Volume 10, Number 2

Welcome to the second issue of this year’s eMEMO.  Delighted we have 12 submissions in total from the teacher interns, definitely a record for any of the 2nd issues over the past 9 years!  Thank you to those students for taking the time to put their thoughts in an email and we encourage others to do the same.  We’re particularly hoping to see more submissions from the Primary and Elementary interns.  We realize they’re doing an online course, Education  4425 (Intro to Educational Administration)  while on their internships and that must be a significant challenge, especially time-wise.  Even a short paragraph at least once during the semester would be more than appreciated.

Hope all you interns are settling in to your new roles and we hope the transition is indeed a pleasant one.

Feedback From This Year’s Interns

Great first week

GREAT FIRST WEEK!

Already running activities like archery in the gym (I’m a bit of an expert – please pardon  the humility or lack thereof!). I have many students that I have taught swimming lessons, had at camp, and many of my inner city troubled youth group are at  this high school.  I already feel like a part of the school and many of  the students say hello to me in the hallways.

All those students who I was warned would give me trouble, I already know them well, and to date I feel that I have great relationships with them.

I guess I am so lucky and blessed to be at this school as I’m glowing with excitement each morning heading to my internship school. I am also working with the Technology teacher who is doing a robotics course as well as design and fabrication. They had a sub in today so I took the lead on an assignment they were working on; lots of questions, but I feel that they really started  to understand the concepts being demonstrated by myself and they applied it on their assignments.

I have also volunteered to coach  the sr. boys’  basketball team.  I’m really looking forward to holding tryouts and  running practices.

I made sure to tell my teachers that  I wanted to teach  ASAP! They felt I was ready from the observations they have made thus far, and  my wish has been granted.  Next week I’ll  be taking the lead on the Nutrition unit.  That’s all I have so far – lots of Healthy Living assignments to mark –  I must get back to it!

(Secondary Intern)

If we focus on being the best we can be

A positive attitude and an acceptance of where you are as a teacher will go a long way to making your internship a fulfilling and enjoyable experience.  As fledgling teachers we must remember that experience and time will alleviate some of the anxieties and pressures that we all feel.

I think that if we focus on being the best we can be with the tools and skills we have and  not let pride or cynicism get in the way, we can have long and meaningful careers in education.  That  being said,  never underestimate your own intelligence, education and intuition.  We all have something to contribute to our interning schools and don’t let anyone drag your positivity down!

(Intermediate-Secondary Intern)

Returning as an intern to the high school I graduated from  

Returning as an intern teacher to the high school I graduated from was a bit strange to me at first. The transition from student to teacher has been a very weird yet gratifying experience. On my first day I socialized in the staff room with many of my own high school teachers which was different but nice in a way.

All the staff and students were very welcoming and respectful which put my mind at ease after my first day. I am placed with a couple of excellent co-operating teachers who are eager to teach  me everything they know and I am more than willing to learn anything they are willing to teach me!

Even though we have only been in our schools for a week, I feel like I have picked up right where I left off from the mini-placement we had back in September. I am currently using my assessment skills I have developed thanks to our MUN Assessment instructor to help create English, Biology, and Science exams for their upcoming mid-terms, which is not an easy task but it is great to get involved.

Although the sr. high students are now doing review for mid-terms, I was given the privilege of  teaching  a Grade 7 Science class. When I was given my schedule the first day and saw that  Grade 7 course in slot “B” I became very uneasy. But after this first week, I must say I am enjoying this class more than  my high school classes. The students are always excited to see me and I hope that feeling continues once I start teaching them  next week.

Overall the internship is going great and I’m looking forward to actually teaching next week.

(Intermediate-Secondary  Intern)

What a wonderful experience so far

Week one of my internship just came to an end and what a wonderful experience so far! I have been placed in Grade 5 and I am  thoroughly enjoying my time there. It certainly helps that the teacher I have been placed with is encouraging, helpful and has 26 years of experience! Having completed an internship in my first degree in Physical Education I am excited to see what teaching in the classroom will bring. The students have been well behaved and excited to have an intern in their classroom. I have already started doing some teaching each day, reading a novel aloud to the students. My experience so far has been completely positive. I am so excited to see what this opportunity will bring and I cannot wait to delve deeper into planning and delivering my own lessons.

This experience has already  reaffirmed my passion to become a Primary/Elementary teacher!

(Elementary Intern)

Every day has been an adventure

After one week on my internship with a class of grade one students I now know for certain this is the career path I was meant to have. Every day has been a new adventure and I finally have all 24 names for each little face down pat!

The first day was extremely daunting. I was nervous about how I would fit into the classroom and overall school atmosphere. I feared being rejected by the students and staff as well as taking on too much with my personal life thrown into the mix. Those fears have now been put to rest and I cannot think of a more enjoyable and rewarding way to spend  my days.

My first day I started with mostly observing and reading a story but have now moved right in with teaching my first lesson, having set up a daily routine of reading a story to start the day and experiencing the dreaded “duty” which has been an excellent way to get to know students outside of my own class!

Overall it has been a great first week and I am very excited to continue in such a caring and nurturing school!

(Primary Intern)

I could barely get to sleep

The night before the start of my internship, I could barely get to sleep. I was experiencing some anxiety and excitement at the same time! However, much of that anxiety has already disappeared in my first week.

I am interning at a small rural school where all grades are combined, and the atmosphere at the school is great.

All the teachers have made me feel very welcomed and the students have made me feel so as well.  I have already learned all their names- something I feel was crucial to my acceptance into their classroom and a very important part of starting to build a relationship with them.

I have already started teaching and doing activities with students. Next week, I will be doing even more so.

I am really looking forward to the next twelve weeks and I am certain they will fly by when we are learning and having fun. Good luck to all my fellow interns – I hope you all have an amazing experience!

(Intermediate-Secondary Intern)

Kind of strange

My first week has been kind of strange.  I went back to my old high school in Ontario and I joined the class in the latter portion of the first semester just before they were about to start review for their exams.  This week most of the classes were working on their big end of the year assignment in the computer lab, leaving me with very little to do.  I have been walking around and talking with a few of the students trying to learn their names as well as providing any help I can.  It’s hard learning names when you rarely see their faces!

I’m currently trying to put together a short unit on practical writing for a Grade 12 college stream English class. Things like business emails, memos, incident reports,  etc. which has ended up being more difficult then I imagined!

The hardest part of my internship so far has been trying to stop myself from calling my old teachers Mr. and Mrs. but I think I’m starting to get the hang of it!  All in all it’s been a good week and I hope everyone else is having fun as well.

(Secondary Intern)

A severe case of the butterflies

Last Sunday night I had a severe case of the butterflies! Monday morning on my way to the school, I thought I was going to throw up!  It was a nerve-wrecking moment walking into the school where I spent thirteen years as a student, only this time I was going to be a teacher. Fortunately after finishing my first day of the internship, I had no idea why I had been so nervous. Even though I had a whole new role at the school, it just felt right! All of my old teachers welcomed me with open arms. My co-operating teacher and I hit it off! She is incredibly patient and has taught me so much already.

The students are bright and entertaining; there is never a dull moment in the classroom. I am looking forward to teaching my first lesson on Monday and all of the adventures that the next several weeks have in store!   (Intermediate-Secondary Intern)

It was such a blur

Where do I begin on this first week back? It was such a blur. Well I am teaching at the same school I did my two-week internship with which is a secondary school in St. John’s. I felt really good going back for my first week. I was excited and eager to get into the swing of things with my new co-operating teacher and after this first week I’m still eager.

So far the first week has been great; I have taught a few courses and I was pleasantly surprised to see a few students recognized me from before.

The other teachers have been really great and helpful. The overall atmosphere of the school is, I find, positive.

So far my biggest concern is around my overly-friendly nature, a concern about being too buddy-buddy with the students and losing my authority. After talking with my supervisor though I was told not to worry about it and to try and just stick with the management style I’m most comfortable with and to be consistent;  don’t try to be someone you’re not.

That’s week one down;  can’t wait to see what happens next!

(Secondary Intern)

When in some cases you have more in common with the students than your fellow teachers

When, in some cases, you have more in common with the students than your fellow teachers, stepping into the classroom can be tough. This was my primary concern prior to entering a high school classroom. However, I was indeed surprised with the amount of authority and respect you can have, and be seen to have, by just standing in front of the classroom.

I spent most of the first week observing the students. This allowed me to get a better understanding of their personalities, struggles, and other aspects of their lives in the classroom. I feel this observation was necessary for me to feel like I could step into the role of teacher. It limits the possibilities of misunderstanding the struggles of certain individuals. I am at a very large high school, which is different from my early internship, and also my own schooling experience.

I used to have the opinion that apart from organized sports, larger schools lacked the unity of a smaller school. After my first week I now think that the unity of the school depends on the leadership, and the effort of the students.

I look forward to continuing my internship, and hopefully experiencing success.  (Secondary Intern)

I see much sleep deprivation in my future

Assorted thoughts from week one:

  • If every week goes as quickly as this one did, it’s going to be a very short three months!
  • The phone problem has not magically gotten better since October. Sigh.
  • I see much sleep deprivation in my future.
  • High school students can be amusingly conservative.
  • How much paper does one student go through in a year? Can we not leverage technology to cut down on this?
  • Having an adjustable thermostat in your classroom is a mixed blessing.
  • Planning a week’s worth of outfits on the weekend is saving my life in the mornings.
  • Reusable shopping bags are a teacher’s best friend.

                (Secondary Intern)

Rather than walking the halls at MUN this week

Rather than walking the halls of MUN this week, I was in a high school. There were no professors lecturing, no buying of textbooks, no syllabi. Instead, I was observing my co-operating teacher, while being greeted by curious looks from students who seemed to be sizing me up.

In this first week, besides clearing up some of my nervousness and uncertainty about the upcoming months, I learned the routine, a few of the students’ names, and a few teaching styles.

I started to plan out what exactly I am going to do in the upcoming months. There is a lot to do!

Although it was strange not being at MUN, it was great to get into an actual classroom and start getting more hands-on experience. I look forward to what lies ahead in this internship and I am really looking  forward to developing into a teacher!

(secondary Intern)

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On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 1)

v10-02-01

“Let me guess, Patrick – the light bulb went on!”

On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 2)

v10-02-02

My grades are low. What is my extra credit rating?”

On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 3)

v10-02-03

“The district just cut out all extra-curricular activities.

Better increase the homework so they’re not

American Idle!”

Education Law Corner   

                        

In the field of Law a common practice is to refer to various practices and doctrines/concepts by their Latin names.  Examples of such practices and doctrines/concepts are in loco parentis, nolo contendere, parents patriae, and habeas corpus, just to mention a few.

An underlying doctrine or concept in Education Law is the concept of “in loco parentis” which when translated means “in the place of the parent”.   This usually refers to the authoritative role of the teacher and is commonly cited in cases dealing with student discipline such as corporal punishment.  According to one of Canada’s foremost experts in Education Law, Professor Wayne MacKay, in more recent years, there has been “a demise of the in loco parentis doctrine as an operative source of authority for teachers”  (Teachers and the Law:  Diverse Roles and New Challenges, 2013, p. 40).  However, it is currently not that uncommon for judges across Canada to still refer to in loco parentis in court cases.

Concluding Comment From The Editor

That takes care of issue # 2.  As alluded to earlier, the editor is delighted with the terrific response from teacher interns with their comments on their first week out in the schools.  Keep sending in those submissions.

On a personal note, the editor’s interest in hockey continues and this past Friday night was our 8th scrimmage game at St. Bon’s Forum this year.  Our hockey group’s development is somewhat similar to the development of this eMEMO in that the group is now into its 10th year of playing.  A number of players, primarily BEd students, have come and gone but the core is still intact.  A great bunch of mostly male players, although we have had female players over the years, we get along quite well with the usual pre-game/post-game banter.  Some might call it verbal abuse, especially if they happen to be cheering for the Habs or the Leafs!  Certainly no Great 8 of Washington Capital fame, yours truly had a goal in our last game and almost had the 2nd;  the celebration was a tad premature as I had thought it went in but it hit the crossbar and bounced out!  Ce n’est pas le but!  Ah well, definitely living the dream!

Till next Sunday, have a great week everyone – Jerome

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About themondayememo

Jerome G. Delaney, Editor Associate Professor – Educational Administration Faculty of Education Memorial University of Newfoundland St. John’s, NL Canada A1B 3X8 Telephone: 709-864-2071 Facsimile: 709-864-2345 Email: jdelaney@mun.ca
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