Welcome to issue # 5. Last week’s issue (# 4) contained a submission on accountability titled “A massive eye-opener” written by a secondary intern. The views expressed could be interpreted as a tad controversial! This issue contains a response from a permanent classroom teacher who further expands on some of the points raised in the intern’s comments. We welcome further comments pro and con and all points in-between. We hope you enjoy this issue.
FEEDBACK FROM THIS YEAR’S INTERNS
A strange feeling It is a strange feeling being back in high school again. The internship has been enjoyable but a challenge so far. I finally realized part of the problem; being back in high school has made me feel like I’m fifteen again! And considering I was a rather awkward fifteen year old, this has not helped matters. I apparently forgot my gray hair and my extra years. Thus, I have to remind myself that I am an adult, that it makes perfect sense to be called sir or that when I introduce myself as Mr. __ I don’t need to be looking around for my father. As a rather shy introvert, I have to remember that I am in many ways playing a part (since most introverts play at being extroverts now and again). How I act will determine my overall effectiveness and I only have a total of 12 weeks to figure all this out!(Secondary Intern)
From Phuket, Thailand
I am currently in Phuket, Thailand completing my internship and, as of so far, I absolutely love it here. It is so surreal to be in a place where constant, 30 degree sunny weather is the norm in January.
The school is wonderful and places a large emphasis on extracurricular involvement for its students. Classroom management issues are nearly nonexistent as teachers are widely respected in Thai culture and students from differing backgrounds mimic this good behavior as well. The MYB curriculum is very different than that of Canada. In the Humanities Department, there seems to be a lot more flexibility in lesson planning and the use of resources.
When speaking about controversial issues, it is very interesting to see how the opinions of students vary due to their diverse cultural backgrounds.
I’ve been so impressed with this experience that I plan on applying to several international schools for a teaching position following the completion of my program. (Secondary Intern)
Love my internship
I absolutely love my internship. I am having such a great time and learning so much each day. I look forward to the days ahead. Four weeks in now, it is hard to believe time is just flying by.
I have officially taken over 2 classes of Math 3204 and a Grade 9 Math class and will tackle my third class on Monday, Math 2204. In a few weeks I’ll pick up Math 1204.
My co-operating teacher is amazing, I am learning so much from her. The teachers within the school are great and very welcoming. (Secondary Intern)
FIELD REACTION TO INTERN FEEDBACK
We are accountable but our students aren’t
I just read the current issue and the comments from the secondary intern regarding policies and student accountability are really on point. I’ve only been teaching 5 years and already I am wondering if I can do this
for another 25 years! Not because I don’t enjoy teaching, even the so called non-motivators, but because of all the added pressure these policies that are created by the powers that be, that are so far removed from what happens in the classroom, they don’t even know it!
When this new policy was given to us we were told to offer feedback on it. I, as did many teachers, commented on the new policy and how it flies in the face of all the social aspects we try to teach students, the Department of Education guidelines and the “real” world they’ll be
going out into.
I wrote a full page of comments on teacher workload and
accountability and never once received any explanation or clarification on the policy. Some schools are following it to the letter, as I believe our school is doing. However, some schools are choosing to not follow it
because it is only in DRAFT form right now. This inconsistency is not fair to students or teachers.
Cheating – if we cheat on anything there are consequences, if we don’t meet deadlines, there are consequences. We are accountable for everything
we do; we can’t even have PD without sending in a report about what we did. They take attendance at board PD to make sure we’re there. We are accountable but our students aren’t!
We spent two days this past fall at PD sessions on why this new policy is great and how to make it work. I’ve tried it and all it did for me was take away my recess and lunch to “force” students to do the work because not doing it is not an option.
Why can’t our PD days be more productive and be what we want – like creating a unit on poetry for English or a unit in Science. Teacher prep time is just not there and without these PD sessions to coordinate to create units etc., our students are the ones suffering.
I have all kinds of great ideas I’d like to implement in my classroom but with only 8 preps and a huge list of curriculum outcomes, I just don’t have the time to implement them.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
Real teachers are written up in medical journals for the size and elasticity of kidneys and bladders. (Author Unknown)
FROM THE LITERATURE
According to Van Manen, a Canadian educator, there are 4 characteristics of pedagogically tactful teachers:
- sensitive ability to interpret inner thoughts, understanding feelings and desires from indirect clues such as gestures, demeanor, expression and body language . . . the ability to immediately see through motives or cause and effect relations;
- the ability to interpret the psychological and social significance of the features of the inner life, e. g., the deeper significance of shyness, frustration, interest, difficulty, tenderness, humor, discipline;
- [having] . . . a fine sense of standards, limits and balance . . . knowing how far to press, how close to get to students; and
- moral intuitiveness . . . instantly sensing what is the right or good thing to do on the basis of perceptive pedagogical understanding of children’s nature and circumstances.
Reference: van Manen, M. (1995). On the epistemology of reflective practice. Teachers and Teaching: Theory and Practice, 1(1), pp. 33-50.
RECOMMENDED BOOK RESOURCE FOR PRIMARY & ELEMENTARY INTERNS
Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led her People to Freedom
Written by: Carole Boston Weatherford
Illustrated by: Kadir Nelson
New York: Sun/Hyperion Books for Kids, 2006
When I finished reading, I sat in silence. This book is meant for children and adults alike. The fictional account is based on the life of Harriet Tubman, once a slave, who
fled from Maryland to Philadelphia during the 1800s. She journeyed south nineteen times to free more than 300 slaves, while slave masters offered a $40,000 reward for her capture. In this rendition of her initial journey, Harriet has many conversations with God, which give her the will and spirit to continue to freedom. Harriet Tubman was dubbed the “Moses of her people”, and in this inspiring tale we hear God say, “Harriet, be the Moses of your people”. Kadir Nelson’s solemn, stunning illustrations accompany a lyrical text that will resonate in your heart and mind.
ON THE LIGHTER SIDE (PART 1)
“The school is serving more nutritious meals so I’ve
started to bring my own lunch.”
ON THE LIGHTER SIDE (PART 2)
“What’s the catch of the day?”
ON THE LIGHTER SIDE (PART 3)
“Too much beanie, not enough weenie!”
That’s it for issue # 5.
This past week was another busy one for us in the Faculty of Education. We had 2 excellent candidates being interviewed for an Adult Education professorship. These 2 candidates went through a similar process as mentioned in last week’s eMEMO. Our Search Committee will meet this Tuesday to decide on a recommendation to our acting dean, Dr. Alice Collins, as to which candidate should be offered the position.
For you hockey fans, I would be remiss if I didn’t make mention of the excellent All Star Hockey Skills Competition on Hockey Night in Canada last evening. Most enjoyable to watch, I can only marvel at the hockey skills of those superstars!
On a local note, yours truly plays scrimmage hockey at St. Bon’s 9:00-10:00 Friday nights. This not being one of my stellar seasons for point production, I was delighted to get a couple of assists Friday night and dare I say, a “hat trick” which I define as almost scoring 3 goals!!!!!! We have a great bunch of guys and one gal. The dream continues!!!!!!
And lastly, interns are encouraged to keep sending in those submissions as to how their internships are going. Best wishes on week # 5.