Welcome to issue # 9. This week we introduce a new feature – “READERS RESPOND”. A question on some aspect of the internship or teaching in general is posed the previous week and readers are encouraged to email the eMEMO with their responses Today there are 3 responses which you should find informative and insightful. Thank you to those readers who submitted these responses; your effort and time in putting these together is most appreciated. Enjoy!
Feedback From This Year’s Interns
Aside from a few minor problems
Aside from a few minor problems my internship has been great thus far. The problems occurred as soon as I got here as my co-operating teacher was very disorganized and seemed unsure of what she wanted me to do. I kind of got the feeling she forgot I was coming and was scrambling to arrange things for me at the last minute but that all became sorted out and my schedule has become stable.
The staff, not only in my department, but throughout the whole school have been great and very pleasant to be around. The students are also very enjoyable and fun to teach; very little behavior issues aside from some disruptions in class, in which case they are very manageable.
I have enjoyed being involved in both my subject areas as it has allowed me to see very different approaches to teaching; yet in both subjects the teaching is very effective. The school is very sports-oriented and it shows in the time they put into their sports teams. I have been involved after school coaching a couple of their teams and I am very impressed with how things are organized.
A great experience
The first eight weeks of my internship have been a great experience and I can’t believe how quickly time is passing! I am currently teaching in a grade six class and K-3 Physical Education classes. From the first day I started my internship I knew there would be so much to learn.
Working in the classroom has taught me so many things that would be very difficult to learn from reading a textbook. Standing in front of a classroom full of students is overwhelming at first but it has taught me how to think quickly, speak concisely and be prepared for every class.
My favorite part of the internship so far has been being able to teach Physical Education. Learning how to create effective Physical Education lesson plans that cover outcomes and keep the students as active as possible has been both challenging and exciting. I am learning so much and loving every minute of it. I am so excited to be completing the primary/elementary education program and I can’t wait to begin my career as a teacher!!
It’s been nearly two months into our internship now and I have to say for the most part I am finding it quite enjoyable. At the moment I am teaching 2 Chemistry classes, and two Math classes. At the end of next week I will be taking on one or two more Chemistry classes. Overall I feel my rapport with the students is high. I haven’t had any alarming behavioural problems andmy teaching goes rather smoothly. One thing I have noticed is that my overall lesson is directly related to my confidence on the topic. I’m having a bit of trouble trying to relate some of the theory in Chemistry to other real lifescenarios in order for the students to understand better. My co-operating teacher has been very supportive; however, I do find it challenging when I try to move away from the co-operating teacher’s format for lesson plans and teaching style. My teacher is very set in the fact that teaching needs to be done in one way and that’s his/her way. I’ve also began tutoring the students 3 days a week at lunch time and also twice a week after school, which they seem to appreciate. I feel it’s important to beas involved as much as possible as it shows to the students (and other teachers) that you care and it earns you a certain respect with them. A Little Bit of Column A . . . A Little Bit of Column B
Overall my experience has been fairly interesting. I assumed that at this stage in the game, I would be trying to crawl out from the bottom of a large mountain of correcting and lesson planning. I’m so starved for things to do that I think I’m driving my co-operating teacher a little nuts. Everyday I’m asking “What can I do for you today?”, “Is there anything you need a hand with?” or “Anything after school you need me to do?” But his/her response is always “No thank you, I’m good”. My co-operating teacher is well respected and I can understand why, S/he is involved with so many extracurricular activities and I would love to help out!
This isn’t to say that my experience has been all bad. I really love teaching and my students seem to enjoy my classes. I have built some great relationships with the students and I’m honestly going to miss many of them. The staff has been nothing but supportive and I’m involved with many activities (all of which are with teachers other than my co-operating teacher). It will all be over soon, and I can honestly say I’m excited to have my own class someday. Let’s hope it’s sooner rather than later!
Absolutely loving every minute
I am placed at a senior high school this semester for my internship and absolutely loving every minute! The staff is excellent and I was fortunate enough to be placed with an amazing co-operating teacher. I learned more from him in the first week than I did in the four months of classes the first semester.
While I completely agree that internships should be a part of the education program and arguably the most important part, it makes no sense to me why we are expected to pay so much in tuition. Business and engineering students are paid upwards of $25-$30 per hour and are only expected to pay $350 for their work term. I am also okay with the fact that it is an unpaid internship considering there are so many of us for the same position and we’re not working for privately-owned companies but why so much in tuition?
Right now I am “working” a full-time job and in order to pay this ridiculous amount of tuition, I am forced to work two part-time jobs. I am completely exhausted. I think this is definitely something that should be re-visited as it is completely unfair to students who want to make the most of their internships without the burden of a $1500 bill.
Aside from the financial aspect, I love this internship and I am learning more and more every day, including enjoying every minute that I am actually able to sleep!
Last week’s question:
“What advice would you give the intern who was having difficulty with his/her co-operating teacher?
Response # 1I too can relate to having difficulties with my cooperating teacher. Without getting into too much detail, I have been subject to a number of unprofessional encounters that nearly ended with my leaving the program. Although my formal evaluations are going well, having to interact daily with my co-operating teacher was/is becoming a constant struggle. My advice: there is an expiry date on this internship. Although you may have to deal with the constant scrutiny and harsh criticisms (constructive or not) today, you will eventually earn your autonomy. Once you have completed this internship, what happens in your classroom, will be exactly that: yours! Remember that you are still learning from this experience (as unpleasant as it may be) because you will be witnessing first hand what to avoid as a teacherand professional.Finally, talk to them. Let them know when/if you disagree. Although you may not be as educated as they are (or claim to be), you are still entitled to youropinion on what happens when you are teaching a class. It may also help to casually remind them that you are not there to learn how to teach exactly like them; you are there to develop your own unique teaching style.
Response # 2
Is that co-operating teacher under some sort of stress? If that is her natural behaviour, how or why did she get an intern?
Response # 3
I’m from last year’s graduating class. My internship suddenly and unexpectedly found itself on the rocks at evaluation time when, out of the blue, I received all 3s and 4s. This caught me totally off guard, and it took an incredible effort (and lots of help) to figure out how to make things right.
My main piece of advice is to get things out in the open right away — figure out exactly what it is that your supervising teachers think they are seeing and make sure that they understand your perspective as well, as many misunderstandings can arise out of differences in manner and approach.
In consultation with them, as well as with your advisor, come up with a list of specific goals and milestones so that you have something to focus on other than your anger and misery. Remember that whether or not you think all their points are valid, you do not want to wind up on the wrong side of a pass/fail.
This year I have been called several times to substitute for my supervising teacher so it is possible to overcome this challenge!
This 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?
Deadline for responses: 9:00 am, Sunday, March 6.
Quote of the Week
They may forget what you said but they will never forget how you made them feel. – Carol Buchner
From the Literature
“Responding to Interruptions”
Class interruptions constitute a real frustration for teachers. The most frequent culprit is often the public address (PA) system. The routine of students instantly “freezing” will allow the announcement to be heard and any necessary action to be taken.
At all levels students have legitimate reasons for leaving a
particular class to go somewhere else in the building. Perhaps it’s a resource class, a special counseling group, a remedial reading class, or a gifted and talented program. The students involved need to practice the routine of watching the clock and leaving when it is time or
watching the doorway for someone who may arrive to escort them. These comings and goings should not be allowed to interrupt the whole class. Students occasionally need to go to the restroom or get a drink of water during class time. Teachers should establish routines for these occasions as well.
When a visitor (an administrator, teacher, student, or parent) enters the classroom, the routine of students noticing and working more quietly will allow the teacher to respond without interference. The routine will not come naturally for students; it must be practiced.
Reference: Powell, S. D (2009). Introduction to education: Explorations in teaching. Boston: Pearson.
Recommended Book Resource for Primary/Elementary Interns
City Dog, Country Frog
Written by: Mo Willems
Illustrated by: Jon J. Muth
New York: Hyperion, 2010
City Dog liked to visit the country. One spring day he spotted Country Frog and asked, “What are you doing?” Country Frog responded, “Waiting for a friend, but you’ll do.” And so their unlikely friendship began. In the summer they played until they exhausted each other.
Then in the fall, Country Frog said he was tired and wanted to play remembering games, so they sat on a rock and remembered their spring jumping and splashing, and their summer fetching and barking.
Then in winter, even though City Dog waited and waited on their rock, he could not find Country Frog.
Now it was spring again. Country Chipmunk saw City Dog sitting on the rock and asked what he was doing. “Waiting for a friend”, replied City Dog sadly. But then he smiled a froggy smile and said “but you’ll do.”
Jon Muth’s evocative watercolours reflect the delights of friendship and poignancy of loss in a story that will appeal to young and old.
On The Lighter Side (Part 1)
“It’s called reading. It’s how people install
new software into their brains.”
On The Lighter Side (Part 2)
(Continued from last week)
The curriculum development process in Canada has tended to draw on such sources as the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) Curriculum and Evaluation Standards for Mathematics. This American organization has widespread membership in Canada. Since it began working on the Standards 2000 project, a set of pre-K-12 standards released in April 2000, the
NCTM has made it clear that base mathematical skills for the new century should consist of more than computation skills.
Standards 2000 emphasizes five mathematical content standards (number and operation; patterns, functions and algebra; geometry and spatial sense; measurement; and data analysis, statistics, and probability) that students should study with increasing breath and depth as they move through the grades.
In addition, Standards 2000 emphasizes five mathematical processes through which students should acquire and use their mathematical knowledge: problem solving, reasoning and proof, communication, connections, and representation.
What is needed is problem-centred learning, in which students work in small groups on problems that have many or open-ended solutions. Rather than memorizing facts, working on sets of problems in textbooks, and competing against their classmates, students discover concepts, solve problems similar to those they will encounter in life, and learn to co-operate in small groups.
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: Science and Technology
On The Lighter Side (Part 3)
“I wonder what kind of super powers he possesses.”
That’s it for issue # 9. Thank you to those interns who submitted feedback for this issue and to those readers who submitted comments for Readers Respond.
Interns, you’re strongly encouraged to send in your thoughts on your experiences to date. As of this week, you have 5 weeks remaining in your internships.
Last week yours truly was noticeably quiet re NHL hockey; it may have had something to do with that Leafs defeat of the Habs the previous Thursday!
But that’s all history now and of course this Saturday night was the perfect Saturday night: Habs won, Leafs lost, albeit the latter did get one point because they lost in the shootout and the former did assist them in the playoff race by defeating Carolina!!!!!!! All of this makes for some interesting “banter” back and forth.
Have a most enjoyable week everyone.