third one—it was a “revelation”, and she ate it all!
In this modern version of Goldilocks you can picture what happens with the chairs and the beds. When the Bears return and Baby Bear saw Goldie in her bed, she hit the bed running. Goldie went flying, and “when Goldie landed, Baby Bear went flying”, and so the fun began. Goldie had found someone to play with, and by the time her mom came to pick her up, Goldie had a new friend. On the way home mom asked, “she’s not too bossy”? “Nope!”, “not too boring”. . . “Nope, she’s just right”. And Goldie “meant it with all her heart”.
Young children will revel in this updated version of Goldilocks and the three bears; many will recognize themselves in Goldie’s determined and particular ways. It is a heartwarming story of innocence, friendship, and delight.
The Annual Arrupe Lecture at St. Bon’s College
The Annual Arrupe Lecture will take place on Tuesday, March 12th at 7:00 pm at St. Bonaventure’s College, located across from the Rooms. Dr. Dorothy Vaandering of MUN’s Faculty of Education, will speak on the values of Restorative Justice for the School and Society.
Her current research involves working with educators in NL on phase one of Relationships First: Implementing restorative justice in schools from the ground up. This innovative initiative introduces and invites educators to reflect critically on their philosophical perspectives of humanity and commit explicitly to engaging relationally with students, colleagues and parents in everyday interactions including when harm is done.
She is hopeful and passionate about NL and the rest of Canada becoming restorative places where citizens of all ages value interconnectedness and work for a just society.
Admission is FREE and everyone is welcome.
On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 1)
“I’d like to see a chaplain!”
On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 2)
“We need to evaluate the productivity of our
teachers, but who’s smart enough to do that?”
Interns and Submissions
If any of you have sent in submissions and they have not yet appeared in the eMEMO, please email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) and bring this to my attention. I don’t think this has happened but with the many emails I receive each week, it’s quite possible that it could have happened.
Teaching Tip: Share the Wealth
When you feel obliged to ask a question, try this: Ask the question. Then say, “No matter what the first answer is, I’m going to call on four more hands”. Wait a few seconds, then call on four in a row.
This strategy can increase student participation for both convergent and divergent questions. Pair students who may need support constructing a verbal response. If you like, you can have students turn to a neighbor and discuss before asking for a show of hands. (p. 130)
Reference: Guillaume, A. M. (2012). K-12 classroom teaching: A primer for new professionals. Boston: Pearson.
On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 3)
“This is the only class where the teacher hasn’t
said we should both learn and have fun!”
Concluding Comment From the Editor
That concludes issue # 10. No word yet on how the MUN Lady Sea Hawks basketball team did in the playoffs in Fredericton this weekend. Thanks again to those interns who sent in submissions for this week’s issue – very much appreciated.
And lastly, a brief comment on NHL hockey – no surprise there! Last night was what I would term as the “perfect Saturday night”. Why you might ask? Les Habs won 4-3 against the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Leafs lost by a score of 5-4 to the Penguins; Habs win, Leafs lose – doesn’t get any better than that!
And at the risk of over-doing this “gloating”, I won’t comment any further on the Habs’ win earlier this week and the Leafs’ loss that same night!!!!!!!! How sweet it is!
Have a wonderful week everyone.