Welcome to issue # 10. Interns, you’re into your last 4 weeks of the internship. Feedback for the eMEMO and from other sources indicate that overall, the internship has been a positive experience for a large number of you. Compare your “comfort levels” standing before your students now and when you first started back in January – there is probably quite a difference, hopefully on the positive side.
The internship is where theory hits practice, where “the rubber hits the road” and where you decide if this is the right profession for you. Best wishes for continued success in your remaining weeks.
Feedback From This Year’s Interns
Engaging the students
During my internship I have found that engaging the students enables them to become interested in the topic and offers a willingness to learn with more enthusiasm. I have found that being engaging to learners goes hand in hand with being well prepared and knowledgeable about the topic.
By meticulously planning and reflecting on all aspects of “teacher talk” and application activities, I have become better at engaging our students. In science class yesterday, I even got applause and exclamations of joy and amazement.
I think effective teaching can only be achieved through a myriad of characteristics, behaviors and personal traits found in effective teachers. My perceptions of what constitutes an effective teacher are far from exhaustive but I deem it important for effective teachers to show ‘withitness’, reflective thinking, and good classroom management. Effective teaching comes from careful planning, paired with exceptional organizational skills that address diverse learners’ needs and abilities. Equally importantly is the fact that good teaching comes from the students’ perceptions that the teacher is kind, caring, respectful and engaging.
There were a couple of rough patches
The internship so far has been fantastic. I’m lucky enough to be teaching courses in both my subject areas, and getting experience in both junior and senior high. There were a couple of rough patches at the beginning (that I’m hoping were exclusive to myself, ha ha) but for the most part it’s been great. I’ve made some very strong bonds with my students and I can honestly say that it’s a pleasure to go into each class. Besides the ‘regular teaching’, I’ve participated in school board department head meetings, chaperoned a junior high dance and brought students on a skiing / skateboarding trip to White Hills. All of that being said, I didn’t really ‘feel’ like a teacher until I started running into my students outside of school. Being called ‘sir’ in front of your friends is always good for some teasing later. All in all, I have nothing but good things to say about my internship and I hope that everyone else has been as fortunate with their program as I have been with mine. In closing, I’d like to give a shout out to the students, faculty and staff at my co-operating school who have made my fellow interns and myself feel welcomedright from the very first day. Extremely positive
My impressions of the internship program to date are extremely positive. From day one I was made to feel at home here in the school and since taking over teaching all the classes, I really feel like one of the staff. There’s plenty of help there when I need it but for the most part I’m left on my own to figure out how best to deal with various situations and practice various classroom management strategies.
One thing that kind of shocked me at the beginning was how little material actually gets covered. Sections that I’d have guessed would take a day generally take a week and what I thought would take a week, six weeks will be spent on.
I’ve also been surprised at how often lesson plans are based on keeping students busy, rather than finding effective ways for them to learn. I’m not sure if it’s the nature of the game, or something that people fall into out of frustration. But it’s certainly out there.
Still, the internship program undoubtedly gives B.Ed. students a taste of what it’s like to be a teacher and I think I’ll take more away from this than any number of courses at university.
I also really think that Memorial’s strategy of one long internship is much more effective than a number of short internships, as it takes a while to develop a rapport with students and to fall into the routine of any given school. An internship of one month would not give you the same effect; you would not get to know the students, or understand what it is for a teacher to be looking at spending the next 9 months with a group of students. There are some classes that truly try your patience, and my hat goes off to teachers who show up in September, knowing they’re going to have to deal with those classes for the next nine months.
On the other hand, it would be helpful to see a broader range of teaching styles. I know that my class organization style has been largely influenced by what I saw my co-operating teacher do in January and perhaps had I seen a wider range of teachers, I might have picked up different teaching strategies that would be more effective.
I was somewhat nervous
I was somewhat nervous being assigned to another junior high (despite my observation day school having been a dream posting!), given all the negative impressions people seem to have of junior high. However, my current school has turned out to be not at all like that overall. Sure, there have been unexpected things – fire alarms, a fistfight, the odd smart aleck – but the students as a whole are not the “little monsters” some people label them as! The one thing that has taken some getting used to for me though, is the pace of instruction. As a first-year course instructor at MUN, I’d gotten into the habit of frantically trying to “get it all covered” in 13 weeks: you know, the “go, go, go” type of pace. It’s nice to feel you have time to slow down and even go back over things for the students if need be.I feel very grateful for having gotten a great teacher and wonderful students to work with.
Feeling pretty good right now
This semester has, by far, been the most interesting of my educational career. My internship has been absolutely wonderful and although it sounds cliché of me to say, it simply is the truth.
I am currently teaching three sections of grade seven Language Arts, which may sound like a nightmare to some of you but has been quite an entertaining experience for me thus far. I have had my share of obstacles and learning experiences with classroom management, as I’m sure most of you have. But, nonetheless, I constantly remind myself that they are only in grade seven and have a lot to learn – which is, after all, what we are here for. My co-operating teacher always reminds me that they are still only kids (or in some cases, teens) and it does not take much to get them off track or even hanging from the ceiling – a sunny day or a Friday afternoon is all it takes sometimes.
I have read some of your problems or concerns with respect to your co-operating teachers, which, I have to say, make me feel all the more fortunate. My co-operating teacher has made all the difference. I must admit that I was a little concerned and somewhat fearful for my future in this career after the experience of my observation days.
Since then, however, my perceptions have changed and I do not think that I have ever been more sure that I am where I am supposed to be.
I have been given such positive feedback and reassurance, not only from my co-operating teacher but also from a few other members of staff I’ve had the opportunity to meet and/or work with. I don’t think that people realize the impact that a few positive words can have on someone going through such a transitional stage in their life.
Now, don’t get me wrong, there are bad days as well as good days but that’s true no matter what you do in life. So don’t feel defeated, take a breath and move on to tomorrow – you make all the difference!
Going very well
So far my internship is going very well! When I began teaching I was not as nervous as I expected to be. After the first class I taught I received positive feedback from my co-operating teacher which I found to be an excellent boost for my confidence. I am currently teaching 2 Math classes, 1 Geography class and 1 Workplace Safety. Students in these classes range from grade 10 to grade 12 and they have many different learning styles.
The staff and administration at my school have been very welcoming. They are always asking how I am doing and keep reminding me that if I need any help with anything, that they are always there.
I am glad that I have been placed with 2 great co-operating teachers who are from different departments. I enjoy having two co-operating teachers because it allows me to see different teaching styles. They are both very organized and helpful. I greatly enjoy working with these teachers and they are always giving me tips and advice that I find very useful.
The last 8 weeks have been very exciting and I am enjoying all aspects of my internship. I will be sad to see these next few weeks come to an end.
Last week’s question:
Should there be a screening procedure for co-operating teachers or should any teacher who wants to be a co-operating teacher be one?
Response # 1Yes, there should be a screening procedure. Principals will know, from classroom walkthroughs and general student achievement, the quality of a teacher’s performance. It should be the teachers who exhibit “bestteaching practices” who are the ones selected to be co-operating teachers. Many times, interns adopt the teaching practices and philosophy of their co-operating teachers. So, if we want new teachers to have the desired set of skills when they begin their careers, it would be best to put interns with the best teachers.
Response # 2
I think it should be the role of the school administration (principal and vice-principal) to decide who should be given Education interns.
We all know that in every school there are teachers who, in an ideal world, should never be teachers! They’re the last people in the world who would be positive role models for our interns.
Sometimes it happens that negative teachers are given an intern with the administration thinking “maybe the intern will have a positive influence on this teacher”. Not sure about this reasoning as I think it’s too big a gamble and may ruin a teacher intern.
This week’s question:
Are there co-operating teachers out there who take unfair advantage of teacher interns?
Deadline for responses: 9:00 am, Sunday, March 13.
Quote of the Week
I’ve come to the frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element in the classroom. It’s my daily mood that makes the weather. As a teacher, I possess a tremendous power to make a child’s life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration. I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal. In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis will be escalated or de-escalated and a child humanized or de-humanized.
– Dr. Haim Ginott
From the Literature
When students change activities or locations, they are in transitions, the time when most classroom disruptions happen. In early childhood and elementary schools children may transition between learning activities three or four times before going to recess or a special area class such as Music or Physical Education. Then it’s back to the classroom until lunch, perhaps followed by another recess, then back to class. Teachers typically have routines for all these transitions.
In middle and high schools the transitions between classes provide opportunities for misbehavior. Students may be in crowded, rushed circumstances, where social dilemmas can easily surface. A routine for teachers that can decrease the likelihood of misbehavior involves merely standing outside their classrooms during transitions.
Reference: Powell, S. D (2009). Introduction to education: Explorations in teaching. Boston: Pearson.
Recommended Book Resource for Primary & Elementary Interns
The Seeing Stick
Written by: Jane Yolen
Illustrated by: Daniela Jaglenka Terrazzini
Philadelphia: RP Kids, 2009
Hwei Ming, daughter of an emperor, was blind. Her father was sad but he could not cry because, after all, he was the emperor. He offered a fortune to anyone who could help Hwei Ming see. An old man heard of the offer, and using his walking stick, made his way to the royal city.
At first the guards would not admit him, but when he carved their portraits into his stick they were so impressed they took him to the emperor. The old man felt the daughter’s face, then guided her fingers to feel the pictures on his stick as he told her a story. She felt the faces of the guards, and finally that of her father, where to her surprise she felt a tear on the face of the man who had given up crying when he gained the throne.
This was the beginning of Hwei Ming learning to see the world with the eyes on the tips of her fingers. As for the old man and his seeing stick, you will have to read the book for the surprising ending.
On The Lighter Side (Part 1)
“Let’s have refreshments on parents’ night.
These people need nourishment.”
On The Lighter Side (Part 2)
“The school review has determined that this is the reason
your students are falling through the cracks.”
Science and Technology
Current science curriculum approaches underline the need for students to acquire scientific knowledge, skills, and processes through an inquiry, discovery or problem-centered method. The teacher’s primary role is to guide students in their search for knowledge rather than to act solely as a source of information or right answers.
The first joint development project initiated by CMEC’s 1995 common frameworks for curricula was in the content area of science learning outcomes. This common set of guidelines laid out a framework for scientific literacy in Canada and outlines learning outcomes, which include attitudes, knowledge and skills for students.
Four foundation statements of science learning guide the development of science curricula across Canada:
- Foundation 1: Science, technology, society, and the environment
- Foundation 2: Skills
- Foundation 3: Knowledge
- Foundation 4: Attitudes.
This framework emphasizes a constructivist approach to science learning and encourages learner-centered techniques. The framework is intended to be used as a guide rather than a prescription for science curriculum development and the selection of learning resources.
Reference: Parkay, F. W., Hardcastle Stanford, B., Vaillancourt, J. P., Stephens, H. C., & Harris, J. R. (2010). Becoming a teacher (4th Canadian Ed.). Toronto: Pearson.
Next week: Social Studies
On The Lighter Side (Part 3)
That concludes issue # 10. Thank you to those interns who submitted feedback for this issue and to those readers who submitted comments for Readers Respond.
As in a number of pass eMEMO issues, just can’t pass up the opportunity to “talk” a little hockey.
On the NHL front, another “perfect” Saturday night: Habs won, Leafs lost!!!!!
And, on a local level, as mentioned before, yours truly is involved in a scrimmage game on Friday nights at St. Bon’s Forum here in St. John’s. As of Friday night, I was experiencing a “goal drought” this season but I’m delighted to report that I got my first goal this Friday night! I was standing in front of the (other team’s) net and last year’s B. Ed. student, Chad Garland on our team shot the puck at the net and it hit my skate blade and went in! It wasn’t pretty but I got credit for the goal! Must have been my new skate laces and the new tape on my stick!
(Sidebar: I was going to get yellow skate laces but there would have been mega-Ovechkin-like pressure on me to get a bunch of goals and quite honestly, that would have been most unrealistic!!!!)
Have a wonderful week everyone.