Hello everyone – issue # 4 already – time is indeed flying by! Interns, you are going into week 4 – hope all is going well for you.
Enjoy this week’s issue.
Feedback From This Year’s Interns
Knowing the routine and the rules of the classroom is very important
I have officially been interning for two weeks and I am loving every moment of it so far. The number of things I have learned over these past two weeks truly amazes me! I have been doing the morning routine and a lesson a day ever since my first week and although this was a little nerve-wrecking in the beginning, I am very thankful that I started this early. I began to notice after my first 2-3 days in the classroom that standing beside the teacher and not doing a whole lot, the students began to view me more as a student and less in the teacher role. This was beginning to result in me having a hard time getting them to listen to me (and for me being able to manage them appropriately). The moment I started to step in and do more things (such as morning routine/lessons/activities), the more they would start to take me seriously and view me as a teacher and not just another student. I have also noticed that tweaking the morning routine to make it my own and not following/doing the exact same things as my co-operating teacher did, seems to make them respect me even more as a teacher.
In my first week, I began to fear that the students not listening to me was setting myself up for a challenge when it came to classroom management, which is one of my biggest fears as a new teacher. But now that I have been doing more things on my own, it is not only helping my students gain more respect for me, but it is also helping me build my confidence and comfort level as a teacher. My co-operating teacher was out sick one day and I was in with a substitute, which was very interesting, considering I will probably be doing that at some point in my career. After that day, I noticed that knowing the routine and the rules of the classroom is very important and a crucial component of managing the classroom. The substitute was not sure of the routines and rules, and this gave me the opportunity to assume this role; I realized that the students were more attentive to me than they were with the substitute. I feel that this was due to my knowing more about how their classroom operated. I am beginning to realize that some days go smoothly, while others may go not so smoothly. I am, however, very excited to allow myself to learn and grow over these next four months. (Primary Intern)
I was nervous, excited, and a little on edge
Leading up to the first day I would walk into my grade five interning class, I was nervous, excited, and a little on edge. I was nervous because this was a whole new ballpark for me. After 6 years of university I was used to studying, working on projects, taking notes, and going to classes myself, which made the concept of finally becoming the teacher feel so surreal. Despite this fact, I was excited to dive into the curriculum and finally start developing engaging activities that would excite my students in the learning process. I was also extremely eager to meet the 28 very interesting and very different personalities that I would get to know and love over the next four months.
After the first day of my internship I felt very overwhelmed from everything I had taken in that day; from learning all the students’ names to getting an understanding of the various exceptionalities in my class, to knowing how the class is managed throughout the day. The rest of the first week I felt practically the same way, as I got to know the staff I didn’t already know, from attending the same school when I was an elementary student, and as I got to see a staff meeting take place.
However, despite the fact that the first week felt much like an overload of information the following two weeks have been some of the best weeks of my life. I have gotten to know my students and enjoy coming into the class every day and seeing how excited they are to learn. They have truly all made me feel welcome and have even gotten into this habit of clapping after I teach a lesson, which for an over-sensitive person like myself, means quite a lot of subtle tear covering. I hope the remaining weeks of my internship continue the same way and I hope I gain even more insight into effective classroom management, including how to accommodate the needs of all my students, as well as how to make the curriculum enjoyable for them. (Elementary Intern)
I can already see little improvements
I am interning at a 10-12 high school here in St. John’s. I have two incredible co-op teachers who are a joy to work with. They are both very experienced and have shown me a lot already. The students have been very respectful and have treated me the same as my co-op teachers. I am starting to build some relationships with the students and I have found that it goes a long way with classroom management and that earning of mutual respect. I can already see little improvements from my first lesson taught today. I have also realized the amount of work that goes into being a teacher and it can seem a little daunting at times. Even though I can feel stressed and feel like I am in over my head, I keep taking it day by day; I accept the fact that I am not going to be the perfect teacher. All I can do is keep working hard and try and do the best that I can. (Secondary Intern)
Tiring and really hard work but positive
My first three weeks in my internship have been really positive. Tiring and really hard work, but positive. That is mainly due to the support of my co-operating teachers and the welcoming of the school – I really have fallen on my feet. Despite the upcoming exams, my co-operating teachers have been willing to let me loose, teaching really early on which I have definitely appreciated, although it has meant some fairly late nights prepping classes!
Being shared by a Science teacher and a Social Studies teacher is going to be a big plus, too, as I will be exposed to the different teaching styles and requirements of those different disciplines, all with the safety net of having the experts nearby. I’m looking forward to the exam break over the next week to get a head start on planning now that I have a bit of a better idea of what I need to do. Definitely starting to believe that going back to class in April will be a welcome rest! (Secondary Intern)
I am finally beginning to feel like a real teacher
After these initial couple of weeks of the internship, I am finally beginning to feel like a real teacher! The junior high/high school I am placed at seems like a great environment to be in, with friendly staff and great students. I feel that I will learn a great deal about the many expectations and responsibilities of being a teacher during this internship. My co-operating teachers have already given a good number of teaching responsibilities to me and for the first time I truly feel that all the staff at the school treat me as an equal colleague. I am learning that specialist teachers in the school have to have very different classroom management techniques than classroom teachers. I do find it challenging for me to teach in a classroom environment, after lots of experience teaching Physical Education in a gym; the classroom setting is something very new for me. I am hopeful that my experiences throughout this internship will better prepare me for beginning my teaching career in the fall. (Intermediate/Secondary Intern)
Recommended Book Resource for Primary and Elementary Interns
Six Dots: A Story of Young Louis Braille (2016)
Author: Jen Bryant
Illustrator: Boris Kulikov
Louis Braille was a clever, active boy, born in a small town in France, who loved to watch his father make harnesses and bridles. He wanted to be just like his father and spent hours in his father’s shop watching him work. Louis wanted to do what his father did, and didn’t listen when his father kept telling him to wait until he was older. One day Louis hurt his eye with the awl, and even though his father kept telling him to not touch his eye, Louis was young and couldn’t keep his hands away, causing the infection to spread to his other eye. By the time he was five years old he was blind.
Louis learned to walk with a cane and to rely on his other senses. He asked the priest if there were books for blind children but the answer was no. He went to school, listening and memorizing. He asked the teacher if there were books for blind children but the answer was again no. When he was ten, he was given the opportunity to go to the Royal School for the Blind in Paris. His family did not want him to go, but Louis had been told there were books for the blind at the school. “I love you, but I must go”, he told his family.
When he got to the school, it was not an easy place, and only the best students were allowed to read the books. “Then I will be one of the best,” he replied, and he achieved his goal. However, he was frustrated. The books had huge waxy letters for him to trace, very few sentences on a page, and only 2-3 pages per book. How could he learn with books where one sentence took up half a page?
Then, a French army captain invented a code using dots that stood for the sounds in words such as “ou” or “ch”, and you needed to use a stylus to punch the code. It was so difficult that gradually all the students in the school gave up. Louis offered to work with the captain to improve the code, but the captain wasn’t interested. Louis was being told “no” once again.
Louis was as determined as he had ever been. Late at night, while the others slept, Louis tried to invent a code. He tried “hundreds of ways to simplify the captain’s code”. The years passed and Louis turned 15. He was often sick, but he refused to give up. Finally, he was ready to test his code. He went to his headmaster to try it out, and was successful. Everyone was excited, and quickly learned to use Louis’ code.
And, “as his friends traded messages, Louis remembered watching Papa in his shop, bent over rough strips of leather, making them useful. He had become like him, after all.”
The story of how Braille came to be is one of courage, perseverance, and independence. The story brings to life what it is like to be blind and dependent upon others. However, it goes beyond this to exemplify how all of us can become independent when we persevere. Louis Braille is an excellent role model for children.
On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 1)
“Your son is flunking out at an alarmingly advanced level!”
Quote of the Week
Technology is just a tool. In terms of getting the kids working together and motivating them, the teacher is the most important. – Bill Gates
On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 2)
“No, Thomas, it would not be okay for you to outsource your homework assignment.”
Education Law Corner
Last week we discussed the 4 major elements which need to be considered when determining whether or not negligence has occurred in the strict legal sense of the word. One of those elements was the actual occurrence of injury or damage to the individual/student concerned. However, just because there was no actual injury to the individual/student, doesn’t mean that there was no professional misconduct on the part of the teacher.
A “silly” example here to illustrate this point: A Tech Ed teacher in a senior high Technology Education class has his/her students using a chop saw in a unit on design and fabrication. While the students are using this particular tool, the teacher decides to leave the class unsupervised and drop over to the local Tim Horton’s right next to the school for his morning coffee! Luckily, nothing happens while the teacher is gone, so legally-speaking “no negligence”. However, I think we would all agree that such behavior on the part of a teacher is totally unacceptable and extremely dangerous and irresponsible.
This kind of behavior would/should in all probability be taken very seriously by the school administration and I would suggest at the very least would result in a serious reprimand being issued to said teacher. This reprimand could be a verbal warning but my personal opinion is that it should be a formal reprimand (in writing) which should be placed on the teacher’s personnel file at the school board office. In other words, this kind of professional misconduct (although not negligence technically-speaking), for obvious reasons, and as already mentioned above, needs to be taken very very seriously by teachers and school administrators. Student safety is a primary responsibility of all teachers.
On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 3)
“Actually, all mine are home schooled!”
Concluding Comments From The Editor
That takes care of issue # 4.
Hockey-wise, our St. Bon’s game this past Friday night was cancelled because of the snow storm, so nothing to report there! We all hate to miss our Friday night game! Re NHL hockey, les Habs’ loss Saturday night was somewhat “neutralized” by the Leafs’ loss to Ottawa, but ce n’est pas bon!
Thank you to those interns who sent in submissions this week – they are always interesting and most insightful. Your time and efforts in putting those together is most appreciated because to say you are busy would be a tad of an understatement! And, of course, the Primary/Elementary interns are doing an online course, Education 4425 (An Intro to Educational Administration) while on their internships; this of course adds a whole new dimension to being “busy”!
Have an enjoyable week everyone and as mentioned before, feedback is always welcomed from the current interns and from the general readership. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
Best regards to all – Jerome