Greetings everyone and welcome to issue # 9 of the eMEMO. This week we have another great batch of interesting submissions. Intermediate/secondary interns have only 4 weeks remaining as they end their internships on Thursday, March. 28. Primary/elementary interns have one more week after school reopens following the Easter holidays. The consensus seems to be that the vast majority of interns will be rather sad to see their internships come to an end, totally understandable especially if it’s been a highly positive experience. Read on and enjoy!
Feedback From This Year’s Interns
Second to none
My internship is going well. In fact it has been such a positive experience that I am sad to think that in 5 short weeks it will be ending. I have been placed in a wonderful school in the Corner Brook area, with an amazing co-operating teacher who is helping me along every step of the way. I couldn’t be happier with my placement, and the children really have made my time that much more enjoyable.
The experience that I am gaining during my internship is second to none and it has really opened my eyes to the environment and culture of the primary/elementary school setting. I have gotten a first-hand look at the positives, as well as some of the challenges, of the public school system. As well, the hands on experience that I am getting will go a long way to prepare me for a future career in the teaching profession. My internship placement has reaffirmed that I have indeed chosen the right profession.
It’s all about mutual respect
My internship is at a St. John’s 10-12 high school and I’ve been fortunate
enough to be assigned a cooperating teacher (English) with 20 plus years
experience. The school atmosphere is supportive and, I’m delighted to say, I’ve heard very few negative comments, which is a big switch from my pre-internship.
What can I say; the work is overwhelming, the classroom is challenging, and the students are great!
My biggest problem so far is the lesson planning (surprise, surprise) and a novel study guide that I have to prepare for a grade 11 basic class – this is the first time that this particular novel is being taught. I realize that I need to challenge the students but I don’t want to turn them off either. I’m having a difficult time getting the right balance, but the students have been very patient with me . . . thus far!
Also, I find that even though I’ve planned for hours, I sometimes get in front of a class and I don’t feel like I’ve taught the lesson that I intended to. I’m not sure if this makes sense to anyone else, but I feel like I’ve let the students down or didn’t cover the material as well as I could/should have. It’s all a learning curve, I guess, and I try to remember what other teachers have said. . . . it takes years of practice.
On a lighter note, though, I must be doing something right because I haven’t had any major behavioural issues, other than the occasional coaxing to get the work completed . . . . for the most part they do get it done and handed in! I’m a believer that it’s all about mutual respect . . . give it and you get it! (Secondary Intern)
I must be in high school never land
Thus far my internship has been a very rewarding/pleasurable experience. I honestly look forward to waking up every morning knowing I am going to spend my day teaching the minds of students. Who can honestly find a more rewarding experience?
And I know I could find many others doing their internship who will agree with me. 8 weeks have passed already. Where has the time gone? They always say that time flies when you’re having fun and I believe that saying now more than ever.
I recently saw a quote on a webpage while doing up a lesson plan which said ” choose a job you love, and you will never work a day in your life.” This is so true, especially when you are a teacher. Every day when I return home I think to myself “I don’t even feel like I have worked at all today”, because I truly enjoy what I’m doing. It is all because of many factors: my wonderful co-operating teacher, my pleasant students and most importantly the school environment and all of the other staff and students included in it.
After reading this I can bet you’re thinking to yourself “what a wonderful experience she must be having” and that “I must be in High School Never Land”, but I ensure you that is not the case. There are times when I wanted to rip the hair out of my head because of the behavioral problems I am having in one of my Physical Education classes. This has really challenged me with my classroom management skills.
But when I sit down and think about all the positive experiences, the negative quickly disappears and I am ready to face the next day. To all my fellow interns, if I could give you any advice based on my experiences, don’t ever let anything bring you down. If you reflect back on the positive things you have done in your internship, I promise there will be much more to come and you will enjoy what you do even more.
Things don’t necessarily come easy in the teaching world
Well, after 8 weeks, now I can fully agree 100% that I love teaching! Things here in Northern Alberta are a little different compared to NL (and I’m not just talking about the snow days because apparently they don’t believe in them here).
The first four weeks of my internship went by a little slow as my first two weeks were just review and the next two weeks there were no classes because of final exams. I benefited enormously from this as it allowed me to get some hardcore prep time in. (I’ll have to take that in exchange for the snow days I guess).
I started out teaching full time on the first day of classes in the new semester, which again, I think I benefited from because it allowed me to develop the rapport with the kids from day 1. The first couple of days were a little rough because I didn’t know everyone’s name so in order to pinpoint certain behavior, I just had to address them as, “guys” but quickly learned the names of those who were a little disruptive.
Things weren’t always easy from the get go – day 2 (which just so happened to be on a Friday) was terrible and I went home and cried! I found it very hard to get the respect from the students in my grade 11 basic English course but now I have them eating out of my hand!
With regards to teaching PE, I was a little surprised to have two, totally different grade 10 classes with regards to attitude, participation, effort, etc. I also had to deal with a 15 year old girl who is pregnant.
So basically, I’ve learned that things don’t necessarily come easy in the teaching world but after punching in 8 weeks, I can honestly say that I’m so much more comfortable as a teacher and I’m pumped for the next 30 years of my life . . . and the holidays are definitely a bonus!
There’s never a dull moment
I’ve known since grade one that I wanted to be a teacher, and I knew that my internship would be the make or break of my teaching career – thankfully, I feel that teaching is still my calling and I’ve enjoyed every moment thus far!
I’ve been placed in a grade 3 class in my hometown, with 13 students – 3 girls, 10 boys. This usually makes for an interesting time and there’s never a dull moment. The staff at my school is amazing, and they definitely make me feel welcome and like I’ve been teaching there for years.
There hasn’t been a morning yet where I’ve got up and I’ve wanted to go back to bed – which is great because I’m definitely not a morning person. However, the occasional snow day is always good!
I love teaching
My internship this far has been going great. I am currently working in a grade 3/4 multi-grade classroom, so you could say I am in a little bit of primary and elementary. I have been in my placement for approximately 8 weeks and I am loving every minute of it.
I am in a rural community and I only have a small class of 14 students. This has allowed me to get to know each and every student on a more personal level. This personal acknowledgment of each individual student is what I like the best about this placement.
However, if I did have one negative thing to say about it, it is that duty “sucks”. I hate having to eat lunch in a hurry to get out with the kids while the other teachers get to sit back and relax.
Overall, I love teaching and so far it seems to be a great job. I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. (Primary/Elementary Intern)
I am learning so much every day
My internship has been everything I hoped it would be. I love being a teacher and my class is just the cutest. I am teaching Kindergarten, Grade 1, and Grade 2. This is a great experience for me and I really enjoy being in a multi-grade classroom. Teaching 3 different grades at the same time can be challenging but also very rewarding and fun.
I also like participating in activities and events outside the classroom. We currently have Random Act of Kindness Week at our school which has been awesome because I have been involved with all grades from K-12 so I am getting experience with other grades as well as my interning classroom.
I am learning so much every day from my co-operating teacher, staff members, and students. I am growing as a teacher and I have never been so excited to start teaching in my very own classroom.
We now have a classroom of bucket fillers
My internship has been amazing so far. I am with a class of grade 3s who amaze me every day. This has really helped me see without a doubt that this is what I was meant to do.
The days are long and tiring but well worth it in the end. I was extremely nervous when I first started teaching lessons especially in Math because grade 3s will be writing an exam in the spring but I have found that I can only do my best and adjust my lessons as needed for them and so far that has been working.
I recently read the book “How Full Is Your Bucket?” to my students and we now have a classroom of bucket fillers. Each student has an envelope on the door that others can fill with kind words; this has been a success so far. I look forward to the rest of my internship with a new confidence in my teaching abilities. (Primary Intern)
My fears going in were totally unfounded
I was pretty nervous about going into my internship before it started. My biggest worries were how I would get along with the students and whether my co-operating teacher and I would be compatible. Two thirds of the way through, however, I am very happy to admit that my fears going in were totally unfounded.
I have been met with a group of concerned and caring individuals who have really guided and helped me on the road to becoming a better teacher. I have had the good fortune to be placed at a school with a strong sense of community and a friendly student body.
Although there are definitely days when I recognize that I still have a lot to learn and a long way to go, and that not every situation we will find ourselves in will be ideal, I have no doubt that my internship and the people involved have helped to solidify my resolution that I have made an excellent career choice. (Secondary Intern)
Much more enjoyment overall
I am the only intern at a school that holds over 200 students ranging from K-9 which leads to an interesting experience. It gives me the opportunity to easily mix with a great and enjoyable staff.
Even though I am an intermediate/secondary intern, I’ve been teaching Grade 6 as well as helping out with extracurricular activities with the grade 4’s and 5’s, thus allowing for a very interesting perspective.
The students at the school have been eager to welcome me as a teacher and overall are a great group of students. I have had much more
enjoyment here overall than I had ever expected to have on this internship.
With that being said, there are the challenging days where I think nobody even understood what I was trying to teach or even paying attention but they are few and far between thankfully. I’m glad to say that this internship allows me to further believe that I will thoroughly enjoy teaching as a career. (Intermediate Intern)
How great this career can be
So I am basically two months into my internship and am (to say the least) sad for it to come to an end. My experience thus far has been absolutely wonderful. I understand that not every day is going to be perfect or run quite as smoothly as I would like. This though, is what teaching is all about. After all, if life were a perfectly “smooth” journey, wouldn’t it be quite boring. I have come to learn that the teaching profession is definitely what I was cut out to do and am very happy that this is the route I’ve chosen to take.
The school I am interning at has welcomed me with open arms. I have an amazing co-operating teacher who is gracious enough every day to pass her wisdom on to me. She portrays an incredible amount of dedication and it is in her that I see the kind of teacher I strive to be, someone who is compassionate and understanding and at the same time, a good disciplinarian.
At the beginning I was struggling with the idea of where to draw the line between teacher and friend. I wanted my students to like me while at the same time also seeing me as an authority figure. I felt like if I told them “what to do,” they would not like me and this worried me.
My co-operating teacher however, explained to me, a way to create a balance between the two. She told me, “It’s all about respect. Just engage your students. Be their teacher and be the best that you can be. If a mutual respect is created, they will likely see you as someone they can come to for advice on many different things.” I took her advice and put it into practice and what do you know . . . . it worked! I have students coming to me with questions on anything, from how to write a topic sentence in English to how to deal with an anxiety disorder. I have learned how to create this balance.
In conclusion, my internship has been amazing and I love the fact that every day is new and exciting. The learning never stops. Needless to say when this is all said and done at the end of March, I will be sad to leave. This place has literally become my second home and I am going to miss my colleagues and students greatly. I truly hope that most of you have had as great an experience as I have. It really proves how great this career can be. (Intermediate/Secondary Intern)
Fun and engaging lessons
I am wishing time would slow down right now. I don’t want this internship to end. Over the past 8 weeks I have become so close to the students and staff and thinking about leaving this school makes me sad.
I have had such an incredible experience thus far and the learning is never-ending.
My favorite part of this whole experience is the rewarding feeling I have when the children connect their learning outside the classroom. When I walk down the hall I constantly hear, “Bonjour Mademoiselle. Comment ca va?” I have sparked interest in French in so many of the students and it is very rewarding to hear their excitement about it outside the classroom, always asking me if we have French that day. I have certainly learned that fun and engaging lessons will bring out interested, engaged students. What an awesome journey!
Teaching is a lot of work
Wow! I cannot believe how fast these past 8 weeks have gone. My internship has been a great learning experience so far and I am so grateful for all of the help and support I have had from my two co-operating teachers. I really enjoy having two co-operating teachers to work with. I admire both of their individual teaching styles and I like having the chance to observe a variety of strategies that they each use in the classroom. My teachers have both been extremely helpful and have been giving me constant advice and feedback. I feel very lucky to have the complete support of both of my teachers and the rest of the staff at the school.
I am teaching 4 classes now and have taken on the responsibilities involved. They weren’t kidding when they told us teaching is a lot of work. I am learning so much and I am enjoying being incredibly busy. I have also had the chance to take part in other events at the school. I recently chaperoned a junior high Valentine’s Day dance which was hilarious and gave me incredible nostalgia. It was funny to hear the same songs that were played at my own junior high dances years ago such as ‘The Cha Cha Slide’ and ‘Backstreet’s Back’.
I recently helped judge the school’s Science Fair which was awesome and the students had really put so much time and effort into their projects. I felt proud of the students from my class and they were all calling me over to their projects to show off their work. I loved having the opportunity to take part in these events.
The teaching has been great. I love interacting with the students and getting to know them and hear about their experiences. The part I have found the most difficult is the classroom management. I am much more confident in my skills compared to January when it comes to dealing with behaviors. However, I am still looking for what works best to deal with classroom behaviors. That is why I love having two co-operating teachers. I like watching both of their classroom management strategies. They both have different methods but both are effective in controlling their classroom. My teachers are always giving me great advice and assure me that this skill is one that you constantly develop with years and years of teaching experience. Even though I still need to improve this particular aspect of the classroom, it is amazing to see how far I have come even in these 2 months. I am looking forward to the rest of the internship and I’m going to make the best of each day as I know it will go by so fast. (Intermediate/Secondary Intern)
A little bit of respect goes a long way
To be honest, being dropped into a new school system in the middle of a year has been a little overwhelming. There’s been no shortage of adjustments to make and just as I think I’m reaching the surface, there’s another wave of difficulties and I’m swept under again.
My lesson plans need to be more and more complex and precise, my time needs to be divided more and more between extracurricular activities, discipline, marking, and planning, and my co-operating teacher never seems to think that my efforts are adequate for the job.
The teaching itself, however, has been amazing. The stresses of planning and adjustment difficulties fade quickly when students thank you for helping them finally understand a difficult topic or tell you that they’re looking forward to your next lesson. Though I had thought that managing students would be the most difficult part of the job, it’s been easily the most intuitive and rewarding. A little bit of respect goes a long way in this world and though firmness is often necessary, patience and understanding are equally important.
Granted, not every lesson goes well. Like any performance art, there’s no feeling worse than a bad show; but, there’s no feeling better than a good one. And, in the end, it’s comforting to know that it’s not my opinion that matters. Though I might beat myself up for forgetting a lesson element or not making it to my conclusion, when a student stops me in the hall to tell me they enjoy my teaching, I know I can’t ask for more than that. (Intermediate/Secondary Intern)
Recommended Book Resource for Primary and Elementary Interns
What Time Is It? It’s Duffy Time!
Written and illustrated by Audrey and Don Wood
New York: The Blue Sky Press, 2012
Audrey and Don Wood have once again created a story that is timeless, and meant for those who enjoy the fun-filled antics of owning a pet, or having a pet who owns you. Many will recognize their own experiences in Duffy the pug and his winning ways. We first see him on the cover, waking up from a nap in the four poster bed. We open to the title page and he is sprawled across his empty food bowl, taking his “BEFORE DINNER nap, in a place where no one will forget to feed him.” And, of course, after breakfast, “because his tummy feels round and full, Duffy knows it’s time for his AFTER BREAKFAST nap”, where he lies spread-eagled beside his bowl. The day continues for Duffy with his LATE MORNING nap, his MID-DAY nap, EARLY AFTERNOON nap, and so forth, until he dons his pyjamas that match those of his best friend. And, when they go to bed, guess what? Duffy is not ready to sleep.
The illustrations are eye-catching and drawn by someone who well knows the routines of dogs. Each page has a clock in the background so we can follow the time of day, and at 12:00 noon we see Duffy in the armchair, on his back with legs open wide. At 2:30 he is still in the armchair, but he is on his belly with his head resting on the arm of the chair.
You will find yourself laughing with delight even if you do not read the words and just look at the illustrations, although together the words and pictures are an enchanting combination. It will not surprise you to know that the Woods have three dogs, two goats, and a flock of chickens.
On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 1)
“Now I just have to change Wikipedia to
match my homework answers.”
On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 2)
“Miss Hickory, will you be speaking from personal experience?”
Teaching Tip: Rule of Thumb for Reteaching
Choose a number, five or fewer, as your limit. Let’s say four. If four of your students ask you for the same kind of help, do not answer individual questions; reteach the group: “I did not make this as clear as I had hoped. Many people are asking about _______. Let me explain in another way.” Stick with your limit. (p. 226)
Reference: Guillaume, A. M. (2012). K-12 classroom teaching: A primer for new professionals. Boston: Pearson.
On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 3)
“At first it’s just Kindergarten. Then mission
creep takes over and you’re in college!”
Concluding Comment From the Editor
That’s it for issue # 9. Thanks again to those interns who sent in submissions for this issue; your writing these submissions is most appreciated .
On Wednesday past I flew to Toronto to attend a conference titled “Education Law for K-12 Education Professionals” on Thursday and Friday. The conference was sponsored by York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School Professional Development Center. This conference was probably the best professional development experience I’ve ever had. One of the speakers was Eric Roher, probably Canada’s foremost expert in Education Law.
While in Toronto, I attended the Habs-Leafs game at the Air Canada Center Wednesday night and I could not have “scripted” the game any better! The Habs took it to the Leafs and defeated them by a score of 5-2; needless to say I was elated!!!!!!!! On Friday night I attended a Toronto Raptors-Indiana Pacers game also at the ACC. I didn’t find this game as exciting as the hockey game – personal preference I guess – but it was indeed interesting and entertaining to say the least. Both games were sold out.
I now have a new respect for Air Canada pilots as my flight did land at the St. John’s International Airport yesterday (Saturday) afternoon at approximately 5:00. The fog was as thick as pea soup and that’s definitely an understatement!
So it was a busy week but good to get home and back to a normal routine.
Have a wonderful week everyone and “see” you in issue # 10 next Sunday.