Greetings everyone – Week # 3 of the internship already! Interns, hope all is well with you. This week we publish submissions from you 2018 interns. So far so good. Weather-wise, the east coast seems to be doing a tad better than central and west; Labrador has lots of snow but also lots of big blue sky and super-cool temps! Those of you teaching senior high classes soon start semester 1 exams – supervising exams etc. will be a learning experience as well. Enjoy the issue.
Feedback From This Year’s (2018) Interns
Students love centers
One thing that I’ve noticed is that the students love centers. Even though they are only at each center for about 15 minutes, they accomplish more in those 15 minute blocks than they do during a single full-class lesson. They like to have choice, they like to be able to do a variety of things, and they like to be able to get up and move. Personally, I find it difficult to sit and focus on one thing for a long period of time – I can imagine how hard it is for young children. I’ve discovered that using centers engages students and helps them to do their best academically. (Primary Intern)
We are learning together
These first couple weeks of my internship have been wonderful and I’m learning so much. I believe this is mostly due to the high needs nature of my classroom. Within my room, there are ten students who are in the pre-referral stage for extra help, one student that is suspected to have FASD (fetal alcohol syndrome disorder) as well as a diagnosis of ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), two children with autism, one child who is select mute and another who suffers from severe social anxiety. Some teachers have said that they pity me for having such a ‘rough’ group starting out but I respectfully disagree with them. I couldn’t have asked for a better classroom to learn in. My co-operating teacher is great and I am so excited to learn from her as well as all the children in my classroom. We are learning together and it truly is the most beautiful experience. I can’t wait to see what the rest of my placement has in store.
I received some terrible news
Man, the first two weeks of the internship flew by! As a Physical Education intern, I think I have interacted with nearly every student at my school at least once. That is one of the benefits of being in the gym. However, day one at the school I received some terrible news: we were going to lose the gym. After exams are over, it is being renovated. The bleachers are being taken out and the floor is being ripped up. So, for a few weeks, we will be left without a gym. However this presents an excellent opportunity.
For the last two weeks I have been stuck in the gym and have been brainstorming ways to not only get students out of there, but myself as well. It’s entirely possible to have Phys. Ed. without the gym; it just requires a little bit of “outside the box” thinking. The cafeteria has a lot of floor space and the school also has a dedicated weight room and of course there are plenty of outside activities to engage in. My co-op teacher has tasked me with creating and teaching a unit that can fit inside the cafeteria, which I have been hard at work on.
Getting myself out of the gym has been a trickier matter. All the classes I teach are either in their or in the weight room. So my other goal this internship is to volunteer for extracurricular activities outside of athletics. I have already attended a meeting for the Creative Writing Club and I cannot wait for next week.
As the internship rolls on and I take on more teaching responsibilities, I look forward to implementing my own ideas into the school as well as learning from my co-op teacher how to properly engage students and teach Physical Education lessons. (Secondary/Intermediate Intern)
I am looking forward to the next two months
First two weeks of the internship went well, and I have already taught a few classes of Mathematics. I was nervous and excited about this internship, as I was worried about how the students were going to take me as their instructor. However, so far, I have all good experiences and my co-operating teacher is letting me take the responsibilities according to my interests while he is guiding me how to do the job well.
A few students have shared their thinking about Mathematics and have told me that those who are good in Mathematics are the smartest people! I just laughed and told them they can be as good as any other persons if they focus their interests and work hard at doing the Mathematics.
I hope this is going to be a valuable experience for me and I am looking forward to the next two months. (Intermediate/ Secondary Intern)
I am fortunate to be in Harlow, England for my winter internship
I am fortunate to be in Harlow, England for my winter internship. So far it has been a very enjoyable and eye-opening experience. This said, there are both positives and negatives that come to mind when I reflect on my first little bit of time here!
In general, the school I am interning at is wildly different than any that I have experienced in Canada. This sounds like a huge generalization, but I find that everything is more serious and intense here. This can be a positive thing, actually, because the majority of the students therefore take their education quite seriously. For example, I allow plenty of discussion in my classes because often every student is eager to contribute, and I’m constantly surprised by the quality of answers that they give. I feel like I’m learning just as much as I am (hopefully) teaching them. I’ve also thoroughly enjoyed joking around with the students and trying to get to know them all a bit better. The sense of humour of some of the students is incredible, and, not to portray stereotypes, but SO British.
One aspect of my school that I am not a fan of is the amount of disciplining that goes on. It is just too much in my opinion, and I am not looking forward to having to enforce certain school rules and policies (such as automatic detentions if homework isn’t done). Another somewhat annoying policy is that since I do not have something called a DBS check done I have to actually sign in and be ushered to my department’s office every morning. Even though they have my Canadian police check, without a DBS I am technically not supposed to be by myself in the building at any time (even though I’m often running around printing/photocopying, anyway). While it’s a pretty big inconvenience, I respect how serious the school prioritizes its students’ safety and adheres to its policies. (Intermediate/Secondary Intern)
Quote of the Week
“I have found a profession that makes my feet sore and my heart full. I have found a profession that isn’t okay with the easy route, a profession that forces me to make hard choices and spend way too much time thinking about others. I have found something that makes me feel profoundly alive, and God willing, I will get to do it for the rest of my life!” (Erin Taylor Green)
On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 1)
“I’m only in the third grade, and I’m already running out of memory!”
Recommended Book Resource for Primary and Elementary Interns
What Do You Do With a Problem?
Author: Kobi Yamada (2016)
Illustrator: Mae Besom
Last year I reviewed the book “What do you do with an idea”. Now Kobi Yamada has moved onto problems. No one likes having problems, but they are part of our daily lives. And we often try to avoid them, not think about them, hope they will go away on their own. The book opens with, “I don’t know how it happened, but one day I had a problem. I didn’t want it. I didn’t ask for it. I really didn’t like having a problem, but it was there”.
The boy shoos at it, scowls at it, ignores it, but it doesn’t leave. Then he worries about it, “I worried a lot…I worried about this and worried about that”. And the more he worried, the more his problem grew. And the more he avoided his problem, the more he thought about it.
So he realized he had to face it, where he discovered something, he discovered his problem had “something beautiful inside”. It held an opportunity. “It was an opportunity…to learn and to grow. To be brave. To do something.” And,” some opportunities only come once”. So now he sees problems differently, because “every problem has an opportunity for something good. You just have to look for it”.
Mae Besom’s pencil and watercolor drawings are appealing and complementary to the meaning of the story. They add depth and life to the problem.
Told in a positive manner, and maybe a bit idealistic, but Kobe Yamada does a wonderful job of encouraging us to face our problems. And for those who are younger and perhaps new to problems, this book may even convince us that problems are good for us.
On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 2)
“I have absolutely no patience with parents who have absolutely no patience!”
Research Study: Educators’ Perceptions of the Characteristics of Effective Principals
This is a study yours truly is currently involved in and is scheduled to be completed by late spring/early summer of this year. It is open to all educators, active and retired. The survey will take approximately 30 minutes to complete and all participants are eligible to be entered into a draw for an Apple iPad. If you are interested in participating, please email the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are attempting to read this eMEMO via my blog, you may be having difficulty accessing the site (being asked for a password etc.!). Not sure what’s going on there.
A number of readers have sent in suggestions – thank you – and the one that seems to be most reliable is: www.themondayememo.wordpress.com
Just click on the latest issue and you are good!
Education Law Corner
This week we continue with the topic of teacher misconduct in Canada. Here’s another actual teacher misconduct case recently adjudicated by the Ontario College of Teachers (OCT).
Member: Kenneth Gavin Bernard Williamson
Registration No: 150105
Decision: Revocation, Fine, Costs
A Discipline Committee panel revoked the certificate of College member Kenneth Gavin Bernard Williamson for engaging in repeated violent sexual abuse of a child. Williamson sexually exploited a boy repeatedly over a long period of time. He gained access to him through a program meant to help vulnerable youth.
Certified to teach in June 1980, Williamson did not attend the hearing on December 5, 2016, nor was he represented by legal counsel.
Williamson was convicted of buggery, indecent assault and gross indecency. He was sentenced to four years’ imprisonment. The criminal charges were ultimately stayed due to an unreasonable delay in the courts. The Court of Appeal did not overturn the factual findings made by the trial judge or the fact that a jury had found Williamson guilty. The Supreme Court of Canada only dealt with the issue of unreasonable delay and did not consider the factual findings made by the trial judge.
The Discipline Committee panel found Williamson guilty of professional misconduct and ordered that his Certificate of Qualification and Registration be revoked.
It also imposed a $5,000 fine and costs of $10,839.
The panel imposed the fine for a number of reasons. It found that the member’s conduct was one of the worst violations a person in a position of trust could commit upon a child. Williamson showed no remorse for his conduct during his criminal trial, did not acknowledge the tremendous damage his abuse had inflicted upon the victim, and did not participate in the College proceeding.
The panel found the costs were warranted given Williamson’s rationale for failing to participate in these proceedings — namely that he was financially secure and did not plan to teach again and, therefore, did not need to engage in the College’s processes.
By failing to communicate or engage in discussions with the College, Williamson required the College to incur the full costs of a contested hearing, which placed significant emotional burden upon the witness in this case.
In its decision, the panel stated, “The Member abused a vulnerable child who saw him as a father figure. The Member has preyed on a child for his own sexual gratification, and he should never again have the privilege of being certified as a teacher in Ontario.”
The panel added that the sustained sexual abuse had a significant detrimental effect on the victim’s mental health and his quality of life. The abuse damaged him psychologically and caused him lifelong pain
Source: Professionally Speaking (December, 2017) – Page 59 (available at www.oct.ca)
On The Lighter Side of Teaching (Part 3)
“I wasn’t just running in the halls. I was chasing my dreams!”
For follow-up, please contact:
Jerome G. Delaney, Editor
Associate Professor – Educational Administration
Faculty of Education
Memorial University of Newfoundland
St. John’s, NL Canada A1B 3X8