Hello everyone and welcome to issue # 8. Winter is moving right along and in a few weeks’ time, the clock goes ahead by 1 hour. I always found this to be a time of rejuvenation with spring hopefully not that far away! Enjoy the issue.
Feedback From This Year’s Interns
Their charlatan meters are through the roof
Each class I spend with the students I feel more confident in my new role as a teacher.
The amount of planning I have had to do over the last few weeks has astounded me, but I find that making the lesson my own and tailoring it to the needs of my particular classroom situation is the key to making my teaching authentic. I have come to realize that I need to teach lessons that feel real and useful, as students do not respond well to “phoned in” lessons taken off a teaching site on the internet. Their charlatan meters are through the roof and you need to have an air of confidence and a deep understanding of what you are trying to teach in order to connect.
I am feel like I am ready to take on a full teaching load and to be part of a school! Can’t wait for August! (Intermediate/Secondary Intern)
Only so much that we as teachers can do
I have a little boy in my Grade One classroom that has very little to no home support whatsoever. On the first day of my internship, this little boy stood out to me right away. This little boy has had lice three times since September, comes to school in the same clothes constantly, has fallen asleep in class numerous times, all of his teeth are black and decaying, and not only is he not improving in school, but he is starting to decline rather than staying in the same position knowledge-wise.
For example, when completing the observational survey with this little boy, working on blending sounds is one of the topics that show how he has declined academically. When asked what happens to the word “ink” if you put “p” in front of it, instead of saying something like “I don’t know”, he will just make up random sounds or words like “blork”. When completing math equations such as 7 – 2 = ____, he will give a random answer, such as 32, just so he can complete his work quickly. Also, when spoken to, he refuses to speak in full sentences. For example, if he needs his paper stapled, instead of raising his hand and asking, “Can you staple my paper please?” he will run up to me from behind, poke me, and stay “staple”.
Seeing a student in a position like this is something that hurts me. There is only so much that we as teachers can do in order to help a student succeed in school. So what happens in a situation like this? My co-operating teacher and I have tried so many things to help this little boy and will continue to spend a lot of one-on-one time with him to help him improve. It is extremely unfortunate that there are a number of our students in situations similar to this. (Primary Intern)
The crazy amount of fatigue
After about 7 weeks of the Internship I am finally getting over the crazy amount of fatigue that came with getting used to this routine.
It certainly takes some getting used to but the satisfaction that comes with making a difference to each of these children’s lives makes dealing with the fatigue seem so easy. I couldn’t be more excited to further this career and see where it takes me. (Intermediate Intern)
Trying to maintain classroom management
I am doing my internship in Grade 2 French Immersion and I am loving it so far.
The hardest part has been trying to maintain classroom management. I have to say I am getting much better at getting them to listen and I have come up with my own techniques that seem to work for me, but they still do not listen to me as well as they listen to my co-operating teacher.
I feel like if I substitute next year, classroom management is going to be very important, as I know students tend to give subs a hard time.
So it is very important that I continue to play around with different strategies to see what works and what does not. I also think that when I become a full time teacher with my own students for the full year, classroom management will be much easier because I will be able to start fresh with them in September and they will know from the beginning what I want and expect of them.
This experience has made me realize that I have certainly made the right choice choosing Education, and I am really looking forward to graduating and starting my career. (Primary Intern)
Having an open-minded attitude
I walked through the school on the first day with this at the back of my mind. The dream of becoming a teacher which I have held onto for so many years was finally coming true and I wanted to be the best at it.
At this point in my practicum, I have realized that this was one of the best things that I could have prepared myself and that was having the motto of ‘Never say no’. Even though I had so many fears of whether the students will like me or will I have a good relationship with my associate teacher and many others, I was able to adapt and learn to become a teacher.
Through my practicum, I have learned some very valuable lessons by always having an open-minded attitude. Taking all that I had learned at school, I was able to apply it into practice. And I consider myself very fortunate to have been placed with a teacher who is also very open-minded and as motivated as I am to incorporate new teaching methods and ideas as well as improving on being an effective educator.
From attending staff meetings to writing progress reports, correcting homework and planning lessons every day, I have learned to make this practice my own and to really find my inner teacher.
Get to know them on a personal level
It is amazing to see how much of an impact teachers can have on a student in their class through getting to know their students and showing they care. Not all students are inclined to speak out in class; however, if you take the time to get to know them on a personal level and show students you really care, you realize how quickly they will open up to you and learn to trust you.
Just because a student doesn’t put up their hand and volunteer, it doesn’t mean they don’t have something important they would like to say. One of the biggest things which the students admire that I have done so far on my internship is the fact that I strive to make a connection to them. I often remind them that although I am on the other side of the desk, I’m still human and not too long ago I also sat in their exact same seat and I know how they feel. Every day I ask them about their day and how things are going and they appreciate it. Also, doing small things such as bringing candy to class goes a long way as a teaching aid, and the students really appreciate all the small things we do.
It is amazing to see how much of an impact teachers play on their lives and how quick they come to trust us. A child’s mind is like a blank canvas which an artist paints on. As teachers we take the blank canvas and show the children how to paint their own picture.
It is only from 4 to 6 students in a section
Student disturbance or student misbehavior is one of the most common barriers to effective teaching in the classroom and I’m currently experiencing this big-time! It is only from four to six students in a section but they are enough to interrupt the whole class. Of course I have heard about this situation many times during my B. Ed. course work at MUN. And now I face student disruption practically almost every day. It is definitely too much misbehavior for students in Grades 7 and 8.
I try and deal with these disruptions by asking questions of those disruptive students but it is only effective for a few minutes. Unfortunately, these students are also disruptive for their homeroom teacher. Needless to say, I am indeed struggling with this classroom management aspect of teaching and I do find this situation frustrating.
This class is very diverse
My internship has been going great so far. I am with a multi-grade 2/3 class and there are 16 kids in total. This class is very diverse. There is a non-verbal student with autism in this class who does some work with her classmates but also has a completely different curriculum than the rest of the grade two’s.
There are also students in this class with very high needs in Math, Language, and particularly their reading levels and independent writing. I find it so interesting to see the wide range of diverse needs within such a small classroom size!
I also find it astonishing how little of time is allotted for any IRTs to be coming into this classroom. Apparently the school I’m at just doesn’t have the units to accommodate much IRT time with students in need. This means it is up to the homeroom teacher to meet the many needs of her sixteen students which just isn’t humanly possible. Sadly, it is the students who suffer the most because of this. (Primary Intern)
On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 1)
“My dog wouldn`t eat my homework!”
Quote of the Week
“To be a teacher is to amend the past, enhance the present and touch the future.” (Author Unknown)
Recommended Book Resource for Primary & Elementary Interns
A Dog Wearing Shoes (2015)
Mini was out with her mom one day when her mother brought the car to a screeching halt. There, in the middle of the road sat a little dog wearing yellow shoes. “SO cute!” Mini shouted. “Can we keep him? Please-oh-please-oh-please?”
Mom agreed that they could take him home, but they had to try to find the dog’s owner. When they got home, Mini played endlessly with the little dog, until the dog would play no more and started barking. Mini’s mom wanted to look for the dog’s owner, but Mini insisted that without a collar, the dog had no owner. So Mini and her mom bought him a red dog collar and Mini took him for a walk in the park, where the little dog with yellow shoes garnered attention from everyone. Mini felt very proud as she showed off “her” little dog. But when Mini threw a twig for the dog to fetch, he kept running.
Mini looked everywhere for the little dog, but all she found was one yellow shoe. She was very upset. The next day she and her mom went to the animal shelter to see if the dog was there. When Mini saw him in the cage, she gave him a hug and took him home. But, it was a Mini with different thoughts and feelings, because now she knew how the real owner of the little dog must feel. She put up yellow signs everywhere, and it didn’t take long for the owner, wearing a yellow shirt, to show up. The little dog and the boy were ecstatic and went on their way.
“A few days later, Mini and her mom knew just where to go. . . They went to the animal shelter where Mini got a dog of her very own, and Mini and her new little dog joyously went off to the park in matching yellow sweaters.
The only colors in this powerful black and white tale are the yellows of the shoes, sweaters, and signs, and the red collar. There are two important messages for children. One that when you find a lost pet, someone is missing his or her friend, and you must try to find the owner. Second, that animal shelters have lots of pets looking for new friends. Children will be charmed by this tale of empathy, but adults beware, young ones might want to visit the animal shelter to find a new friend!
On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 2)
“Your research paper on Swiss cheese had some holes in it!”
Education Law Corner
Last week we talked about the concept of reasonableness permeating the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
This week a few words about another concept implicit in the Charter and that is the principle of due process. Other phrases synonymous with due process are fundamental justice, natural justice and procedural fairness. In the Charter due process is primarily concerned with the rights of the accused in the legal system.
However, we can take a lesson from the Charter and apply it to our school system and how at times, we deny students their right to due process. Young and Levin (2007) in their textbook, Understanding Canadian Schools, made the following comment:
School discipline practices frequently appear to violate
principles of natural justice. For examples, teachers
often accuse students of misdemeanors and impose
punishments on them without explaining precisely
what the transgression is and without providing an opportunity for the students’ position to be heard. In
effect, students may be compelled to give evidence against themselves (prohibited under Section 11c of the Charter).
Students are not always presumed innocent until proven guilty by a public and impartial tribunal (Section 11d of the Charter). Appeal processes may not exist. (p. 117)
More on due process in the next issue.
Motivators of Tomorrow B.Ed. Photo Project
Motivators of Tomorrow, a photo project that started in May 2015, and ended in August 2015, was intended to capture all students of MUN’s Education Intermediate / Secondary cohort of the 2014-2015 academic year.
Photographer, and now educator, Marc Lafrenière, made it a priority during his last semester of his Education program, to photograph all of his colleagues, and asked them all a simple question: “Why do you want to be a teacher?” At first, only taking a few photos evolved into the entire cohort. All of their photos, and answers to the question, were posted on the main site – motivatorsoftomorrow.tumblr.com – and also garnered a following on its Facebook Page – www.facebook.com/motivatorsoftomorrow –
Once the project finished, and our year was completed, Marc immortalized the project in the form of a book. The book is finally ready, and can be purchased. There is a soft-cover for $75 and a hard-cover for $100.
Please email Marc at – firstname.lastname@example.org – for further information, and if you want to order the book. It will be ready for purchase online in March, 2016.
MacLean’s Article on Parenting
http://www.macleans.ca/society/the-collapse-of-parenting-why-its-time-for-parents-to-grow-up/ for an excellent article on parenting. A very insightful and a must read article for all teachers!
On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 3)
“You did a report on raising kittens too? Copycat!”
Concluding Comment From The Editor
That concludes this issue. Thank you to those interns who have submitted articles for this issue. A special thank you to those Primary-Elementary interns for their submissions.
Hockey-wise, not much to say this week. Got a couple of assists in our scrimmage game at St. Bon`s Friday night but a rather un-impressive game on my part!
Back again next week. Best wishes – Jerome