Good day all – welcome to issue # 4 – January will soon be but a memory! Interns, hope all is well with you – everything is quite on our end at the Faculty of Education so we’re assuming you are “hard at it” and doing your “thing” in classrooms here and abroad! Senior high students in this province are currently doing mid-year exams and as a number of you have mentioned in your correspondence to yours truly, that alone is indeed a learning experience – invigilating exams, scribing exams, helping to mark exams etc., etc. Anyways, here’s this week’s eMEMO – enjoy.
Feedback From This Year’s Interns
The anxiety of not getting things done accordingly
The first week of internship was very informative. I said in my Ed 5005 journals that I’m in a double-streamed secondary school. And that my teachables are history and religion; sadly my province has no religion in their public curriculum.
So I took it upon myself to try something new in its place. I decided that I would learn how to teach Spanish language, seeing that I am of Latin American heritage and I did take Spanish courses in my university years, I thought I would give it a go. And so I have been watching the teacher, very carefully, learning his method and how I can use it and adapt. And it seemed to have worked out nicely! I just taught a class on Friday and it went really well. Still lots to learn though.
My other teachable, History or the Social Sciences, I will be teaching a lesson today until Wednesday on the topic of oil for Grade 10 Geography, and hopefully this goes well too. A little bit more nervous in teaching this subject than I was with Spanish language. I am already feeling the anxiety of not getting things done accordingly.
The teaching lifestyle is certainly one that will take some calibrating
As I write this submission, I’m experiencing my first snow day! I hope everyone is doing well. My first few weeks have been a combination of happy, excited with side bouts of extreme weariness.
The teaching lifestyle is certainly one that will take some calibrating. I just finished (last Sunday) correcting my first test results, where it seemed all students received an 80+ mark. One student asked me if I was drunk while correcting, which I laughed off as good natured “new guy” ribbing. The test was for an Entrepreneurship class.
I am a History/ Religious Studies major. Unfortunately for me, I only have one class of History; the rest are classes not coinciding with my teachables. It is, however, a chance to learn more Social Studies and grow as a teacher.
I have used some non-verbal/verbal intervention skills. My favorite, when students are not listening, is to let the class go deathly silent while holding eye contact on the talkers until I am noticed and can continue my lesson. I have learned all the names of the students in my career class and quite a few in Canadian Geography.
My one concern is my mentor teacher has been sick for the last week and a half so I have not been given much direction in my teaching. While I am confident, and have no trouble speaking on whatever topic, I feel that there are techniques I am missing that may help me teach the information in a more suitable manner, but I digress! (Secondary Intern)
The most rewarding thing so far is working with young people
I am really enjoying my internship so far, though I haven’t had much of a chance to teach yet given that students are preparing for exams and have also been spending a lot of class time completing projects. It will be full speed ahead after the mid-terms when we are getting into new material, and I am really looking forward to that.
I have to say the most rewarding thing so far is working with young people, both getting to know them and helping them succeed. After all, that’s really what it’s all about. I feel incredibly welcome in the classroom and there have been no real problems at all. At this point, I know just about all of their names and I have been building some connections; I think this will definitely help ease my way as I begin to take over the classes. I am primarily working with English classes ranging from Grades 10-12, as well as one Writing class. It’s definitely been a great start, and I hope it continues.
By the way, a student asked me today what my favourite hockey team was. I’m sure my Ed 4005 instructor will be pleased to know that I answered “the Habs”, and she was happy I answered anything other than the Toronto Maple Leafs! Definitely made me think of that Ed 4005 instructor!:) (Secondary Intern)
More than just the intern in the classroom
As the third week of the internships ends, an education intern will probably realize that they are more than just the intern in the classroom. My Grade 8 homeroom class are a very tight knit group of early French Immersion students who look at me (the intern) as someone who they can connect with, make jokes with, and chat with about pretty much anything (trust me; there are no limits). I sort of think they’re spoiling me but in the most positive way.
After only three weeks, I know that when I finish my internship at this school, I will be very sad to go. The connection I have made with my co-operating teacher so far is very encouraging as she is helpful and is a good example of the kind of teacher I want to be, which is surprising after my disappointing short internship at my old junior high school. One of the main things I have learned so far is how much the students like to be creative and how they can surprise you with their abilities when they can take control of their assignments.
I am really looking forward to building relationships with the students/staff and taking in as much as I can in the next 9 weeks.
A bit of a slow start
My internship has had a bit of a slow start since my teacher’s wife had twins two weeks ago and for the first two weeks I spent just as much time with a substitute teacher as with my co-operating teacher.
However, I’ve spent this week doing review and preparing for mid-terms next week. For exam week I am supervising three exams and have volunteered myself to help the IRTs out as much as possible with scribing and reading since in a school of 240 students (Grades 7-12), there are only two IRTs.
Starting the following week I will begin teaching Science 9, Science 1206, Chemistry 2202, Biology 2201 & Biology 3201.
I feel a little jealous when I read all the other submissions and everyone is saying how awesome and welcoming their staff have been because I find my staff room fairly clique-ish. I know this is because I have chosen a smaller town that I am not from and they think I’m a “townie”. Luckily, I am not easily offended and I am thankful for the friendly ones.
I am starting to learn some of the students’ names, but I still have a ways to go. The students are definitely warming up to me; one girl even brought me a piece of cake today! (Intermediate-Secondary Intern)
The prevalence of cellphones in the classroom
What I have found on my internship is the prevalence of cellphones in the classroom and how open they are with having them. One student even asked me for the answer for a question on a trivia game while I was teaching the class!
It seems to me that schools cannot do anything to prevent phone use due to having legal responsibility if they take it. I am for their use in the classroom as a search engine or to help with work. The problem comes when the teacher is explaining material and students are texting or playing games instead of paying attention.
Seems all teachers need to develop their own personal policy to solve the issue or the school board needs to find a solution.
I am seeing a new part of teaching
Where has the time gone? I can’t believe three weeks have already gone by, I feel like I just started.
Overall, I have been really enjoying my internship and really like working with my co-operating teacher. Everyone at the school has been very nice and welcoming. I have taught a few Grade 10 Math classes and I am excited to start teaching again after exams are over.
Since exams have started, I am seeing a new part of teaching that I have never seen before, exam prep. It is interesting to see how to create exams, everything that goes into preparing the exams to be handed out and what the teacher’s responsibilities are during exams.
Once the Math exams start I will get to learn how to grade an exam, what deserves a mark and what doesn’t. My-cooperating teacher has been on many marking boards so it will be a great opportunity to learn.
I am looking forward to more learning opportunities, challenges and experiences that the next 9 weeks bring! (Secondary Intern)
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On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 1)
“Kiss him and he’ll turn into a principal!
Recommended Book Resource for Primary & Elementary Interns
An A from Miss Keller (2015)
Author: Patricia Polacco
Patricia Polacco has written and illustrated her sixth book about teachers, real teachers who influenced her life as a child and adult. First there was Mr. Falker who helped her overcome her struggles with reading. Then there was Mr. Lincoln, the principal who helped change the life of a boy who bullied others. There was Mrs. Peterson, Patricia Polacco’s special education teacher, Miss Chew her art teacher, Mr. Wayne her drama teacher, and now Miss Keller, who was such an influence on her writing.
Miss Keller was known as “Killer Keller”, who never gave an A for writing. She said things to her students such as, “I expect you to dazzle me. Impress me. Send me into ecstasy with your brilliance”. She assigned lots of writing tasks, but no matter how hard Patricia tried, and regardless of the hours she spent writing, she could not get an A from Miss Keller. One day, Miss Keller kept her in after school and said to Patricia, “You have the words, Patricia. You have to give them wings”.
Patricia was very close to her next door neighbour, Pop Schloss. It was to him that she spoke about Miss Keller, and Pop kindly listened as poured her heart out. His two sons had had Miss Keller for a teacher, and he proved to be an understanding listening ear. He gave Patricia the thesaurus his own sons had used when they had Miss Keller for a teacher, and lots of advice.
Then, one day Pop died of a heart attack and Patricia was bereft. That night, Patricia sat at her desk and started writing a narrative of Pop. She “wrote and wrote and wrote”. When she got her narrative back from Miss Keller, Miss Keller had written, “Patricia, your spelling still leaves much to be desired; however, you’ve given your words wings! I am departing from my custom…here is your A”.
Patricia Polacco has once again written and illustrated a story about how teachers can open up the world for their students. All books in the sextet should be read by teachers and enjoyed by their students. The sextet is worthy of being in your personal library.
On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 2)
“Spooky! Isn’t that the student handbook?!”
Education Law Corner
This week the plan for this column was to discuss a few points about the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. However, the submission above on cellphones in the classroom begs some discussion and clarity on what schools should be doing with this challenge in the classroom.
First of all, schools are within their legal rights to develop policies dealing with such issues as cellphones. Obviously, this blatant use of cellphones is seriously impacting on the teaching and learning environment and in fact the onus is on the school administration in concert with the teachers to develop and enforce effective policies which address such issues as the use of cellphones in the classroom. In fact, Section 24(3) (f) of the Schools Act of Newfoundland and Labrador (1997) states that one of the duties of the principal is the following:
maintain order and discipline in the school and on the school grounds and at those other activities that are determined by the principal, with the teachers of the school, to be school activities.
Now obviously the principal cannot do this all by himself/herself. Teachers have to be involved in concert with the school administration to ensure that this is indeed done. This clause gives the school the authority to develop and enforce policies to ensure order and discipline is maintained in the school. Rampant use of cellphones as described in the page 3 submission is an infringement on maintaining order and discipline in the classroom.
This is certainly a topic that warrants further discussion and we’ll continue with same in next week’s issue # 5 of the eMEMO. Our thanks to the intermediate-secondary intern that wrote in about this issue.
On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 3)
“I’d like to renegotiate my report card!”
A Web-Site for Teaching K-12 Math and English
Recently came across this site – go to
and have a look.
Recommended Teacher Magazine
Concluding Comment From The Editor
That’s it for issue # 4.
Unfortunately, our St. Bon’s hockey game was cancelled on Friday night past – hot water boiler issues! So much for completing my “hat trick by instalment” plan! Hopefully, next week.
Watched the Habs v. Leafs game last night. My beloved Habs blew a 2-0 lead and were lucky to win the game in the shootout. All is not well in Habs’ nation! Needless to say, I called the sister-in-law (the avid Leafs’ fan) in Stephenville and gently massaged in that Canadiens’ victory – she was not impressed!
And lastly, winter has been tolerable thus far – love the lack of snow. That may change any day now – perhaps today as one forecast says 6 cm and another forecast says 15 cm! I’m voting for the 6 cm!!!!!!!!!
Have a great week, everyone – Jerome