Vol. 6, Number 9

Greetings to everyone and welcome to issue # 9 of the eMEMO.  Interns, by now you are well “ensconced” into your internships and hopefully you’re feeling good about how you’re doing.   If not and you are having concerns or issues about any aspect of your internship, you need to talk to someone.  That someone could be your co-operating teacher, your MUN supervisor, Mr. Hayward Blake in our undergraduate office or possibly one of your MUN fall instructors.  Ignoring the issue/problem will certainly ensure that it doesn’t go away!

Feedback From This Year’s Interns

 

I can’t imagine having to leave in 7 weeks

My internship is going really well! Both students and staff have welcomed me with open arms and I feel like I am a teacher in the school, not just an intern.

I had 2 classes completely taken over by day 3 and although I was

nervous to be thrown in right away, I’m thankful for it now. I feel very

comfortable teaching and I feel like I’m getting the full experience, both good and bad. I’m involved in staff meetings, IEP meetings, coaching, supervision, classroom support and much more. I did not realize there was so much happening behind the scenes and just how hard teachers/administration work to provide the best possible environment/experience for the students! I’m there until 4:30-5:00

every day, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

When I get the slightest doubt about my future, I go into my grade 9 class and it all slips away. I can’t imagine having to leave in 7 weeks, but that just means I’m one step closer to the real thing. (Intermediate/Secondary Intern)

 

I was incredibly nervous

It’s definitely hard to know exactly how to prepare for a teaching internship before you actually start it. Though I knew the texts and classes I would be teaching (English, Levels 1-3), I didn’t feel like I could really start preparing my lessons until I was a few days away from teaching my first class. Perhaps this  was procrastination or maybe I was just hoping that I could watch my mentor for a bit longer – kind of like when you want to hit the snooze button and stay in bed a bit longer!

When I actually started lesson planning for my first class, it felt like all the pieces I learned last semester were coming together. I’ve had this feeling on occasions since and I now understand the necessity of each of the courses I was required to take. I was incredibly nervous going into that first class. I’ve taught before but never high school. In some ways it felt like I was teaching for the first time. I still get that nervousness before I go into teach even though I’m now taking on half my mentor’s course load and preparing to take another two courses in the coming weeks.

Ultimately, I think that it’s best to take as much as you can handle, as forcing yourself into the fire like that tests your mettle and leads you to come out stronger and more prepared in the end. (Secondary Intern)

 

One step at a time is the gist of all the advice he has given me

I went into my host school on the first day feeling chipper and full of

enthusiasm. The first week or so was spent observing classes in my two

teachables. When my mentoring teachers started to talk to me about what I would be teaching, I was blindsided . . . WOW – SO much content to cover!

Both of my mentoring teachers were very generous in sharing resources, powerpoints, etc. (Had this not been the case, I truly don’t know what I would have done.) I went home that night and couldn’t sleep more than a few hours. The inside of my head was in  such a state! How was I going to “get on top” of all this content material in time?!?!?!? Even though I pride myself on breadth and depth of content knowledge and abilities in my content areas, I was completely overwhelmed. It seemed impossible. For several days and nights I hardly slept, my waking hours given over to trying to completely master what I had to teach.

I was in awe of my mentoring teacher in my first teachable. He seemed

omniscient in the depth and breadth of his content knowledge and delivery. How was I going to catch up to him ? I was in a real panic. I voiced my concerns to him one day after classes and he was very direct in pointing out that he had eighteen years of teaching experience, a Master’s degree, and that I shouldn’t be so hard on myself or so worried. He complimented me on my contributions to the class thus far, reassured me that he had seen much worse in his time and  that I was doing just fine. He advised me to not look so far ahead in the curriculum or try to know it all at once. He said that I should prepare one week at a time, always being able to teach two or three classes ahead. More than that and I would be overtaxing myself. “One step at a time” is the gist of all the advice he has given me since.

I have since calmed down quite a bit and have had no trouble sleeping

recently. I am planned ahead and feel a bit of “wiggle room”. That being said however, the feeling of being responsible for students’  learning is a weighty one. I am constantly aware that my teaching will have an influence on their performances on the upcoming public exams. I really want to do my very best to convey to them that which they need.

Today, in one of my classes, one student was absolutely lost. She had been out of class, sick for two weeks. I offered to tutor her after classes if she had the time. It was late in the afternoon when I left the school, but I had a tremendous feeling of satisfaction, knowing that my student had been able to gain mastery of concepts vital to a curriculum outcome.

Step by step, my confidence is growing and I know I can make a difference.  (Secondary Intern)

 

I dread the thought of having to say good bye

My internship is going amazing so far. I am loving every minute of it and learning so much from my co-operating teacher, the staff and all the students. I am made feel very welcome and comfortable within the classroom, I almost feel as if it was my own.

I am currently interning with a wonderful grade four class and they are certainly a very well behaved bunch of students. I have been trying my best throughout this internship to incorporate as many new ideas as I can through activities, technology, etc. and it seems to be working out very well thus far. I have had some great feedback from students about how much they are learning and enjoying the classes I have been teaching them.

The weeks seem to be flying by and it is really hard to believe that we will soon be into our ninth week. As another week goes by I can feel myself thinking more and more and becoming saddened about having to leave the students. They seem to bring it up a little more too as I get farther along in my internship. They keep telling me the worst thing about interns is they are only here for a short while then they have to go when they become so attached. I dread the thought of having to say good bye to them but am getting anxious to get my teaching career officially started.

Best of luck to everyone!  (Elementary Intern)

 

At first it was strange being back in my old school

On the first day I was so nervous and all I could think was what if they don’t learn anything from me. At first it was strange being back in my old school as a teacher instead of a student and even weirder that some of the students I once tutored were now my students. They find it just as strange since many of them are having trouble calling me Miss instead of my first name.

However, I am enjoying teaching even more than I thought I would. I love going to each class and listening to the stories the kids have to tell me because junior high kids think and say some crazy things. This may sound a little “cliché-ish”  but they really do put a smile on my face.

My favourite part though of teaching is every time a kid says, “Miss you’re a good teacher.” Every time one of my students tells me this I have to try and hide my excitement.

It’s going to be weird going back to being the student and not the teacher in May because I truly am going to miss my students even though they have given me the flu 3 times so far!

Time is really flying by. It seems it was only last Monday that I started and here we are 8 weeks in already. I guess it’s true when they say that time flies when you’re having fun.

Hope all is well in St.John’s and before you know it all 300 of us will be back sharing the many stories we will have.  (Intermediate Intern)

 

I’m lucky to have been placed with an amazing co-operating teacher

My internship has been amazing so far! Although a little nervous the first couple of weeks, after getting to know the students and settling down in the school environment, I am quickly growing to love getting up and going to this job everyday which is filled with wonderful educators and administrators who generally care about making a difference in adolescent lives.

I’m lucky to have been placed with such an amazing co-op teacher, who has been a mentor to me through this whole experience and has helped me overcome challenges I thought I could never overcome.

The most rewarding experience has not been solely the teaching itself, but the connection with the students and the vast diversity of personalities and stories that emanate from each and every one of them. Seeing a student grow and improve with a push of motivation is by far the most rewarding experience of all. (Secondary Intern)

 

A great learning experience

I am doing my internship in a Grade one classroom at a K-12 school. The staff and students have been very welcoming and have made me feel like I belong. I am placed with a wonderful group of students and a great co-operating teacher who has helped me in every way possible; I have learned so much from her over the past 8 weeks.

My internship has been a great learning experience for me.  I have witnessed having both strong and weak students in a class and the effect

that it has on teaching. This is a situation that I will encounter many times throughout my teaching career and I feel that this experience will better prepare me when I am teaching in my own classroom.  I am really enjoying my internship and cannot wait to teach come September.

(Primary Intern)

 

So far my internship is going great

So far my internship is going great. I’m really happy to be

doing it at home in Nova Scotia but can’t wait to get back to

Newfoundland for the summer.

I started off my internship working with two classes of grade 8 English students. This was quite an experience and I liked it a lot. The kids were all great workers and they listened a lot better than I thought grade 8 students would. I know when I was in grade 8 my attention span

was as short as humanly possible.

We did a unit on poetry (which I’ll admit is not my strong suit) and we got along great in meeting outcomes and learning the content connected with the poetry unit.

After a few weeks there I took the great leap forward into high school. I have been working with two different co-operating teachers in History 10, History 12 and English 10. My co-operating teachers as well as the rest of the staff here have been very good to me and I am grateful for it. I have been learning a lot from the staff and students and have enjoyed it all so far.  (Intermediate/Secondary Intern)

 I did not know what to expect

As most of the interns, I was a nervous wreck waiting for my internship to start. I did not know what to expect or how the class would react to me being there. Once I got past my nervousness, I really opened up and everything just started coming together.

I love my Grade 2 class and have learned so much from them. They are so uplifting and really keep my spirits up.

I cannot believe how fast time is going. I feel like I have so much left to learn and not enough time. I look forward to starting my career in September and learning from my own classroom.  (Primary Intern)

 

I could not wait to apply everything I learned

Upon starting my internship I was both nervous and excited. I could not wait to apply everything that I learned in the past 2 semesters, yet terrified that I would be a horrible teacher. Now that I am there every day, I realize that there is nothing to worry about.

The kids love having a new teacher in the classroom and it’s a fabulous experience for the intern. Skills like classroom management and effective teaching methods come naturally as you are guided into the life of a teacher by your co-operating teacher.

While at times the placement is stressful, the gratitude and success that each student experiences makes the job all worthwhile.  (Elementary Intern)

 

Expect the unexpected

My internship has been a wonderful experience thus far, although it has been much like a roller coaster ride.  My co-operating teacher is great, the other interns at my school are wonderful and the rest of the staff are so kind and helpful that it seems sometimes as though I am floating through my internship in a way.

With that being said, I have been faced with a great challenge in the past 2 weeks.  My co-operating teacher was forced to suddenly take a 2 week leave of absence, meaning that I would have to take over a class that I wasn’t due to take over until 2 weeks from now.  At first, I didn’t think I would be able to cope with being left in the classroom as the only person to teach (the substitute is a great teacher but does not teach one of the subject areas of my co-operating teacher).  My co-operating teacher has been wonderful to me during this time, sending me e-mails daily reassuring my planning and teaching skills.  There are also several staff members who expressed that they would help me with whatever troubles I was having during his absence.

In a way, I suppose I could consider myself lucky for being in this situation.  Not many interns can say that they have had to teach a lesson without their co-operating teacher there to pick them up if they fall and to help brainstorm ideas last minute if something doesn’t go according to plan during a class.  I have experienced moments in my internships that have given me great joy, like the student who never participates getting up in front of class and actively participating in an in-class activity and great pressure, such as the time when students came to me anxious about a test saying that they didn’t have enough time to prepare and I had to figure out the best plan of action.

I feel that all of these situations are helping me become a stronger, more independent person and a better teacher.  It also doesn’t hurt that I have several acting co-operating teachers while mine is unable to physically be in my class. My advice to all of you: expect the unexpected! (Secondary Intern)

 

The opportunity to connect

With a little over a month left in my internship, I am beginning to realize

just how much my classes have spoiled me. We have not been without our difficulties – mostly chatting and staying on task – but overall my students have been wonderful, especially the two classes of grade twelve students that I teach.

I’m afraid now that I’ll go off to other schools in the fall and be sad because I miss these students so much! Every day they’re helping me become a better teacher and I sincerely wish that I could spend the rest of the school year with them.

The experience of planning and finding effective teaching strategies

has been very valuable but even more valuable in a different way is the opportunity to connect with these students. (Secondary Intern)

 

On the Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 1)

v6-09-01

“Here’s a note from my teacher and also my rebuttal!”

 

Quote of the Week

“What the teacher is, is more important than what he teaches.”
                                     Soren Kierkegaard

 

Recommended Book Resource for Junior and Senior High Interns 

Christmas in the Trenches

Written by: John McCutcheon

Illustrated by Henri Sorensen

Atlanta: Peachtree, 2006

 

World War I was expected to be over by Christmas. But by December of 1914, thousands of soldiers had been killed and the war was just beginning. This story is a fictional account of the “Christmas Truce”, a real happening of 1914.

It was Christmas Eve and the German army was on one side of No Man’s Land with the British army on the other side. In John McCutcheon’s tale, a group of British soldiers heard something uncommon coming from the enemy’s side and when they listened carefully, they realized they were hearing singing—a German Christmas carol. The British then sang a Christmas carol. And, on that amazing Christmas Eve, the Germans began to sing Stille Nacht and soon British voices joined in with their rendition of the same carol—Silent Night. And for a few hours, they met in the middle of No Man’s Land, played soccer and shared treats from home, until the breaking of dawn reminded them that they belonged on different sides.

In this amazing tale of temporary peace in the middle of war, bravery became about embracing similarities rather than facing enemies. A possible 100,000 soldiers participated in this remarkable Christmas and in this touching rendition with Henri Sorensen’s sobering illustrations, we see that humanity in the midst of an inhumane situation is possible, if even for a few hours.

A CD accompanies the book that includes John McCutcheon’s song “Christmas in the Trenches”.

 

A Reminder to All Teacher Interns

All teacher interns are asked to periodically check their MUN email accounts for important messages from the Faculty of Education.

 

On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 2)

v6-09-02

____________________________________

“I have to go to the office and I’m putting you on

‘mute’ until I get back!”

 

On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 3)

v6-09-03

 

“Forget true knowledge.  Teach me how to take tests!”

 

Concluding Comment

That concludes issue # 9.  The usual thank you to interns who sent in submissions for this week’s issue – your time and effort in putting these together is most appreciated.

 

Things are fairly quiet in the world of NHL hockey – the trade deadline is tomorrow Monday, the 27th.  None of us who play scrimmage hockey Friday night at St. Bon’s will be affected by that deadline!!!!!  And mes Habs – things are not looking good for the playoffs!  That “pain” will be somewhat “softened” if the Leafs don’t make it to the playoffs as well!!!!!

 

Have a great 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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