Here we are already into the 3rd issue of the eMEMO. Delighted with the quality of the submissions interns are submitting each week. Their efforts in writing those submissions are most appreciated and welcomed by our readership. Enjoy!
Feedback From This Year’s Interns (2012-2013)
Feel more comfortable now
To date I have been having a positive experience with my internship. It is incredible how much I have learned in such a short period of time.
To be honest, I was a little nervous being in the school at first, but feel more comfortable now. I have been preparing some lessons and helping after school and I am enjoying the opportunity to work closely with an experienced teacher.
My teacher is including me in everything and I am grateful for her hospitality. I look forward to taking on more lessons and teaching more in the coming weeks. (Elementary Intern)
It’s been an interesting few weeks
It’s nice to be off that God Forsaken Rock for this internship and breathe in some fresh New Brunswick air! I started my internship at a secondary school that is a crosstown rival of my alma mater. It’s been an interesting few weeks because the students are gearing up for exams and the stress level in the school is through the roof.
I’ve sat in on some fairly heated staff meetings and observed a number of different teachers. There has been a lot of confusion in terms of what exactly to do with me while I’ve been there because of the exam period and the changing of schedules for next semester but, it’s showed me how flexible someone in this profession has to be.
I do have a great co-operating teacher and she has been a huge help in making sure that I’m meeting all my responsibilities during my first couple weeks.
The biggest hurdle I’m facing is maintaining a straight face when a student does something that I find funny but is inappropriate. Yesterday a student let a f— bomb go off in the hallway and I couldn’t contain my laughter at first but, then settled back into the teacher demeanor!
It is nice to be home but, I have to admit I miss Newfoundland and the friends I made (excluding B—- and N—; those two are a royal pain!) during the fall semester. I hope everyone is doing well and enjoying their internship as much as I am. (Secondary Intern)
Some ups and downs
The first two weeks of my internship have been a pretty intense roller coaster. I’ve had some ups and some downs, and I’ve learned a few lessons that will definitely stick with me.
Of the classes that I’m teaching, I have a lot of weak students – their apathy is overwhelming. I’ve had students refuse to do what I asked them to, which is completely foreign to how I perceived school when I was a student.
I’ve also taught a lesson that I thought wasn’t too bad because I got through what I had hoped to cover, only to be told that I’d completely bored the class – a big hit to my pride! An hour of revisions later and the lesson went much better with a second class.
I’ve also had a major highlight – one of my grade 10 students wrote me a poem. “To Our Intern, Whose Name Escapes Me” is something I already cherish. Teaching definitely has its ups and downs, but I’m definitely looking forward to the rest of my internship. (Secondary Intern)
Two great co-operating teachers
I have returned to the same school where I did my observation days. I chose this school again because I have two great co-operating teachers and the school is a junior and senior high.
We have now begun exams so my teaching has yet to start, but I have been a good helper in Math and French exam review (I hope ha ha). I just finished making up my unit plans for my Core French courses that will take me to the end of the internship. Now the excitement begins!
My French Immersion students just finished reading Les Miserables so on Wednesday we went to Empire Theaters and saw the movie – it was awesome!
I’m having a great time on my internship. This is my 6th year at MUN so what a great break this is from studying and doing assignments. (Intermediate/Secondary Intern)
Loving every minute of it
Wow! Two plus weeks have passed by so quickly already! I am in grade 2 and loving every minute of it.
I started my internship off with a “bang” as I began to teach lessons on my second day. As time progressed, I started taking on extra work and developing my own lesson plans. I feel that I have made a quick transition from being a student to a teacher intern.
I am already involved with some extra-curricular activities such as co-coaching various sport teams and helping out with the drama club in my school. It is very exciting. The school has been very welcoming and I feel a part of the teaching community already.
I am excited to see what the upcoming weeks and months have in store for me as I continue towards realizing my dream of becoming a teacher! (Primary Intern)
A strong desire to learn
It started during my first day in school. As I was being introduced to the students, I felt slightly confused. What I was observing was different than the image I had in my mind.
I’m conducting my internship in a school on the northern Labrador coast. I had heard many stories before experiencing the area on my own – most of which were quite disturbing. Based on those, I had built an image of the students – an image that I now have to rectify.
I believe most of the stories I was told are true. However, they are part of a complex picture. After more than a week I find that it is important to say, in addition to the 50°C wind chill and 110km/h wind gusts, I have also met talented, motivated, curious, and humorous students. My observation on my first day in school is confirmed daily; many of the students around me have a strong desire to learn.
To the students in my placement school, I’m looking forward to working with you for the next three months.
I enjoy doing this
With two full weeks down I can honestly say I enjoy doing this. I am teaching and observing both Physical Education and Social Studies classes ranging from grade four to level three.
One of the main things I have learned so far is that you have to have the ability to adapt. During the first day of my internship my school started renovations on a new gym floor; since then the gym has been unusable for us. My co-operating teacher and I have been improvising and holding classes in classrooms, outside or in the school lobby.
So far things have been going well; however, it will be nice to have a gym again soon! Overall, I have tried to embrace all the challenges I have been faced with and learn from them.
I am lucky to have a great group of students and really helpful co-operating teachers to help me grow as a professional and truly enjoy this experience. With any luck I will find the rest of my internship as rewarding and enjoyable as the first few weeks have been.
How quickly students can warm up to you
After having almost two full weeks of being in the school setting, lots of things have started to sink in! It is amazing how quickly students can warm up to you as a result of your utilizing a few simple strategies. Knowing their names (as our Effective Teaching professor has always stressed) is definitely a huge part in this! Also, getting to know a bit about each student, such as their interests, strengths and weaknesses (this is especially helpful in planning lessons and allowing for differentiated instruction, or simply getting through to a student), and like any good beginning teacher, hooking them from the start!
For my grade 9 Social Studies in French Immersion classes I kind of struggled with engaging them with the material in the text. So when I started a new chapter last week on MIGRATION, I decided to step outside the box (or text!) and I baked 128 cookies (enough for each student in both of my classes to have two each) and entered the class in character. I had set up a short skit where my co-operating teacher and I were new neighbors to the neighborhood. It was a hit! The students were thrilled to get a treat and really enjoyed the role play. It allowed them to “put a face” to the topic and engaged them right away (perhaps because I was dressed up as a 600 lbs man – a stretch from my normal appearance!).
So my advice would be this: Don’t be afraid to be a little strange and “really get down and dirty” with the subjects. Students themselves are going through a strange and awkward time and it must be a relief to see that we “adults” can be just as “strange” at times as they are! (Intermediate Intern)
I am excited but nervous
The first two weeks of my internship have been great. I am really enjoying the school and am starting to feel more like a teacher every day. The staff has been great and have accepted the interns as part of the faculty and are always offering great advice.
I have now experienced two weeks in an intermediate school (the early internship in the fall semester) and two weeks in a high school and I must say that high school would be the ideal placement for me. So far I have taught about 4 classes.
The students were reviewing for exams this week so the teacher took over for that. I have two co-operating teachers who are very helpful and we are planning the units I will start teaching after exams. I have been told that it will be my classroom after exams and the co-operating teacher will sit back and be there if I need help.
I am excited but nervous to start the whole teaching course load as there will be a lot of planning and reviewing on my part. Next week is exam week so I will be supervising and assisting students who require alternate exam arrangements such as scribing or having the exam read to them. I am looking forward to see what the rest of the internship brings.
Excited to take the reins in different courses
I’m finding my internship great so far as I’m sure others are as well. The toughest part is adjusting to living home with my parents for the next few months. . . between them wanting me to be well-fed and entertained, and me trying to organize and plan my lessons. . . it’s definitely challenging! But, it could be a lot worse that’s for sure, no real complaints.
The students at my school are excellent as well, no serious bullying problems and for junior high, they are focused on their school work.
I’m looking forward to gaining more responsibility in the classroom in the next month, and am excited to take the reins in different courses.
I’ll be very happy for the next thirty years
It took a bit of adjustment to get used to being back in a high school setting but now I’m very happy in my internship. The school itself has been very welcoming and my supervising teachers are phenomenal. During the past week, I’ve been able to help the Chemistry students review for their midterm and the students are very responsive and are providing me with positive feedback.
I’m getting involved with the school’s basketball team and learning students’ names, which is helping me to get to know and form relationships with them.
If teaching is like this, I’ll be very happy for the next thirty years!
On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 1)
“How many of you know what a pencil is?”
Recommended Book Resource for Primary and Elementary Interns
Painter and Ugly
Written and illustrated by: Robert J. Blake
New York: Philomel Books, 2011
Painter and Ugly loved to run the Junior Iditarod Trail in Alaska. Jake, the boy who owned them, gave Painter his name because he knocked over a can of paint. Ugly got his name because most of the paint spilled on him. Wherever you saw Painter, you saw Ugly. They were best friends: if “Ugly howled at the moon, Painter sang harmony”. Then, one day, they were sold—to separate dog sled teams. Painter became the lead runner for his new owner, but he was lonely for his friend. On Junior Iditarod race day, Painter sniffed the air, among 200 dogs, until he recognized one familiar scent—Ugly.
About 80 miles into the race, Painter and Ugly began to “yip” to each other. The next morning Ugly came into view and went off trail. Painter followed him and saw that the musher from Ugly’s team was off his sled. When Painter’s musher jumped off, too, Painter and Ugly took off together to race to the finish. Their mushers ran after them, but, “together at last, Painter and Ugly waited for no one”. The mushers caught them at the frozen lake, jumped on, and they ran full-out together, passing every dog in sight. They “crossed the finish line at exactly the same time together. Not a nose, not even one whisker stood out farther in front of one dog than the other.” They say that people talked about that race forever, but Painter and Ugly “only cared about being together—because nothing can keep two real friends apart.”
The author, Robert Blake, stayed with a family in North Pole, Alaska, where he met a dog named Painter. The owner told him that Painter had come from another team that had split up, and that Painter was lonely for his friend, Ugly. But the owner did not know where Ugly was. This inspired Robert Blake to write this remarkable story of an enduring friendship between two dogs who met once again on the Junior Iditarod Trail. The oil painting illustrations tell the story as vividly as the words. The double page spread of Painter and Ugly forging ahead, side by side, to win the race together lets us see their love, loyalty, and dedication in a way that words could not equal. This tale will excite and delight K-6 students, and anyone who believes that dogs play a special role in our lives.
Students Are More Likely To Misbehave When
- . . . they think you can’t see them. So. . .
- When you stand and talk with an individual, keep your back to the wall and position yourself where you can see the class.
- Write on an overhead projector or use a document camera (doc-cam) rather than the board, especially if you are left-handed.
- Make occasional eye contact with the students farthest from you as you work with individuals.
- . . . they are allowed to disengage without clear expectations. So. . .
- Teach your directions through direct instruction.
- Plan your transitions between lessons. Think through each aspect of the transition. Make your directions very clear, and minimize the time spent switching activities.
- Have all your materials ready to go. Lay them out at different stations for quick distribution and collection, as appropriate.
- Prepare a student to take over if you need to speak with an adult or have another interruption during class. Practice the routine. (p. 253)
Reference: Guillaume, A. M. (2012). K-12 classroom teaching: A primer for new professionals. Boston: Pearson.
On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 2)
“My science project reflects real-world challenges by being behind schedule and over budget.”
On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 3)
“I was a teacher. I miss snow days.”
Concluding Comment From the Editor
That’s it for issue # 3.
Had a full couple of days of sports this weekend; started of course with our scrimmage hockey game at St. Bon’s Friday night. Pardon my humility or lack thereof – scored another goal! Should have had a 2nd goal – can’t believe I missed an open net with the goalie down!
Was great to see NHL hockey return yesterday. Unfortunately I’m eating a “little turkey” for the next few days, compliments of those Maple Leaf fans who keep reminding me that the Habs lost to Toronto last night by a score of 2-1! My retort to them was simply that had PK Subban been signed and playing, maybe the outcome would have been different!
And, Saturday and Sunday I watched the MUN women’s basketball team play 2 games against the Dalhousie Tigers at Field House. The Lady Hawks won the first game and lost the 2nd. Congratulations to my Education 4005 student Kim Devison and her team on an outstanding effort.
Thank you to those interns who sent in submissions for this issue. This eMEMO couldn’t happen without those submissions!
“See” you next week!