Vol. 6, Number 6

Welcome to issue # 6.  Interns, January is now but a memory and you’ve already completed your first month “on the job” so to speak.  With exams behind you especially in the senior high grades, many of you will be able to join your intern colleagues in getting into the actual teaching.  Hopefully by now all of you are settling into your new role and may that transition not be too stressful or painful for you.  Enjoy this week’s record number of 19 offerings of intern feedback!

 Feedback From  This Year’s Interns

 

My internship so far has been great

My internship so far has been great. I’m doing it in Phys. Ed. so I get to see a lot of faces which is the best part.

One student in particular has really stood out. For the purpose of this story we’ll say his name is Mike.  Mike is a special needs student with autism, among other things.  He is also the top cross country runner in the school, finishing 2nd in the province at the track and field meet earlier in the year.

Mike also has a fanatic interest in hockey and yes to the delight of the eMEMO editor, he’s a Habs fan! On one of my first days at the school Mike came to me with an NHL trivia question and surprising to him, I knew the answer.  This was enough to get Mike to make it his goal to stump me with a hockey trivia question.  Now everyday Mike meets me at the doors of the school in the morning and we exchange trivia questions.  He usually beats me, he’s a fountain of hockey knowledge which he learned from “books and wikipedia”.

It’s been great getting to know each and every student, the best part of my internship thus far. (Secondary Intern)

I knew I would encounter bullying situations

Bullying is something we didn’t learn much about in the fall.  I knew I would encounter bullying situations during my internship but I wasn’t sure how I would react and handle the situation at hand.  During one of my grade 7 classes, one of the students got called a name.

One of the members of the administration came in to talk to the students about bullying and I noticed one of the girls was crying.  I quickly asked her to step outside and asked her what was going on.  She explained to me how she gets bullied for her height and she thought that when she moved to secondary school the bullying would stop but it hadn’t.

I explained to her that she just has to be the bigger person and assured her that things would get better, along with some other stories about my own experience with bullying.  At the end I had her laughing and she thanked me.  It was truly one of the best feelings in the world to know that you brightened someone’s day!  (Intermediate Intern)

 

I’m managing to keep one step ahead

So far I am enjoying my internship at a high school not far from St. John’s.  The majority of staff and students are really good and a pleasure to work with. So far I have been teaching Canadian Law to mostly level I and II students. It is kind of challenging since I wouldn’t consider myself an expert in the field but I’m managing to keep one step ahead of the students and I’m quite happy with how my lessons are going thus far. Also, I am fostering some good rapport with many of my students. I already knew a handful through involvement with sports in the community which definitely gives me an advantage since I already

have relationships with them to build on. There are also a surprising number whose siblings and cousins I attended high school with.

On the whole, my internship is going great and I am really enjoying working with my former teachers and also being a part of the community outside of school. (Secondary Intern)

 

Got my first report card today

Got my first report card today! I did excellent on everything except for my voice and ability to get the students to settle down. Although I knew this would be my weakness going in, I feel that I have come a long way in just a month. Overall my teaching experience has been good and the students tell their peers to be quiet while I’m teaching.On a side note, we took the students snowshoeing today and I noticed how most of them complained that their feet hurt, they were tired, etc. AND we were only outside for 30 minutes!!! I’d like to plead to all the other interns who will be teachers soon to please bring their students outside when the opportunity presents itself. Having a lesson outside may make the students remember/appreciate the world they live in and not the TV/PS3 world.  (Elementary Intern)

For the first time in my life I’m conflicted over snow days

Things have been off to a slow start here in Nova Scotia, something I have been grateful for. Students here are finishing up exams week this week and I will be coming out in full force – well 50% load starting on Monday! I have only been able to lead a couple classes thus far because my co-operating teacher has been hard pressed to finish material off to prepare the students for their exams.

In the meantime I have been able to get so much prep work done. I am eager to really get things going and feel what it is like to teach every day.

The staff and the students are all so wonderful here at this school; I feel comfortable coming in every morning. For the first time in my life I am conflicted over snow days and whether or not I want them. I recognize the value of class time now and what it’s like when you don’t have enough. It then becomes even more of a challenge to cover all the material in the curriculum and present it in such a way that students can get a deep understanding of the content in the shorter timeframe.

(Secondary Intern)

 

A very surprising and enlightening experienceI’ve found my internship thus far to be a very surprising and enlightening experience. I’ve been lucky enough to have been placed such that I am teaching primarily higher level science courses, so classroom management has been relatively easy. I did have the opportunity to teach a more rambunctious class; while they did get their seat work mostly completed, it was at a much higher volume and with considerably more wrangling than my other classes.I was most surprised at the attitudes of the students towards the interns. I’ve been placed in a “rougher” high school and expected to be met with “I don’t have to listen to you” and “How old are you anyway?”. It was actually quite the opposite. I’ve found the students to be more polite and courteous with myself and the other interns than with their regular teachers and they seem to be keen to learn from someone who is perhaps a bit more in touch with their generation. Although it has had its challenges, it has been a pleasure to teach so far.  (Secondary Intern)

 

I have no complaints

A month into my internship and I can say that I have no complaints. I got involved in extra-curricular activities right away, which really helped me get to know the students. I now know the names of allof my students and of some others in the school. This was something that my co-operating teacher also stressed as very important from day one. I also indirectly discovered that the students realize the importance of this too. A couple of weeks ago I was playing a game with one of my grade 10 classes in which I was calling on each of them individually for their turns. About halfway through the game I heard one of the boys in the back say to another “Uh oh. She knows all our names now. . . “. I guess he figured he couldn’t get away with as much with me as he could before. Students really do notice everything.All in all, I have some excellent classes with very few behavioral issues. They are willing to learn and try new things and seem to have responded to me very well; they’re patient with me when things don’t go exactly how I had planned. I look forward to going to school every day and I’m sure I’ll be sad to leave them in April.  (Secondary Intern)

 

I am feeling much more at ease

When I first began my internship I was extremely nervous for reasons I’m sure you all can relate to. Although I am still nervous, I am feeling much more at ease and almost like this is my own classroom. My co-operating teacher is amazing and one thing I have learned from my internship so far is that having a co-operating teacher who you can trust and rely on is a major part of it. I can always count on my co-operating teacher to give me positive and constructive feedback and jump in if she feels I am uncertain about anything. It is this good relationship we have with one another which is one of the major reasons my internship has been such a wonderful experience.

Another factor I found which is helping me gain confidence within the classroom is that I took initiative with management of the classroom. I believe this allowed the students to see me as an actual teacher and it allowed them to respect me. My internship has been an incredible experience so far. I am very lucky to have been placed with the co-operating teacher I have and I am looking forward to learning even more from her and her class in the months to come. (Primary Intern)

 So far things have been going greatI am interning at a high school here in the city and this is my first official week of actual teaching. Initially I think that I was unsure of myself and a little reserved about teaching. This was frustrating for me because I feel like I have worked so hard to reach this stage and then to be a little scared to take the next step. However, once I started teaching I realized that I enjoyed being a teacher. Although so far things have been going great, there have been a few bumps along the way. To date I have had one student leave the classroom without permission because she did not want to be moved to another seat. She likes to talk loudly and is disruptive; so I did what I felt I had to do. No regrets on my part because after that, the class was under control and on task. In another class I had a student simply asking random and unrelated things throughout the lesson. At first I was answering his questions but once I realized that it was affecting my instructional time, I ignored him and after a while he stopped. On another note I feel as though I could talk to my co-operating teacher about anything.  (Secondary Intern)

 

I was really nervous about teaching

The first few weeks of my internship I was really nervous about teaching. The longer I waited to actually start teaching, the more nervous I was becoming. Then one day my teacher came in and said he was sick and there would be a substitute but I would be teaching. I had no time left to panic so I just taught and it went really well.

When he got back, my teacher told me he wouldn’t have let

me teach if he didn’t think I was ready but he had every confidence in me. That made me feel a whole lot better and made me much more relaxed for the rest of my internship!  (Secondary Intern)

 

I haven’t had any problems 

For my internship I have been placed in my former K-12 school in a rural area with approximately 86 students commuting from 6 nearby communities. The school has gotten a lot smaller since I was a student here and it’s very different being home again but I am enjoying it so far. I’m teaching Physical Education and English classes and helping out in Math 4-5, coaching the sr. girls’ basketball team and helping out with the student council.

In the beginning I was a little nervous as most of the students knew me and I was afraid they wouldn’t look at me as a teacher. However, I haven’t had any problems in the classroom; they all show me great amounts of respect and give me their attention during class.

One of the biggest differences I find is teaching multi-age classes and making sure my lesson fits all students.

Initially, it was also very different to be sitting around in the staff room with my former teachers. However, all the teachers at the school gave me a very warm welcome and are very supportive. So far my co-operating teachers and even other teachers in the school have a lot of advice to give and are willing to help me with whatever I need. I hope to gain valuable experience and ideas and incorporate my own ideas into what I learn.

The past few days I have been lucky as well with snow days and it is always nice to get a break so I can enjoy the snow and go ski-dooing. Being home for my internship is giving me a nice little break from city life and is allowing me to spend more time with my family.

I’m truly enjoying the opportunity to teach in the classroom and get to know the students better. I feel the students have a great connection with me and I am learning lots from my co-operating teachers. It’s also nice to be back coaching basketball again and I’m spending a lot of my time outside school hours practicing with the girls which I really enjoy.

(Intermediate/Secondary Intern)

 

I’ll be bringing in my guitar

My internship in grade one thus far has been an amazing experience!  I honestly do not have one negative thing to say about it.  My co-operating teacher is great and the school staff have been extremely welcoming to all the interns there.  The principal encourages us to get involved in extracurricular activities.

I currently take part in the breakfast program and plan on helping out in the music room as well.  In terms of teaching, I have begun planning on my own in the subject areas of Math and Social Studies.  I never thought I would say this but planning is actually a lot of fun.  I love pondering engaging ways of delivering the curriculum.

Next week as Valentine’s Day approaches, I will be bringing in my guitar to the classroom and teaching the children a few Valentine’s Day songs.  I CAN’T WAIT!!!

It’s hard for me to put into words how much I enjoy seeing children smile as they figure something out, work together,

or receive words of praise.

I know now for sure that this profession is for me and I look forward to many years of satisfaction.  (Primary Intern)

 

I’m learning an exorbitant amount

First off, snow days are great!  I think I have chosen the right profession in that regard.  Seriously though, I’m learning an exorbitant amount from my co-operating teacher – how the school system runs, the vast gulf between students who want to succeed and those who don’t (sometimes for reasons I am unable to see) and the striking similarities between all high school students. The Faculty of Education at MUN are doing an admirable job but nothing can prepare you for the act of teaching as an internship can.

One thing I was appalled at was the number of students who were allowed to roam freely through the hallways during class time.  There is no trouble to see students 4-5 abreast striding through the hallways.  When I ask why they aren’t in class, they usually laugh or

mumble something that is equivalent to insubordination (maybe because I’m just an intern).  Also, the amount of profanity used in the presence of teachers and school staff is laughable.  It has been an eye-opening experience so far.  (Secondary Intern)

 

So excited about the topic of herpes

Everything is going well, aside from making enough time to do everything. The first time I taught, the room was dead quiet and there were absolutely no class management issues at all. That really freaked me out and I ended up flying through my lesson insanely fast  (it took the other class 2 classes, almost 3 to get through the same lesson). This second class had a whole lot more energy and while they were chatting a bit, they were way more engaged, asking questions; I ended up making jokes with them and sharing experiences.

We have done a unit test and the midterm since then and the marks are

way down, so I am hoping to try to encourage them to study more. I told them if they can bring their average up, I’ll even dance for them.  They don’t seem that impressed but of course they don’t know that I am indeed a dancer!

Side note: I find all the names hard to remember but slowly I’m learning them; also got my first plan book – that was exciting.

I was supposed to be teaching a Level 3 course starting this week but the snow days have been placed in convenient places however and I have not had that chance yet.

I’m really excited and I think my lessons are getting more and more engaging as I’m going. I had an awesome class today actually and my teacher said “You had them eating from the palm of your hand” – ha ha, I think that’s a good thing. It was really fun and we had quite a few laughs, especially when we got to the section where the topic of

internal fertilization came up (as opposed to external fertilization). I like to use lots of pictures and draw diagrams as well. I tend to pull out examples of cool organisms for each phyla I cover; the kids seem to really enjoy it.

One of the funniest incidents I experienced was when the teacher was covering sexually transmitted diseases and all the class wanted to know about was herpes. The teacher couldn’t get through the slide to get to the herpes because students were asking so many questions about it. I’ve never seen such a large group of people so excited about the topic of herpes!

I’ve been trying to start a dance group up at the school – no success yet but I’m pretty determined to get it going! (Secondary Intern)

 

It’s passing by too quickly

I am really enjoying my internship so far. It has been a great learning

experience. My co-operating teacher is very resourceful and supportive. The whole school is very helpful; I’ve had a chance to speak to other staff members during lunchtimes and many of them have said “If you need anything, just ask me”.

The only complaint I have about my internship is that it’s passing by too

quickly. I feel like this may be the easiest teaching job we ever have – when else are we going to have a more experienced teacher in the room, ready to help us at all times? That’s why I am really trying to make the most of it, asking millions of questions all the time. Luckily, my co-operating teacher sees this as a good thing.  I hope everyone else is enjoying this experience as much as I am. (Primary Intern)

 

Both my co-operating teachers are great

So far I am really enjoying my internship. Both my co-operating teachers are great and I love the classroom atmosphere. This past week I began teaching classes on my own for the first time. I was nervous before getting up to teach the very first one but it went so well that

I asked my co-operating teacher if I could teach one of her other classes that I was not actually planning to teach that day.

I was kind of surprised at how well the students in one of my classes were listening and responding to my questions. They were actually getting ahead of me with the material and looking much further into it than I had expected, which was great.

One of the biggest things that I think will take some getting used to is

classroom time management. I find it difficult to judge how much material I will actually get covered during one class period. Thankfully, so far my extra preparation has been working out to my advantage.

Overall, I love the school I am interning at and the staff is great. I am

eager to see what else is in store for me during this experience and I am

looking forward to learning more from my mentors while improving on new teaching strategies. (Secondary Intern)

 

The staff at the school is very friendly and helpful

Heading into the sixth week of my internship, I have to say that I am thoroughly enjoying the experience so far. Being in a K-12 school I really like the fact that I get the opportunity to teach at each grade level and in doing so, get to know just about every student in the school.

The staff at the school is very friendly and helpful, always offering me valuable tips and pointers that are sure to help my future teaching career start off on the right foot.

One thing I’ve certainly noticed thus far is the after hours work teachers put in regularly to ensure they offer their students the optimum learning experience. The profession is clearly one that is carried with you outside of the classroom. All in all, I have to say I definitely appreciate the respect the students show me day in and day out. In turn, I approach each lesson with the five key characteristics of KHRPO (knowledgeable, humorous, respectful, patient and organized) in mind, aiming to provide them with the best lessons I possibly can.

(Intermediate/Secondary Intern)

 

A wonderful teacher and person

I’m 1 month into my Internship and I can honestly say I couldn’t have asked for a better co-operating teacher. I have learned more from her in 5 weeks than I could have ever hoped for.  The thing that continues to amaze me is how much she genuinely cares for her students. I see it each and every day, but more importantly, the students see it as well. They trust her completely, know they will be given the best instruction possible and feel comfortable talking to her about personal issues.

What I find incredibly interesting is how quickly the students have transferred those feelings from her to me. My co-operating teacher and I have spoken about this privately and we both expressed our surprise at just how quickly and smoothly this transference has happened. I consider myself so lucky to have been paired up with such a wonderful teacher and person. I hope the next 8 weeks prove to be just as rewarding.   (Intermediate Intern)

 

I have learned that situations may happen

I’m going to start off by saying that when you have a smile on your face correcting a spelling test and getting excited when a student receives 25/25 words correct, because you can give them a sticker – then you know you’re in the perfect profession. This is the way I feel when I wake up every single morning to go to school. I get comments from other teachers about how I always have a smile on my face, no matter how early – or late in the day it is.

Not only have I been given the opportunity to teach at a brand new school but I have been paired with a teacher that comes along with situational experiences that some retired teachers wouldn’t even be able to tell you. Besides that, the passion that she exudes and classroom management that comes along with her is amazing and from only being with her a few short weeks, I can see how being a dedicated educator can affect the life of a child. She has taught many students with diverse backgrounds and behaviors and I am very fortunate to have been placed with her as a mentor.

In just a few weeks I have learned that situations may happen that you cannot control and students will not respond to your every word. But in this profession it takes a certain person to be able to contain that patience and control to handle whatever they are faced with. I believe that I have chosen the right path and am truly enjoying my internship to the fullest!

I can only be an effective teacher as long as I am questioning my practices and constantly trying to improve student learning and achievement. I look forward to seeing what the rest of my internship brings and I am excited to learn and grow as a teacher.  (Elementary Intern)

 

On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 1)

v6-06-01

“Interesting – but is there a practical use for this

stuff?”

 

Quote of the Week

“One looks back with appreciation to the brilliant teachers, but with gratitude to those who touched our human feelings. The curriculum is so much necessary raw material, but warmth is the vital element for the growing plant and for the soul of the child.”  Carl Jung

 

Recommended Book Resource for Upper Elementary and Junior & Senior High Interns 

Franklin and Winston: A Christmas that Changed the World

Written by: Douglas Wood

Illustrated by: Barry Moser

Massachusetts: Candlewick Press, 2011

 

Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill in a picture book! From the images of Franklin smoking a cigarette and Winston with a cigar in his mouth on the front cover of the book, it is evident that this is not a book for primary students. However, for those who wish to learn more about the pride and strength of two leaders in World War II, this portrayal of their historic Christmas meetings in the White House in 1941 is inspiring.

The watercolor illustrations were based on historical photographs and make us feel as if we are in the presence of these two great men. Franklin Roosevelt’s character is revealed with the author’s words: “He faced his disability with the same courage with which he faced other challenges, the same courage he shared with the nation”. Adding warmth and a touch of humor, we learn that Winston Churchill was a difficult house guest with many demands, such as wanting two baths each day and we see him depicted in his towel in one of Barry Moser’s realistic illustrations.

We all know about Pearl Harbor but this story takes us into the lives of the nations’ leaders and how important decisions that affect all of us come about. It is a story that was meant to be told and enjoyed.

This book is suitable for upper elementary through to high school.

 

On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 2)

v6-06-02

“I have the right to remain silent and I’m going

to!”

 

On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 3)

v6-06-03

“Wouldn’t it be easier to use a GPS instead of

studying all this?”

 

Concluding Comment

That’s it for issue # 6.  I’m delighted with the excellent response from

teacher interns.  As mentioned at the beginning, this week we have a record number of submissions – 19!  The comments from our readership are very positive and everyone seems to be enjoying their feedback.  Thank you to this week’s contributors.

 

A “brief” (well, maybe not that brief!) comment about hockey.  Had a great scrimmage game at St. Bon’s Friday night past in spite of concerns re the impending snow storm – yours truly got a helper to left winger Justin Weiler and he tapped it in – a very pretty goal!  We had 18 players plus our regular 2 goalies – a great bunch of fellas, the majority of whom are not that respectful to mes Habs!  Not a great week for the “rouge-blanc-bleu” and I’ll leave it at that!

 

Colleague Greg Harris and I are down at Mile One this Tuesday night to take in the IceCaps v. Providence game – go IceCaps go!

 

Have an enjoyable and hopefully, a less snowier week, everyone.

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About themondayememo

Jerome G. Delaney, Editor Associate Professor – Educational Administration Faculty of Education Memorial University of Newfoundland St. John’s, NL Canada A1B 3X8 Telephone: 709-864-2071 Facsimile: 709-864-2345 Email: jdelaney@mun.ca
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