Welcome to the final issue of the eMEMO for 2013. A special word of gratitude to all those interns who sent in submissions because without those submissions, there could not have been a MONDAY eMEMO. This year we had a record number of submissions, a total of 124, the most we’ve ever had! As of this coming Thursday, the Intermediate/Secondary students will have completed their internships and the Primary/Elementary, Music Education and the Native & Northern B. Ed. students finish up on Friday, April 12. Congratulations to all interns on what was hopefully a positive and enjoyable experience. We look forward to you returning to campus to continue on with your courses in the spring semester.
And to our readership, thank you very much for the wonderful comments received during the past 3 months and we look forward to our 8th year of publication as of January, 2014!
Feedback From This Year’s Interns
Greatest feeling a person can have
Making the transition from a student to a teacher is one of the best feelings a person can have. I taught the 1201 English course from the beginning of the semester and have had a blast with the students, I am lucky enough to have been able to get to know the students not only in the classroom but a number of them outside the classroom as well.
Some days our classes consist only of conversations on school but other days we have conversations related not only to the topic at hand but also about our life experiences. To have students who I am currently teaching come up to me and have conversations in the halls of the school is a great feeling and knowing that I have made an impact in their lives over the short period of time is the greatest feeling a person can have.
To be honest there has not been a truly negative experience during my internship; the odd class that won’t listen last period on a Friday afternoon or just being excited about an upcoming game really isn’t that bad! As a teacher we need to realize that our students are still young and they are going to get rowdy; also that when they are talkative it’s not because we are not doing our jobs and we need to know not to take it to heart but make the best of their conversations. It’s a great way to get to know your students and find out what they enjoy doing in their lives.
Absolutely wonderful time
Thus far, I have had an absolutely wonderful time as an intern! I love being in a classroom all day, and I also really enjoy volunteering with various after school programs.
Perhaps the best part of being an intern for me is when after I teach something, the children hand in their work showing that they have understood what I have taught—it is most rewarding. I cannot believe how fast this semester has passed and feel like I have learned so many practical strategies and practices. I cannot wait to get out and begin my career as a teacher. (Elementary Intern)
A potpourri of thoughts
Here are a few thoughts about my internship overall.
An embarrassing moment during my internship:
I think the most embarrassing moment during my entire internship would have to be when the vice-principal set me up to wear the pink anti- bullying t-shirt, 3 weeks before anyone else did! Was that ever embarrassing but only for the first 15 minutes of that day.
A funny incident during my internship:
When we took the Phys Ed 3100 class sliding. Everything about that was funny including when I was sliding down the hill and a student decided to jump on with me and we hit a bump and he went flying!!!!!
A “ha ha moment” during my internship:
When a student was hauling chairs out from underneath the stage and busted a sprinkler head and almost flooded the gym.
Also during the first week of classes when my co-operating teacher and I decided to trick the students and tell them I was a new student!
What was the best part about being an intern:
Being called “Sir” and building relationships with the students.
What was the worst thing about being an intern:
Not getting paid for all our work and time.
What did I get out of the internship:
Knowledge, experience and an enlightened view of teaching.
And to sum it all up:
Had a great experience and hopefully the next time I am in this role, I will be setting up and implementing my own program.
Can actually see the benefit of reflection
After every project in the Education faculty we were required to do a reflection about the experience. By the time we hit mid-term break I was sick of the word! But now that I am on my internship, I can actually see the benefit of reflection.
Every day on my drive home from school I think about things in lessons that I could have improved on and the areas of lessons that students really enjoyed. So far, I have found countless ways to improve myself professionally and I have also discovered some of my strengths as a future teacher. Each day brings with it new situations and new learning opportunities that simply cannot be taught out of a textbook.
More than I could ever put into words
My internship has taught me more than I can ever put into words. I was placed in an outstanding school, with an exceptional co-operating teacher and could not have asked for anything better.
I have learned so much from my co-operating teacher, as well as the rest of the teachers on staff that have gone out of their way to include me in activities in and outside of the school.
There are many highs and lows to teaching but thus far, the highs have definitely outweighed the lows. Seeing the students’ improvement over the short time that I have been with them makes the hard work and effort that I have put into my lessons well worth it. I cannot wait to start teaching in my own classroom and I’m sure it will only get better as the years go by! (Elementary Intern)
Came home with a sense of accomplishment
After reflecting on my time as an intern in a grade 5 class, I have to say my experience has been wonderful! Every single day I went there I came home with a sense of accomplishment. The students in my class found a way to make me smile each and every day, whether it was by a funny story they had to share, or just by showing their enthusiasm for learning while I was teaching.
My favorite part about being an intern was being able to see the difference you can make in children’s lives as their teacher. Just having a student come up to me and say, “Miss, that lesson was so much fun!” or “Miss, I get it now!” just meant the world to me. That excitement for learning is what I love to see in the students I teach. Those little things are what made me realize why I chose this profession.
I realized not only how big of an impact you can have on your students but also how big of an impact your students can have on you. I am so thankful for the time I’ve spent as an intern and it will definitely be something I will remember and take with me for the rest of my career as a teacher. (Elementary Intern)
Least favorite aspect of my internship
With only a week left, I want to talk about my least favourite aspect of my internship, the staffroom. For the most part, all of the teachers, staff and administration in my co-operating school have been welcoming, helpful and pleasant towards me.
However, I’ve found the staffroom to be a very toxic environment. Many teachers use it as a venue to speak negatively about specific students and to complain about parents and other teachers. I am very
thankful that I can remove myself from the environment most of the time.
Unfortunately though, as a teacher starting in the profession, I also feel that the staffroom is the place to make connections, which can place us as interns, in a difficult position. Stay and network, or remove ourselves and miss potential opportunities?
Despite this negative aspect, I love teaching. I love the students, the classroom, the preparation, the interaction with the kids; so all of this in spite of that one negative aspect makes the internship completely worth it! (Secondary Intern)
Very sad for it to end
The internship is coming to an end despite the fact that I wish it wouldn’t end at all. I have immensely enjoyed these last eleven weeks and I could not have asked for a better experience. Of course, the internship has included a fair share of challenges and complaints, but I never once left at the end of the day feeling like it had been a “bad day.”
I have made some strong relationships with many of my students but especially with my grade 9 classes. They are such a great group of students who are always chatting me up about anything and everything. Being involved with many extra-curricular activities has been a huge factor in building relationships. It has generated conversations about mutual interests and it has allowed my students to see me in a different setting. They appreciate that I spend my time helping with their activities and it has given me insight with regard to their interests. I started a Math Club at my school which has allowed me to build relationships with those students and provided them with an activity that was not previously offered. It’s great to see students enjoying Math and further discovering this interest.
I have had such a wonderful experience and I’m very sad for it to end. My co-operating teacher has been beyond excellent and accommodating, and has done anything he could to allow me to get a realistic and educational experience. I’m going to miss “my kids” and I’m sure that once I become a teacher, I will hate to see my students move on after spending so much time with them and having them become such a big part of my life for that period of time. However, each year will bring a different group of students, which is a big part of why teaching is a profession that won’t be monotonous.
I hope everyone has had an equally wonderful experience and is as excited as I am for this future career. (Intermediate Intern)
An embarrassing moment during my internship
Despite having only a very basic understanding of whatever little core French I remember from high school, whenever I teach the French Immersion Grade 9s (who do Math in English), I often begin the class by jokingly pretending to both understand and fluently speak French. This is very transparent, as I will usually put together whatever random basic words I can remember into something that resembles a logical sentence, such as “Il y a des oiseaux dans ma fenetre” or “Quel temps fait-il?”. This generally doesn’t fool anyone about my French incompetence.
Normally, it results in the kids calling me out on my bluff and they will progressively ask me more and more complex questions, to which I am completely lost. However, I comically still attempt to put on the ruse that I totally comprehend what’s being said. When I get to the point where I have absolutely no idea what I’m being asked, I usually resort to simply saying “oui” in response.
One day, my answer sent the class into an uproar of laughter after I was asked a question quoted from a French Health textbook I was completely oblivious to.
Afterwards, the student then showed me the book and pointed to the question she had asked me to which I responded an emphatic “yes” despite not understanding a word of it. The English translation, which was written directly beneath the French, read “Do you masturbate?”!!!!!!
Any time I stop to reflect on the last few months, I am flabbergasted at how quickly the time has passed; I can hardly believe that we are finishing up this Thursday.
Even though the internship has effectively flown by, I still seem to
have accumulated a wealth of relevant teaching experience. I don’t know where I would be, come fall, without this part of the program — or the wonderful staff and students at my school.
I have found that the most useful aspect of my internship has been the
opportunity to teach my minor, English, and the various aspects of my major, Phys. Ed., with which I am less experienced. Having the initial guidance of my co-operating teacher has helped me find a comfortable teaching style that meshes with the classroom setting.
“Flabbergasted”, I learned this past Friday, is the absolute favourite word of one of my Grade 7 students. She insists that it isn’t used often enough, and I have to agree. (Intermediate Intern)
First activity was a dud
I think some of my best moments of the internship have happened in my chemistry class. It was the first class I took over and the one I was most comfortable with from the get-go. The students are great to get along with and barely cause any trouble.
The first activity I tried in the class, a chain game, was a dud so I was a bit worried about introducing other games/activities later on. However, after three hours of cutting construction paper and writing on cue cards at home, I managed to prepare a game on the formation of ions and the students loved it! They became very competitive and grasped the concept much better than if I had just done examples on the board.
I’ve also managed to pass around marshmallows and toothpicks to get them to predict the 3-D shapes of molecules and that went over well, too. I’m hoping to use these experiences as a stepping stone, confidence-wise, to prepare and implement many more games into my future classroom. (Secondary Intern)
My passion in life is teaching
While sitting at my desk this past Friday afternoon correcting the last few papers and tests before the final week of my internship, a student knocked on my door and asked if I had his paper corrected. I had ensured that I did as I was aware that he was leaving this coming Sunday for a family vacation in Florida over the Easter break. Once he had looked it over and asked a few questions regarding how he could improve, he extended his hand. As I shook his hand, I realized that this was likely the last time that I would see him in this capacity and that I would no longer see him on a daily basis. We wished each other the best and I told him to have a great vacation before he turned and left the room.
I closed the door, walked to my desk and sat there solemnly for some time. I was perplexed, surprised with the extent of my attachment to my students and profoundly distraught with the realization that after this coming week I would likely no longer enjoy the luxury of seeing my students in this capacity on a daily basis. I dread having to do this more than one hundred and fifty times this coming week and every year for the remainder of my career. I do however take solace in the hope and belief that when we say goodbye to our students, they are moving on to bigger and better things. I hope that this solace is buttressed as our former students graduate from trade schools and universities, succeed in their careers, get married and have families of their own.
This experience has reinforced my previously held belief that my passion in life is teaching. More importantly, this experience has augmented my conviction that it is incumbent upon us to help our students develop both academically and personally, to help them find their passion in life and to help prepare them to pursue that passion vigorously and diligently.
I will walk out of school this coming Thursday saddened that my time with my students has come to an end but comforted in realizing that I did my very best for them every day and excited for them to begin their own pursuit of their passion in life. (Secondary Intern)
On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 1)
“Yes I did the book report myself. I found it on eBay myself,
I bid on it myself, I paid for it myself, I printed it off myself. . . ”
On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 2)
“I’m not chewing gum. It’s my homework!”
One amusing thing I remember from the Bachelor of Education program is how great it would be if principals really were princiPALS!
Until last year, my only experience with working in a “proper” school organization was my internship during the education program. I now work at an international school, and I enjoy working there. Honestly, getting up at 6AM never felt easier. . . within reason!
Anyway, on Tuesday this week, I and a co-worker found ourselves in the most grueling parent-teacher meeting we had ever experienced. We had our abilities as teachers and our commitments to the students questioned by the parents, and it was a mentally exhausting 1.5 hour event. Though the meeting ended cordially enough, it caused no small amount of stress for my fellow teacher and me.
The seriousness of the situation led to us writing reports to the office, and it was decided that the two of us should meet with the principal and the director. I cannot emphasize enough that our principal is one of the most approachable persons I’ve ever met, and gives praise and criticism whenever they are due. Though serious when he needs to be, talking with him is often so relaxing and a good confidence booster. Before the meeting officially started, he made it very clear that having read our reports he was certain we knew what we were doing. The meeting itself was short and to the point, and was probably the most pleasant administrative meeting I’d ever been in. Knowing that we had the office’s full support alleviated much of our worry and while walking out, I immediately thought back to university and the “pals” that we should have.
(Sean is from Corner Brook and holds a B.A. (Grenfell College), an M.A. (McMaster University, Hamilton, ON) and a B.Ed. (MUN). His teachable areas are History and English. Since graduating with his B.Ed. in 2011, he’s been teaching in South Korea. This year he is teaching at Centennial Christian School in Seoul.)
Recommended Book Resource For All Interns
Written by: mark Reibstein
Illustrated by: Ed Young
New York: Little, Brown, and Company 2008
Wabi Sabi, which is at the heart of Japanese culture, means to find “beauty and harmony in what is simple, imperfect, natural, modest, and mysterious”. In this tale written in both prose and haiku, Wabi Sabi is a cat who does not know what her name means, and embarks on a journey in which she discovers unexpected beauties in nature and simplicity. Ed Young’s artwork, done through collage, spans vertical double-paged spreads and complements the authenticity of this picture of Japanese culture.
Wabi Sabi’s master is asked what her cat’s name means and she replies that it is too hard to explain. Curious, Wabi Sabi tries to find out for herself, and receives mixed messages from her friends, Snowball and Rascal. Snowball says it is a kind of beauty, while Rascal says it is ordinary. Confused, Wabi Sabi travels to Mount Heie looking for answers and meets a monkey who tells her to listen, watch, and feel. As the monkey makes tea for Wabi Sabi, she notices that the monkey “moved slowly but gracefully, as if he were dancing, and he handled his things as if they were gold, although they were wooden or clay.” When he handed Wabi Sabi her tea, Wabi Sabi felt:
A warm heavy bowl
comfortable as an old friend –
not fine, smooth china.
Wabi Sabi began to notice the beauties of the woods, the designs in the pond and on the trees,
seeing herself plain
and beautiful, she whispered,
“Now I understand.”
And, on Wabi Sabi’s return home she started to see the world differently, seeing natural simplicities she had never felt before, “in a wabi sabi kind of way.”
The origins of wabi sabi are in Taoism and Zen Buddhism, and began to shape Japanese culture in the 1400s when a Zen priest changed the gold and porcelain of the Chinese tea service to simple, rough, wooden, and clay. Another 100 years later, a famous tea master brought this practice into the homes of the powerful, and wabi sabi became enshrined in Japanese culture.
A Quote Worth Remembering
“Respect for the fragility of an individual life is still the first mark of an educated person”. (Norman Cousins)
On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 3)
“Click your heels all you want. Until that
bell rings, there’s no place like school.”
Best Wishes To All Interns
Came across a wonderful quote from Dr. Seuss which he used in his picture book, Oh, the PLACES You’ll Go:
You’re off to great places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So. . . . get on your way!
Very appropriately said as you interns in a few more months will embark on a very exciting career as a teacher. Best wishes to all of you.
Concluding Comment From the Editor
That concludes Volume 7 of THE MONDAY eMEMO. Hope you’ve enjoyed the various submissions and articles as much as I have enjoyed putting them all together in the eMEMO.
I know some of you really look forward to those hockey comments each week. Well here’s one last batch!
NHL-related: Last night and today I’ve been treated to a diet of turkey!
Last night was less than the perfect Saturday night: les Habs lost and the Leafs won! And, I have to acknowledge, albeit a tad reluctantly, that the Leafs played quite well last night and defeated those big bad dirty Bruins by a score of 3-2. I guess you should always give credit where credit is due!
And on the St. Bon’s front: This past Friday night we had a record number of 21 players and of course our 2 goalies. No goals for yours truly that night but I did get a couple of assists, 2 beauties I might add! I think we’ll go “deep into the playoffs”!!!!!!!
And, lastly we’ll be back with the eMEMO on January 5, 2014. “See” you then!