Good afternoon everyone and welcome to the 3rd issue of THE MONDAY eMEMO. This week we have an abundance of intern submissions and last year’s regular features, Recommended Book Resource for Primary and Elementary Interns and Readers Respond return. And as usual, comments from the general readership re the internship or on any of the content here are always welcomed. Enjoy.
Feedback From This Year’s Interns
I have been slowly contributing
Aside from having what seems like 100 students in every class with names that sound alike, and aside from having to get used to waking up before 6:30 every morning, my internship is going swimmingly!
I have been slowly contributing with lessons and helping students with questions more and more every day. I have helped prepare a midterm exam and have been to a brainstorming staff meeting about school goals. I won’t be teaching full lessons until after midterms but I am preparing my very own unit in the meantime! Until then, I will help out where I can and continue my current role as “photocopy technician aid” and/or “double-double retrieval officer”. (Secondary Intern)
I am really enjoying my internship so far
I am really enjoying my internship so far. I’m in a grade 2 class in a rural
community here in Newfoundland. The teachers are great, especially my
co-operating teacher and the principal. They are going above and beyond to prepare me for when I become a teacher, with extra evaluations and practice of interview questions.
The students in my class are great! We have one child with
Autism and he is the sweetest child I have ever met; he just needs someone to keep him focused while completing any school work. I will be teaching my first Science lesson on Tuesday and I cannot wait!
I’m starting to feel the shift
With the second week of my internship coming to an end I’m starting to feel the shift from “playing” teacher to actually “being” a teacher. I’ve already started teaching some physical education classes and am very grateful that I was eased into it. Compared to a classroom, managing student behaviour is much easier in the gym. As soon as you pause they know that if they’re not quiet they won’t get to move onto the next activity. In the classroom they’re not as eager to settle down so becoming more effective at managing behaviour in the classroom is on my to-do list.
So far I’m loving my internship, plus the odd snow day here and there is an added bonus! The staff is awesome and the students are all about high-fives.
Next week I get to help coach one of the volleyball teams and lend my expertise to the Robotics Club even though I know nothing about robotics! Wish me luck! (Secondary Intern)
It didn’t take long
Upon first walking into my new school I felt, as I imagine everyone does, a little nervous. For me, it was not so much nervous to meet the students but instead nervous to meet the staff. I was aware that they are a fantastic group of teachers, therefore slightly worried of what they may think of my teaching abilities. However, it didn’t take long before I started to warm up to them.
Each staff member has been extremely welcoming, helpful, and only too willing to share their own tips and tricks with me. Of course, it didn’t take long before I gained a comfort level in the school and now feel as though I am a part of the family.
My co-operating teacher has been more than willing to answer
my questions and help me in any way she can. As of today we are already working together as a team, developing and carrying out lessons. I now feel like a vital, contributing member of the school community and can already see that I will miss the students and staff when I leave.
(Elementary Intern) My only hope is that I can stop giggling
You have to love walking into the classroom in the morning to hear a little boy age 6 saying “Kaitlyn, you look like a princess” to a little 6 year old girl wearing a long purple velvet dress. Or when a little boy says “Big people don’t tattle”. The innocence and sheer honesty is enough to keep you wanting to come back.
I’ve been trying to figure out what to do for the last 12 years and I
finally figured it out because now I don’t know how I could do anything else.
My only hope is that I can stop giggling long enough to teach.
I LOVE the basic classes
I have been thoroughly enjoying my internship thus far. I am split between two teachers (English and Skilled Trades) and am enjoying both areas. However, I am most comfortable teaching English. I have been teaching English since Friday and I love it.
One thing that I noticed is the difference between the basic classes
and the academic classes. I LOVE the basic classes. They are REAL people, they show genuine concern about where I am from, they talk to me so much more and they aren’t trying to impress anyone! The academic students are complainers and feel like everything should be
handed to them on a silver platter. They don’t ask many questions and they usually look at me as if they are thinking, “WHY are you even here?” I look forward to my basic classes, to be honest, so much
more than I do my academic classes! (Secondary Intern)
What am I getting myself into
Like many interns I was very nervous leading into my first day. The thought “what am I getting myself into” kept going through my mind over and over. Once I arrived at the school staffroom and got to meet the teachers I began to relax a little. The staff welcomed me with open arms and offered to help in any way they can.
For the most part my first week was mostly observing and helping a little with seat work. I have now taught several classes on my own and I’m getting more comfortable being in front of the class all the time. I’ll be taking over some courses soon and I’m having fun coming up with lesson ideas.
My biggest concern is the classroom management aspect of the job (though I haven’t run in to any major problems yet) and my goal is to work on it as much as possible over the next 3 months.
Right now I am doing my best to remember all my students names and I’m doing much better than I thought I would, though I still need to improve. I’m sure once I get them all nailed down, it will help with both my comfort level and with my classroom management. (Intermediate/Secondary Intern)
On the upside, it’s pretty awesome
I always knew that teachers worked hard. I just don’t think I realized how hard. By the end of the day, my head is pounding, my feet are aching and my shoulders are so full of knots they’d put a pretzel to shame.
This internship is certainly an eye-opener. On the upside, it’s pretty awesome to be able to interact with 9 year-old minds on a daily basis. Coming up with interactive lesson plans is a challenge but so worth it at the end of the day when you’ve seen the kids’ “Eureka Moments” and the self-satisfaction they get out of coming up with their own solutions to a problem.
I’ve learned so much in two weeks – I can’t wait to see how much I will have learned by the end of the term. (Elementary Intern)
Like Luke Skywalker I signed up So far the internship has been interesting to say the least. Most of the kids are wonderful and the staff is very kind but I can’t help feeling a little overwhelmed. Like Luke Skywalker I signed up to become a powerful Jedi (teacher) and set out to change the world, only to realize the backbreaking work that was dumped on me as soon as I left Tatooine (MUN). Unit plans, lessons, the expectation to take part in co-curriculars, on top of a part time job to help pay for the cost of living while doing all of this which we’re not getting paid for. With all of this MUN decides to give us the university equivalent of a high school worksheet in the form of journals that we don’t get feedback or a grade on. “What are your expectations this term?” My expectation is that I’m going to be too busy to write these arbitrary journals. Journal done and it didn’t take me 500 words or time I could be using to improve on a lesson plan. Whew… got a little off track there… All that being said, just like Luke I have a great mentor. This person is a master of the force (education) and I know I can learn a lot from her and I know that I can go to her when I need help. Also, like Skywalker, I’m not alone. I’ve got Han, Leia, Chewy and the others to sit down in the staff room and go through the good and the bad. I can go to them for advice or if nothing else to help relieve the stress of the workload by joking around. All in all, it is a great experience. They weren’t lying when they said you do all of the learning in the field. Sometimes you just have to take a breath, relax and trust that Obi Wan is guiding you correctly while Han comes to the rescue in the Millennium Falcon. (Secondary Intern) I was a little apprehensive I just wrapped up the second week of my internship at a junior high and so far, so good. I had imagined and hoped that I would be doing my internship in a high school so I was a little apprehensive about being placed in a junior high. I was afraid teaching 12-14 year olds would be a little bit like glorified babysitting but I was completely wrong. I think I am very fortunate to be at a school with great kids and a wonderful supporting teacher but I also think I may have been wrong about junior high in general. The kids are so enthusiastic and I’m having a lot of fun. So far my teacher has me teaching two grade 8 English Language Arts classes which has been both challenging and inspiring. I think the biggest surprise for me is how even though planning and teaching is a lot of work, there is also a lot of room to maneuver and be creative. The work requires a level of flexibility and improvisation that I hadn’t anticipated and they didn’t teach us at MUN. (Intermediate Intern) So far the internship is going pretty wellSo far the internship is going pretty well. I’m glad I picked the school that I’m at as the staff is super supportive and helpful and the students are actually surprisingly well-behaved. I haven’t actually seen much major misbehavior at all yet, just minor things here and there in the hallway. I remember the first time I was on duty, I asked some girls to come out from behind the stairs as they aren’t allowed back there. They had no clue who I was and looked at me like I had 50,000 heads but once they saw my co-operating teacher there with me, they put 2 and 2 together and obeyed. Now THAT being the biggest issue I’ve seen so far is astonishing really; these students are amazing. In terms of the actual teaching, I taught my first class today which went pretty well. I wasn’t nervous as I thought to myself “It’s about time I actually do some teaching, you can only observe so much”. The one main thing I noticed is the complete distortion of time that happens when you’re teaching. Before I knew it, I only had 15 minutes left and then I sped up to compensate, but then ended up running into material for the next lesson! I guess balancing this out will come with experience. Other than that, everything is going great and I can’t wait to really sink my teeth into the courses and get going. I’m teaching one course that I am not TOO knowledgeable in but I suppose that is a real possibility when I start teaching for real. A little apprehensive about that but we’ll see how it goes. (Secondary Intern)
I have been very busy
Since starting my internship I have been very busy. With teachers and students preparing for final exams, I have been given the responsibility of marking many different types of assignments from various grade levels. I have even been assigned to set-up and run the Grade 12 Chemistry practical lab exam.
My co-operating teacher and the other faculty and staff at the school have been very welcoming, including giving me a desk in the science staffroom. Working with other science teachers, we provide tutoring to students three times a week for a few hours after school. I have learned that teachers must be very organized, good at multi-tasking and be comfortable with a variety of technologies including SMARTboards, doc-cams and Teach-Assist (an online program that records marks and lets students monitor their progress).
I look forward to teaching lessons in my specialty once the new semester begins in February and I have been gathering materials in preparation.
I’m in the place where I need to be
When the time came for my first day of internship, I was extremely frightened. It wasn’t simply for the fact that I was living at home for the first time in 7 years or the fact that I was returning to my graduating high school, BUT all of this combined with the fact that I didn’t yet have a co-operating teacher (due to a staff sick leave), and did not know if the school even knew I was coming. I still got up early, dressed in my best, and powered to the school as if I owned it.
When I arrived, all I felt was nostalgia and was greeted by my old
principal with a “Welcome back.” He introduced me to the faculty (half I already knew) as a new member of staff and handed me off to another great individual who would become my co-operating teacher. Although both of us were blind about being thrown together with no prior knowledge of it, we have helped each other out and have formed a good team. I’m in the place where I need to be and I love it. (Intermediate/Secondary Intern)
On my first day I wasn’t too nervous
On my first day I wasn’t too nervous because I was attending my old high school and I felt that I knew the staff pretty well and where everything was. However, I have been out of high school for almost 5 years, and many things have changed… including the location of the staff room (there wasn’t even a door where I remember the staff room being). I felt like an idiot walking around this relatively small school which was practically empty, but after finding it, everything went smoothly! So far I haven’t begun teaching yet but my co-op teacher has given me a heads up on what I will be teaching after mid-terms.
The kids are great and eerily well-behaved, especially my group of grade 9 students (they are so quiet!). Overall, everything has been great but I am super nervous to begin teaching! (Intermediate/Secondary Intern)
Remembering the names of two dozen staff and a hundred or so students
To date my internship is going wonderfully. I really enjoy being a part of the school I have been placed in as the students and staff are all fantastic. Remembering the names of two dozen staff and a hundred or so students is certainly the most challenging task I have been faced with so far. Luckily our Effective Teaching course offered some tips on the timely completion of doing this.
My first lesson was this week and it was a little nerve-wrecking. I felt comfortable teaching to the kids but the idea of a seasoned teacher in the room sent chills through my spine. The lesson went well however and my co-operating teacher explained that after twenty years, she still loses sleep over teaching in front of colleagues during her own evaluations. Most teachers have told me that if I wasn’t nervous, they would be worried.
All in all my experience has been great and I have been informed by the staff and even a couple of subs that if I can become even half as organized and prepared as my co-operating teacher, I will be ahead of the game. I feel confident that I am in good hands and look forward to the rest of the semester. (Intermediate/Secondary Intern)
My internship has been interesting to say the least
My internship has been interesting to say the least. My first week was full of many weird moments, one of which was walking in the staff room and realizing that I was now a co-worker of many of the teachers who had taught me in the past. Also, I found that many of the students initially tried to be my friend and for the first time in my life, I had to find a way to connect with them but not be their friend – but rather be their teacher.
In the second week I had my very first teaching experience. It turned out to be teaching a Kindergarten Phys Ed class. This was a little stressful for me since I don’t have a phys ed background, or a primary/elementary background and after all it was my first teaching experience. The kindergarten students were very inattentive and had high energy levels but after a few minutes I managed to find ways to manage their behavior. I got a couple of activities done with them and by the end of the class I was having just as much fun as they were. I feel much more confident heading into my next teaching experience. The second week of my internship is looking much better! ” (Intermediate/Secondary Intern)
On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 1)
“Mrs. Killen? Logan decided his art class was ready to move beyond drawing fruit and flowers!”
Quote of the Week
A very wise old teacher once said: “I consider a day’s teaching wasted if we do not all have one hearty laugh.” He meant that when people laugh together, they cease to be young and old, master and pupils, jailer and prisoners. They become a single group of human beings enjoying its existence. – Gilbert Highet
Recommended Book Resource for Primary and Elementary Interns
Always with You
Written by: Ruth Vander Zee
Illustrated by: Ronald Himler
Grand Rapids, Michigan: Erdsman Books for Young Readers, 2008
In this poignant tale, Kim is four years old when her village in Vietnam is bombed and her mother is killed. Alone and terrified, left for dead, her vision impaired because of her injuries, Kim is rescued and taken to an orphanage. Kim has happy times during the days, but in the nighttime her loneliness overwhelms her. She remembers the words of her mother the last time they were together: “Don’t be afraid. I will always be with you.”
The blending of color and grayscale images throughout the book adds to the somberness and hope that prevail in this story. Kim describes the people who run the orphanage as having hearts “as big as barrels and filled with every color of the rainbow”.
And as the years go by, remembering the words of her mother, Kim learns to “see color in spite of the hazy gray”. This book is suited for students in grades K-6, and will enhance understanding of students from different cultures.
On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 2)
“I wasn’t copying. Aren’t you familiar with the
Freedom of Information act?.”
- I completed the B Ed program in August of 2007 but still look forward to receiving these memos. I am currently in my fifth year; I spent two years in Nain and this is my third in Cartwright. I remember all too well the excitement, the joy and even some of the anxiety of my internship. It does get much better. Thanks for keeping me on the listserv!
Cheers, Tom Mugford
- I just received the second eMEMO for the interns and it brought me back to last year! Reading through and seeing the comments about how nerve-racking the first week can be was a great memory. I’m not sure if I am supposed to be getting the eMEMOs but I would like to continue, largely for the cartoons and to keep an eye on how things are going. I wanted to let you know that I am now living in Yellowknife, NWT teaching Construction Technology (woodshop) at a great high school. I have one week left to my first term, then exams before beginning the second term in February. I am proud to say that it went excellent! I am really enjoying teaching and it was an easy transition from the internship to being in charge on my own. I work with a great staff and the students are excellent. Jeff Alyward
On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 3)
“Mrs. Gregory, would you go down to the third grade
and get one of the computer techs?”
That’s it for issue # 3 – a lengthy one but I wanted to get all this week’s submissions in. A special word of thanks and appreciation to the interns
for taking the time to submit their thoughts on the internships to date.
Re the world of hockey, a couple of comments today. We played our usual scrimmage game at St. Bon’s Forum on Friday night past. I was spared the embarrassment of scoring on my own net as I did last week! And, I’m delighted and very proud to report that I had 2 assists in our latest game, one of which was a beautiful “tic-tac-toe” and I was the “tac”. Pardon my humility or lack thereof!!!!!!
Of course the Cammalleri-Bourque trade involving Montreal and Calgary was all the talk these past few days. Not sure how the Habs will do with Rene Bourque but hopefully this trade will be a positive for both the Habs and the Flames.
And on the local scene, our St. John’s IceCaps continue to do quite well – daughter Lindsay and I went down to see their game Wednesday night against the Toronto Marlies. They won by a score of 3-2. It’s great to have the AHL back in St. John’s – excellent hockey to say the least. I’m down to Mile One to say their game against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins at 4:00 this afternoon.
Have a wonderful week everyone.