Volume 10, Number 3

Greetings everyone; issue # 3 already!  Interns you’re already entering your 3rd week on the internship; there’s a Latin expression, tempus fujit which when translated means “time flies” – so true indeed.  All indications from the submissions received thus far are that everything is going well out there with your internships.  A brief conversation with our co-ordinator of placements, Mr. Hayward Blake, a few days ago confirmed same.  “Steady she goes”.  Here are this week’s “offerings” – another 12 issues – definitely a record for a # 3 issue. Enjoy.

Feedback From This Year’s Interns

A bit of a snagMy first couple of weeks have been going great. I have taught a few classes now (mostly Career Development and Canadian History) and I can’t wait to start teaching an entire unit in Canadian Geography after mid-term exams. I’m sure I will teach with more enthusiasm in Geography because I find the material much more interesting than the History or Career Development. I have hit a bit of a snag with the Technology side of my internship however. I have been placed into a Robotics class and I may have to teach a lesson on phidgets (a word I first heard 9 days ago!). I have zero experience with robotics to date and we will not be doing a robotics class at MUN until the summer. Luckily for me there may be a problem at the school because their computers no longer support some of the programs needed! (Secondary Intern)

Thoroughly enjoying my internship

I can wholeheartedly say, without any reservation, that I am thoroughly enjoying my internship. I was a bit apprehensive after a disappointing 2 week placement in September, but my experience so far in junior high has been rewarding, thought-provoking and inspiring. The staff is well rounded and welcoming, and everyone is making an effort to be the best educator possible, inside and outside the classroom.

My co-operating teacher has been an excellent resource and I am learning how to manoeuver through difficult situations – I have already sat in on three parent-teacher meetings (and taken plenty of notes)! So far this has been a wonderful learning experience and I am looking forward to making more connections with the students as time progresses.  (Intermediate Intern)

The importance of making that connection with students   

As the first week came and went, I noticed the importance of making that connection with the students. The first couple of days they would not speak to me and some even said that I was intimidating. To try and change this opinion, as our Effective Teaching instructor always did, at the beginning of each class I stood at the door and greeted them as they walked in. As I monitored the classroom, I stared making subtle comments. I attended two students clubs, one of which was knitting and a student taught me the skill.

Now going into the second week, the majority of my students come up to me and told me about things they would like to do, they ask me about myself (always keeping it professional of course!), and I tried to give them advice on why studying French leads to many worthwhile opportunities.

It saddens me to think that in 2 weeks’ time I will not have them anymore as their course is over and I will receive 3 new slots of students. However, the first thing I plan to do is make that special connection with the new students. Some advice my co-operating teacher told me:  while the material is important for the students to learn, if you can finish the day and say I made a student smile, then that is the best part of being a teacher because you never know what they might be  going home to.  (Secondary Intern)

I can’t wait to take the reins  

My first week has been great. I am going to be teaching all International Baccalaureate (IB) courses so I am going to be thrown in the deep end starting next week.

The teachers at this school are all very experienced and skilled at what they do. In just the first week of observations I have already learned so much from them and what I am the most surprised about is they are teaching Science a lot like the way we were taught by our MUN Science Educator professor.

I actually thought most Science courses would still be death by PowerPoint but these classes are all very hands on and process-based vs content-based. Most classes at the Grade 12 level have very little “information” written on the board; rather each class starts with some sort of a question or problem and the students work their way through it with an activity or worksheet.

I can’t wait to take the reins! (Secondary Intern)

I’ve yet to see a “hard case” kid

I am now two weeks into my internship, and I am loving it here.  The dynamic between the students and the teachers is excellent.  I have yet to see a “hard case” kid or a disliked teacher.  Both of the aforementioned I have seen before in other schools and through my own experience in school.

So to not see it now, I feel as if I am actually being a little spoiled as an intern teacher.  I am placed at an inner-city secondary school and split between two co-operating teachers.  I spend 60% of the time in the gym instructing Physical Education, and the remaining 40% in the Design and Fabrication Room for Technology Education.  I’m liking the mix, and it’s awesome to be exposed to and to be able to instruct both teachable areas every day.

Many of my colleagues have mentioned that things are a little slow right now because of upcoming exams which start next week.  A lot of preparation is required and most of the teachers are spending much of their time administering practice tests and hosting extra help classes.  There is not a whole lot of opportunity for them to lesson plan and teach because the mind set for everyone is to review.  I, however, have not been involved with any of that, due to my discipline areas, but I certainly see the stress levels up for both students and teachers alike.  It’s an interesting time of the year.  (Secondary Intern)

The effect you can have on your students  

I’m at a senior high school just outside of St. John’s. I am so blessed to be at this school. The staff and students are so great. There is also a few other student interns and they are all a great support system. I really couldn’t have asked for better!

The first two weeks went by so fast but yet it seems like so long ago because I can already notice such a huge difference in myself. The students were all excited to see me return after the two week fall placement.

One of the most rewarding aspects of being a teacher is the effect you can have on your students. When I wake up in the morning, I look forward to going to the school. I am kept busy all week with lesson planning and creating assessments, but it never really feels like “work.”! I think that first and foremost, it is very important to enjoy what you do. (Intermediate-Secondary Intern)

Busy but very rewarding  

My first two weeks have been very busy, but very rewarding. In only 2 weeks it seems like the students have become more welcoming. I have begun to learn students’ names which has helped form that professional relationship.

As far as forming those relationships, that will further develop over time. As long as I approach each student with an open mind and portray a positive attitude to them, I am sure they will confide in me more.

Other things I have found are just how respectful the students are as a whole. When I say respectful I mean to myself/other teachers and also their fellow students.

As I am sure everyone can appreciate, each school has students with ranging abilities/disabilities. However what has stood out to me at my school is how each student is included in all activities and the level of respect they show for each other.

The teachers have been very welcoming and my co-operating teachers have much to offer. I am really looking forward to learning from them over the next months.  (Secondary Intern)

How my teacher voice and teacher immune system were tested immediately  

Let me start out by saying how excited I am to be working with the fabulous teachers and students in the school where I’m interning. With the class I am with I had been told that, like many classrooms, there will be some challenges. Starting out I was expecting to be completely beat at the end of the day, to have learned all of their names fairly quickly (some more quickly than others!), and to have a large amount of work to do very quickly.

I love working on tight deadlines, being thrown into everything feet first, and having high expectations of my performance early on. I feed on that energy. Bring it on! That being said, there are a few things that took me by surprise. First, I realized very quickly that as a teacher, I do not have to maintain the energy level of a full classroom of 7 and 8 year olds. Burnout will happen very quickly! That was a fairly quick fix. What has struck me most is how my teacher voice and teacher immune system were tested immediately. It is the second week of our internship. I have a vicious cold and have completely lost my voice. Twice! Losing your voice as a teacher makes the act of teaching and running the day near impossible. As I croaked my way through some of the last few days, many teachers in the school smiled at me, recognizing this familiar state. “Ah, you’re working on the teacher voice” say many. Or, “This happens to me at least once a year”.

The advice I have been given to take care of your voice while getting in vocal shape has been very helpful. Step 1: hydrate. Like, a lot. Drink way more water than you think you need to. It’s wintertime, the classes are heated and the air is very dry. Without being sufficiently hydrated there is a high risk of vocal strain. I was also told that with time and experience, we will find there is rarely a time when talking over the class is necessary. The more tools I find for settling the students down the less I’ll be raising my voice. Lots of tea with honey and lemon and not talking on the weekends (very difficult!) has been helping. It’s still not 100%, but on the mend. I hope everyone is having a fantastic first few weeks of their internships!  (Primary Intern)

Knowing the names of 24 little ones

Sometimes it feels like I have been attending Memorial an eternity. With one degree down, half of another in the works, and graduate school looming as an eventuality on the horizon, it’s easy to feel exhausted and burnt out. You get used to a daily grind: go to class, write tests, go home, write assignments, feel stressed. Rinse and repeat. “Don’t forget you’re here forever”. Walking into my internship felt like a breath of fresh air. There was a little nervousness about the dynamic of returning to a school I attended as a child (and returning to the same Grade One classroom, albeit with a different teacher), but my observation days alone had confirmed that this is the right path for me. It feels like I am finally doing something that I actually want to be doing. Don’t get me wrong, there is still a learning curve. Not every day or every lesson is going to be shining perfection. But I’m doing something productive with a great class and I have the support and guidance of an excellent co-operating teacher. Knowing the names of 24 little ones, teaching them and getting to know them feels good. I’m watching their lives and their progress, and I’m taking part in their triumphs and their challenges.  We’re learning together. For the first time in my life, I look forward to Mondays!  (Primary Intern)

Pretty nervous going into the school on the first day  

I was pretty nervous going into the school on the first day of the internship. I’m interning at the same school I graduated high school from, so it felt very strange to be walking into the school as a teacher and not as a student. Many of the teachers at the school are my old teachers. I thought it would be different working with them as a teacher, but they took me right under their wing and I feel as though I fit right in! I know many of the Grade 12 students on a personal level from teaching them skating and swimming. The first couple of days they kept making the mistake of calling me by my first name, but by the end of the first week they had it figured out.

I spent the first couple of days observing but I’m slowly starting to take over classes. I’m  loving every minute of teaching the students and I’m soaking up every bit of advice from my co-operating teachers. I’m looking forward to getting into more teaching with the different classes. (Secondary Intern)

Enjoying this experience to the fullest

I have had nothing but positive experiences since beginning my internship. I am in an environment where I am constantly learning, getting feedback and accomplishing goals far before I had ever expected. My co-operating teacher is a fantastic person who wants me to do my absolute best and is doing everything in his power to ensure that I am not overly stressed and that I am enjoying this experience to the fullest.

I have jumped in taking over three classes and the students are so welcoming and love that there is a new teacher in the classroom who is trying new things to encourage their learning. I can already see a huge improvement in my abilities as a teacher and I am sure as this internship continues I am only going to further improve and perfect my skills.

(Secondary Intern)

Currently in Harlow, UK

I’m currently in Harlow, UK doing my internship! I’m in a school that is years 7-11 (ages 11-17). I have a mix of classes in that age range. I’m teaching Art, Graphics and Photography! The first week of my internship was really difficult because everything is either slightly different or VERY different. Today, for example, I had to undergo “Prevent training” which was a session to help staff recognize when a student may be vulnerable to joining a terrorist group. I had never heard of anything like that in Canada.

The students are very nice here so far, but the teachers keep telling me that they are just feeling me out and that they will become a handful once they get to know me! All in all, they are very polite and energetic, especially the “year 8s”.

I had a lot of pre-internship anxiety. New school, forty-five minute walk to the school, not knowing anyone at the school or at my campus residence… I was pretty worried about everything! Luckily, everyone at the school is fantastic. Every teacher had, at the very least, a smile to throw my way. They were (and still are!) very helpful, and I’m now looking forward to all of the new things I’m going to learn.

(Intermediate-Secondary Intern)

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On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 1)

v10-03-01

“It was a surprise test.  And boy, is she

going to be shocked at my answers!”

Recommended Book Resource for Primary & Elementary Interns

It’s A Book, 2010, Lane Smith (author)

book, 2015, David Mills (author), Natalie Hoopes (Illustrator)

To start this year’s book reviews, I am introducing two books that emphasize the importance of books in our world, for pleasure and esthetics, and for learning.

It’s a Book humorously compares reading a book to reading from a computer. It features a tiny jackass with a laptop who meets a large monkey reading a book. Jackass has never seen a book before and has lots of questions, such as “how do you scroll down, do you blog with it, can it text?” and so forth. When he asks Monkey where his mouse is, a little mouse lifts Monkey’s hat off Monkey’s head to show himself sitting underneath. As Jackass continues to ask questions, Monkey continues to reply,” No, it’s a book”.  Jackass becomes more curious, leaning closer to Monkey, until finally Jackass takes the book to see for himself. The clock hands move from 12:05 to 5:35 as Jackass sits immersed with the book, until Monkey asks for it back and Jackass replies, “No”. Monkey says he is going to the library to get another book, to which Jackass responds, “Don’t worry, I’ll charge it up when I’m done”, and Monkey answers, “You don’t have to. . . It’s a book, Jackass.”

In book, a young boy takes us on an adventure, starting with a bare white page with one sentence, “this is a book”.  Wonderful illustrations accompany simple text, “…you’re suddenly in a place that only you can imagine. A place where everything is possible. Where imagination scrapes the skies of opportunity…” book also offers a few comparisons to computer usage,  such as, “…no alarm will disturb and no screen will crack. Because it doesn’t have one.  Or an off switch.  Or a password to keep you out…” book ends with the young boy climbing in through his bedroom window, and sitting on his bed with arms wrapped around his book. The final passages say, “you can say goodbye without feeling sad, because you know you can come back as often as you wish. It will all be here—always close, always near—because you’re the one holding. . . a book”.

You may find yourself laughing at your own image in It’s a Book, and becoming enthralled with the possibilities in book. It’s a Book will tickle your funny bone, and book will tug at your emotions.

Either way, both picture books illustrate the role that books still occupy in our lives and in our hearts.

On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 2)

v10-03-02

“He pulled a muscle doing long division at the Math Olympics!”

Education Law Corner   

                       

Two very important concepts in Education Law are liability and negligence.

Liability simply means that we are responsible for our own behavior.  As teachers we are indeed liable or responsible for how we conduct ourselves as professionals both within the school walls and outside those school walls.  Some would even go so far as to say that we are teachers 24-7!  For example, if you are teaching in a school here in St. John’s and a student sees you at the Avalon Mall, the student will in all likelihood tell his mother or father that there goes his teacher; whether it is on a weekday or weekend doesn’t matter – that individual is still the student’s teacher!

The other concept, negligence, simply means doing what a reasonable person should not do or not doing what a reasonable person should do. Of course, in Education, the context we operate in is the classroom specifically and school in general.  And for true negligence in the legal sense to happen, there has to be injury or harm done to an individual. A basic but perhaps silly example is: if you are a Tech Ed teacher and students are using serious equipment in your class such as a band saw – you tell them to continue working with this piece of equipment while you saunter next door to Tim Horton’s to get a coffee and a student accidently cuts off a finger!  This is obviously negligence as it is definitely something a reasonable person (i. e., a teacher in this case) would not do and in this case there is obviously injury or harm done to an individual!

Food for thought!

On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 3)

v10-03-03

“Your writing assignment today is to write about

why this generation can’t write right!”

 

Concluding Comment From The Editor

That concludes issue # 3. Thank you very much to those interns who sent in submission for this issue.  Every week we receive wonderfully positive feedback re these submissions.

An example of such feedback is this email submitted by Ms. Vivian Squires, a patron of Field House, who subscribes to the eMEMO – thank you Vivian:

“So refreshing to have the privilege of reading these precious comments of our future teachers soon  to be to heading out to  teach our grandchildren.

There is a common thread through all these entries in this latest  eMEMO (Volume 10 Issue 2 – January 10, 2016)  which expresses over and over how respectful the students are toward the teacher interns. Believe me this is so exciting to hear from these intern teachers as we hear in the public that young people have no respect; this proves in the classroom they still do!”

On the usual personal note, a few comments re (you guessed it) – hockey! My beloved Habs continue to mire in defeat – another loss this past Saturday night.  No telephone barbs exchanged that night between my sister-in-law in Stephenville and moi!  The Leafs lost as well!  My “pain” goes even deeper on the local level – I was at Mile One Saturday night and the baby Habs (a.k.a the St. John’s IceCaps) lost out to the baby Leafs (a.k.a. Toronto Marlies).  All those blue Leafs’ jerseys on the ice and some in the stands are challenging to my eyes and may necessitate a visit to my optometrist or perhaps my ophthalmologist  real soon!!!!!!

On a much more positive note, our St. Bon’s game Friday night past saw yours truly score 2 goals, yes 2 goals and there was a goalie in that net!!!!!  Please pardon my humility or lack thereof!

I know you crave the specifics:  Goal # 1 – I was in the right corner and I shot the puck at the goalie’s (Logan Mackey) left skate – it hit his skate blade and went in – not pretty but countable!  Goal # 2:  A little later, I was in front of Logan – got a rebound and banged it home!  Again, not pretty but countable!  Nothing further!  C’est le but!

 

Until next Sunday, have a wonderful week everyone. Here on the Avalon, we’ve been experiencing lots of icey/slippery walking conditions lately – be careful as I heard the Orthopedics people over at the Health Sciences Complex were swamped with patients last week due to those conditions!  I know of one individual here in St. John’s who fell last week while walking and actually broke a rib – not good.

Best wishes – 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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