Greetings everyone and welcome to issue # 4 of THE MONDAY eMEMO. This week we continue with several intern submissions and our regular features. And as usual, comments from the general readership re the internship or on any of the content here are always welcomed. Hope you enjoy the “read”.
Feedback From This Year’s Interns
Loving the internship
So far, so good. Loving the internship! I’ve been teaching both Math and Skilled Trades, two different worlds but I enjoy both equally. As midterms are now underway, I recently played SMART Board whack-a-mole games with my Math 1201’s, 3204’s and 3205’s as review. It was amazing to see how determined they were to get the candy for obtaining the right answer the fastest (I even ran out of candy). The energy in the room was awesome, almost every student was trying to solve the problem. I’d love to say that it was intrinsic motivation in the works but since there was candy involved, it may be a little extrinsic. I am looking forward to midterms being over so I can get back to class and teach some more! (Secondary Intern)
There are so many variables to keep track of
I have been enjoying my internship so far. The teaching staff is very easy-going yet highly professional, which is a nice mix if you’re feeling stressed. Just spend a few minutes in the staff room during lunch and your spirits are lifted!I was a bit anxious during the first week as there were so many things toget used to. Watching my co-operating teacher execute a lesson seems so simple, I sit in class and think to myself “sure… I could do that! Definitely!” but then when I am left to plan my own lessons it’s not such a walk in the park! There are so many variables to keep track of… how much to teach in one lesson, how to manage the classroom properly, how to make the lesson interesting, how to present the lesson (whiteboard, projector, videos, etc.) or how to make the lesson more interactive… how to go about creating positive relationships with the students… the list goes on. My co-operating teacher has plenty of notes he’s lent me but it’s tough to find a balance between his style and my style when I’ve hardly taught yet. It’s a lot to consider, but my co-operating teacher has been great in reminding me that it’s okay to be concerned, we don’t even have teaching experience yet.I must say that things have been good overall. But not every day! My last class today was very stressful. My co-operating teacher allowed me to teach a full class this afternoon without supervision. The students had a test last day and were eager to get them back. Well, let me tell you right now: Don’t give tests back to students ten minutes into the class. Even though I gave them very specific instructions as to what we would be working on during the period, it’s as if I had never said anything. I could NOT get them to settle down for the whole period and this was a fairly mature Level 2 class. What made things worse is that it was the first time I had taught this class, so I knew hardly any of their names. I felt like I had no classroom management skills at all, like nothing I said could make them stop, and there was no co-operating teacherto help. I felt like I needed to discipline the students somehow, but Ididn’t know how to go about it. How do you engage in non-verbal, verbal and consequential interventions when there are 15 students acting up? Ahhh – deep breath!Although humbled, I am hopeful. I had good classes before this one, so I know I have some ability to control a class. However, I plan to learn from these missteps (Note: Don’t be the intern who passes tests back early in the class!) and I look forward to future lessons, however stressful some of that may turn out to be. (Intermediate/Secondary Intern)
I was a little nervous
I am currently 3 weeks into my internship. My subject areas are Physical Education and Healthy Living and I have actually been teaching classes for the past 2 weeks. Also, I am volunteering to help coach the senior boys’ basketball team. When I was first asked to teach during the first week, I was a little nervous but the students were great because they knew it was my first class teaching on my own. Since that first class I haven’t had any trouble taking control and completing the planned lesson. I have also taken on the task of creating classroom work for Healthy Living 1200. This is proving to be a greater challenge than I first thought but I am making progress. Over all, I am really enjoying my internship; the students and teachers are great. (Secondary Intern)
Jiggs Dinner, Mary Brown’s and Toutons
My teaching experience thus far has already been an extremely unique one, as it is located in the town of Old Harlow in Essex, England. Therefore, not only do I get the privilege to teach in a different country but also obtain the opportunity to familiarize myself with a contrasting educational system and culture.
The school that I am placed at consists of children grouped in ‘years’ (Canadian grades 6-10) with just over 1000 kids in total. The teacher I am paired with is a wonderful teacher, constantly dedicating an abundance of her time to her students.
One thing I have noticed a lot from the time I have spent in different classrooms is that forming relationships with your students really helps them to realize how much you believe in them, therefore allowing a respectful connection to develop as a result. I feel that even a simple “How was your weekend?” or “Great job ____!” can remind them that you genuinely care about their well-being.
The staff and students are very welcoming here and create a positive atmosphere throughout the school. The students in my classes often ask about what it’s like at home (food, weather, education, etc.) and are very thoughtful and sweet. This week I did a lecture on Newfoundland to tell them a little bit about my home. They loved it! They now want to try “Jiggs Dinner”, Mary Brown’s and toutons and are very envious of our snow days! I also frequently get the response “Miss, is Canada where Justin Bieber is from? Do you know him?” Kids say the funniest things. I hope things are going great back home and everyone, wherever they may be, are enjoying their internships to the fullest. See you in May!
Amazing so far
My internship has been amazing so far! I’m thoroughly enjoying everything about it, including the not-so-much-fun-to-deal-with parts like harassing students about deadlines and making mistakes when writing on the board! Every aspect of the internship so far has been a learning experience. I’ve discovered that I LOVE teaching, and yes, even in a junior high. The students are very entertaining and have such colorful personalities. My co-operating teacher has been a phenomenal model through all this, as I’m learning not only how to teach these students well within my teachable areas but I’m learning to approach teaching from a student-centered perspective so that they remain interested and engaged as much as possible. I don’t think I could be having a better experience and I’m very pleased to have been placed where I am this semester. (Intermediate Intern)
I returned to my primary/elementary school
For my internship I returned to the primary/elementary school that I went to. It’s a very comforting feeling but it does feel a little different being on the teaching side rather than the learning. Some of the teachers that I had when I was there are still teaching and it’s interesting to sit with them in the staff room. I still call them Ms. Whatever – it’s hard to get used to calling them by their first name! It’s also nice to see the kids at my school do some of the same things that I did when I was there – it’s all very nostalgic and I am loving every minute of my internship. I love coming to the school in the morning to see all my students and to hear all their stories. I find most of them quite amusing and often chuckle away to myself listening to them. Waking up and going to school is something I look forward to everyday.(Elementary Intern)
I almost broke down crying
My internship is going great so far. I’m with a grade 8 class who are completing Alberta’s Knowledge and Employability program. There are about 20 students enrolled in the class; however about 15 are there on a given day. To be honest, the first day when I came in and met my co-operating teacher to go over their IPP’s I almost broke down crying. They are all coming to school with so many other problems that oftentimes school is the last thing on their mind. But I am already so attached to all of them, I am definitely going to be that teacher who cries at the end of the year.
They are such a great group and they’ve been very welcoming to me. My teachables are English and History, and I’ve been teaching them Language Arts and Social Studies for the most part but I’ve also taught Math, Phys Ed, Foods, and Personal Living Skills.
The students in grades 7-9 have “Exploratory” options twice a week in two-period blocks and I get to teach my very own Exploratory! I pitched the idea of a Journalism exploratory and the VP thought it was great, so I’m hoping to teach some future reporters or news anchors! Or at least get them to start thinking a newspaper is cool (that might be a bit of a stretch, though ha ha).
Overall, the staff have been very welcoming, and my co-operating teacher is great. I can’t wait to be the actual teacher and not just the intern! (Intermediate Intern)
You still need to give respect to get it back
My internship is going great, my internship school is like any other school when it comes to the behaviour. There are students who love to be there and love to learn and then there are the students that are hard to get to and hard to inspire. I have noticed the importance of strong leadership in a school system; for example, our principal is so involved that it improves the dynamic of the entire school.
I have realized it doesn’t matter which student you are dealing with, you still need to give respect in order to get it back. I have used many things taught us in our Effective Teaching classes and it is basically a guess and check method. I try one way to solve an issue and if this is not successful, I try the next.
My co-operating teacher is excellent and I am learning several ways to manage the classroom. I never realized how great this experience would be; it is the perfect opportunity to put everything we have learned in the past 5 years to work.
I was really nervous at the idea of being in front of a class of high
school students and leading but now it is reality. It is an amazing experience to have a chance to inspire young minds to continue to develop a lifestyle surrounded by fitness and healthy choices.
I was headed into unfamiliar territory
I was headed into unfamiliar territory when I began my internship in a grade 4 classroom consisting of 21 Mennonite students in northern Alberta. The school is influenced by and depends immensely on the Mennonite culture embedded in the area and the strong sense of community.
The students themselves rarely show any behaviors and I feel like I’m in a dream classroom. I was made to feel extremely welcome by the students and staff and although we’re quite isolated up here, I think that I could adapt to life quite well here. Despite the bitter cold, (it was minus 44 degrees a few days ago with the wind chill), there is plenty to do and I have never been so busy.
This coming week I’ll be teaching three subjects fulltime. The most difficult part of my internship so far has not been planning, organization or classroom management but learning the subject material well enough to teach it fluently. Most of my preparation time every night is spent reviewing the material I need to teach in the coming days.
The money that Alberta pours into Education has been a huge shock for me as the classrooms are not like what I’m used to seeing on the east coast. Every classroom has a Smart Board and the integration of technology in the schools is very apparent, for better or for worse. I am thoroughly enjoying my time up here and I’m looking forward to see what the rest of this experience will bring. (Elementary Intern)
I was a bag of nerves My internship has certainly been interesting thus far. The first few days Ithought to myself “How am I going to be able to do this for the next 30years?”. However, after the first week I felt more comfortable and at ease with my placement. The first week I was a bag of nerves. I was nervous about teaching the students, afraid that the students would not like me and was uncertain on where I would fit into the school community. However, after just completing my third week I am confident that the teaching profession is for me. The transition from observer to teacher has been rather smooth. I am teaching/helping with grade 7-9 physical education and a robotics course. I have taught several physicaleducation classes and activities which went rather smoothly (well I like to think so anyways!). On the other hand, the robotics course is certainly throwing me for a loop since I have no experience in this area. I was lucky enough to attend a robotics in-service at MUN this past week which was veryinformative and fun. I spend a great amount of time researching activities and working on different activities that we could do in the class. I was told that teaching is a lot of work and I now fully appreciate that advice. Between planning, correcting and helping out with extra-curricular activities there is not much down time left. But I wouldn’t change it for anything. (Intermediate Intern)
I was extremely nervous
The first day of my internship, I was extremely nervous. Like many interns, I entered into university unsure of what career I was going to pursue. After completing an undergraduate degree and a graduate degree, I decided to be a teacher. Both of my parents, being educators, were very supportive of my decision.
The first day of my internship, I was apprehensive of what I might be getting myself into. However, after the first day, I was confident due to the support of my family and my cooperative teacher. I have since taught my first class and although there were bumps along the way, it ended successfully. Both my co-operating teacher and I were pleased with the progress I had made in a difficult classroom situation. I am eager to engage my other classes following exams and feel blessed to have such a supportive co-operating teacher and staff behind me.
On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 1)
“Don’t blame me. I’m not a tattletale – I’m an oral historian!”
Quote of the Week
“Tell me and I’ll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I’ll understand.” (Chinese Proverb)
Recommended Book Resource for Primary and Elementary Interns
The Other Side
Written by: Jacqueline Woodson
Illustrated by: E. B. Lewis
New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 2001
A fence stretches through Clover’s town, separating the black side from the white side. Clover lives on the black side and was not allowed to climb over the fence because it was not safe. One summer, a white girl about Clover’s age sat on the fence and stared over at Clover. Although Clover stared back, they did not speak. One day the girl asked if she could play with Clover and her friends but was told no.
Clover kept watching the girl play by herself and finally one day she went close to the fence and talked to the girl whose name was Annie. They decided that although neither of them could go on the other side that “a fence like this was made for sitting on” and so their unlikely friendship developed as they sat on that fence during the summer. And then one day, Annie went over the fence and played with Clover and her friends and Clover’s mama smiled.
The story ends with the new friends saying, “Someday somebody’s going to come along and knock this old fence down”. This moving story about racial tensions and how children can solve the problems of adults is lovingly illustrated in water colors that tell the tale as clearly as the evocative words. It is meant to be enjoyed by students of all ages who often question the thoughts and decisions of adults and who can simplify many of life’s dilemmas.
On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 2)
“You’ve got to come to Show and Tell next week, Mom. I told everyone
that you can burp like a truck driver and they all want to hear it!”
I absolutely love getting the eMEMO following the Christmas break. It
reminds me of when I started my internship and how nervous and
unprepared I felt. I was thinking about MUN and my instructors recently when I was asked to teach Legal Studies to the grade 12 class.
I have been teaching Junior High English and Social Studies here at the Fort Vermilion Public School in Alberta. Fort Vermilion is located in northern Alberta, approximately 660 kilometers northwest of Edmonton on the Bicentennial Highway. I have recently changed to all Social Studies and Humanities. It’s great! I feel so lucky to be teaching the subject I was trained in and loved; I know many people don’t get that opportunity.
I have also started my M. Ed. in Leadership and School Improvement at the University of Alberta. I am now into my 4th course and will be done in 2013. – LaToya Bartlett, B. Ed.. 2009 (originally from Hr. Grace)
Co-operative Discipline Workshop
This very popular and worthwhile workshop is being offered again this
year by Bill Tucker, principal of the District School, Eastern School Board. The date is Saturday, February 4 from 8:30-4:30 and the fee for students is $60.00, $75.00 for teachers. The deadline for applications is January 30 and for more information, please contact Bill at 726-0822 (email: email@example.com).
On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 3)
“Let me know if that dose of medication works. And if we
need to, we can give some to the student, too!”
That concludes issue # 4. A special word of thanks and appreciation to the interns for taking the time to submit their thoughts on the internships to date. Also, former B. Ed. graduates are encouraged to write into the Readers Respond feature and let us know where you are and what you’re doing.
Can’t pass up the opportunity to comment on the wonderful Habs-Leafs game last night which saw my beloved Habs defeat the Leafs by a score of 3-1!!!!!!! Lately, I’ve been taking some Habs “abuse” from some Leafs’ friends so I was quick to call a couple of them right after the game. Needless to say, they really enjoyed getting my phone call!!!!!!
Still on the topic of hockey, just started reading Ron MacLean’s (of Hockey Night in Canada fame) recent book titled “Cornered: Hijinks, Highlights, Late Nights and Insights”. It’s a great “read” and I’d highly recommend it.
Have a most enjoyable week everyone.