Happy New Year and welcome to the 6th year of publication for THE MONDAY eMEMO. How quick the time has gone by – it seems like yesterday when the first issue was published on January 8, 2007 with a listserv subscription of 80! Today that subscription is at approximately 2400! As stated in that first issue, the intent of the eMEMO is to provide intern teachers (Primary/Elementary and Intermediate/Secondary) with support and encouragement as well as some relevant pedagogical information they may find useful in their internship. Perhaps the most important aspect of the eMEMO is the opportunity for interns to submit their thoughts on how their internships are going. These are short “blurbs” (no names of course) and will hopefully start in next week’s issue. A couple of last year’s examples are included in this week’s issue.
Last year saw a couple of new additions to the content; the Recommended Book Resource for Primary & Elementary Interns and the Readers Respond – these features will continue this year.
As the eMEMO has a very wide readership, readers are encouraged to submit their thoughts/feedback on any aspect of the content or the internship. Enjoy!
Feedback From Last Year’s Interns (2010-2011)
I had to remember that now I’m a Mr.
Finally the internship has arrived. I was waiting for this since classes ended last semester. The first day was a little odd; it was the first time I actually felt like a teacher. It is so weird being on this side of the teaching (as a student you just don’t realize what goes into teaching).
The whole first week was really an adjustment period. Some students were asking my name in the hallway and I had to remember that now I’m a Mr., rather then just telling them my first name. I still get a bit of a weird feeling walking into the staff room as well. Perhaps the biggest adjustment to me is finding my way around the school (my high school was a lot simpler then the one I’m interning at), although I have not gotten lost (yet!).
I’m looking forward to the rest of this semester, just to get a feel of the schooling system and how everything works. Exams are coming up at the end of the month which should be another great experience!
Now it’s time to get prepared for the coming week! I cannot wait to teach my first class. It should be fun! (Secondary Intern)
My biggest fear . . . the classroom management thing
During the first week of my Education internship I was mostly observing the students during the teacher’s lecture; I interacted with the students when seat work was assigned. Helping the students and getting to know their names were what I enjoyed the most during the first week.
Many of the students were very pleasant and had lots of questions about myself and “why I wanted to become a teacher”. I was also very surprised when I found out most of the teachers did not have a lesson ready for the first day of classes; they would get the students to do mostly “busy work” or watch a movie that pertained to the material in that course.
My cooperating teacher informed me that during the second week of my internship I would be teaching a Math course and also taking attendance during homeroom. My biggest fear during both these tasks will be getting a handle on the classroom management thing. I found out very quickly the students were quite defiant towards me when I proceeded to tell a student to sit in a certain seat and the student did not listen – my cooperating teacher had to step in. I do not think the students understand that even as interns we have the authority to penalize them for their actions (such as sending them to the office). I hope to be able to have great classroom management by the end of my internship, finding out what works best for me. (Intermediate Intern)
Doing the internship in Hong Kong I’ve just completed my first (hectic!) week of the internship here in Hong Kong. I’m at an IB school so I’ve got A LOT to learn about the curriculum. I’m doing the middle years program in humanities and in design/technology, so mostly I’ll see grade 7 and 8’s. It’s been a bit daunting because the curriculum is so much different than what I’m familiar with. It’s going to be a challenge the next few months but certainly one that will benefit me very much. (Secondary Intern)
ADVICE FOR YOU AS A TEACHER INTERN
- Be on time. [Arriving early is highly recommended. Also highly recommended is not leaving the building one minute after the last bell!]
- Dress appropriately. [I think this means “professionally”.
Business-casual seems to be the “order of the day” and by
that is meant dress pants/skirts – dress shirts/blouses – no
blue jeans or t-shirts – no sneakers!]
- Be flexible.
- Follow the school rules.
- Plan ahead.
- Befriend the office staff.
- Maintain confidentiality.
- Don’t gossip.
- Be professional with fellow teachers. And lastly,
- Don’t wait to the last minute to call in sick.
Some Additional Sage Advice
Sometimes interns run into difficulty early in their internships. There may be a personality conflict with a co-operating teacher, a problem with classroom management, problems with lesson planning etc. It is most important that interns seek help early. That help could be in the form of seeking advice from one of your fall semester university instructors, a “seasoned” teacher friend, your MUN intern supervisor, another teacher at your internship school or our co-ordinator of field placements, Mr. Hayward Blake.
Who you speak to is your decision but it is extremely important that you speak to someone for advice. don’t let the problem “fester” and find yourself too late in the internship to take corrective action. This is not fair to you nor to your co-operating teacher.
On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 1)
“You have to attend classes. You can’t just
follow me on twitter!”
Quote of the Week
The most effective teacher will always be biased, for the chief force in teaching is confidence and enthusiasm. (Joyce Cary)
On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 2)
“You know this whole rebellion thing fails when some of the teachers have more tattoos than we do.”
A British newspaper item recently spoke of school textbooks eventually being replaced by online materials. Go to
On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 3)
“We were told to multitask, so I was attending class while sleeping.”
That concludes Issue # 1. Next week as mentioned earlier, we hope to have a number of “blurbs’ from teacher interns discussing how their first week in the classroom went.
And lastly, interns, good luck with your first week in the classroom. Granted you’re probably a tad nervous, but that’s very normal.