Welcome to issue # 4. Interns, you’re now into your 4th week of the internship and I’m sure you’re wondering where is the time going. Certainly a characteristic of the teaching profession but not limited to our profession is the rapidity of our daily work; the Latin expression, “Tempus Fugit” (“Time Flies”) is still very contemporary and most appropriate. And we hope you can add to that expression, “when you’re having fun”. Enjoy the read.
FEEDBACK FROM THIS YEAR’S INTERNS
Things are very different
My VERY first impression of my internship is, wow, things are very different than they were when I was in school! Not only are the students I’m encounteringbolder than I was at their age, I’ve seen that the use of technology has completely changed the face of education. I realize that it will be critical for me to stay current on new technologies and integrate them into my teachingwhen possible to better motivate students. It has been very interesting to recognize various classroom management techniques, pedagogies and theories I’ve read about, being put into action. During the pre-service semester, I accumulated a great deal of knowledge on teaching. I intend to use these 13 weeks toexperiment with different techniques to better understand what will work for me and what won’t. After teaching only two classes, I already feel that I’mgetting my feet wet, finding my teacher voice and honing my classroom management skills. I am also volunteering for various extra curricular activities such as coaching public speaking and the school breakfast program. I think to truly appreciate the intern experience, it is important to immerse yourself in the culture of the school. Your co-operating teacher and principal will appreciate that extra effort! (Secondary Intern)
Things have been going well in my internship, I am teaching 3 of my co-operating teacher’s 4 courses now. I started off teaching 1 after the first week, a Math 10 course; the other two are technology courses and are very self-directed. As we are winding down toward the end of the term, most of the students are just finishing their last piece of work and others are already finished so there’s not much planning to be done for those classes. Anyways, so far so good. (Secondary Intern)
At first . . . very intimidating
At first my internship was very intimidating. I am a very shy person and so to think I would have to stand in front of the kids, or even get to know them, was very frightening.
After being there about a week and trying to gain the nerve to go around and help them with questions, etc.., I ended up learning most of the kids’ names. I found out junior high kids aren’t that scary after all.
After taking the time to get to know most of my students and learning about some of their interests, I started making small conversations with them in the hall at recess and lunch, making those connections. Recently in the hall, one girl said “hey sir” and then turned to her friend and said “sir is the best teacher ever”. Suddenly, I realized I could get used to this teaching thing. . . (Intermediate Intern)
A massive eye-opener
Well, so far the internship has been a massive eye-opener. Teachers have to do a LOT to keep up with the students and with course obligations. A huge concern I have for when I am placed into a school is what the district policies will be like. How much pressure theyput the teachers under and what methods will be “allowed” to be used within the school.I’m not talking about corporal punishment either (I completely understand it’s been discontinued) but being forced to write a make-up test for a student who cheats has taken things to the far/dark side of what is fair in high school. What is stopping a parent from telling their child to “do your best, and if you feel like you coulddo better, or that you just weren’t prepared for this one, cheat very blatantly and obviously. Then you’ll get another chance to study for your make-up test”. This is just opening the door wide for exploitation. Students should be held responsible for cheating, or for making some attempt at handing in assignments on time. High schools should be preparing students for university, not bottle-feeding them and rewarding them for unacceptable measures like cheating. Teachersare unable to hand back assignments and “provide feedback” (feedback being one of the things students are saying there is a lack of according to surveys), because students wait weeks and even months before handing in assigned work because they don’t have a late penalty.I’m worried that policies are being made with no consideration of the voice of teachers. Teachers are one of the most important sources of knowledge and experience in regards to an effective school system and I’m afraid their concerns are being ignored in favor of coddling ouryouth into a life of apparent zero accountability.I’ve been warned against voicing so much but that is a sad fact in itself – that teachers’ voices are being silenced because of possible adversity from people in positions to make their job (more) difficult (one might call it intimidated not to speak out). I chose teaching as aprofession because I will find enhancing the knowledge and lives of youth fulfilling but I need to be equipped to do that, and a teacher needs policy behind/beside them, not against them. (Secondary Intern)
The amount of expectation
So far my internship has been going quite well. I’m doing a split internship, working with a science and a skilled trades teacher. My science courses usually have Grade 10 students consisting of a variety of academic backgrounds. Some show initiative, yet others have little to no motivation. In the skilled trades courses, most students are academically weak but enjoy learning hands-on skills. So far I haven’t been teaching because there has been review for midterms which take place this week. However, after this period I will begin to take on teaching and other added responsibilities which will only increase throughout the term.
I am also quite pleased with the amount of support from staff, administration and my supervisor. My co-operating teachers are willing to answer any questions I have and have not placed heavy expectations on me yet. The administration is approachable and always available if I need them. My supervisor provided through MUN is a great resource which I’ll be sure to take advantage of if the need arises.
One of the biggest adjustments I have had to make is the amount of expectation I require of the students. After being in university for the past 5 years, I am used to having high expectations for myself and naturally would expect my students to have the same for themselves. However, this is not the case. Most think spending 2 hours studying for an exam more than enough and often do not pay total attention in class. With time I will learn what is acceptable to expect from the students and be sure to judge that appropriately, depending on the grade and course level. (Secondary Intern)
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
In teaching you cannot see the fruit of a day’s work. It is invisible and remains so, maybe for twenty years. (Jacques Barzun)
FROM THE LITERATURE
Passion is essential to all good teaching. It is not just a personality trait that some people have and others lack, but rather something discoverable, teachable or reproducible, even when the regularities of school life gang up against it. Passion and practicality are not opposing notions; good planning and design are as important as caring and spontaneity in bringing out the best in students. Although not the whole story, passion, uncomfortable as the word may sound, is at the heart of what good teaching is or should be.
Reference: Fried, R. L. (1995). The passionate teacher: A practical guide. Boston: Beacon.
RECOMMENDED BOOK RESOURCE FOR PRIMARY & ELEMENTARY INTERNS
Cookies: Bite-Size Life lessons
Written by: Amy Krouse Rosenthal
Illustrated by: Jane Dyer
New York: Harper Collins, 2006
Most people love cookies – and the cookies in this delightfully illustrated book serve as a dictionary, in addition to a sweet reminder of delectable treats. “HONEST means, I have to tell you something. The butterfly didn’t really take the cookie – I took the cookie.” This is just a sample of the flexibility with which the meanings of words are portrayed. And the book ends with a recipe for chocolate chip cookies! But the best news is that in 2010, this team, with Brooke Dyer, came up with a fresh batch of wisdom in One Smart Cookie: Bite-Size
Lessons for the School Years and Beyond. Primary students will simply enjoy the books and elementary students can use them to inspire creating their own imaginative dictionaries.
ON THE LIGHTER SIDE (PART 1)
“If you have a question Robert, just come up here to my desk.”
ON THE LIGHTER SIDE (PART 2)
“Okay, which one of you has the cell phone
ringtone that sounds like a class bell?”
ON THE LIGHTER SIDE (PART 3)
That concludes issue # 4.
This past week was a busy one for us in the Faculty of Education. We had 2 excellent candidates for a Special Education professorship come in from the University of Western Ontario (London) and Queen’s University (Kingston, ON) respectively. Each candidate went through a fairly intensive 2 days of interviews and a presentation to faculty members. 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.
This coming week we have another 2 candidates competing for an Adult Education professorship; each will go through the same process as mentioned above.
On a much less academic note, my beloved Habs lost last night in the shootout to the Ducks of Anaheim (4-3). And, the Leafs lost to Ovi and the Capitals by a score of 4-1. At least the Habs got 1 point!!!!!!!!
Oh, I should mention that the New Jersey Devils defeated my other less-loved team, the Philadelphia Flyers by a score of 3-1. I’m sure former BEd student Chad Bennett (Menihek Collegiate, Labrador City) is very pleased while current BEd intern, Mike Francis (Lunenburg, NS) is much less so!!!!!!!!!!