Greetings everyone. This eMemo is being put together today Sunday after the big wind storm much of the province experienced yesterday and last night. Wow! Lots of damage done – haven’t heard yet of any damage to school buildings but I’d be surprised if there wasn’t any. One sure misses that electricity when we don’t have it. Hopefully, things will get back to normal in the next few days.
The winter of 2016-2017 is one that will go down in the meteorological history books! I’m sure we’re all looking forward to spring – how’s that for a bit of an understatement; the clock going ahead last night is a good sign.
Intermediate/secondary interns: you’re going into your 3rd last week. Primary/elementary interns: your internship ends 2 weeks later, on Thurs., April 13. Enjoy the issue.
Feedback From This Year’s Interns
My absolutely amazing, caring, funny, creative, cool, and unique students
Ever since the tender age of eight years old, I knew that I wanted to become a teacher when I grew up. My explanation of why I wanted to do this was that I loved reading and books as much as I loved the giant chests of stickers my teachers had on their desks, the golden opportunity to write on the chalkboard, and to play with sticky tack. My motives have evolved significantly since then (thank god, right?). I loved going to my grandma’s house because she had a small chalkboard in her basement. I would set up and play “school” with anyone who would humor me. Sometimes it would be a class of stuffed animals; sometimes my family members got roped into the whole charade. But one thing has not changed since then: that is my love of learning and my desire to share knowledge with others.
The Education program at MUN has been a phenomenal ride thus far. I shed tears the day I got my acceptance letter. After completing my Bachelor of Arts, I was scared to death that I might not get accepted into the Faculty of Education and would have to settle for something else in life. Relief overwhelmed me the day my fate was confirmed with that letter. My lifelong dream of becoming a teacher finally started to come into fruition.
The first semester of this program was my favorite semester of my entire university career. My classmates are a wonderful group and everyone in the faculty is amazing. It was a little bittersweet leaving St. John’s to come to rural Newfoundland to do my internship, but I have not regretted it. This internship is certainly the most incredible experience of my life. It has affirmed my choice to become a teacher and it makes me feel confident about spending the rest of my life teaching.
Alright, enough of my sappy raving about my journey here. Let’s get down to why this internship is great. The number one best thing about teaching is “drumroll please” – STUDENTS! Yes! My absolutely amazing, caring, funny, creative, cool, and unique students! I have bonded so closely with all of my students these past months and it really does make all of the difference in the world. Thank you, my B. Ed. instructors, for teaching me about that beforehand. Now I have experienced it and I cannot think of anything more satisfying than teaching something to my students and seeing them actually get it – to hear them in the hallways talking about my lesson – to have them talk to me in the corridors – to see their smiles daily. Teaching is the most rewarding thing and there is no greater feeling than having your students respect you and learn from you. Bless their souls, I love them to pieces and I will be so sad to say goodbye at the end of the term.
I could go on all day about how great my students are, but I will spare you the details. Establishing that bond with them and maintaining it daily has been crucial in making my classes run smoothly. It was a little awkward at first, but once I got into my groove and gained my confidence, everything has been so perfect. My students respect me as I respect them and I can honestly say that I have not encountered any major behavioral issues. I’m pretty lucky! My students are also almost always engaged in class and participate. I try my best to relate the curriculum to them and make it fun and we honestly have such a good time in class while learning.
I know I won’t always have it that easy and there will sometimes be bumps in the road, but if I could give any advice to anyone with an interest in teaching effectively, it would be to start small and build that foundation with your students. Bond with them daily and get on their level. It will make class so much better for the both of you. Students are the reason we teach! (Intermediate-Secondary Intern)
There is a wide range of reading levels
My experience in the grade 4 classroom for my internship has been an exceptional one.
One topic I would like to discuss is reading levels. In my classroom, there is a wide range of reading levels. I have students who struggle greatly with reading and reading comprehension, while others are at the same level and comprehension as I am. This definitely affects instruction because not all students follow along and rarely volunteer to read in class. Also, when students use their textbooks for activities and worksheets, not all can read and comprehend the sentences which causes the teacher to step in for extra help.
In a classroom of 24 students it is hard to help all students with reading during activities and worksheets. We have created a buddy system where the higher level readers help the lower level readers during activities where reading is required. This system works great in our classroom and could be adopted in any classroom. (Elementary Intern)
I have come to the realization that there is much, much more to teaching than preparing lesson plans
I can’t believe that the tenth week of our internship is over. As I reflect back on all I have learned, I realize that I have learned a lot in those past ten weeks and have a lot more to learn. A hands-on approach has been invaluable. In my opinion, the best way to learn is by doing. Internships give students that hands-on experience they need.
During this internship, I have come to the realization that there is much, much more to teaching than preparing lesson plans. There are student misbehaviours, cell phone misuse and other distractions that can hinder students’ learning. However, at the end of the day, all that matters is that the students are learning and I have challenged them to reach their full potential.
It has been quite the learning experience. I am enjoying teaching and this internship has reaffirmed my career choice of becoming a teacher. I am both excited and looking forward to my future career as a teacher. (Intermediate-Secondary Intern)
My school runs an absolutely astonishing Physical Education program
Physical Education (PE): A subject area often viewed as unimportant, the butt of all the jokes, and a “free class”. These are stereotypes that we have all heard throughout our lifetime. During my internship, I have realized just how untrue these statements are.
My school runs an absolutely astonishing PE program. First of all, no traditional sports are played throughout the year. Most athletes have the opportunity to play traditional sports outside of school time, so during PE, the students engross in new, innovative sports. Some examples include ultimate frisbee, goalball, handball, and ringette. PE students also have the opportunity to participate in a wide variety of outdoor winter activities, such as snowshoeing, quinzhee construction, and ski/snowboard trips to While Hills and Marble Mountain.
Furthermore, my school also has a state of the art fitness center. This fitness center is a fully furnished gym, with every piece of equipment, and all of the weights anyone could ever ask for. This fitness center is in use every day before class, where I assist in an early morning workout program. There is also a PE 3100/3101 class that is solely based out of the fitness center. These students use class time to work out on their own, and record their fitness progressions. Healthy Living classes also partake in fitness center activities, such as group workouts, circuits, pursuits, and fitness challenges. This fitness center allows our students the opportunity to become comfortable in a gym setting, and learn how to use the equipment properly. Hopefully, this will lead to a lifetime full of physical activity.
My internship has been phenomenal, and I am ecstatic that I have had the opportunity to be a part of such a wonderful PE program. I should add that each year the PE department goes on a physical activity/adventure based trip. They have been to Switzerland, Iceland, Hawaii, and Costa Rica within the past few years! Long live PE! (Intermediate-Secondary Intern)
Recommended Book Resource for Primary and Elementary Interns
This week will offer poems from three illustrated children’s poetry books. The book titles and authors are listed, along with one poem from each book. There are so many wonderful poetry books and too many teachers who are not comfortable reading poetry. So here is a glimpse into the wondrous world of poetry.
Title: Red sings from Treetops – A Year in Colors
Author: Joyce Sidman (Caldecott Honor Book)
In the winter woods,
Gray and Brown
holding hands amidst falling snowflakes.
Their brilliant sisters—
Red, Orange, and Yellow—
Have all gone home.
Gray and Brown sway shyly,
The only beauties left.
The illustration is of bare trees and two people
holding hands amidst falling snowflakes.
Title: Days Like This – A Collection of Small Poems
Collector: Simon James
A Lazy Thought (by Eve Mirriam)
There go the grownups
To the office,
To the store.
Don’t grow up
It takes a lot
The illustration is of tired looking people walking on a busy city sidewalk.
Title: Grumbles from the Forest: Fairy-Tale Voices with a Twist busy city sidewalk.
Authors: Jane Yolen and Rebecca Kai Dotlich
Wake up, princess, time to rise.
Open up your dreamy eyes.
Never mind the prince or kiss.
By no means were you raised for this.
Take the plot back from the witch.
Kick her spindle in the ditch!
There are two Sleeping Beauty poems and in the illustration
objects are flying, including a spinning wheel.
On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 1)
“Miss the bus again, Riley?”
Quote of the Week
“To spend each day helping children unravel their uniqueness is the best job in the world” – Melanie Perez
On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 2)
“Will this be on the test ?”
On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 3)
“It’s a cellular megaphone!”
Education Law Corner
From time to time the question comes up as to whether or not teachers should attempt to break up a student fight in the classroom, elsewhere in the school building or on school property.
Section 43 of the Criminal Code of Canada condones the use of corporal punishment:
Every schoolteacher, parent or person standing in the place of a parent is justified in using force by way of correction toward a pupil or child, as the case may be, who is under his care, if the force does not exceed what is reasonable under the circumstances.
Over the years there have been considerable controversy and debate over this section of the Criminal Code and a number of legal challenges have been launched all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada. These challenges have been on behalf of several civil liberty groups and have argued that this section violated various rights outlined in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
The latest challenge to Section 43 came from the Canadian Foundation for Children, Youth and the Law in 2003. The Supreme Court of Canada heard arguments from this Foundation that Section 43 violated the constitutional rights of children, specifically legal rights (sections 7 and 12) and equality rights (section 15) as outlined in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
In early 2004 the Supreme Court of Canada, by a margin of 6-3, handed down their decision upholding the constitutionality of Section 43. Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin stated that the general rule is that parents and teachers should avoid criminal prosecution if they use “only minor corrective force of a transitory and trifling nature”. The following criteria for using corporal punishment were also put forth in the Supreme Court’s decision:
- corporal punishment of children under two years of age and teenagers is banned;
- parents cannot use any objects while disciplining their children;
- punishment must be administered with an open hand;
- blows or slaps to the head are prohibited;
- the force cannot cause harm, be degrading or cruel, or administered out of anger; and
- the gravity of a child’s precipitating behaviour is irrelevant.
In addition to the above criteria for parents, the Court issued more restrictive guidelines for teachers allowing them to use force only in situations to restrain students – such as when breaking up a fight. It is imperative that teachers be aware of this development as it points out quite definitively that they cannot use physical force in the classroom in a routine manner as has been the custom in the past. A student is behaving in an obnoxious manner or uses vulgarity towards a teacher; the teacher responds by hitting the student. Under this new criterion stated above, Section 43 can no longer be used as a defense for such teacher behavior. The best advice for teachers is that under no circumstances should they engage in physical force when dealing with students no matter what the offensive behavior is. The only exception of course would be in the case of their attempting to break up a fight between students or where another individual is in imminent danger of being injured by the student in question. In this exception it is perfectly acceptable for a teacher to intervene to break up a fight as long as the teacher does not use excessive force which could result in serious injury to the student(s); the operative word here is “reasonable”.
What about a situation whereby a teacher(s) refuses to get involved and this non-involvement results in a serious injury to the student(s) involved? I would suggest that the parent(s) might have legitimate grounds to launch a civil suit alleging negligence on the part of the teacher(s), the school and/or the school board. Food for serious thought!
Concluding Comments From The Editor
That takes care of issue # 9. Thank you to the interns who sent in submissions this week.
Hockey-wise locally: Had another great game at St. Bon’s Forum Friday night. Guess who got his 2nd hat trick in the past 5 weeks? You’re right and I’m some proud of me! Pardon my humility or lack thereof! One of those goals came on a pass from Glen Rumsey, one of our best players – actually, it was the first shot of the game. Glen was in the right corner, passed the puck to me – top shelf – a thing of beauty indeed! Thank you, Glen. One of the other 3 – got a breakaway (I have to confess that I do “hog” the other team’s blue line – our team’s side of course!) – went in on the goalie – did a backhander – deked the goalie – c’est le but! The 3rd goal of the trio – just banged at the puck in front of the net and it went in!
(NOTE: I certainly would not want to imply that I’m a scoring legend in these games – nothing further from the truth. Keep in mind that many other players score 3 or more on a regular weekly basis but because I edit this eMemo, I have the medium to brag!)
Oh, forgot to mention that St. Bon’s Forum has recently been awarded a $100, 268.00 ACOA grant for major refurbishment/upgrading – wonderful news indeed. The Forum is showing its age and is in dire need of upgrading.
NHL-wise, less than impressed with les Habs as of late; spent all day Friday past flossing the “crow” feathers out of my teeth as a result of their Thursday night 5-0 loss to the Flames – I did receive that dreaded telephone call from the sister-in-law in Stephenville! Ce n’est pas bon!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Have a great week everyone – Jerome.