Good afternoon and welcome to issue # 4 of the eMEMO. Our teacher interns have the month of January behind them and February will see most of them involved in teacher-parent meetings, another very important aspect of being a teacher. There’s a funny commercial on television these past couple of weeks, (Boston Pizza if my memory serves me correctly) which features a couple coming in to see the teacher. The teacher spurts out “All good!” and the couple leave just as quickly after they repeat the phrase “All good!”. Granted these meetings should be “short and to the point” but that’s perhaps a tad too short. Even parents, whose sons/daughters are perfect to teach, can always appreciate and benefit from some positive commentary about their children. Enjoy this week’s issue.
Feedback From This Year’s Interns (2013-2014)
Prior to starting my internship, I was beyond nervous. I was so nervous, that before even beginning I had already started to reconsider my decision on becoming a teacher. With that being said, the past couple weeks have been an interesting and educational experience. I’m thankful to have a co-operating teacher who is so easy going and helpful. In fact, the entirety of the staff members have helped me out, sharing stories of their current classes, their initial jobs, or even their own internships. They have all provided me with many opportunities to see differing teaching styles, courses and grade levels.
Not only are the staff incredibly kind and supportive, but the students too are fantastic. It is nice hearing that you’re doing a good job from your co-operating teacher, but it’s even better to have your students tell you the same. It’s nice to have students approach you in the hallway to simply chat, versus just talking to you to ask for help. I’ve had my students quiz me on why I want to teach, where I want to teach and what I studied in university. I’ve had a couple of them tell me they hope I return to the area in a few years so that I am able to teach them in high school. It’s nice to hear your students wish you a good morning, afternoon or weekend without being prompted as well.
Thus far, my internship is more than I had hoped for. I finally feel comfortable, and my nervousness has disappeared. Instead, I look forward to each day as an opportunity to both further my education as well as that of my students. Although I was reconsidering this career early on, I am now starting to realize that this is, in fact, the career path I should follow. I look forward to the next few months in my placement school and my future as a teacher. (Intermediate Intern)
Having a good time learning the ins and outs
My internship has been absolutely fantastic so far! I am teaching about 50 percent of the classes while really taking in the school atmosphere.
I am involved as a chaperone for the debate club, and leadership club here, and I am even going skiing with the school! I am currently teaching Grade Eight Social Studies, Grade Nine Religion, Grade Seven English, and Grade Eight English.
I am definitely getting more comfortable with teaching and I am more confident as the days go by with my classroom management ability. One of my main goals is to find an effective way to stop junior high chatter but I know this will come with time. Overall, I am having a good time learning the ins and outs of teaching. (Intermediate Intern)
The importance of becoming involved in extracurricular activities
Throughout this short time in my school, I have already learned the importance of becoming involved in extracurricular activities with students. Over the duration of both the introductory and extended internship, I have volunteered as a chaperone for a 23 km hike of the East Coast Trail, as well as a field trip to White Hills Ski Resort. Participating in these trips seems to make a difference for both myself and the students that were involved.
As a student teacher, I feel that I know my students at a much higher level, and have gotten to remember their names better than any other students I’ve taught. Students that went on these trips also seem to have a much higher level of respect for me after returning from these trips. I look forward to getting more opportunities to strengthen these student-teacher relationships throughout other venues such as coaching and a Marble Mountain 4 day excursion in March.
If you are an intern who has been thinking of becoming involved in extracurricular activities, I strongly encourage it! (Secondary Intern)
A fantastic experience
Over the past few weeks I’ve come to realize how important “doing” is to learning. The practical application of everything we have learned in our classes has not only proven to be exciting, but has helped me to really reaffirm my love of teaching.
I spent the first week of my internship observing regular classes and like my fellow interns, I’m sure, I felt it hard not to simply dive in head-first. However, starting slowly was really essential to my experience – working with my amazing co-operating teacher, planning lessons, familiarizing myself with the curriculum guides, and getting to know my students have really helped to make everything run smoothly.
Now that I’m teaching a few regular classes, I’m starting to focus more on extracurricular activities, namely the school’s drama team and the annual musical theatre production. Not only are these activities fun, but I know it will be an opportunity for me to get to know students and teachers outside of the classroom in an environment that really lets them shine.
So far, this internship has been a fantastic experience and I have no doubt it will continue to be. (Secondary Intern)
I feel being challenged is the key
After 3 weeks of my internship at a junior high school, I have to say that I am very happy with my placement since the entire staff and student body have been very welcoming, encouraging and supportive. The school I was placed at is quite large – having a student enrollment of 554, grades seven to nine, as well as a teaching staff of 34 and consists of English and French immersion students.
I was assigned to two co-operating teachers, one is a Physical Education teacher and the other is an English Language Arts teacher. Both of my co-operating teachers have a wealth of knowledge, experience and advice that they have been very eager to share with me. I have been given the opportunity to teach quite a few Physical Education classes thus far under the close supervision of my co-operating teacher and a few other teachers who supervised me in his absence. Each of the classes I taught were very different and a great learning experience to say the least!
Even though a couple of the classes I have taught were very challenging, I feel being challenged is the key to learning classroom management techniques, as well as finding out what works, does not work and to grow as a teacher. Although I haven’t taught much in the two English classes that I have been assigned to, I am getting to know the students really well and have made some great observations while the teacher instructs the class. I feel that I am learning some excellent communication and classroom management techniques from observations alone which will benefit me when I take on more of the teaching responsibilities.
Overall, I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at the school and I am looking forward to the weeks to come, as well as hearing about the experiences of my fellow Faculty of Education classmates. (Intermediate Intern)
Full of many funny and interesting experiences
The internship has been great so far! It has been full of many funny and interesting experiences, the latest being exam week. For a whole week, we have watched students demonstrate what they have learned since September, and correcting exams has been both encouraging and a learning experience. Some exams make it seem as though the students absorb your every word, and really understand the material. Others show that you must adjust your teaching methods and perhaps spend a little more time on a certain subject.
There have been some laughs in the staff room over how creative some students can get when given the opportunity, which has been my favorite part so far. Many students are very intelligent and very creative, but need to be given opportunities to show it in ways other than the norm. This experience is making me think of how I will teach my future students, and how I will try to give them many opportunities to express themselves in different ways! (Secondary Intern)
One of the challenges faced by teachers early in their careers is that of being intimidated by parents. And of course, interns can also be faced with such a challenge.
For an interesting “read” titled “14 Steps to Teacher Assertiveness” by Mike Moore, go to:
Recommended Book Resource for Primary and Elementary Interns
This Moose Belongs to Me
Written and illustrated by: Oliver Jeffers
Great Britain: Harper Collins (2012)
Wilfred, a young boy, found a moose, or did the moose find Wilfred? “The moose came to him a while ago and he knew, just KNEW, that it was meant to be his”. Wilfred called him Marcel and wrote a lot of rules for how Marcel could be a good pet. Marcel obeyed some of the rules, such as providing shelter from the rain, and we see Wilfred standing underneath Marcel to keep dry. However, Marcel did not always obey the rules—he did not stay close to Wilfred’s house or go whichever way Wilfred wanted to go.
Then one day, on one of their long walks, Wilfred made a discovery. “SOMEONE ELSE THOUGHT THEY OWNED THE MOOSE”. And, this someone else, an old lady, called the moose Rodrigo and gave him an apple. Marcel ignored Wilfred, and upset, Wilfred stomped off and fell down. Lying there in the dark, not able to move, Wilfred started to get frightened. Guess who showed up? Along came Marcel and “performed rule 73 brilliantly, rescuing your owner from perilous situations”. Wilfred came to realize he had never really owned the moose.
Wilfred and Marcel reached a compromise—“the moose would agree to all of Wilfred’s rules. . . whenever it suited him”. At the end we see the moose with a third friend who has given him another name.
The illustrations are as delightful as the whimsical tale of a boy befriending a moose, and a moose who has several friends whom he visits when it suits him. Along with the charm of the book, it also gives us pause for thought about whether any of us really own our pets or whether they are the ones in control.
On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 1)
“I’d like to see a chaplain!”
An article on the vocm.com website recently featured NL musician, Brian Byrne’s of the rock group “I Mother Earth” initiative aimed at creating awareness and preventing suicide. Byrne wrote the song “Arizona,” in memory of a friend he lost to suicide. Upon its release he will be donating the proceeds to Collateral Damage – a group that works to prevent suicide through dialogue, information and support. For more information on this initiative known as “The Arizona Project” and how you can get involved, go to their website: http://theocdcollective.com/arizona/
Quote of the Week
“We now understand that higher-level thinking is more likely to occur in the brain of a student who is emotionally secure than in the brain of a student who is scared, upset, anxious, or stressed.” (Mawhinney and Sagan)
On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 2)
“He’s not considering the consequences of his
behavior. He’s plotting his next move!”
Former Students’ Update
Matt Thomey (B. Ed., 2012)
I’ve been fortunate enough to have obtained two different teaching positions since finishing MUN’s education program in August 2012. I spent last year in High Level, AB as a high school teacher with the Fort Vermilion School Division. It was a good place to start my teaching career, and I’m happy to have said I went away and experienced a different place. The school itself had its challenges, as they all do, but I was lucky to have both a great principal and great colleagues who were very supportive and always willing to lend a helping hand during my first year. I think this is one of the most crucial things to have in order to make it through that first year, because there were definitely times when things got a little overwhelming. I had class sizes of over 30 students, and was teaching subjects I had never imagined myself being able to do, but I got through it and feel I am a better educator now because of it.
Towards the end of the year my girlfriend (another first year teacher) and I decided that Newfoundland is where we wanted to be and so at the end of the school year we made the move back home. I wasn’t looking forward to the job hunt again but I must say that things worked out great in the end. I ended up getting a full time position in Burnt Islands, NL (near Port Aux Basques) and so far I’m really enjoying it here. I have again been blessed with an awesome principal and staff, and feel more and more comfortable each day at the head of a classroom. The school is small, and so are the class sizes and while this is great, it has its challenges as well.
With regards to a few things that have worked for me in the classroom, I never talk down to the students, I try to use the word “we” instead of “I” as much as possible, and I am adaptable. I always try and speak to my students in a respectful manner, never in a way that demeans them. When speaking with the class as a whole about projects and activities I use the term ”we” so that the students get a sense that we are all in this together, and I have found great success with this technique. Finally, I realize that no two schools, classrooms, or even students are alike and this can cause for some difficult times if you are unable to adapt to change. After I get a sense for how certain students and classes behave, I approach certain things in a different way and usually the students will recognize this, and respond by showing me respect in return.
Overall, I consider myself very fortunate to be where I am and am looking forward to the future. My ultimate goal is to get back close to home in Harbour Grace, NL. However, I understand the system and am willing to be patient, especially because I know that things could be a lot worse. Teaching is an incredibly rewarding profession and I am happy to have chosen it as a career. Good luck to all the interns out there!
Matt Thomey has a B.A. in History from Yale University and graduated with a Bachelor of Education (Intermediate/Secondary) from MUN in 2012. H also holds a Diploma in Technology Education from MUN. Matt’s teachable areas are Social Studies and Technology Education. And, as he mentioned in his submission, he hails from Harbour Grace, NL.
As an “aside”, Matt’s quite the hockey player, having played senior hockey with the CeeBee Stars in the Newfoundland Senior Hockey League and this year he’s playing with the Western Royals. He was in my Effective Teaching class back in the fall of 2011. I was hoping that his exceptional hockey skills would rub off on me by perhaps the process of osmosis! No such luck!!!!!!!
On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 3)
“Mom read me my rights: Do your homework
right now and do it right!”
Concluding Comment From the Editor
That’s it for issue # 4. Thank you to those interns who sent in their submissions for this issue and a special thank you to Matt Thomey for his “update” and his very sage advice for the interns.
Would like to see more submissions from the primary and elementary interns. I realize of course that many of them are doing a course, Education 4425 (Intro to Educational Administration) while on their internships and that obviously creates additional challenges for them re time management-wise.
And lastly, I know many of you are expecting a few hockey comments from me before concluding this issue. Well, great game at St. Bon’s this Friday night past. Our team lost but I did get 2 goals – 1 of them was on a breakaway and no one was more shocked than me when it went in!!!! I also got a couple of assists! Now I don’t mean to suggest that I was a super-star that night as there were probably a hundred goals scored – maybe that’s a tad exaggerate-ive (if there’s such a word) – but necessary to keep it all in perspective!!!!! Habs-wise, not great lately – lost in OT last night to Tampa Bay! And what really exacerbated my “pain” was the Leafs defeating Ottawa last night!!!!! And as per usual, I received a couple of regular telephone calls after the game, gently “rubbing it in”!
As soon as this eMEMO goes out on the listserv, I’m home to see the Habs play the Jets at 2:30 NL time. C’est le but!