Below are the results of the best internship I could have ever imagined! I couldn’t have dreamt up a better placement, more supportive cooperating teachers, and a better learning experience. I am so happy to have experienced various subjects in all grades K-12. I have grown so much over the last four months (as shown by my well-rounded teacher visual). My ratings for Professional Development increased from 2.67, to 3 and finally 3.67. My Interactions with Learners increased since September from a 2.55, to a 2.82, and finally a 3.55. My Planning/Evaluating/Assessing rating increased from a 2.65, to a 3.8. My Instructional Competence rating increased from a 1.43, to a 2.4, and finally a 3.6 this December. My Teaching Strategies came in at a 4 (100%) from a 2.25. Professionalism went from a 3.56 to a 3.88. Therefore, I was able to carry out my goal of a 3.50 score or more in all areas by following my October plan for success (working on intense behaviors, differentiating, using technology, etc.). My strongest to weakest areas were as follows: Teaching Strategies, Professional Qualities, Planning/Evaluation/Assessment, Professional Development, Instructional Competence, and Interactions with Learners. Although my rating is very exceptional and well above my expectations, I know there is a lot of things I can continue to work on. You cannot be a teacher without being a lifelong learner. I will always have room to grow and lessons/plans will need to be adapted, especially in a student support role. I would like to continue my focus on using technology in the classroom, differentiating instruction, and handling intense behaviors appropriately. These goals are applicable as both a student support and classroom teacher (K-12). As this journey comes to a close, it is bittersweet but I know it is an end to a beginning of a long, happy career. I will miss this school, my colleagues, and all the lovely students! I cannot thank those at Mossbank school, the students, the staff, the community, and most importantly, my two wonderful cooperating teachers for such a terrific experience. Hopefully, Mossbank school and/or Prairie South will be a big part of my near future! Time sure flies when you are having fun! 🙂
At the midway point of internship (where has all the time gone!?) this is my current rating:
I have moved up in regards to Professional Competence and Development (2.67 to 3), Interactions with Learners (2.55 to 2.82), and Instructional Competence (1.43 to 2.4). I have maintained my ratings in Planning, Organization, Assessment, and Evaluation (2.6), Teaching Strategies, Skills, and Methods (2.25), and Professional Qualities (3.56). My goal is to increase Interactions with Learners, Instructional Competence, Planning, and Teaching Strategies to 3 (or more).
My goals are to work on classroom management (extreme behaviors), providing students with more choice, differentiating assignments (tiered lessons), and using more technology.
After my first month of teaching at Mossbank school, one of cooperating teachers and I rated my overall performance. We looked at areas of Professional Development (A), Interactions with Learners (B), Planning and Evaluation (C), Instructional Competence (D), Teaching Strategies (E), and Professionalism (F). It was nice to see how closely our assessments aligned.
My ratings were as follows:
2/3. Professional Development and Interactions with Learners
4. Planning and Evaluation
5. Teaching Strategies
6. Instructional Competencies
My focus will be on Teaching Strategies and Instructional Competencies for the next couple of months. I will be focusing a lot on classroom management/behavior/procedures. I can’t wait to see how I grow over the next three months!
So far, classroom management has been the most challenging part about teaching for me. Firstly, because I am more of a caring person than an authoritative figure – both types are needed in schools and at times teachers must try both roles – and secondly, because the very nature of education revolves around intrinsic motivation. However, I believe that although teachers cannot make students have intrinsic motivation, being an extrinsic force and a reminder will never hurt.
With this in mind, I will be trying popsicle sticks question asking with my Grade 3/4 class so that anyone can be called upon at any time. I think it is also important to use my professional discretion, and call upon students at random, when needed. I will also be using a marble jar reward system, where I add marbles to the jar when students are being good. In the end, they get the reward of extra recess, as physical activity is vital for learning and the children also love it. The idea is that kids will support each other to make good choices and spend less time laughing at/or with those who are impulsive. Both of these ideas are from the Teaching Channel and have been discussed in my ECS 410 assessment class (see my Classroom Experiment blog post). Since most behavioral issues come from not understanding the work presented, I will be differentiating my work and stopping to check for understanding with exit questions and “thumbs up or down” breaks. These ideas are things I will be using in every grade I teach (3 to 12). Secondly, I believe behavioral issues come from an excess of energy so Brain Gym will be used in my 3/4 class and art drama cards for my grade 7/8 class. For my Grade 9/10 class, this article (and idea I read about in First Days of School by Harry Wong) is something I am considering. In summary, the strategy involves writing students’ names on the board every time they blurt out, etc. so that it acts as a visual reminder. These students often seem to want to avoid their work when it gets tough and it is hard to think of ways to keep them accountable for completing the work and not take away learning opportunities for those that are engaged. Things like sending them to the office or outside do not help because then they have achieved their goal and get to avoid the work. Hopefully this strategy works!
Classroom management will always be something that I need to focus on. It won’t ever be something I can ignore, as a well-managed class allows for learning and a class without management does not. What ideas do you have? How do you manage your classroom?
The Internship Seminar at Kenosee Lake was beautiful! Not only was the location outstanding, but the food was good, the seminars were informative, and it was nice to take a breather after completing 1/4th of our internship placements. Aside from all of the fun, the most beneficial parts of the internship seminar were creating a contract with one of my cooperating teachers. It was nice to outline when and how I will take over classes for my three-week block. It was also great to go over the assessment of my work so that we are both clear about what is expected. I can now apply each criteria piece in at least one of my classes and let the criteria drive my professional development data collection sheets. It was also nice to see how being in a SST placement fits with the internship criteria, as it is a very different placement! Lastly, and most importantly, it was great to continue to build a relationship with Katie. Her philosophies and beliefs about teaching are inspiring and often we would get sidetracked and talk about these, only to come back with a quarter of the assignment completed but a lot of insight gained. I have a lot to learn from her and my other cooperating teacher, Leanne. I feel blessed to be in the placement that I am – with support and K to 12 experiences. I also get to learn from two very passionate teachers with different strengths. I couldn’t ask for an experience that fits me better and I cannot wait to see how much I grow, through both successes and mistakes and A LOT OF HARD WORK!
Working “hard” at Kenosee Lake:
Note: if you are interested in the accompanying worksheets that are not attached but are mentioned in the unit plan, send me a comment and I can email them to you!
Happy planning/teaching! 🙂
Update: I added a station, differentiated lesson.
Well, it is that time again. Another great summer at Camp Easter Seal has come and gone and I am a new and better person for it. But this year instead of the post-camp depression and keeping Triffons in business due to excessive orders of pity pizzas, I get to bypass all the feels and ENTER THE CLASSROOM. However, I’d like to note that staff room snacks aren’t much healthier than pity pizzas. What I have learned thus far is that they are completely earned: TEACHERS WORK HARD! Teachers in the school have spent nights there until 1 am and I have already put in at least 15 hours this weekend unit planning, only to feel like I’ve just begun. This is no 9-5, “I will do the minimum” kind of job. And the obvious reason is because of the kids! The kids who chase you down the hall to sing you happy birthday. The kids that tell you their dreams involve “not becoming that famous, like only featuring in two or so movies because I want to be a mom of five and a plastic surgeon and a framer’s wife.” The kids that sing about tacos when they should be listening, but you can’t help laughing anyways. The kids who love your class. The kids that pretend to hate your class. And the kids that actually hate your class. The kids that act out because they need your attention. The kids who aren’t really sure who they are yet and the ones confident enough to get up and dance when music plays. It’s for all those kids and the 100 others that us educators do what we do.
These first few weeks have been nothing short of amazing. A little intimidating, yes. But amazing. The first week was a lot of information to take in but the reading professional development was a great refresher and I plan to utilize most of the reading strategies we were shown. I loved the way they passed out resources freely and modeled the ideal rather than just stating what it was.
During my three week block, I will be teaching 3/4 Health, 7/8 Arts Ed., 9/10 ELA, 11/12 ELA, and student support work focusing on numeracy, literacy, and reading intervention. I am also involved with cross country, SRC, boys volleyball, and supported learning. Later on, I may work with other teachers to start a girls group. I am also getting the opportunity to observe many teachers at work and have two cooperating teachers that I get to learn from. I love that I get to work with every grade in the school, including Kindergarten. I couldn’t have created a better placement for myself if I tried. I wanted nothing more than to experience multiple grades, multiple needs, and multiple subjects. So far, I think my niche is Grades 3-12 due to the independence these learners have.
I welcome any readers to join me on my internship journey at Mossbank school. Stay tuned for weekly pictures of positive environments, lesson plans, reflections and more!
“Do what you love; love what you do.”