Welcome to our 11th year of publication for The Monday eMemo. This is a momentous occasion for the eMemo as we are now utilizing a blog format to bring you this publication. A tremendous word of thank you to our Teaching & Learning Commons co-ordinator here in the Faculty of Education, Maurice Barry who is my “lead” on making this transition. Without Maurice’s expertise, this could not have happened and I’m eternally grateful to him for that expertise and for his abundance of patience in mentoring me through this process. I’m anticipating a few start-up “bugs” but hopefully they will be short-lived. Enjoy!
Feedback From Last Year’s Interns
With our Primary/Elementary and Intermediate/Secondary interns just beginning their internships as of today, we obviously do not have feedback on those internships to date! However, as we have done in past years, we include in this section a few submissions from years past in order to give both current interns and the general readership a “flavor” of what to expect in those submissions.
Knowing the names of 24 little ones
Sometimes it feels like I have been attending Memorial an eternity. With one degree down, half of another in the works, and graduate school looming as an eventuality on the horizon, it’s easy to feel exhausted and burnt out. You get used to a daily grind: go to class, write tests, go home, write assignments, feel stressed. Rinse and repeat. “Don’t forget you’re here forever”. Walking into my internship felt like a breath of fresh air. There was a little nervousness about the dynamic of returning to a school I attended as a child (and returning to the same Grade One classroom, albeit with a different teacher), but my observation days alone had confirmed that this is the right path for me. It feels like I am finally doing something that I actually want to be doing. Don’t get me wrong, there is still a learning curve. Not every day or every lesson is going to be shining perfection. But I’m doing something productive with a great class and I have the support and guidance of an excellent co-operating teacher. Knowing the names of 24 little ones, teaching them and getting to know them feels good. I’m watching their lives and their progress, and I’m taking part in their triumphs and their challenges. We’re learning together. For the first time in my life, I look forward to Mondays! (Primary 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)
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)
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.
On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 1)
“I flunked History but that’s obviously
living in the past.”
Advice For You As A Teacher Intern
- Be on time. [Arriving early is highly recommended. Also highly recommended is not leaving the building one minute after the last bell!]
- Dress appropriately. [I think this means “professionally”. Business-casual seems to be the “order of the day” and by that is meant dress pants/skirts – dress shirts/blouses – no blue jeans or t-shirts – no sneakers unless you’re a Phys Ed teacher intern!]
- Be flexible.
- Follow the school rules.
- Plan ahead.
- Befriend the office staff.
- Maintain confidentiality.
- Don’t gossip.
- Be professional with fellow teachers. And lastly,
- Don’t wait to the last minute to call in sick.
Some Additional Sage Advice
Sometimes interns run into difficulty early in their internships. There may be a personality conflict with a co-operating teacher, a problem with classroom management, problems with lesson planning, etc. It is most important that interns seek help early. That help could be in the form of seeking advice from one of your fall semester university instructors, a “seasoned” teacher friend, your MUN internship supervisor, another teacher at your internship school or our co-ordinator of field placements, Mr. Hayward Blake (firstname.lastname@example.org; telephone 864-2169).
Who you speak to is your decision but it is extremely important that you speak to someone for advice. Don’t let the problem “fester” and find yourself too late in the internship to take corrective action. This is not fair to you or to your co-operating teacher.
Reminder To All Interns About Sending In Submissions for the eMemo
Back in early December all interns received a schedule indicating the deadline date for your submission. This week you will receive an e-copy of that schedule and you are asked to check your submission deadline date. And as mentioned in December, your submissions are totally voluntary and may be whatever length you wish. Your co-operation in this regard is most appreciated and of course, this eMEMO could not exist without those submissions!
On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 2)
“The homework assignment tonight is to find
the dogs that ate your spelling lists and take the
words right out of their mouths.”
Education Law Corner
Two very important concepts in Education Law are liability and negligence.
Liability simply means that we are responsible for our own behavior. As teachers we are indeed liable or responsible for how we conduct ourselves as professionals both within the school walls and outside those school walls. Some would even go so far as to say that we are teachers 24-7! For example, if you are teaching in a school here in St. John’s and a student sees you at the Avalon Mall, the student will in all likelihood tell his mother or father that there goes his teacher; whether it is on a weekday or weekend doesn’t matter – that individual is still the student’s teacher!
The other concept, negligence, simply means doing what a reasonable person should not do or not doing what a reasonable person should do. Of course, in Education, the context we operate in is the classroom specifically and school in general. And for true negligence in the legal sense to happen, there has to be injury or harm done to an individual. A basic but perhaps silly example is: if you are a Tech Ed teacher and students are using serious equipment in your class such as a band saw – you tell them to continue working with this piece of equipment while you saunter next door to Tim Horton’s to get a coffee and a student accidently cuts off a finger! This is obviously negligence as it is definitely something a reasonable person (i. e., a teacher in this case) would not do and in this case there is obviously injury or harm done to an individual!
Food for thought!
On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 3)
“I obviously haven’t taught you
how to make coffee!”
Concluding Comments From The Editor
That’s it for this year’s first issue. Hope you have a great start to your internship this week and we anticipate a number of submissions in the next issue (which will come out on Sunday, Jan. 8) describing those first few days of a completely different experience for all you interns.
Some of you already know that yours truly is a fanatical Montreal Canadiens fan and that I play a scrimmage hockey game every Friday night at St. Bon’s Forum here in the city. I started this group 11 years ago, around the same time as the eMEMO got started. No surprise then that should I score a goal or get a point in our game (happens somewhat infrequently!), you will hear all about it in this section of the eMEMO. As one of my Intermediate/Secondary students plays with us, Brett Hoyles, I’ll have to keep my “embellishments” to a limit – darn it!
Have a great week everyone and of course, feedback is always welcomed from the current interns and from the general readership. My email address is email@example.com
Best wishes to all – Jerome