Good day everyone. Hope ye all had an enjoyable St. Paddy’s Day weekend. This is our 2nd last eMemo for 2017. And of course, the Intermediate/Secondary interns have 2 weeks left and the Primary/Elementary interns have 4 weeks remaining. Why the difference in the length of the 2 winter internships – the I/S interns did a 2 week internship back in the fall. Enjoy the issue.
Feedback From This Year’s Interns
And now I see it from another perspective
As the internship comes closer to its end I find myself looking at teaching from a different perspective. When I was a student myself, I don’t think I fully realized or appreciated the amount of work and dedication that went into what my teachers did on a day to day basis. Sure they taught classes every day, but what I and I’m sure a lot of students didn’t really think about was that each of those lessons were planned by our teachers. Whenever we had labs, projects, assignments or tests, they didn’t just appear out of the blue. At some point a teacher had to come up with it, write it all up and make sure it all made sense, and then printed it all out and delivered it to us.
Now I’m in the teacher’s chair, and as the internship has rolled on, I have taken on more courses and really gotten into the swing of things at the school and now I see it from another perspective. Being in front of the class and teaching the students is only the surface layer of what goes on in the daily life of a teacher. Making assignments and the like for students can be a time consuming task, as can correcting said assignments when they are returned. Of course there are also the extracurricular activities that teachers supervise, preparing for the upcoming classes and any number of other things that may come up.
All this culminates in the realization that teaching can be quite a lot more time consuming than it appears to students. That’s not to say it isn’t rewarding, but it can keep you quite busy nonetheless. You have to wonder what the students think you do and whether or not they appreciate the work you put into teaching them. I had a particularly keen student in my class turn to me the other day and without any warning simply said “You should go on strike.” It was kind of funny to hear this from a student, but he went on to explain that the teachers hadn’t had a break for a while and that we should have one. Perhaps he just wanted a break himself, but I like to think that he understood that his teachers were working hard and appreciated that enough to suggest that they needed some time to relax.
I’ve really enjoyed my internship thus far, and I’m sure I’ll continue to enjoy it up until its end, but I’ll also appreciate having a break when the time comes. I think it’s important for teachers to sit back and unplug from the teacher life when they can and try and strike that work-life balance we’ve all heard so much about. (Secondary Intern)
I feel I have learned so much
Being so close to the finish line, not only of the internship but also of this degree, I have experienced an emotional roller coaster! This internship has had some amazing highs, resulting from the relationships I have built with my students, to some pretty bad lows, with exhaustion and “problem students”.
I feel I have learned so much from my co-operating teachers, other teachers at my school, the administration, support staff, and least of all, my students! Every day is a new and exciting experience. This internship has reassured me that of all the reasons I have chosen to teach, seeing those “light bulb” moments, and having students open up to you and share their personal struggles and triumphs with you is what makes it all worthwhile.
I am so excited to soon be finished this internship so this degree can finally be completed, and I can start my own classroom, and gain more positive experience. However I am also sad to leave my students.
Hope everyone is taking the time to enjoy what is left of this internship. Can’t wait to hear all about everyone else’s experiences in detail. (Intermediate-Secondary Intern)
The act of teaching is like filing your taxes, making a souffle
The act of teaching is like filing your taxes, making a souffle, committing a murder; messy and laborious if you don’t know what you’re doing and you often only have one chance to get it right without incurring undesirable consequences for the rest of your life.
Now that my internship is almost over, I can safely say that my experience has been messy and laborious and I have no idea if I did good by these poor unfortunate children who have had to endure my inexperience. My biggest fear was that my inexperience would severely and negatively affect my students’ academic success and psychologically scar them for life. Sure, over time my teaching style and choice in resources may improve, and later classes will benefit from my refinements, but those future kids are not these kids that I am teaching right now, who deserve better than the very best I have to offer (which is not much). Initially I had expected my first semester in Education to prepare me for success in the classroom, but this was not the case. I fumbled and failed in all kinds of ways.
Thankfully, that first semester prepared me for something else, something much more useful than plain old boring success – the art of the contingency plan. Like Batman, who has contingency plans for his contingency plans, my internship experience has helped me come to terms with imperfection, to be prepared for the unexpected path the classroom experience may take me. As long as the goal is met and learning is happening, it doesn’t matter how closely I follow the lesson plan I spent hours preparing. My internship taught me to recognize when learning was happening, and my first semester gave me the tools I needed to adapt to the form and direction learning is taking.
While I will probably never know the extent of the damage I have inflicted on these poor unfortunate students, I can only hope that I will do better with the next batch. After all, the act of teaching is like filing your taxes, making a soufflé, or committing a murder – even when you incur undesirable consequences if you fail the first time, there’s usually another opportunity to try again. (Intermediate Intern)
Recommended Book Resource for Primary and Elementary Interns
The Beatitudes: From Slavery to Civil Rights (2010)
Author: Carole Boston Weatherford
Illustrator: Tim Ladwig
As you open the book, the words of the Beatitudes greet you, sprinkled across the end page—“Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God”. Since the earliest days of slavery, African Americans have relied on their faith in their struggles against oppression. The Beatitudes (The beginning of the Sermon on the Mount) are the backdrop for this book of poetic prose that portrays the journey from slavery to civil rights.
Told in the first person, the story begins—“I am the Lord your God. I was with the Americans who were torn from the Motherland and cramped in holds of ships on the Middle Passage from Africa to the Americas. I heard them chant: Kum ba ya, kum ba ya”. The vibrant illustrations of the progress of the African Americans illuminate each double page spread, with the words of the Beatitudes running as a footnote across each page.
Goosebumps will ride your arms as you read—“I was with the U.S. Colored troops who fought to end slavery during the Civil War. I beat the drum for freedom”. As you turn each page, you are invited in to the emotions, strength, and pride of African Americans—“I was with six-year-old Ruby Bridges when angry whites heckled her as she entered an all-white elementary school to become its first black student. I held her hand”. And then to present day, “I was with Barack Obama when he took his oath as President of the United States. I was the Bible where he placed his hand”.
This wondrous book ends with a short description of each African American who is portrayed in this story of progress. It is a book for readers of all ages, a tale of sorrow that becomes a tale of celebration.
On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 1)
“I forgot my gloves so I had to use my school’s handbook!”
Quote of the Week
“Good teachers make a lasting impact on their students’ lives. When a young person learns from an exceptional teacher, they are more likely to graduate, attend college, and succeed later in life. Teachers lift up the next generation and enrich our nation, and they deserve our gratitude and thanks.” – Barack Obama
On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 2)
“When will I learn everything there is to know?”
Education Law Corner
Several years ago university professors, Joseph and Jo Blasé did a study in the United States which examined the problem of principal mistreatment of teachers. Their study resulted in a book titled Breaking the Silence published by Corwin Press in 2003. They stated that “when principal mistreatment occurred through face-to-face interaction, principals frequently escalated and became explosive and engaged in particularly nasty behaviors” (p. 78). A couple of examples of that explosive and nasty behavior are listed here:
From the beginning he singled me out for criticism. He criticized me publicly and loudly. . . . He would mock me in front of other teachers. . . . He called me into his office and berated me for over an hour on the proper way to show respect to a principal. He called me a troublemaker. . . . He ridiculed me in a faculty meeting. . . He said he would always take the word of a parent or student against me anytime.
If the principal did not like what you were doing, he would call you into his office and yell at you, let you know he had the ultimate authority. He would say he made the decisions and if you didn’t like it, you could leave.
He was scary. . . out of control. . . screaming. . . about to explode.
She was loud. . . had a crabby voice. . . negative. . . If she did smile, it was kind of a nasty smile. (pp. 78-79)
To the best of my knowledge, no such study of this kind has ever been conducted in Canada. Does this kind of principal behavior exist in Canada? In Newfoundland and Labrador?
On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 3)
“I have trouble with punctuation. I just don’t have any comma sense!”
Concluding Comments From The Editor
That concludes issue # 12. Thank you to those interns who sent in submissions this week.
Hockey-wise locally: Not much to report this week. We had 2 new goalies filling in for us Friday night at St. Bon’s – Chris Cardiff (who is a regular goalie playing in various games here in the city) and Scottie Parsons who ordinarily plays as a forward with us on Friday nights. Scottie stepped in “between the pipes” because he didn’t want us to play with only 1 goalie – a brave fellow indeed! Anyways, both goalies were spectacular, Chris more understandably so, but Scottie – we were all shocked to see him perform so well! No sure how he felt the next day – oh those contortions!!!
Yours truly did score 1 goal – far cry from last week’s hat trick! Actually it was a “garbage goal”! One of our players took a shot at Scottie – he stopped it – it was in the open between his pads – I banged at it and it went in, amid protests from Scottie and his team-mates. My defense: the referee hadn’t blown the whistle and the goalie didn’t have his glove over it. Oh, forgot to mention we don’t have any referees!!!!!!! C’est le but!
NHL-wise, les Habs defeated the Sens last night in the shoot-out and “les Leafs” lost to Chicago in OT – a great night indeed; it was my turn to call the Stephenville sister-in-law for a little “vindictiveness”!!!! Habs play the Sens again tonight – this time in Montreal.
Have a wonderful week everyone – Jerome.