Welcome to our second last issue for the year, issue # 11. I’m sure many of you interns would love to stay out there in the schools until the end of the school year but as you know, that’s not how the Bachelor of Education program works. Those of us who will be teaching you in the spring semester are really looking forward to your return to our classes as you will be a “transformed people”! An internship of a 3 month duration is obviously a significant period of time in the classroom and as we have seen in the submissions to date, there have been many positives and some negatives for you as you acclimate yourself into the teaching profession. The insights that you will bring back to your remaining B. Ed. courses in the spring will be significant to say the least and very important for your instructors to hear. Enjoy this issue.
Feedback From This Year’s Interns (2013-2014)
A huge part of my heart
I am interning in Grade 3 and I adore my class. I have always been bad with details like names, and remembering pretty much anything, but I know all of my children by heart and not just their names.
The children in my class are a huge part of my heart now, and I dread thinking about leaving them. My class is very close, which I attribute to the morning meeting my co-operating teacher had started before I arrived, which I have now taken over.
Each morning we sit together in a circle (not sitting by the same person everyday) we have a greeting, we have a question that gives everyone a chance to share, we play a game and do our morning message. The kids love it, and it’s my favorite part of the day as well. I will certainly be bringing it to all my future classrooms.
Another morning routine I find great for our classroom would be our morning worksheets. As soon as the children arrive they have a sheet on their desks to work on to keep them busy while they wait for the day to start, another routine I feel is quite beneficial and will take into my future classrooms.
All in all, my class is by far THE BEST!
I am much more confident and comfortable
My experience so far as an intern has been wonderful. Each and every day I have been learning new things that are shaping me as a teacher.
As I reflect on my first few weeks I can see my improvement and realize that I am much more confident and comfortable in front of a class. To be part of a school community is also an awesome feeling. I have created some very good relationships with my fellow teachers and students. Getting the chance to coach some school sports teams has also gotten me into the school spirit and given me something to add to my resume. Overall, I’m loving the opportunity. I am excited to get through the spring semester and begin my career as a mentor and educator.
I thought I had all of the answers
When I first started my internship, I thought I had all of the answers. As it turns out, I have very few.
I have learned that teaching the same lesson changes so dramatically from one class to another, and students WILL call you out if your assignments for the day are not the same for both classes. I have learned that wording is so CRITICAL during parent-teacher interviews as a student who writes very well may take serious offense when the words “You don’t have bad writing” are spoken. I have learned that students that seem completely stable can be blown over from one gust of “stress” wind. I have learned that just because we show the students respect does not mean that students will show us respect. (Secondary Intern)
Becoming more comfortable
It’s hard to believe there are only three weeks left in my internship. The time went by very quickly. In general it has been challenging to balance all my duties and responsibilities with course work, employment, and volunteering. That being said, I am enjoying myself immensely.
As each day passes, I feel more and more a part of the school community. The learning opportunities have been never ending, and I am becoming more comfortable with spontaneity, the unknown, and making mistakes.
I have also developed more confidence in myself and my ability to teach. I am very thankful for the experience and will miss the kids’ smiling faces in the mornings. It will be exciting to see them again as a substitute. (Primary Intern)
Have learned and experienced so much
As my internship has gone well past the halfway point and nearing the end, I have learned and experienced so much. I feel like the staff at my intern school have taken me under their wing and really welcomed me with open arms. I am so grateful to be learning from such amazing and talented individuals.
My students have become very special to me, I have formed relationships with them all and love to chat with them and help them learn. This experience has been one that I will never forget and I can only wish that everyone else is benefiting and enjoying their internships as much as I am mine. (Primary Intern)
Always learning new things
Although we are well into our internship, I still find that I am always learning new things that help me become a more effective teacher. I thought that much of what I learned would be gradual (which a lot of it is), but I am surprised at how much of it simply “clicks”.
For instance, I am teaching Grade 11 History and there is a lot of lecturing involved. I try to incorporate videos and activities to make the lessons more appealing to the students, but it was only last week that I realized the importance of how I order these activities. It is important to break methods up so that students are not drifting off into their own little world. That is just one example of many and it simply shows how we are always learning new things even when we are at the end of our internship and we only have a couple of days left.
As we move forward, we will continue to learn and evolve our teaching methods throughout our careers. I cannot speak for everyone else, but I have learned an enormous amount about teaching on my internship and although there is much more to be learned, I believe we will all soon be prepared to begin our careers as teachers. (Secondary Intern)
Share of challenges or “lows”
This internship has truly been an enlightening experience to say the least. Not only have I learned about how things are run from the teacher’s end, but I also have gained valuable insight into the newer generation of students. That being said I have also had my share of challenges or “lows” during this wonderful learning experience, the biggest one being dependence on technology or, cell phones.
It was tough starting out teaching lessons because dealing with cell phone use/interruptions during teaching was irritating and frankly, rude. I felt disrespected many times. I also felt like maybe my lessons were boring, or maybe the students were simply not interested in the material. This caused me a lot of stress not only with trying to plan interesting lessons, but was also impacting my confidence as an effective teacher. However after several talks with my co-operating teacher and the chance to observe other proven-to-be effective teachers, I found that this battle against cell phones was more-or-less an up-hill battle. Every classroom always had a couple of students who had their phones out more than once throughout the class. Plus since the school has no policy saying students cannot have their phones on them during school, trying to implement an in-class rule is nearly impossible.
The lesson I took from this was huge – as effective teachers, we need to be able to adapt to an ever-changing society and generation of students. There will always be challenges such as these that we as teachers are faced with. That’s what makes the job so interesting. Reflecting on our lessons and ultimately our effectiveness as teachers is something we must do every day.
It is also important to seek help whenever we have doubt about our abilities. As teachers we are part of an elite team of people, all with one goal in common – to educate students and to instill a motivation to want to succeed in life. People on this team are always willing to help each other out, and I have been very lucky to be a part of such a great team.
Recommended Book Resource For Primary-Elementary Interns
The Lion & the Mouse, The Tortoise & the Hare
Illustrated by: Jerry Pinkney
New York: Little, Brown and Company (2009, 2013)
A change in emphasis this week: wordless picture books, or almost. Award winning artist Jerry Pinkney has retold two of Aesop’s fables with illustrations and the bare essence of words. Every illustration is so compelling…you will want to hang these books on your walls.
The Lion & the Mouse, Caldecott winner, does not have a title on front or back covers. It is set in the African Serengeti of Tanzania and Kenya. The front cover is a golden-maned lion’s head and the back cover shows an endearing mouse. In the opening double-page spread we see the words WHO Who Whoooo across the moonlit sky and the mouse atop a rock. Then we see the owl diving from the sky and the mouse diving into a hole. As the mouse scurries away through the next few pages, we keep turning pages to see the lion holding the mouse upside down; the lion roaring GRRR and the mouse squeaking. The lion plays with the mouse before eventually setting him free to join his family. Several pages later we see the lion caught in a trap, roaring so loudly the mouse leaves his family and gnaws the binding rope to free him. The look the two exchange before the mouse leaves once again to rejoin his little ones is one of mutual wonder and awe. And, in the end pages we see the lion family travelling through the grass with the mouse family on the lion’s back. Young children will delight in this introduction to an old fable, and the older of us will fondly remember our first encounter with the ferocious lion and courageous little mouse who taught us the moral that the meek can triumph over the mighty.
In The Tortoise & the Hare, Jerry Pinkney once again delights us with another Aesop fable of how “slow and steady wins the race”. In the opening double-page spread we see the large hare and the low tortoise at the starting line, with the wolf holding a white and black checkered starting scarf as he counts down, “on your marks, get set…” , and then as we turn the page the hare is off, scattering the mouse and other animals out of the way—and the tortoise hasn’t yet moved. We then see the tortoise laboriously trying to climb over a fallen log while the mouse holds up the pocket watch. The animals follow the tortoise along and the hare bounds away. The tortoise gives a frog a ride through the pond, while the hare who is so far ahead, decides to take a nap in a cabbage patch. Of course we know what happens, the tortoise bumbles along, falling down a hill, and then stodgily but steadily plodding past the sleeping hare. The hare wakes up, scrambles, but cannot catch up. The finishing touch in this version is the last page of the hare tying the black and white checkered starting scarf around the tortoise’s neck as he smiles at the tortoise for winning—a nice touch to show the hare is not a sore loser.
In this busy, sometimes frenetic world it is refreshing to slow down and slip back in time to old, but still irresistible stories.
Bachelor of Education Registration For Spring Semester Courses
A reminder to all B. Ed. students that registration for the upcomng spring semester begins today Monday, March 24.
On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 1)
“These grades speak for themselves – they say ‘No TV for a month’!”
On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 2)
“My problem is that I can’t tell the rules from the regulations! ”
Former Students’ Update
John Parker (B. Ed., 2011)
I graduated from the Bachelor of Education (I/S) program at Memorial in August 2011.
After graduating, I worked for two years with the Supported Employment Program at the Autism Society of Newfoundland and Labrador. I worked one on one with adults with autism, teaching them occupational skills and helping them to find work. I am now a grade 4 teacher in Natuashish, Labrador and am currently a part time student in the Bachelor of Special Education program at MUN.
Things I have learned – specialist or generalist?
For those in the Intermediate/Secondary stream, let me be clear: be prepared to teach anything. When I started in Natuashish, I was teaching Language Arts 7, 8, 9 and Social Studies 7. After two weeks, the principal asked me if I would consider switching to Grade 4 and I agreed, even thought my training is for Intermediate/Secondary. Best to get over the idea that you are only an English teacher, Science teacher or Math teacher because you are a teacher first and the principal will move you if he/she needs to.
I will admit, when I was an Education student, I usually groaned when it came to the whole reflective practice business. But here is the reality: you are going to mess up now and again. Sometimes it is the students, but sometimes it is the teacher.
It was the most valuable lesson I learned while working for the Autism Society: you have to be willing to assess your own performance constantly. Could I have handled that situation better? Did I plan well enough? Am I being consistent in my classroom expectations? If you want to be a great teacher, you have to be reflective; you have to grow and improve.
John Parker graduated from MUN in 2011; his teachables are History and Politics. Prior to that he completed a B. A. in Political Science at Dalhousie University. John is currently a student in the Bachelor of Special Education program at MUN. He hails from Vancouver, British Columbia.
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On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 3)
“I worry when they can name all the American Idols,
but can’t name any of the American presidents!”
Concluding Comment From The Editor
That concludes issue # 11.
Spring officially started on Thursday past and we’re slowing seeing some signs of spring these past few days with the warmer temperatures. We’re all looking forward to the end of winter! How is that for an understatement!
Can’t resist the urge to talk a little hockey as per usual in this section.
Friday past I had a sore throat from eating all that turkey with the feathers still on it as a result of the Habs losing to the Blue Jackets Thursday night! But that sore throat was remarkably cured last night with the Habs defeating the Leafs by a score of 4-3!!!!!! The Habs are now 5 points ahead of the Leafs.
At St. Bon’s on Friday night we had another wonderful hockey game. We had 19 players plus our 2 goalies. Teacher intern, Rob Parsons filled in for regular goalie Dave Rockwood who was out with the flu. Rob did a great job “flashing the leather” and led his team to a victory! Yours truly did manage to get 2 goals on Rob – again you have to pardon my humility or lack thereof – goal # 1 was indeed a thing of beauty – a wrist shot from right wing which “pinged” of Rob’s left goalie post and went in! No one was more shocked than moi! Obviously still living the dream!
Our thanks to those interns who sent in submissions this week – very much appreciated. A special thank you to John Parker for his wise advice in this week’s Update.
Have a delightful week everyone.