Greetings everyone. This is the final issue of The Monday eMemo Blog and it is with some sadness and perhaps a little relief that I type up these next few pages. It’s amazing how time impacts on everything we do.
With this eMemo we start off with issue # 1 and you feel that 13 issues, wow, that’s a heck of a lot of writing. However, slowly, albeit regularly, you move along and all of a sudden, it’s the final issue! What makes doing this eMemo a “thing of joy” is the pleasure and sense of satisfaction one feels when reading the interns’ submissions.
A legitimate criticism of the eMemo might be that the submissions are all too positive. Fair enough but there are some comments in the submissions, I can think of at least 2 in this volume that were anything but positive, but hopefully realistic. An editor has no control over that but I would like to think that what is being said in those submissions is indeed true and sincere and I have no reason to think otherwise.
Perhaps those interns who have negative comments to make about their internships don’t feel safe in doing so. I’m not sure how we overcome that caution because the eMemo, I think, has been very welcoming and encouraging of all perspectives. Perhaps this is something we can work on in Volume 12 (2018). Suggestions as to how to do that are most welcome and would be extremely helpful. Enjoy this final issue.
Feedback From This Year’s Interns
Thank God I didn’t listen
I imagined I would love teaching. My parents told me I would love it, my friends told me it was a perfect fit, and everyone else told me not to do it.
Within the first week of my internship, I realized that the weekends meant nothing to me anymore. All I wanted was to be in the classroom with the 16-year-olds. They became the best part of my day.
My friends would ask me how the internship was going and I would beam. Sure, there were difficult moments, and still are, but those moments are always worth it at the end of the day. I owe this good experience to a few different factors. Firstly, my supervising teacher, who is by far the kindest person I have ever met and there are no words to thank him properly. Secondly, the kids. Over the past three months I have gotten to teach the most remarkable, eclectic group of teenagers, who are wise beyond their years and crave intriguing conversation. They demand a lot and deserve the world. They are a rare bunch who I feel proud to know. Thirdly, the other interns/substitutes/teachers in my school. They are brilliant, genuine, and kind, I couldn’t have done this without them.
All the negative things I’ve heard about education from other people are no match for the happiness I feel every day. Thank God I didn’t listen!
We as teachers do not just teach curriculum
With just 1 week left in the internship, I look back and wonder where the time went. It seemed like yesterday that I walked into my school filled with nervousness and trepidation, not knowing what I was in for. Such feelings and emotions have largely disappeared and I now truly feel like a teacher -which is a great feeling.
To put it honestly, It has been a challenging and exhausting 12 weeks to date. The internship, I am sure, isn’t easy for any of us, but with hard work and a positive attitude day after day it is a profession that can be very enjoyable and fulfilling. I have already experienced that side of the coin. Through the ups and down and bumps in the road it is important to always remember that we are still novice, practicing teachers getting a snapshot as to what it is like being an educator. As my co-operating teacher has said numerous times, “Rome wasn’t built in a day”. Good things do indeed take time.
Throughout this experience I feel as if I have learned a lot, but with increased learning also comes an increased realization for what you do not know. Teaching encompasses so many things and it is indeed true that we as teachers do not just teach curriculum. Teaching content is one thing, but then there is classroom management/organization and dealing with many other situations that may suddenly and unexpectedly arise. All of these things just take a lot of practice and experience to ‘master’.
All in all it has been a great experience. I know many/most of the students’ names and enjoy teaching them and conversing with them inside and outside of the gymnasium. They look at me as a teacher figure which is very satisfying. I enjoy the school environment and I am confident that with a lot of hard work and further experience it will be a career which I both enjoy and succeed in. At the end of the day all that I or any of us can give is our best, which is what I will continue to do. (Intermediate Intern).
The relationships between students, parents and fellow teachers have been amazing
Well it doesn’t take long for 12 weeks to go by especially in this field. Thinking back to my high school days when I decided to pursue a teaching degree I must have been pretty smart back then because I have undoubtedly made the right career choice! Teaching has given me everything I thought it would and more.
I always wanted a career where I could wake up in the morning and be excited and ready to go and that’s what I have found. The relationships between students, parents and fellow teachers have been amazing and getting to teach has been a great experience.
At the end of the internship I cannot say I am excited to return to Memorial to be a student again and not a teacher but knowing that this is the final three months before I enter the teaching profession makes it all worthwhile. This career defiantly gives more than it takes. (Intermediate/Secondary Intern)
I have found my calling
Transitioning from the student to the teacher these past few months has been absolutely incredible. I have found my calling and I can genuinely say that I know this is definitely what I’m supposed to do with my life. Giving someone the knowledge they need to understand why, make connections and leave the classroom feeling like they’ve learned something new is such a wonderful feeling. I’ve learned so much in such a short amount of time, and I’ve been blessed to have worked with the most amazing co-operating teachers who have given me guidance and support throughout my internship.
This whole experience has allowed me to grow as a person. The profession definitely comes with its challenges, but along with those come the rewards. Simply hearing a student say, “Thanks Ms.” after helping them better understand a problem, or hearing students talk about something they’ve learned in class to their friends, makes the job all worthwhile.
Over the past few weeks I’ve been catching myself thinking about how much I’ll miss it when I have to leave. Having a few extra days added onto my internship is actually a blessing, I get more time with my students. And to hear them say that they hope there are more snow days so I have to stay even longer warms my heart. They’ve all shown me that teaching has been the right path for me to travel down. And I’m so fortunate to have begun this journey with all of them.
One thing I have come to realize to be true is that, like every job, teaching has its ups and downs, but it’s the type of job that can change someone’s life. And that, to me, is priceless. (Intermediate/Secondary Intern)
The success I am having so far stems mainly from my coaching
I have gained and learned so much from getting involved as much as possible within my school! I had been making the most of my few months here at my co-operating school since the first day, and as my time winds down I reflect on this amazing journey. All along the way I have taken away so much success from my commitment to the school athletics programs, and despite the long days, the results are beyond worth it. Helping coach three basketball teams at my school is not an easy task, and certainly requires countless hours of commitment. Since the first day back in January, I have hopped aboard a very serious basketball program and am loving where it is leading me. It is really showing me how much I love working with the students in a sports environment, and coming from a PE background, I really feel my degree has helped me provide success for my teams.
Every day after school I am there until 6:00 pm coaching one of the three teams, and every weekend since January I have been at a different tournament somewhere across the island. I choose to do this because I love seeing my students get the opportunity to participate in high quality sport, to see their improvements from their hard work, and because I love the game!
The most rewarding part of coaching is seeing the students learn and grow as athletes. When one week they can’t perform a skill, and the next week they can because of their hard work and your hard work as a coach. It truly is a great feeling!
Besides this, I have found that these relationships I have with my athletes have transitioned into success in my classes. These students now respect me more, listen to me more, and treat me as a teacher they have had for years because of how dedicated I am to their school. My relationships I have formed makes me feel as if I have been teaching these kids for years, and I honestly believe this contributes to being an effective teacher. If the students like and respect you, you are off to a good start to having good classroom management. I wholeheartedly believe the success I am having so far, stems mainly from my coaching in this school. I cannot wait to continue to coach them the rest of the year even after my internship ends. (Intermediate/Secondary Intern)
It’s up to the teacher to bring everything back and to de-catastrophize the day
One thing I’ve noticed during my internship in Kindergarten is the possibility of a well-planned day breaking entirely apart and its ending up with a completely different plan come 3:00 pm. I had never realized how good teachers must have the ability to think on their toes, be flexible, and understand that learning opportunities arise everywhere—in so many different situations.
Sticking to the plan is not always a good thing. Speaking for Kindergarten, routine is so important! So often routine can be broken, but it’s up to the teacher to bring everything back and to de-catastrophize the day. That takes a special kind of person! It is a thick stew of personality traits, characteristics, and behaviors that is responsible for a teacher’s ability to de-catastrophize.
Let’s have some fun—Imagine your favorite stew, only think of the vegetables as spontaneity, resourcefulness, creativity, and patience—the meat of the stew is organization. The spices that pull everything together are kindness, compassion, and understanding. The spoon that stirs the pot so nothing burns on the bottom is dedication. The heavy cast iron pot is passion. The stove that cooks the stew is the school community. Every entity is essential for positive results. If one is missing, the stew can be ruined before it even begins to cook. (Primary Intern)
One Mega Thank You to Mr. Maurice Barry
This is to formally thank Mr. Maurice Barry, coordinator of the Faculty of Education’s Teaching & Learning Commons located on the 5th floor of the Education Building. When the idea of doing The Monday eMemo via a blog came up about a year ago, Maurice was most enthusiastic and offered his help and expertise on getting it set up. Here we are now with our final issue going out today and all 13 issues have been via blog!
We first started off with Maurice doing the conversion from an MS Word issue to the blog issue upstairs in the Commons; I sat next to him as he tutored me through what he was doing. 4 or 5 issues later, we came down to my office on the 4th and Maurice put me at the driver’s wheel; prior to this of course he provided me with a 2 pager tutorial on how to do the conversion step-by-step. He was at my side for at least a couple of issues and then it was time for me to “jump out of the nest” and “fly on my own”! Still being a tad insecure at this point, I made sure I had his cellphone number and his home phone number very near just in case I ran into any difficulty. I think I may have called him a maximum of twice and for the past several issues I have been doing the blog all by my lonesome!
I am certainly no computer expert nor a blog expert but Maurice being the consummate teacher and a great one at that obviously did a very competent job of teaching me the blog basics. My blog insecurities have disappeared and the reaction to our blog format has been wonderful. Now when we start up again in January, 2018 I’m hoping I won’t need a refresher course as retention is sometimes problematic in the learning game! But if it is, I’m sure Maurice will be there to give me that helping hand.
Thank you, Mr. Barry, for all of the above and it’s always a pleasure to converse and work with you. You are an invaluable asset to all of us – faculty members and our B. Ed. students; we are most fortunate to have you!
Recommended Book Resource for Primary and Elementary Interns
Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel (1939)
Author and Illustrator: Virginia Lee Burton
Celebrating its 75th anniversary, Mike Mulligan was reprinted in 2014. Sure to entertain all children, it will be especially appealing to young boys. More boys than girls struggle with reading, and teachers and parents are constantly looking for books to hold the attention of active young boys. Mike Mulligan still attracts busy boys who love trucks, cars, and just about anything that moves. The opening lines will draw in even the reluctant:
Mike Mulligan had a steam shovel. Her name was Mary Anne. Mike Mulligan was very proud of Mary Anne. He always said that she could dig as much in a day as a hundred men could dig in a week, but he had never been quite sure that this was true.
Mike Mulligan and Mar Anne had been part of building highways, railroads, and big cities. But now with the advent of gasoline, electric, and diesel shovels, there was no work for steam shovels, and Mike Mulligan and Mary Anne were VERY SAD. Most people were selling their steam shovels for junk, but Mike loved Mary Anne and would not do that to her.
Then, one day Mike read about how the town of Popperville was going to build a new town hall. So Mike Mulligan and Mary Anne went to Popperville and offered to dig the cellar in just one day. The person in charge said it would take 100 men to dig it in a week. Mike Mulligan repeated that Mary Anne could dig in one day what 100 men could dig in a week, even though he did not know if this was true. He even said if they could not do it in one day, they would not have to be paid.
So the challenge was on! They started early the next morning. A little boy came to watch, then more people. “Mike Mulligan and Mary Anne dug a little faster and a little better”. More and more people came as the day went by and Mike Mulligan and Mary Anne dug even faster and better. The people cheered them on, “Hurry, Mike Mulligan! Hurry! Hurry! Dirt was flying and the smoke and steam were thick. “Bing! Bang! Louder! Faster!” Then it was quiet and the cellar was finished. They had dug the cellar in one day!
Then the little boy looked in the hole and asked, “how are they going to get out?” They had dug so fast they had forgotten to leave a way out. Everyone thought hard, and finally the little boy suggested they leave Mary Anne in the cellar as the new furnace and Mike Mulligan could be the janitor for the new town hall. “Why not?” said the people. “Why not?” said Mike Mulligan. So when you go to Popperville, you can see Mike in his rocking chair sitting beside Mary Anne who is heating the new town hall.
Filled with movement, noises, and excitement, Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel is a timeless classic that will be loved by all, and one that cause children to plead, “Read it again”.
On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 1)
“Some smartphone, allowing me to drop it in the toilet!”
On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 2)
“I’m thinking of dropping my acting classes . . . too much drama!”
Quote of the Week
“Kids can see through to the truth of the matter. And while the flashy stuff can entertain them for a while, it’s the steady consistency of empathy that keeps them connected to us. It’s the relationships that we build with them. It’s the time we invest. It’s all the little ways we stop and show concern. It’s the love we share with them: of learning, of life. And, most importantly, of people.” – Lori Gard, huffingtonpost.com
Education Law Corner
Across Canada all provinces have legislation designed to protect children. This legislation is independent of education or school acts but obviously impacts on how we interact with children in the delivery of educational services. One aspect of all provincial child welfare legislation which has significant implications for educators is the requirement of “mandatory reporting” or the “duty to report”.
Mandatory reporting refers to a legal or statutory duty requiring any individual who has knowledge or a reasonable suspicion that a child is in need of protection to report such a matter to the appropriate authorities such as the Director of Child Welfare or a peace officer. In practice, these reports are usually made to a social worker or to a police officer.
The literature on reporting child abuse advises teachers and school administrators of the usual legal points they need to be aware of:
- You are required by law to report your suspicion of abuse, even if you do not have any concrete evidence to support your belief.
- You must make a report to the legally stipulated authority, usually the police, or to the child welfare authorities; reporting only to your principal is not sufficient.
- You can be found guilty of a crime if you have knowledge or suspicion of abuse and do not report it to the proper authorities.
- Your identity will not be disclosed to the person who is suspected of committing the abuse.
- You cannot be punished or prosecuted for making a report that proves to be incorrect, as long as you did so in good faith.
(Retrieved from http://home.cc.umanitoba.ca/~wallind/chapterfour5.html)
On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 3)
“Careful! Mr. Ellis is dripping with sarcasm today!”
Concluding Comments From The Editor
That concludes our final issue for 2017.
Hockey-wise locally: Not a great lot to report this week. Friday night we had a good crowd – 14 players and the 2 goalies. Yours truly had a lack-luster night – 1 assist! However, 1 assist is better than no assists. We have approximately 5 games remaining in this season – looks like we will go deep into the playoffs! No problem there as we are a scrimmage team and not in any league! Our final game involves our 2 teams playing for the inflatable Stanley Cup and the customary team photo! Oh, our Cup currently has a leaking issue – some duct tape should solve that problem we hope!
NHL-wise, les Habs have been on a roll especially with the Ottawa Senators! And this Saturday night, they defeated the Sens again 3-1and the Leafs lost to the Buffalo Sabres by a score of 5-2! A great night for Habs fans! My turn again to call the Stephenville sister-in-law for some more “vindictiveness”!!!! C’est bon, c’est bon!!!!!!!!
As this is our final issue for 2017, my thanks to all the interns who took the time and made the effort to send in submissions in spite of an extremely hectic teaching schedule; without those submissions, this eMemo could not exist. To all those readers who have been most complimentary on our eMemo blog efforts, thank you, thank you, thank you. And as mentioned earlier, a great big thank you to Maurice.
We will return as Volume 12 in 2018 – issue # 1 should come out on Sunday, January 7, 2018
Best wishes to all – Jerome