Special St. Paddy’s Day greetings to all of you and welcome to issue # 11 of the eMEMO. This week we have only have one intern submission
which came in last Sunday after issue # 10 was sent out. Not sure what the problem is but I’m thinking it might have to do with my email receiving capabilities or maybe it was just one of those weeks where interns were swamped with work and didn’t have the time to submit anything. Definitely an anomaly as this has never happened in the previous 6 years of the eMEMO! However, I’m reminded of what one of my PhD classmates always said when we were studying at the University of Alberta back in the 90’s and “up to our eyeballs” with work, “We soldier on!” Enjoy the shorter “read” this week.
Feedback From This Year’s Interns
A blast so far
My internship has been a blast so far. I have been placed with amazing
co-operating teachers who are supportive and constructive and have really made me feel confident in my abilities. I am in love with the teaching experience.
With only three weeks left, however, I am divided in my feelings. On the one hand, I am very sad to be leaving the school and the students. On the other hand, I am exhausted and I am looking forward to a break! Teaching is so much work. There is so much preparation involved in order to get through the day. I have found myself wishing that I had a copy room in my house, just to alleviate some of the preparation pressures in the mornings and during my prep period.
I’m also really enjoying supervising extracurricular activities such as
public speaking and seeing students compete and succeed.
Recommended Book Resource for Primary and
Helen’s Big World: The Life of Helen Keller
Written by: Doreen Rappaport
Illustrated by: Matt Tavares
New York: Hyperion Books, 2012
From the breathtaking cover to the end pages with the Manual Language Chart, this is an inspiring tale of Helen Keller who could not speak, hear, or see. It is filled with quotes from Helen Keller that, along with the wonderful illustrations, help illuminate the effect that one person can have on the lives of so many. Helen Keller was born in 1880, and at nineteen months became ill, losing her sight and hearing. In Helen Keller’s own words, “the beginning of my life was simple and much like every other little life”, but then, “in the dreary month of February came the illness which closed my eyes and ears. Gradually, I got used to the silence and darkness that surrounded me.”
Until Helen was seven, she could not communicate with others and often got frustrated, emotionally and physically taking it out on others. Then, Annie Sullivan came into Helen’s world, and a new life began for Helen. There were many battles at first, but one month after they began working together, Annie poured water into one of Helen’s hands and spelled
W-A-T-E-R on her other hand. That was the first time Helen made meaning from the many words Annie had spelled into her hands during the first month, “that living word awakened my soul, gave it light, hope, joy, and set it free.”
The story continues with the journey of Helen’s life, how she worked and practised endlessly with Annie Sullivan, and learned to read Braille and write, went to college, and spent a lifetime bettering the lives of people with disabilities. She had one wish which did not quite work out for her, “It was my ambition to speak like other people. We worked hard and faithfully, yet we did not quite reach our goal”. Annie Sullivan stayed with Helen for 49 years until she died when Helen was 56. Helen continued to travel and do her work until she died at 87.
This is a book that should be shared with students of all ages. I will end with a quote from Helen, “I have the advantage of a mind trained to think, and that is the difference between myself and most people, not my blindness and their sight.”
I am currently teaching Grade 8 French Immersion at St. Francis Intermediate School in Hr. Grace.
In the first half of my first year of teaching I have learned so much in addition to what I learned from the internship last year.
If there is one thing that I have taken from this year so far it is “go to PD days.” They can be amazing. I have attended some excellent ones so far this year.
During a recent first year teacher session I took away some excellent advice, including some things that I wish I had done from September onwards. It was suggested to us that we keep a journal of the good things that happen to us. Jot down the things that make you smile so that on the bad days you can look back and remember those things that made your day. This is something I plan on doing from now on.
(A graduate of Clarenville High School, Deidre convocated from MUN in 2012 with a B. Ed. in intermediate/secondary education. She also holds a B. A. in French.)
Interns and Submissions
As mentioned in last week’s issue, if any of you have sent in submissions and they have not yet appeared in the eMEMO, please email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) and bring this to my attention. I don’t think this has happened but with the many emails I receive each week, it’s quite possible that it could have happened.
Inclusive and Responsive Teaching Tip: Put the Person First
When speaking and thinking about students, put the person first. For example say, “I am thinking of my student with ADHD” not “She’s my ADHD student”. Putting the exceptionality second staves off the tendency to define a person entirely in terms of a single exceptionality, and it emphasizes the “having” of a condition rather than the “being” of one. Heads up: Some people reject person-first terminology because they perceive their condition (such as autism or blindness) as a valued, central part of their identity. Not sure? Take the lead from your students and families. (p. 70)
Inclusive and Responsive Teaching Tip: It’s All About You
Try these questions to think about some personal factors that may influence your interactions with students.
- Name the top three traits you value in a friend. How do you interact with people who don’t display those traits?
- What sort of K-12 student were you? What did you think about people who were not your sort of student? What do you value in student behaviors and attitudes now?
- What did the people who reared you do well? What did you treasure from the lessons they taught you? What are your “I’ll do it differently” memories?
- What sorts of behaviors and attitudes annoy you? How do you respond?
- No one is perfect. What trait or behavior are you striving to improve in yourself? (p. 238)
Reference: Guillaume, A. M. (2012). K-12 classroom teaching: A primer for new professionals. Boston: Pearson.
Concluding Comment From the Editor
That takes care of issue # 11. Hopefully, we’ll have more intern submissions for next week’s eMEMO.
With a little extra space this issue, I have to make a few comments about hockey!
Our St. Bon’s scrimmage hockey first. Last week I scored a goal. It wasn’t pretty but it counted; the puck was close if not almost under the goalie’s right pad – I kept banging away at it with my stick and guess what – it went in! I’ll take it.
This Friday night, got another goal: I was at center ice, got a stretch pass, managed to hold on to the puck in a breakaway and shot to the lower left side of the net. Luckily the goalie didn’t get across fast enough and it went in! C’est le but! Nobody was more surprised than moi! It was beautiful – I was so pleased!!!!!
And now, for a few NHL hockey comments. Last night was another “perfect Saturday night”: les Habs defeated the Devils by a score of 2-1 and the Leafs lost to the Jets by a score of 5-4. I couldn’t resist the temptation to make 2 phone calls right after these games to a couple of avid Leafs’ fans – just thought I’d “massage” it in a tad more!!!!!!!!! That’s 5 straight losses for the Leafs – but who’s counting!!!!!!!
Have a great week everyone.