Greetings everyone and welcome to issue # 7. Winter is moving right along and Environment Canada is predicting another snow storm tomorrow Tuesday and possibly Wednesday. Not sure what the latest snow accumulation is for St. John’s and vicinity but methinks it must be getting up there. Ah, que sera, era!
Our new feature, An Education Research Study which debuted last week, was well received and we have another study featured in this issue. Enjoy!
Feedback From This Year’s Interns
Allow yourself to reflect on your mistakes
I am interning at the intermediate level and if I could pass on one piece of advice to my fellow interns it would be to allow yourself to reflect on your mistakes. I’ve always considered myself to be an introspective person; however, since teaching full time during this internship I have discovered that it is an extremely humbling process. Teaching various subjects to a wide range of students has really opened my eyes to the way I handle difficult situations. I would be lying if I said I handled every situation perfectly. This is where introspection comes into play. If you are unable to step back after a tough class and assess what happened, why it happened and what you did, then I feel as if growth and longevity are inhibited. It can be really tough to think back on our mistakes as a means to move forward.
To share a personal example, I was teaching grade seven Social Studies and I was leading my students through a step by step process on how to properly fold sheets of paper that they needed for an assignment. Mid-way through the explanation I forgot how to do it. My instructions became unclear and I eventually remembered it but, by that time most students were confused and looking at me like I was an alien. It was quite embarrassing but I took a moment, swallowed my pride and apologized to them for my bad instructions. We restarted the activity and it went well. They were super understanding, which I find is mostly the case with students. They know you are an intern and that you’re new to teaching. If you can allow yourself to admit your mistakes and take the steps necessary to prevent them from happening again, you will grow as a person and a teacher. In this case I realized that I needed to better prepare for lessons that I was unfamiliar with. I also learned that step by step instructions for grade 7s need to be at a very slow pace to ensure all students can complete the activity.
I am sure we have all encountered people who cannot accept their own mistakes and try to deflect, but I truly feel that teaching is a deeply introspective career and to become a great teacher, one must allow oneself to reflect on and process one’s mistakes. The most important thing is to recognize our errors and move forward as an improved version of ourselves. (Intermediate Intern)
A surprise to me how much I am enjoying this experience
I am a junior high school intern in a school in the St. John’s area. Previous to this internship I had spent my fall internship at the high school level. There I had few discipline issues and my mentor teacher suggested I try the junior high level if I wanted more experience dealing with classroom management.
I was very nervous prior to starting in January, but it is amazing how after a few days I felt that was a real member of the classroom. I was a member of the classroom because I immediately had a role in helping students to reach their ‘full potential’. I wonder if you all felt the same way; did you seamlessly start helping students from the back of the room? Did you get in close proximity to students who were disturbing other class members to get them to be quiet and pay attention? I don’t think I’m wonderful, or at all someone who is completely necessary within the system as an intern, but I do feel that the classes I’m working in needed an extra person to help the Grade 7s and 8s to reach their full potential. I don’t know how the teacher survived and was able to teach all the students previous to having a helping hand (and as the interns at my school like to say “free labor”. Why do I say this? Well in some classes we have 34 students, with the class being a mixture of student ability levels and with an emphasis on inclusiveness I don’t know how we can help everyone reach their full potential without more help.
Okay that is my small comment on classroom sizes and the style of teaching that is within the system.
I love going into class every day. It is a surprise to me how much I am enjoying this experience. I help in the mornings with the breakfast program. This has allowed me to meet the students on a different level and to see how helpful such a program is. The breakfast program in our school is parent-driven, with little help from teachers. I understand it was not always this way, but there is a strong dedicated group of parents helping to ensure that each student has the opportunity to start their school day fed well. The smiles and politeness are the gifts that we all share together. I also try to help with the drama program, taking the lead from another student intern who has more experience in that area. I help with a community connections group who make soups for community groups, and I have a blast playing intramurals.
My class load has been slowly increasing but I really have appreciated having access to previous power points, student booklets, review sheets and tests. Without these gifts of a lot of work from predecessor interns my workload would be over the top, but I am modifying the previous work to suit my style. I started teaching two classes of Religion, enjoying the opportunity to teach Hinduism, Buddhism and Innu. I’m currently covering the topic of tobacco smoking. I called the smoker’s hotline and brought in a presenter for two classes. This is a good opportunity to introduce students to other ways of teaching. I reviewed the presenter’s material and asked her to change some things to more suit the grade levels and then I suggested she use a follow along work sheet for the students. This made her presentations more applicable, so much so that my mentor teacher suggested other teachers contact the smoker’s helpline for more presentations. Now when I start on Health next week I am struggling with how to cope with the nervous and slightly embarrassed laughter when we look at our human bodies in the text books!
I have been teaching grade 8 Science and next week I’ll take over the Grade 7s. In order to make these prepared presentations my own I have included more local examples. Of course, I still have lots of discipline issues….but each day I try to ask another teacher how to handle such issues. Some of it is making sure the students understand my expectations. Some of it is knowing a student’s name, or talking with them between classes and getting to know something about them. One piece of advice was to save one student a day, meaning connect with one long enough each day by listening or helping them and then that student has a wider platform to continue their learning process. I started staying with one student longer each time I helped them; this seems to stop some of the continuous questioning. Also another hint I was given was when students tend to a problem and then gaze around the room, you should encourage them to immediately put their pencil to the next problem to try and stop the distractions. I have been told I remind one boy of his grandmother, and by another boy that I smell like the outside, like trees…. I need to find the balance between wanting the students to be working all the time, to allowing them to experience a safe, caring and just classroom in order to learn on their own the skills that will help them to be engaged members of their and my community. (Intermediate Intern)
I need to improve on my classroom management skills
I’m really enjoying my internship so far: I’m placed in a senior high school in St. John’s. So far, I’ve taught Canadian Geography, Career Development, Skilled Trades, and World Geography. I’m hoping to get in with another teacher to teach Canadian History soon.
I was apprehensive when I first started teaching, but that feeling has dissipated. I can now focus on improving my teaching abilities. I have no problems with class preparation or delivery of the material, but I think I need to improve on my classroom management skills: for example, my Skilled Trades class is somewhat unruly. I’m sure it will come with time.
Teaching doesn’t feel like work to me. I greatly enjoy the preparation and when you get in a groove, correcting can be enjoyable as well (especially if your students do well!). I am looking forward to next week already. (Secondary Intern)
On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 1)
“I love my little monsters!”
Quote of the Week
“I have witnessed the softening of the hardest of hearts by a simple smile.” – Goldie Hawn
Job Opening: Immediate Position in Thailand – British Columbia Program
Spend the rest of the winter in beautiful Thailand! We have just received a last minute position in Bangkok, Thailand at a British Columbia off-shore program.
Our client is looking for a Physics 11, 12 and Chemistry 11, 12 teacher for their Bangkok school. This is an immediate start until June 30, 2017 with the option of signing for additional years. Salary range is $42,000 – $49,000 CAN depending on training and experience.
If you are interested and available for an immediate start, please email me today and I will arrange a time to discuss further details of the position with you by video Skype.
Senior Recruiting Manager
Solutions that Work
It’s Academic Educational Staffing Ltd.
Vancouver ~ Toronto
Suite 2500 – 120 Adelaide St. West
Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5H 1T1
Office: 416-642-8566 ext: 206
An Education Research Study
Researchers: Dr. Henry Schultz, Faculty of Education & Dr. Beverly Fitzpatrick, School of Pharmacy
Title: Teaching Young Students to Self-Assess Critically
Teaching critical thinking skills is important for young students (Lipman, 2003), and self-assessment is important to students’ learning to think independently (Brookhart, 2007). We conducted a study with grade 4 students to improve their critical thinking and self-assessment skills, using formative assessment.
Student learning was determined through students’ responses to formative assessment tasks as part of the intervention, a pre and a posttest, and pre- and post–instructional student focus groups. The intervention improved the clarity of student responses to a story, but did not affect the logical relevance. However, intervention students could discuss the clarity and relevance of their answers to questions, and could articulate how they improved their answers. Their self-assessments aligned more closely with those of the researchers.
On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 2)
“When do we learn about computer dating?”
Education Law Corner
The past couple of issues have been detailing various cases of teacher misconduct. The only 2 provinces that publish this information are Ontario and British Columbia through a couple of publications titled Professionally Speaking and Learn. These publications are published quarterly by the Ontario College of Teachers ()CT) and the Teacher Regulation Branch of the BC Ministry of Education respectively. Issue # 6 of the eMemo provided details of one such case from BC. This issue gives details of a disciplinary case in Ontario which resulted in the teacher having his teaching license suspended for 3 months. Some of the words in the summary below may be offensive to some readers but in the interest of non-censorship, we do not edit out such language.
Member: Bruce Leslie Hyde
Registration No: 460267
Decision: Suspension, reprimand, conditions
A Discipline Committee panel suspended the certificate of Bruce Leslie Hyde, a former teacher at the Durham Catholic District School Board, for engaging in a repeated pattern of verbal and physical abuse of students. This matter was heard by the panel on February 2, 2015, October 7, 2015, and April 22, 2016. Hyde, who was certified to teach in August 2002, attended the hearing on April 22, 2016, and had legal representation.
His unprofessional conduct, which happened in 2010, included: • hitting a student and/or students in the face; • pushing a student and/or students; • using words like “asshole,” “fuck,” “shit,” “bullshit,” “dick” and “faggot”; and • instructing a student to “sit his fat ass down.” As part of his board’s investigation, he was instructed not to have any contact with any students. Despite this instruction, Hyde contacted a student and/or students via telephone and/ or Facebook to discuss the students’ complaints. His employment with the board was terminated in April 2011.
The Discipline Committee panel found Hyde guilty of professional misconduct and ordered that his teaching certificate be suspended for three months and that he appear before the panel immediately following the hearing to receive a reprimand. It also directed the member to successfully complete, at his own expense and prior to seeking or engaging in employment where a certificate is required, a pre-approved course on classroom management and boundary issues.
In its written decision, the panel stated, “The Member was found guilty of similar misconduct in 2009. He was ordered to take remedial courses with respect to classroom management and appropriate methods of disciplining students. Despite that sanction, the Member engaged in a repeated pattern of verbal and physical abuse of students in 2010 and 2011. Clearly, the Member did not “get” the message that this type of conduct is unacceptable.”
Please Check Your MUN Email Accounts
Interns, you are asked to check your MUN email accounts on a regular basis as that’s the only email address we’re expected to use to contact you.
Submissions Not Published in the eMemo
Interns, if you have sent in a submission for the eMemo and it has not yet been published, that’s an oversight on the editor’s part.
You are asked to email me (email@example.com) at your earliest convenience and the submission will be in the next issue of the eMemo.
I don’t think that’s happened thus far this year but please bring it to my attention if/when it does happen.
On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 3)
“He’s getting ready for Speech class tomorrow and he’s
out collecting his thoughts.”
Concluding Comments From The Editor
That takes care of # 7.
Our usual thanks to the interns who sent in submissions this week. Thank you also to Henry and Beverly for their research study submission.
Hockey-wise, overall, another great game at St. Bon’s on Friday night. Goalies, Dave Rockwood and a former MEd student of mine, Sarah MacPherson were absolutely “sensationale” between the pipes with an amazing amount of “flashing the letter” and shutting us forwards down big-time! Please note that in my own case, that’s not a hard thing for a goalie to do and Dave, aka “Rocky”, seems to delight in doing that to me on a regular basis!
NHL-wise, les Habitants continue to do terribly and as Robin Short suggested in Saturday’s Telegram, it may be time to fire Michel Therrien; I’d even go so far as to suggest firing Marc Bergiven as well! With the tremendous talent the Canadiens have, there is something horribly wrong with their on ice performance in the last several games and when that happens in NHL hockey, it is not uncommon for coaches and managers to take the fall and become “collateral damage”! Easier and obviously more practical to fire coaches and managers than the full team! That’s my hockey rant for this week.
As usual, feedback is always welcomed from the current interns and from the general readership. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
Have a wonderful week everyone – Jerome