Welcome to issue # 8. Interns, you are over halfway through your internships and the various feedback submissions suggest that you’re finding the time is passing by all too quickly. That seems to be the nature of teaching as the school day is never long enough to get everything that needs to be done, done. That can be rather frustrating at times but take some comfort in the fact that you can only do what you have time to do. Soldier on!
Feedback From This Year’s Interns
I have changed my thinking
I did expect to enjoy my teaching internship and I did expect that I would make connections with my students and hopefully form good relationships.
However, I really did not expect those first relationships to be with those whom I would consider as some of my weaker students. I am teaching a couple of level 2 classes in which I have some students who have great attitudes but are weak academically and will likely not go on to university but rather to community college or some other programs in the trades.
These students, however, surprised me. And I am in many ways ashamed to say that because it suggests that I clearly had presumptions and stigmas about students who struggled. These are actually some of my favourite students because they work the hardest. They have the best attitudes and come often for extra help and are willing to take instruction. They are often the ones who talk to me in the hallways or before or after class. They are the ones who seem to come to class because of a personal connection with me as their teacher, rather than a close connection to the material we are studying.
As a result, I have changed my thinking that I would most enjoy working with high academic students and would rather enjoy a good mix of those who excel academically and those who struggle. (Secondary Intern)
I was really nervous going into it
So far my internship has been awesome. I was really nervous going into it but like most of us, we all were I would think. But having an understanding and knowledgeable co-operating teacher seems to make a world of difference. At the current time I am now getting deep into the teaching and have taken full control of all my classes – 2 slots of grade 12 Physical Education and 2 slots of grade 10/11 Physical Education, 2 slots of grade 9 Physical Education and a Communications Technology course and I’m observing a robotics course. So it’s been full during the week.
Just to give you an idea of some of the things I’ve been doing with the students recently since we had so much snow and several beautiful days; I have been taking advantage of the weather and getting some natural exercise by having my classes do some snowshoeing. The students really seem to love the outdoors and it’s nice to have a different venue other than the gymnasium.
I am currently preparing for some more outdoor winter activities such as winter shelter building and having students involved in a “mug up” (i.e., a lunch).
The students here are respectful and I have not had any real troubling encounters yet with any discipline issues. Overall it has been great and I am enjoying getting familiar with doing something that I will continue to do for the rest of my life.
I am looking forward to the remaining weeks I have left and to learning new strategies and techniques which will help me become a better teacher. (Intermediate/Secondary Intern)
Makes me feel special
I am absolutely loving my internship so far. I can’t believe seven weeks have gone by so fast. First, I was so nervous but after completing my first lesson I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.
I have a very eager class and never have any trouble getting volunteers for speaking or answering in class. I have just recently started teaching a new Social Studies unit and after what I thought was a difficult lesson, I overheard one of my students saying that was the best Social Studies class ever! They couldn’t wait for the next day.
It’s so exciting when the students accept you as their teacher and are excited and asking if we have one of the subjects I am teaching today because they love it when I teach. Makes me feel special and that I’m where I’m supposed to be. I can’t wait for the next seven weeks to see what they bring and how much more I’m going to learn. (Elementary Intern)
One of my sessions consists of ALL boys
I am currently doing my internship in St. John’s at a primary/elementary school. My placement is with a Kindergarten class of a combined total of 24 children. One of my sessions consists of ALL boys (10)!
When I first heard about the all boys group, I thought I would end up losing my mind! However to my surprise, it is a total breeze (well 95% of the time). The dynamic of the classroom changes so much from the mixed boys and girls group to the all boys group that there is NEVER a dull moment. I quickly learned that by playing off the boys’ energy and using it for exciting lessons makes the lessons go much more smoothly and I do not lose them in the process.
I think the best part of my internship so far is that I have been told (and I
have noticed for myself) that I have made a difference for the better
to some of boys in the all boy group. (Primary Intern)
I was absolutely terrified
I was absolutely terrified my first day. So much so that a teacher at
the school warned me not to show my nervousness because if they sense fear, they will “EAT YOU ALIVE!”. This, of course, only served to make me more nervous. Thankfully, my co-operating teacher was very supportive and assured me everything would go well.
After my first day all apprehension was gone and I began to really enjoy my time teaching. I started teaching two courses on Monday of week
2 and I haven’t looked back since. I’m enjoying being a teacher way more than I ever enjoyed being a student.
One of my favourite things about this gig is the moment when a student realizes they understand a new concept, especially when it’s a student who is weaker academically. It’s even more fulfilling as a teacher than it ever was as a student.
Also, I enjoy getting to know the students and building a good rapport with them. And finally, it might be vain but my absolute favourite moment so far was when one of the students told me I was his favourite teacher. That was an amazing feeling for sure. (Secondary Intern)
People’s lives hang in the balance
I remember when I began learning how to drive with a driving instructor. He would map out routes, making sure I gathered experience in a variety of conditions. He also sat in the passenger’s seat with his own brake pedal, just in case he had to intercede.
My internship experience is in many ways similar to my early driving experience. My co-operating teacher is able to guide where I go and can be nearby in case I need help staying or getting back on track. However, just as with driving, it is my task to get a feel for the road of teaching. If I try going too fast, will I lose control? If I go to slow, will I stall progress? Will I be an aggressive teacher? Or will I be more passive and
tolerate the inevitable infractions and disruptions?
In the end I am grateful for the fact that there is someone in the driver’s seat to guide me through the experience that will greatly shape the educator that I become. And safe driving skills and sound teacher training share a common consequence: people’s lives hang in the balance. (Intermediate/Secondary Intern)
The students are very energetic
Well, it’s been an exciting few weeks in my neck of the woods. I am currently doing my internship in an energetic grade 3 classroom. I am having a very unique experience as my co-operating teacher has been out of the classroom for several weeks filling in for the principal in the school.
While I am left with a substitute, I am continuously collaborating with my co-operating teacher throughout the day and also planning the lessons with her. But when a substitute is in the room I take the liberty to teach all the lessons of the day. This has given me some great experience.
My co-operating teacher is amazing to work with and has given me much freedom to plan and work with the students. The students are very energetic but have won my heart and helped me see I am truly in the right profession. (Primary Intern)
Then came the day when it all clicked
My internship has been going great. I am very thankful for the school I was placed in, the teacher I was assigned to and the students in my particular classes. I feel that I am getting some great real life classroom experience.
Two of my classes are a handful and I am somewhat happy for this. I am getting some great classroom management experience due to some of the behavior issues present.
I also have a significant number of students in one class who are not academically strong in my subject area. When I started my unit with them, I quickly realized that it was going to be a little more difficult than I first anticipated. Then came day the day when it all clicked.
After a few classes doing the same material over and over with no success, I went around individually to speak to the students who I knew were having trouble with the material I was teaching. Explaining it to them individually and in a new way with real life examples finally worked for most of them. I could literally see it in their eyes the exact moment it finally clicked for them and they fully understood what I have been teaching to their class.
It felt great to finally reach those who I knew were not interested in the material and struggling with it. I will also never forget that look in their eyes when it finally clicked in. (Intermediate/Secondary Intern)
Very delighted with my internship so far
I am very delighted with my internship so far. At first I was very nervous and almost scared to make any kind of mistakes; I thought I had to be perfect. I was lucky enough to catch on to how to teach fairly quickly and now after 7 weeks I find I have so much more confidence. My mentoring teacher is fantastic and it’s easy to learn when you have a good role model to go by and learn from.
Doing up lesson plans has become so much easier and the more you do the better you become and it starts to flow nicely. I consider myself fortunate to have been placed at the school I am in. I was nervous at first but very quickly realized that my type of personality fits in very well at this school. I have learned that making mistakes is a part of teaching and no matter what I do I will always have so much to learn. I am getting better at honing my skills.
I am very happy with the way things are going and hope to continue improving in the second half of my internship. I am enjoying my time and getting more confidence with each passing day. I am pleased with my effort and I get good feedback so something must be going right.
On the Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 1)
“Your son is an eager participant in school activities.”
Students Intern in England
Currently during this winter semester we have 12 students from the Faculty of Education doing their internships in Harlow. They reside on MUN’s Harlow Campus. Earlier this semester our new dean, Dr. Kirk Anderson and his wife, Jennifer Godfrey visited Harlow and met with those students. They discussed the unique elements of the Harlow experience, their expectations of interning in the British school system and how good the apple cider was in the local pubs!
Quote of the Week
“If a doctor, lawyer, or dentist had 40 people in his office at one time, all of whom had different needs, and some of whom didn’t want to be there and were causing trouble, and the doctor, lawyer, or dentist, without assistance, had to treat them all with professional excellence for nine months, then he might have some conception of the classroom teacher’s job.” Donald D. Quinn
Recommended Book Resource for Primary Interns
Written by: Kate Klise
Illustrated by: M. Sarah Klise
New York: Harcourt, Inc., 2007
Little Rabbit has an imaginary friend, Harry. They played together, ate their meals together and slept together. Neither of them liked brussel sprouts and “when Harry didn’t want to have his hair washed, Little Rabbit said he didn’t want his hair washed, either”.
Then Little Rabbit started school. Harry went along but after a while he started staying in the classroom while Little Rabbit ate lunch in the cafeteria with his new friends and he did not go ice skating with Little Rabbit. When Little Rabbit’s mother asked where Harry was, Little Rabbit said he moved away and he did not have a phone.
Little Rabbit played with his new friends and he did not think about Harry very much, “except once in a while in the spring, when the smell of new grass reminded Little Rabbit of the hills he and Harry used to roll down together. Harry loved doing that”.
This tale of Little Rabbit outgrowing his imaginary friend as he meets new friends in school is sensitively portrayed through its everyday incidents of childhood and its evocative illustrations with wonderful facial expressions. The book will appeal to students in the primary grades and remind those who have had imaginary friends of the delights of having a constant companion who understands everything about you.
Interns: A Request Re Your Co-operating Teachers
As mentioned last week, interns, you are asked to check with your co-operating teachers to see if they would like to have their names added to the listserv to receive these eMEMOs on a regular basis. If yes, please forward their names and their email addresses to the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org
Presently, there may be some co-operating teachers who are already on the listserv but the vast majority would not be.
On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 2)
“So I take it that sugar and spice and everything nice is
not what little girls are made of?””
On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 3)
“CNN just called. Did something happen at school
today that I should know about?”
That’s it for issue # 8. Thank you to those interns who sent in submissions for this issue.
Mega amounts of rain in St. John’s these past few days and it’s certainly cutting down on the piles of snow we’ve accumulated.
This afternoon my wife Philomena and I are heading over to the Arts and Culture Center to see “Tommy Hunter – Live in Concert”. This is the final tour for Canada’s country gentleman and having grown up watching him on CBC’s Country Hoedown and The Tommy Hunter Show, it should bring back lots of memories.
In the hockey world, lots of “stuff” happening, especially at the NHL level – the trade deadline, February 27 is fast approaching with rumors abounding.
Of course, I would be remiss in my role as an avid Habs’ fan if I didn’t get a shot at the Toronto Maple Leafs! Watched their game against the Canucks in Vancouver last night and they got quite the “drubbing” from the Canucks by a score of 6-2! ‘Twas a great Saturday night! The New Jersey Devils are playing the Habs tonight at the Bell Center.
We had a great scrimmage game at St. Bon’s Friday night. Two of our most senior players, retired Phys Ed teacher and former vice-principal of Macpherson Junior High, Art Templeman and yours truly each got a “brace” of goals!!!!!! Art is a rather prolific goal scorer, more than I can say for moi! Needless to say, I was ecstatic. I was very tempted to try the “down on one knee” post-goal celebration like they do in the NHL but knowing my luck, I’d probably go flat on my face; so I settled for the customary “skate by your team on the bench and do the glove touch thing”!!!!!!!! I guess we’re all “living the dream”!!!!!!
Have a wonderful week everyone.