Welcome to our final issue for 2014. Congratulations, interns, on the successes you’ve experienced out there in the classrooms. Here at the Faculty of Education we’ve been hearing highly positive feedback on how you’ve conducted yourselves these past several weeks – well done indeed.
And thank you to everyone who has sent in submissions for this publication – we’re delighted with the response from this year’s interns and we wish them much success in their future as primary, elementary, intermediate and secondary teachers. Hope you enjoy this ‘read”.
Feedback From This Year’s Interns
A huge learning experience for me
I am currently doing my internship in a rural elementary (K-6) school in central Newfoundland. I have been placed in a Grade 6 class of 25 students and so far it has been great. I have really enjoyed my internship because I have been given the flexibility and freedom to explore various teaching styles and curriculums. We have a support teacher for the elementary division here and I have been able to work with the grade 4 and 5 classes as well, observing and participating with this teacher.
I think this has been a huge learning experience for me because I have been able to become familiar with all the different curriculum guides as well as many different strategies in the teaching and learning process. Through my internship I have learned that all children can learn and reach their full potential with creative approaches to learning.
My students are all very intelligent in their own ways and I have learned that in order to become an effective teacher I need to get to know them and connect their learning to their individual interests. I feel that I am very ready for a classroom of my own and I cannot wait to begin my teaching career. (Elementary Intern)
I have gained so much confidence in the classroom
I can’t believe our internships are coming to an end. How quickly the time flew!
I have to say that before I applied to the Education program at Memorial University I was quite nervous about the internship. I quickly lost those nerves and became very comfortable in my classroom and in my school in general. Up to this point, I have gained so much confidence in the classroom that I never knew I had before. I have learned an immense amount of information from my co-operating teacher who I thank every day for her great ideas and expertise.
The thirteen students in my class have taught me a lot too, and they have also made this experience amazing. I have grown to love being in a classroom and I am glad that this is the career path I have chosen (no matter what anyone says about the number of job opportunities).
I won’t lie, some days have been challenging, but I believe it is all worth it. This experience has been incredible and I cannot wait to start a profession in teaching. It’s hard to think that I will be leaving this school in just a few short weeks and I will miss the students and staff for sure. Hopefully I will be back here to teach again sometime!
I hope everyone has been enjoying their internship as much as I have been! (I’m sure they have!) Keep up the good work future teachers!
I don’t want to leave my internship
I’ll start with the obvious. I don’t want to leave my internship. At first I was very nervous about teaching, but now it’s something I look forward to each day. With the amount of work I had to do at the beginning to prepare for just one class, I didn’t believe I’d ever make it to the 70% teaching load, but it’s amazing how much quicker it is to prepare for a lesson now.
To date, the aspect of teaching I still find the most challenging is classroom management. The three things that helped me the most were learning the names of all the students in my classes, incorporating a bit of humor, and getting involved in extracurricular activities. I’ve never been good with names, so I got a copy of an old yearbook and would study it during recess and lunch to learn names. I also try to look up at least one joke to tell or short humorous you tube video to play, usually at the end of class.
As for extracurricular, I got involved with helping the table tennis team which was quite the experience as our very small school of less than 90 students actually won silver at provincials this year. The students really seem to respond well when you get involved with activities outside the classroom, and this really translates into the classroom setting.
In short, I had a blast, and I just can’t wait to finish my program and get back out teaching. (Intermediate-Secondary Intern)
The students have grown on me
My experience with high school kids in an inner-city school have given me valuable insight into adolescent psychology over these past 12 weeks. People in the city whom I spoke to warned me this school might give me and the other interns a hard time. However, that did not scare me but, boy, I was not prepared for the students there!
What university tends to do is force you into the real student’s world (in your 4+ years there) and we lose sight of real classroom behavior and adolescent “problems”.
Nonetheless, the students have grown on me and have taught me more than I knew about myself and adolescents and the way they work. I cannot wait to be finished my internship so I can take a few days and relax! But I do know I am not looking forward to being on the other side of the classroom again at MUN. The best thing the internship teaches you, along with your co-operating teachers, is that you can do this!
I got to learn about everything
What I really liked about my internship is the fact that I got to learn about everything. I got to learn about how to deal with kids with behavioral issues, I got to learn how to input grades, I learned how to be a supervisor, I learned how to plan lessons effectively, and most of all I learned that teaching is not as simple as just making lesson plans.
You need to know your audience and tweak a lesson in such a way as to make sure that your students understand the material at hand so that they can really achieve.
If one class is learning at a higher pace and have no students with exceptionalities, while another class is learning at a slower rate, and have some students with exceptionalities, then you cannot teach a lesson the same way.
A challenge that I faced on my internship is some students just blatantly being rude and ignoring authority figures. I learned how to deal with them by taking them aside and talking to them one on one.
Overall, what I learned from the boys and girls that I taught is that you have to have patience because they are only kids. Some of my students are only twelve years old. As a teacher, if you are patient and kind, you will get along great in this profession. Ultimately, I walked away from this internship knowing that this is the right profession for me and that is a great feeling! (Intermediate Intern)
Hard to leave the school community I’ve become a part of
As the final week of my internship approaches, I find it so hard to believe that the past 12 weeks have gone by so quickly. I know that this coming Friday is really going to be a bittersweet day – it will be exciting to move onto the final spring semester and further completion of this program, but it will definitely be hard to leave the school community that I’ve become a part of.
The entire internship has been such a learning experience. When you finally see the strategies and methods that we learn about in textbooks being implemented into the classroom, you understand them in an entirely different light. I learned and witnessed the qualities of an effective teacher. I’ve seen the strategies that work for the teacher AND the students. I’ve learned that organization is always key! I was shocked at how many parents during our parent-teacher interviews mentioned the importance of organization in their own children’s lives. One even mentioned that her son failed a unit test simply because his binder fell apart and threw him off guard.
I think the major lesson that I have learned is the importance of healthy student-teacher relationships. You have to learn the right balance of humor/fun with seriousness and discipline if you want students to learn. This was somewhat a challenge for me at the very beginning of my teaching, but I feel that I’ve managed to overcome this challenge.
If anything has come of this internship, it is the realization that I have chosen the right career. I am so excited to complete this program and to soon have my own classroom.
Though next Friday is the final day of our internship, I plan to remain part of the school community during the remainder of this school year. I think it would be too hard to leave next week and not see my students again. I will be helping out with the school-leaving ceremony at the end of the year, I will be helping to judge the public speaking competition, and I will also be attending an outing with one of my extra-curricular groups.
I hope that you have all had a great experience as well, and that you enjoy your last week. (Intermediate Intern)
At first I was pretty much terrified
Thus far over my internship I have become so comfortable and really relaxed in the school atmosphere. At first I was pretty much terrified about how I was going to teach and what the students were going to think of me.
Looking back now as I am almost finished my internship, it makes me laugh because the nerves I had going in are totally gone. Every day I am excited to see what the day will bring; I love seeing my class each and every day, and being able to help them in so many ways.
I am teaching a wonderful Grade 3 class with K-8 Physical Education mixed in. The diversity I have seen in Physical Education has been enormous. Every class and every student has individual talents and these surely shine through in their Physical Education classes.
Nothing makes me more excited to know that one day in the future I will have my own classroom or gymnasium! (Primary Intern)
No two days are alike
In the last three months of this internship, I have learned so much. It was really interesting to use some of the things I have learned from lectures and textbooks and apply them in the classroom.
However, it was really interesting to learn some of the nuances of the classroom and school system from just being there. Every day was different and presented new challenges. Sometimes a situation could be dealt with using a technique I had read about or learned from lectures (i.e., proximity interference) and other times it would have to be dealt with in the moment – based on the situation, where a number of different factors contributed to how it would and should be handled, such as the situation, timing, the student, etc.
Nothing is constant in teaching. This internship has gotten me closer to being prepared for and more comfortable with the state of flux that teaching is. I love that no two days are alike. Every day offers something different and something new to learn. One of the things I love about teaching is being able to grow along side of the students. (Secondary Intern)
Initially quite weary of teaching junior high
I am finding it hard to believe that I’m preparing for my last week as an intern. The time has just flown by! I am quite sad to be leaving my school and especially to be leaving the students I’ve been teaching.
If I had to choose one thing as the best aspect of my internship, the students would be it. I was initially quite weary of teaching junior high, as I had always seen myself as a high school teacher, but in getting to know the students over the past three months I’ve had a change of heart. I am completely in love with grade sevens! Their curiosity, their desire to do well academically, and their overall enthusiasm for learning is what makes them such a fantastic group to teach. I have also been quite lucky to have a very sweet, caring bunch of students.
When my supervisor came in to observe a lesson back in February, I had a chat with the students beforehand about the importance of being polite and well-behaved. When it came time for the lesson that was being observed, they all raised their hands to make comments, only spoke in French, and were on-task the entire period. Not only were they absolutely perfectly behaved, but they wished me luck in the corridor beforehand, and they were shooting me smiles and thumbs up when they thought the supervisor wasn’t watching them! One student even raised her hand while they were doing individual work, and when I approached her and asked what her question was, she whispered, “You’re doing a really great job!”.
The next day, they were all worried about what the supervisor thought of me, and several students assured me that they were certain I would be allowed to be a teacher. They had somehow come up with the idea that this was my “official teacher test”, and their concern was quite adorable. I’m sad to be leaving them on Friday, and have promised I’ll be back to visit. I’m crossing my fingers that I’ll get the chance to teach them again. (Intermediate Intern)
Learned many important lessons from the students
I have learned many important lessons from the students I taught. One of these is that little things make a great difference to students’ classroom
experiences. I realized this when I did a simple demonstration using Hot Wheels. I was teaching the class about kinetic energy, the energy created by movement. I created a ramp using textbooks and had student volunteers release the toy cars at the same time so they could compare the toys’ kinetic energies.
The students were overly enthusiastic both to participate and watch the activity. I remember seeing them practically jump out of their seats and join me around the extra desk where I had my ramp and toys set up. A few of them even stood around my setup and held the books in place, even though I did not say that was necessary!
I learned here that including small toys helps them to relate to the
lesson which goes a long way in engaging the students and making them want to be part of the class activity and discussions.
Do not want to leave just yet
I cannot believe that this is the last week of our internships. Where did the time go? I feel like I only started and now it is all over; I do not want to leave just yet.
Driving home from coaching at a volleyball tournament with my co-operating teacher, we were discussing just how much growth has happened from the first week of my internship to now coming into my last week. What I have learned from my time at this junior high school cannot be learned from simply reading a textbook. The different types of personalities of all the students I teach have made this internship purely amazing and not only teaching them but getting to know them is I enjoyed the most.
Even though some days may be frustrating like any job, knowing that the students enjoy being in your class and enjoy having you as a teacher is what helps get me through those difficult days. It is the basic joys of teaching where you help students grow and help set them on a path. Teaching the curriculum is one thing but helping students learn life lessons and showing them that they are all unique individuals is another thing!
I can say that this week coming up will be an emotional roller coaster and bittersweet as I want to get back to finish my Education degree and start my own teaching career. At the same time, I will also be sad to leave all those wonderful students and staff I have met along the way.
Miss, I’m going to steal your crutches so you can’t leave
My internship has been a wonderful experience. I have developed relationships with my students, and am very sad about leaving. It seems like the feeling is mutual, as I have had many distressed reactions in the last week when they found out I was almost finished. I currently have a broken leg, so the most common response has been “Miss I’m going to steal your crutches so you can’t leave”.
After spending three months observing and teaching in a classroom, I am even more convinced that this career choice is the one for me. I love every minute of lesson planning and teaching. I love creating new and fun assignments for the students. I love watching them learn and grow. I have learned what works for me and what doesn’t, and I have realized that teaching is an ever-changing profession. As a teacher, I will have to constantly adapt and change my way of doing things.
I know that this internship has been useful and important in my journey to becoming a teacher, and I am so glad that I could have this experience. I could not have asked for a better co-operating teacher, or a better school and staff. I hope that everyone else has been as encouraged by their experiences as I have. I am looking forward to seeing what the future holds as I finish my degree and start applying for jobs. (Secondary Intern)
Recommended Book Resource For Primary-Elementary Interns
I Wanna Iguana, I Wanna New Room
Written by: Karen Kaufamn Orloff
Illustrated by: David Catrow
New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, ( 2004, 2010)
Alex wants an iguana. In a series of letters between Alex and his mom they work out a deal so that Alex can have an iguana as a pet. Humorously written, and delightfully illustrated, readers will adore Alex, the young boy who can rationalize his wants as needs. His opening letter,
Dear Mom, I know you don’t think I should have Mikey Gulligan’s baby iguana when he moves, but here’s why I should. If I don’t take it, he goes to Stinky and Stinky’s dog, Lurch, will eat it. You don’t want that to happen, do you? Signed, Your sensitive son, Alex
Mom replies, “I’m glad you’re so compassionate but I doubt Stinky’s mother will let Lurch get into the iguana’s cage. Nice try, though.” And so the sequence of letters begins, with creative signatures such as, “your adorable son”, “your smart and mature kid”, “your lonely child”, “your responsible child”, and so forth. After all the conditions Mom sets, and Alex’s promises and reasons for having an iguana, the final letter from Mom reads, “Look on your dresser, Love Mom”, and we see Alex giving a victory jump as he yells, “YESSSS!”
We next meet Alex a few years later in I Wanna New Room. He now has a baby sister and he has to share a room with his brother. He starts his first letter for a new room with “When Ethan sleeps, he sounds like a cat coughing up fur balls”. This time, Mom pawns off Alex onto Dad in her letter signed, “your very, VERY, tired mother”. And so the exchange continues between Alex and Dad. This edition has the same humor and fantastic illustrations, and ends with the compromise of a tree house for Alex to have for his very own.
But, when Alex spends time in the tree house alone, guess what happens? He writes a letter to his brother, “Do you want to play with me in my tree house? Love, Your big brother, Alex”. And, when Ethan joins Alex, we see Alex climbing the ladder to the tree house, with a big, “YESSSSSS!”
Sure to delight parents, children, and a range of readers, this set of books will sit in our hearts and funny bones. You should read them for the delight of the stories, but teachers can also use them as wonderful examples of writing persuasive letters, and learning to give reasons. Regardless of why you read these books, enjoy them as they are meant to be—joyful examples of childhood.
Archived Issues of this year’s eMemo
are available at
On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 1)
“I don’t feel that bad yet but if I really work at it, I figure
I can feel sick enough to miss school Monday!”
On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 2)
“But I want to be a baker when I grow up!”
Former Students’ Update
Crystal Snow (B.Ed., 2011)
I first graduated from Memorial University in 2010 with my Bachelor of Science. Like many students, I felt the pressure to make the most out of my degree. The field of education did just that. The following year I completed my Bachelor of Education (Intermediate/Secondary) and it has been the best path I’ve ever taken.
I accepted my first teaching position when I was only three weeks into the spring semester. I actually got the call while sitting in my Exceptionalities class. I asked if I could have 24 hours to make my decision on whether or not to accept the position. After speaking with family and my favorite professor (Habs fan), I felt confident in taking the job. The following day I accepted a Grade 8 teaching position at Jonah Amitnaaq Secondary School in Baker Lake, Nunavut. I can’t really put in words how it felt to be swamped with course work, dealing with a relocations officer for my new job, while also mentally preparing to move away from home for the first time in my life. The positive side of this situation was that I learned that I work best under pressure which often comes in handy when you teach 13 year olds. In Nunavut, the school year starts in August and ends at the end of May for cultural purposes. So, I wrote my last exam on a Friday, left on the plane that Sunday, northern bound. The trip takes two full days.
I’m proud to say that I’m now in my third year of teaching in Baker Lake. In my first year I was one of three Grade 8 generalist teachers that taught all subject areas to my class. However, for the last two years I’ve been the Grade 8 Science and Math teacher. This has made me beyond happy since those are my subject areas. I also teach a sealskin mitt making course as part of an Arts program at our school. I learned the skill during a territorial teachers’ conference in Iqaluit during my first year. I then brought it back to my school and turned it into a program for students in Grades 6 to 8. The North has now become home for me and I feel like part of the community. I’ve made wonderful friends over the last three years, developed great working relationships with colleagues, and built rapport with some really great students. I’ve also been given some wonderful opportunities early in my career like working on the board for developing the Grade 7-9 Science curriculum in the territory; I’ve been the chair person for the regional Science camp, also the co-chair for the Science fair, along with being the under15 girls’ soccer coach. I feel very blessed to have the experiences I have had so far and grateful to be part of such an amazing school staff.
There are many words of advice that I could give interns you for their first year teaching, some I have received from colleagues and others I’ve learned hands on. I’ve chosen six that I think are most important.
First things first, your initial year will feel like you’re getting by on the seat of your pants. It can be overwhelming but nothing that you aren’t capable of doing. Hang in there and you will feel yourself improve as time goes on. When you look back at your first year, you will be pleased with how far you have grown as an educator.
Secondly, you are never too old to learn. As teachers we need to be committed to lifelong learning. This helps us be as effective as possible in our practices by staying current with our student demographic.
Third, as a teacher you need to learn to pick your battles. There will never be a time where everything is absolutely perfect at all times and that’s alright because you are going to need a lot of patience.
Fourth, get involved outside of the classroom when you feel prepared. I know as a first year teacher you will be busy, I know I was. Do not bite off more than you can chew! I spent my first year mainly focused on my teaching and took some time to look around at how everything in the school worked. Then my second year I felt more confident to get involved outside of the classroom. For me, coaching is a means to getting to know my students in a different context which helps me in the classroom.
Fifth, you have to give respect to get respect. Students will not just respect you because you tell them to. Students will respect you when you follow through with the things you say, when you’re consistent in your practice, and when you are fair. You need to be understanding and respectful to their needs. It takes a perfect balance but it is possible to achieve.
Finally, don’t be afraid to take a chance. The task of getting a teaching position can be very stressful. Sometimes the job pursuit can land you in a discipline/grade out of your comfort zone or in another part of the world that you couldn’t even imagine possible. But until you try something, you can’t really determine whether or not it is the perfect job for you. You might surprise yourself, I did. I still remember smiling to myself while heading to a school Halloween fundraiser at 9 pm on a Friday night dressed as the cat in the hat and wondering to myself how I ended up in a remote fly-in community up past the tree line where the sun doesn’t set in the summer. It all just happened from taking a chance.
I want to send best wishes and positive vibes to the class of 2014. Good luck in your upcoming spring semester and preparing to enter the workforce.
Crystal Snow graduated from MUN in 2010 with a B. Sc. in Biology. The following year she graduated with a Bachelor of Education (Intermediate/Secondary), also from MUN. Her teachable subjects are Science and Social Studies. She hopes to begin her M. Ed.in Curriculum Studies at MUN this summer.
Crystal is from Clarke’s Beach, Conception Bay North and is a graduate of Ascension Collegiate in Bay Roberts.
On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 3)
“Remember me, Mrs. Falzone? I was the kid you always
yelled at for leaning back in his chair during class!”
Concluding Comment From The Editor
That’s it for the final issue for 2014. Before concluding, several “thank yous” are in order: to the interns for their wonderful submissions – especially the B. Ed. (Primary/Elementary) students who are also doing an online course, Education 4425 while on their internships – most appreciated; to the former students now teachers who have shared their profiles and wisdom with us gained from their first few years of teaching; and lastly to the many readers of the eMEMO who have been very complementary on our efforts to produce this weekly publication.
A few final comments on hockey. The Habs continue to do well. Our St. Bon’s scrimmage game was cancelled Friday night past due to condenser problems – the ice wasn’t freezing! Oh well, all those goals we were going to score Friday night will have to “keep” until next Friday!
And lastly, as one of Canada’s well known country singers, Tommy Hunter used to say on his CBC program for many years, “Be the good Lord willing, we’ll be back again next year”. The eMEMO will return next January (2015), our 9th year of publication! “See” you then.
Have a great week everyone.