Good day, everyone. Welcome to issue # 6 – unfortunately we only have 2 submissions this week – quite a contrast to previous weeks’ contributions. Not sure what’s going on out there with the interns but this obviously speaks to how busy they are with their work in the classrooms and probably extracurricular-wise as well. On a very positive note, what we lack in quantity this week is more than compensated by the high quality of those 2 submissions. Hopefully, we’ll get back to our regular numbers this coming week. We’ll have a few more things to say in the Education Law Corner about cellphone use in the classroom; this is obviously a rather contentious issue among teachers.
Feedback From This Year’s Interns
Bring with them many benefits
At the high school where I’m interning, extracurricular programs are a provided opportunity for all students to take part in. All of these programs take place after school and the weekends. While some parents question their child’s participation in these programs, I feel that they actually bring with them many benefits. I feel that allowing children to get involved in extracurricular programs at school is a wise choice, and it can be an integral part in helping them to develop many life skills, people skills, and many other related skills. Of course, while participating in a few activities within the school is great, there is a point where you need to draw the line. At my school there are activities that take place every day of the week and some of them have the same students as participants. Again, while I think that this is great, I’d like to list some of the benefits that I see along with my opinion on how much is too much. Here are some benefits as I see them.
Benefit #1 – Learning about long term commitments
When students join one of these programs, they commit themselves to that activity for a period of time. If others are relying on them based on that commitment and they are not showing up, then the others are certainly going to let them know how they are affecting those involved in the program. Learning to take on commitments is important, and these programs can teach students this important lesson.
Benefit #2 – Learning time management and prioritizing
One of the best things for students being involved in extracurricular programs is that they will learn about time management and prioritizing things in their lives. As an adult we get use to juggling a variety of different tasks. Students also need to learn these skills and extracurricular programs are a great avenue to develop these skills.
Benefit #3 – Making a contribution
Extracurricular programs are a great way for students to make a contribution in some way. It gets them away from just thinking about themselves and their focus can be on contributing to something else.
Benefit #4 – Building relationship skills
Relationship skills will certainly grow. Students need to get involved in social activities and learn how to appropriately act in social situations.
Extracurricular programs will certainly provide an opportunity for these skills to develop.
How much is too much?
While the benefits are endless for students who are involved in extracurricular programs, you need to consider how much is too much. Being involved in too many activities can have negative effects. Too much involvement can result in students having academic problems, or they may not get the rest and relaxation that they need. Both students and their families need to discuss their involvement in activities to ensure that the students can handle the activity and their school work. They can work up to balancing more activities if they continue to perform well.
In summary, I feel that involvement in extracurricular programs are something that can be very beneficial for all students but proper balancing between programs and school work has to be discussed within the family to ensure future success for the students.
One of my proudest moments
Today has been one of my proudest moments. The first time I taught a class back in September, I was so nervous, I shook like a leaf. I’ve always had a fear of public speaking and I struggled with it a lot. Today I taught three classes and they went so well. I don’t get nervous anymore when I teach – it comes natural. The feeling I get from teaching is indescribable. I just want to teach all of the time! Spending countless hours planning is so worth it when you see the kids thoroughly enjoying your lessons, working and smiling.
I spend so many hours doing lesson plans and trying to come up with creative activities to teach concepts. When the classes go off well, it is like a high. It’s the best feeling!! I love all of those kids so much, I know I won’t want to leave when the time comes.
Of course not every class can be behaved 100% of the time. There have been a lot of problems with disruptive students in our Grade 10 class (there are 3 girls and 22 boys in the class; added with the various maturity levels, this can sometimes be chaotic). I’ve actually put to use so many of the intervention techniques we learned in Effective Teaching (Education 4005) back in the fall semester at MJUN. In a way I guess it’s good to have a class like that because it shows the reality of teaching. You don’t know what kind of class you will get and you have to deal with it appropriately and effectively.
My co-operating teacher told me today that she is proud of me because the MUN B.Ed. student back in September would have never held the authority as I did today. I owe so much of that to my B. Ed. program at MUN. (Secondary Intern)
On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 1)
“We must be really poor right now. Mom
packed my macaroni art for lunch!”
Recommended Book Resource for Primary & Elementary Interns
Stone Angel (2015)
Author: Jane Yolen
Illustrator: Katie May Green
From the end pages done in blue skies and the many Stars of David intermingled with the other stars in the sky, Jane Yolen and Katie May Green have painted a sad, horrifying picture of life for the Jewish people in Paris during the second world war. Yet, at the same time, she lets us see the beauty of one family’s survival, and how a young girl’s faith in angels to watch over her family and protect them ends in happiness.
When the story begins, the girl and her younger brother lived happily in Paris, eating croissants and brioche, skipping along the streets of Paris where stone angels and gargoyles adorned the buildings. “And then one day the bad men came in their brown shirts, guns in hands”. The Jewish people were forced to wear yellow stars on their clothes and many people in Paris turned their backs on them. The girl said to her Maman, “Where there are stars, there are angels”, but Papa gathered her into his arms, and replied, “there are no angels here”. The girl and her family escaped into the woods of Paris where they joined the partisans (freedom fighters) in order to survive. The children learned to be quiet all of the time, and to live on food that could not be cooked in case their fires were seen.
One day Papa went off with ten of the partisans, but after two days only four of them returned. Papa decided it was too dangerous to stay and that they were going to escape to England to stay with Cousin Jacob. They would have to get to Spain and then try to get a ship to England. They travelled over mountains for many days, and the younger brother got very sick. “Ask your angels to look after him,” Maman said, and the girl did.
When they got to England they lived with Cousin Jacob for four years, learning English, and learning to eat crumpets and scones. When the war was finally over, they and many other French people returned to Paris trying to rebuild their lives. When the girl and her family found their old street, “wearing a long pleated stone gown, wings spread wide, a spring of summer in his hand, stood the angel, the one who had kept us safe in the forest, in the mountain, over the water, in the cozy English home, who was now smiling softly to welcome us home”.
And, if you go to Paris, “at 57 Rue de Turbigo, where the avenue bends, stands a colossal nine-meter-tall statue of a welcoming angel attached to the wall of an apartment house”. It is called the Lighthouse Angel, and was built by an architecture student. If you visit Paris, you can go see it.
On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 2)
“Trials bring about perseverance. Perseverance builds
character. I’m all about building character, Mrs. Menelow!”
Education Law Corner
The past 2 eMEMOs have examined the issue of inappropriate use of cellphones in the classroom and the need for a practical, enforceable policy about the use of cellphones. I have received some reaction to the comments articulated in those issues and I feel it is necessary to share them with our readership. Specifically, those points are:
1) very often teachers blatantly use their cellphones in the classroom for telephone calls, to answer email and text messages and or surfing;
2) teacher interns have been seen to use their cellphones in the classroom when they are observing co-operating teachers teach a lesson.
Not sure as to how widespread these issues are, but in these 2 instances, teachers and teacher interns are, as one would say, their own worst enemies!
There is nothing that turns people off so much, especially junior and senior high school students, as hypocrisy! A minority of teachers might say that “well, I’m the teacher, I can do whatever I want in the classroom”!
That may be true to some extent and that’s obviously a debatable point; however, such perceived autonomy comes at a very high price as far as students are concerned! Teachers lose credibility and respect from students and that’s a “mega” aspect of the student-teacher relationship! It’s my understanding that the caste system does not and should not exist in our schools, no matter the grade level.
In closing, suffice it to say, that teachers whether they are senior and tenured, new and on a tenure track, replacement, or interns should not be enforcing rules/regulations in the classroom that they themselves are not prepared to abide by, keeping in mind of course, that no rule or regulation is absolute!
On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 3)
“Just because they’re called Smarties doesn’t make them smart pills!”
Concluding Comment From The Editor
That’s it for this issue. Weather-wise here in the St. John’s area, we’re definitely experiencing global warming! The warm temps these past few days have melted most of the snow. My lawn is almost totally snow-free! “Knock on wood” I say! This could change very quickly; in fact, maybe in the next 24-48 hours as there is a forecast of snow. Hopefully, by talking about this “false sense of spring”, we haven’t jinxed things by upsetting the weather gods!
Hockey-wise, I need to inform you that the 2 goals I scored on January 15 at our last St. Bon’s scrimmage game (games on the 22nd and the 29th were cancelled), were followed up by another goal this Friday night. I got a rebound and banged it into the net – definitely not pretty but it counted. I’m calling those 3 goals a “Delaney hat trick by the installment plan”!!!!!!! The dream continues!
And, les Habitants won last night and the Leafs lost last night – absolutely wonderful; it’s been a while since I could “crow” like that! The St. John’s IceCaps – another story! The Toronto Marlies are in town next weekend.
Have a great week, everyone – Jerome