Greetings to all and welcome to issue # 7 of THE MONDAY eMEMO. Interns, you’re halfway through your internship and from most accounts, it would seem that by far, the majority of you are having a positive experience. Should you be experiencing some challenges in your internship, it’s very important that you have a discussion with, preferably your co-operating teacher; however, if you feel that this is not a viable possibility, consider speaking to your university supervisor or perhaps another teacher on staff, or Mr. Hayward Blake, our faculty co-ordinator for internship placements or your Ed 4005 instructor. . . . Can’t emphasize enough that you need to speak to someone. Challenges/problems don’t go away when ignored; in fact, they are very often exacerbated when ignored.
Feedback From This Year’s Interns
A continuous learning experience
So far, my internship has been a continuous learning experience. As much as I love working with my kids, I am really beginning to see the problems that are abundant in this small school. Throughout the last few weeks, I have seen students who NEED support that is just not given to them, and as frustrating as that is, I am glad to be able to learn about what strategies can be used to help them learn.
My co-operating teacher is more than happy to let me try almost anything that I feel might help the students learn tough concepts better, such as flips, turns and slides in geometry.
Overall this internship so far has been a great experience and I am loving the chance to learn so much from the teachers that taught me when I was a student here all those years ago!
I am not sure I will be able to handle going back into a classroom as a student in a couple of months from now! (Primary Intern)
Very nervous in the beginning
I must admit, I was very nervous in the beginning; I would sit in the front of the class and watch my co-operating teacher teach whilst peering around the room at the faces that I would soon be teaching. I was very anxious to start, and unfortunately did not teach my first class until about three weeks in.
I can remember the feeling of worry. I was incredibly worried about how the students would take to me, and if they would accept me as their new teacher. Now, 6 weeks in, I can say that I am so much more comfortable. I can feel my teaching style developing, and I feel as if I fit in to my school’s community.
As my confidence builds, I feel more and more fitted to my role as a teacher. I am very excited to see what the second half of the internship brings. (Intermediate/Secondary Intern)
How difficult the job can be
My internship has been an absolute pleasure thus far. The time has been flying by and I can’t speak more highly of my co-operating teacher and our grade 2 students.
As each week passes by, I feel more and more confident in my abilities and I’ve honestly, not been more motivated in my life. It is has been incredibly challenging to find that balance between work and everything else I have going on in my life, but I know that in the end, it will all be worth it, so I’m trying to just enjoy the chaos while I can.
The last 6 weeks have shown me just how difficult the job can be and while I always had a great respect for teachers and what they do, I am now even more aware of how taxing it can be. At our grade level, there have been numerous ‘events’ taking place amongst all of the regular day to day work. The teachers have gone above and beyond their call of duty each time. Extensive preparation, planning, shopping (out of their own pockets, of course!), and executing these ‘special days’ seems to be common place.
What has really amazed me, is that no matter how physically exhausted and mentally drained they are at the end of the day or week, they are able to pick themselves up, dust themselves off, and start all over again. I know how tired I am at the end of each week, and my day-to-day duties are nowhere near on par with the other teachers at my school and likely never will be (until the day comes when I have my own classroom). I can only hope that when the time does come and I have my own classroom, I will be just as motivated, hard-working, caring, and patient as all of the teachers I see day to day at my school. They are big shoes to fill, but I am very optimistic about my future teaching career.
From Seoul, South Korea
I’m doing my internship in Seoul, South Korea and, due to the Asian school year, I’m about 3 weeks in. I started late and will end late.
After living in this city for the majority of my twenties, it’s great to be back.
I feel especially lucky to be at the school I’ve been placed in. There are a lot of like-minded people with similar long term goals ahead of them. The school itself is beautiful and widely recognized as one of the best schools in Korea. While all of the students are Korean, my co-teacher and I are part of the English Immersion program. So everything is taught in English and the children are at an extremely high language level for ESL students.
My co-operating teacher is excellent. He is extremely knowledgeable and organized and seems to be on the same career path as myself, just a few years ahead, making him a great mentor.
With the goal of eventually teaching in an international school over here, I know I am on the right path. I’m really looking forward to all of the things that I’ll be learning over the next couple of months. I hope everyone is having a great internship and I’ll see you in the summer.
Extremely challenging but also extremely rewarding
The internship thus far has been a learning experience, to say the least.
I have found that teaching in a junior high setting can be extremely challenging but also extremely rewarding. Sure, there are more classroom management issues in a junior high school than a high school, but if you can get around those issues, the reward can be great.
I’ve already had students ask me if I will be teaching at the school in September! In addition, I enjoy the energy in a junior high setting. If you can grab their attention early in the class, they’ll be eager to learn more. As an example, I did a Science demonstration on atmospheric pressure last week. The students thoroughly enjoyed the demonstration, and were eager to understand the science behind the demonstration.
Learning to cope with the challenges of day-to-day teaching
Though I am learning to cope with the challenges of day-to-day teaching, there are things out of my control that leave me a little disconcerted. Earlier this week we had an evening of parent-teacher interviews at my school. This was mostly enjoyable but quite exhausting.
My co-operating teacher and I had to meet with several parents during a 6 hour time-frame. During one particular meeting with both parent and child present, I learned that the student was experiencing anxiety and she was also recently diagnosed with ADHD for both of which she is starting medication. We were barely through the interview before I started to well-up. I had gotten to know this student a little better than most others because she is in two of the classes that I teach. From time to time, I would sit with her during seat work and help her work through her assignments.
To hear that this quiet and shy teenager has been experiencing difficulties more serious than I had previously expected really upset me. I realized that issues like this one are the reality of this profession and are perhaps more common than I thought. Personally, I do not agree with medication as the first treatment when children are diagnosed with conditions such as anxiety. However, the best we can do as teachers is to be approachable, available, and supportive to all of our students. (Secondary Intern)
More welcomed than I could have imagined
So far, my internship experience has been great. I came back to my hometown, where I feel more welcomed than I could have imagined. The staff has been very accommodating.
My co-operating teacher in particular has been extremely helpful in helping me to increase my self-confidence in my new role as a teacher. As my experience progresses I find myself developing connections with my students, the community, the staff and the career.
I look forward to each day I spend in the classroom. Teaching has to be one of the most rewarding jobs! (Primary/Elementary Intern)
Really feels like a blur
This year really feels like a blur, especially since I started interning in the elementary grades.
For my internship I have found a lot of good things and a lot of things that could be improved on. I have found that it seems like what most teachers worry about is the Language Arts and Math. I have had a few lessons done up now for Religion, Social Studies, and even Science.
I figured doing these three courses starting off would get me involved in a little more teaching, but it really hasn’t so I’ve been taking on a more Math and Language Arts role. I have set up a daily “Super Solve” where I put 2 Math problem questions on the smart board; they solve them using the correct method and include the sentence, put their name on the sticky note, and finally place it in the huge protein bottle I have. I draw a name every Friday and usually try to solve the problems sometime throughout the day so they know how to solve them. This may help some interns stuck on ideas.
Sometimes I have found it challenging because some children still like to view me as an “assistant” rather than a teacher. This is difficult sometimes because it can lead to some really challenging behaviors. I am so happy to be doing this internship and I am learning so much from it. It’s just hard to be patient sometimes because I want to become a good teacher faster, but I know that in this profession it takes time to get there.
Excellent experience in handling behavior issues
My internship has been going great! My co-operating teacher has been wonderful and very helpful in guiding me as I take on more subjects to teach. It is exciting to try and find different methods of teaching so all my students stay focused and engaged in the material.
My class has a lot of differing abilities and personalities, and consequently, I am getting an excellent experience in handling behavior issues, meeting with parents and other staff members in the school community.
I have also learned how to vary my teaching methods when talking to individual students to ensure that they can all benefit and better understand what I am trying to teach.
I could not have asked for a better class and I am loving my internship.
Recommended Book Resource for Primary and Elementary Interns
Dark Emperor & Other Poems of the Night
Written by Joyce Sidman
Illustrated by: Rick Allen
New York: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children,, 2010
Joyce Sidman has once again written a collection of poetry that serves to delight and educate. This time the focus is on creatures and plants of the night. The first verse of the introductory poem welcomes us to the night:
To all of you who crawl and creep,
who buzz and chirp and hoot and peep,
who wake at dusk and throw off sleep:
Welcome to the night.
On each double-page spread, a poem is accompanied by complementary informational text and an illustration from linoleum cuts and wood carvings that enhances our sense of how these nocturnal beings are part of our world. At the end of the book is a glossary that explains some of the terms. One creature that continues to fascinate both young and old is the bat:
he drops down
from the echoing room of night.
The expository text describes how and what bats hunt, and the illustration shows bats sleeping upside down, “swaying in the morning breeze”.
Dark Emperor is a Newberry Honor book, one of several other informational poetry books by Joyce Sidman, including Songs of the Water Boatman and Other Pond Poems. The book is suitable for all ages, and can be enjoyed in a myriad of ways by teachers and students.
On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 1)
On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 2)
I’m enjoying my time teaching here in St. Lewis on the south coast of Labrador. I’m teaching at St. Lewis Academy, Math from grades 5 -11 and grade 9 Social Studies. There is only a small group of students here (32 from K-12) and a small staff (all 6 of us) but the kids are amazing! There have been some ups and downs to adjusting to teaching on your own (without a mentor) although there is plenty of staff / program specialist support so I never feel on my own.
The multi-grading/multi-aging in particular have taken some getting used to. Thankfully I have some very supportive and seasoned colleagues here that have helped to ease the transition .
It’s mid-year now and exams are just finishing up; it’s been very busy. I can’t believe how fast this year is going. I have been trying to savor every moment as I know I won’t get another first year of teaching! I’m looking forward to the rest of this year and I’m anxious to improve my teaching in the many years ahead.
(Brittany convocated in 2012 with a B. Ed. in Intermediate/Secondary education. She also holds a B. Sc. in Math and Physics.)
On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 3)
Teaching Tip: Keeping Track of Time
It’s easy for teachers and students to lose track of time during small-group or independent work time. Help students to gauge time by calling their attention to time requirements. Displaying a timer seems to be far more potent than telling them to watch the clock and it removes you from the burden of timekeeper, where your announcement of “Time’s up!” is likely to be met with a chorus of “No!”.
Some teachers use a kitchen timer or their smart phone timers. Interactive whiteboards have a timer function, too. If you have a projection system for your computer, try this free timer and stopwatch:
http://www.timeme.com/. Time manager can be another classroom job.
Reference: Guillaume, A. M. (2012). K-12 classroom teaching: A primer for new professionals. Boston: Pearson.
Concluding Comment From the Editor
That’s it for issue # 7. Thank you to those interns who sent in submissions for this issue and a special word of thanks to last year’s B. Ed. graduate, Brittany Antle for her submission.
Hockey-wise, the “buzz” last week was the season-ending Achilles tendon injury suffered by Erik Karlsson of the Ottawa Senators as a result of a hit by the Penguins’ Matt Cooke. Personally, I thought it was an accident, devastating none the less for Karlsson. Kevlar socks seem to be the answer; they’re cut-resistant, not cut proof. No manufacturer would ever claim that because of the inherent liability that comes with such a claim.
Montreal and Toronto are enjoying some success as of late and I’ve been spared a diet of “turkey”!
Back again next week – have a great one!