Tag Archive | new teacher

Well Internship Is Over, Now What?

I still remember my first day at university – really it feels like it was yesterday (just with a bunch of great events and memories that somehow happened in between there!).  But now, here I’m saying: It has been over two months since I completed my internship… WOW! To finally be able to say those words and knowing that I have 2 months left of university left… well… it’s absolutely insane! I can’t believe how my journey through university has gone by so fast (I truly am beginning to believe the expression “where did the time go?”).  

To comment on my internship, words cannot even begin to express how thankful I am for the people I was surrounded with during my experience.  As much work as it was, I enjoyed every minute of it.  And every morning, I didn’t wake up thinking “Ugh, now to go to my job… can’t wait till 3:30 comes!” Instead, I woke up every day excited for what was going to happen next and to surround myself with the positive support network that I had.  Yes, there were days when I could have wished for a few more minutes of sleep or even wished a redo for a day/lesson, but I always went to school feeling excited.  When end of December came, it just didn’t feel right leaving – I was very nervous to come back to school to be a student again!

So now that internship is done, I’m in my last semester of university.  To say the least, the teacher back to student transition has been a bit rough for me.  I feel like my rating as a student fluctuates constantly between a good student and the worst procrastinator in the world.  There are times when I tackle homework and actually surprise myself in what I have accomplished work-wise.  But then there are times when my mind starts to wonder from what my students are doing, how they are doing, and how much I miss teaching and being in the classroom.

Because I had taken a few summer classes during my summers, I am only taking 3 classes, and wow! What a huge help this has been (I definitely encourage everyone to do this!).  I am finally able to start relaxing and take a break from internship and I now even have time for a job (which is at the university).  Dealing with loans this year has been a huge struggle and now having the time to be able to work has been awesome! So right now, I’m working and in university and I’m still able to find the time to relax and actually blog (I have surprised myself with this, but I really do miss blogging – however now that I announce that to the world… I will probably fall off the band wagon again and not post for another month or two…).

Anyways, so now all that is left for my time at the university is to hopefully stay on my “good student” self rating and get through this last semester.  Also, it is currently job application time so wish me luck (which I will add is not easy! There are so many possibilities and considerations to make! Oh boy!)!  And to all you future educators and those graduating, good luck and I hope your university experience has been as amazing as mine! I hope you see you all on the flip side!!!

And hey! While I’m at it, I just wanted to thank all the people in my life for being so supportive and caring.  I know that having to deal with me at times can be difficult but it’s everyone in my life that has helped me get to where I am now. 🙂

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The First Week – Huge Respect for Substitutes!

September 3rd-6th

So first week… what can I say? It had it’s ups and downs which is to be expected.  I began the semester by teaching Workplace and Apprenticeship 30 class (for those who don’t know, this is a grade 12 math class).

So, the very first day of class I only had my students for 20 minutes since we had an assembly part way through the class.  This was okay but it felt very chaotic.  I had a few things planned but with my mind running everywhere, I came off as very disorganized and did not have a teacher presence/authority.  The next day, however, I feel like my teacher authority came out when discussing the classroom expectations and rules and that I finally had established myself as a teacher (and not as some young person who thinks they can teach but can easily be run over by the students).

Things seemed like they were going well until my teacher had asked me to try “subbing” for one of her classes (don’t worry there was another teacher present!).  I asked what class it was and when she said “Foundations 10,” I figured “Hey, it’s grade 10 math! This should be a piece of cake!”   Was I ever wrong! The material that was being taught that day was converting units in the Imperial system (US metric system).  This was most definitely not on the top of my “most favourite topics in math” list.  In fact, I feel like I have put a block on this high school memory and I actually don’t remember learning it.  Asking my friends, they admit that they learned this material so I have come to the conclusion that I just chose to forget it because it was that horrid! So, if you could guess, this lesson did not go so well! I had trouble explaining the material and we actually ended up moving to the assignment and not finishing the examples (with the promise that my co-op would go over it the next day).  The one thing that I remember clearly in my mind is the fact that I kept trying to hint for the actual substitute teacher to take over (because he knew the material very well!) but he wouldn’t.  However, as sad as I had become about this lesson, this was a huge learning experience for me and I’m glad that he didn’t let me back out.  The next day I apologized to the class and taught the last example to the students. By doing this, I hoped that I could redeem myself as a teacher in those students eyes (which is huge I feel because I will be teaching them in about a month!).

With that said, my actual class went very well and I have already learned a lot! The sub day had me question myself as a teacher but you know what? We all have our bad days! It’s going to be okay and you know what? It’s only my first week! It’s not expected to go great! Internship is where you should be taking risks and making mistakes.  Just know that if you make mistakes, take them as a learning opportunity and don’t let it get you down!

“Blog About It” Entry 6 Part B

Part i) Reflection on “3 Big Questions” Blog

I completed my pre-internship practicum last Thursday and all I can say about it is WOW!!  The amount that I have learned in my three years in the education program does not even compare to what I have learned and how I have grown in this three week block.

Looking back at my initial responses to the “3 Big Questions” in Part A of the Entry 6 blog, I can say that my answers now aren’t that much different from three weeks ago.  The only big difference I would say is that I would put more emphasis on some points and less on others.  One example is in the first question: What do you think is the purpose of field experience (i.e. pre-internship practicum, internship, etc.)? In my response, I do not differentiate which of the 5 points are more prominent than others.  Now, I believe that there is one point in particular that is the most important purpose of the field experience: “it’s a chance for us to practice teaching and work towards becoming the teacher that we imagine ourselves to be.”  The whole time during my experience, this was the most important factor that I considered and always kept in mind while teaching and lesson planning.  In fact, the other purposes that I mentioned passed through my mind only a small fraction of the time when compared to how often I thought of the above purpose.

Maybe one change that I would make to the above statement is I would like to reword it: It’s a chance for us to experiment and try new things that will help us work towards becoming the teachers that we imagine ourselves to be.  I feel that the previous statement doesn’t put enough emphasis on the “trying new things” part which I believe now is a huge part!  During my pre-internship, I decided that now would be the best time to try new things since I would only be there for three weeks so I couldn’t mess things up horribly and that if I did mess up, there would be an experienced teacher to help me out.  There are a number of things that I tried out in the grade 11 classroom that I was teaching which I was very unsure of the results (but turned out pretty great!):

Note: I am used to teaching and learning math through direct instruction so even though this may seem like small things to you, they felt like huge chances to me! 1. Instead of teaching proofs by writing notes on the board and trying to explain it, I did an activity with them where they had mixed up parts of a proof and had to put it together in the correct order (kind of like doing a puzzle).

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2. I used a manipulative for teaching the ambiguous case rather than just drawing diagrams on the board and explaining.  Students paired up and each group got one manipulative.

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This idea was shared from Christine Schmidt’s website.

3. As an introduction to a new unit, I used an inquiry style introduction to find out where my students were at.  In this activity, I gave students a list of equations and a blank chart with 3 categories.  At first, I would tell students which category an equation fit into and they would have to guess what the category was.  After a while students began to realize what pattern was developing in two of three categories (the third because this was a “neither” category so there would have been no pattern) and then they would tell me where the rest of the equations fit.  From this I was able to see what students could remember from previous classes (which I found out they knew equations from the first category but not from the second).

If I had to change the emphasis placed on each of the 5 purposes that I had listed, going in order from most important (1) to the least important (5), I would say:

1. ” that it’s a chance for us to practice teaching and work towards becoming the teacher that we imagine ourselves to be.”

2. “gradually get used to the idea of teaching and makes us aware of some of the things to expect when we begin teaching.”

3. “allows us a chance to take what we have learned in our classes and actually apply that information into the classroom.”

4. “observe others and expand our ideas of and knowledge about teaching.”

5. “increase PLN (personal learning network) and get our names out in the schools.”  (This one may vary depending on which field experience you are completing – if you are in your internship this will have a higher importance when compared with your first field experience where you are just observing teachers).

Part ii) Reflection on the quote from Dewey (2003)

“Working with preservice teachers can be puzzling and surprising, particularly because they are students at the same time that they are learning to be teachers… I offer the following suggestions for teacher educators in assisting preservice teachers to discover their teacher selves. It is important to help students identify inconsistencies between their beliefs and practices and to discover counter examples to strongly held beliefs. In addition, preservice teachers must learn to assume personal responsibility for their actions and performance and not blame the students or others for their problems. To be a learner requires the consent of the learner (Loughran & Northfield, 1996). Therefore, it is essential that the learner is open to learning and seeing multiple perspectives. It is important that preservice teachers acquire a discovery, problem-solving mode that allows them to inquire and examine their teaching and the students’ learning through reflection and inquiry. I have learned that for the inquiry–reflection cycle to successfully become a habit of mind, it is important to help students develop the following attitudes and dispositions essential for reflection: open-mindedness, responsibility, and wholeheartedness (Dewey, 1933).”

The key message that really stands out to me is the importance of challenging and reflecting on one’s experiences and thoughts to help  that person discover his/her teacher self.  I can say this from my own personal experience, a recent example being from my pre-internship where I found that one of the best ways that helped me improve as a teacher was to reflect and think back on my lessons and think about how I could improve, what went well, what needed to be changed, and whether or not my teaching strategies were effective.

Also, during my post-conference with my cooperating teacher, he challenged my thinking and questioned some of the methods that I used to teach a particular lesson which really got me thinking about aspects of my teaching that could be improved or changed and whether or not they were best for the students and not just best for me.

Another key point hit in this quote is when Dewey states “To be a learner requires the consent of the learner.”  This can be said by the old saying that you can lead a horse to water but you can’t force it to drink it.  Same goes for teaching and learning; if a student is unwilling to learn, they won’t and you can try all you want to make them learn but the only way that they will is if they want to.  So, this is my question now: If students are unwilling to learn, how can we encourage them and help them to realize that they want learn and that it would be a great benefit for them to do so?  And of course I know that we learn all the time even if we are unaware of it but what about learning in schools?  How can we help students want to become  and realize that they are life long learners?

 

Quote taken from: Freese, A. (2006). Reframing one’s teaching: Discovering our teacher selves through reflection and inquiry. Teaching and Teacher Education, 22(1), 100-119.

First Day of Teaching!

Today was a fairly good day.  My partner, Ali, and I team taught a grade 11 mathematics course where we investigated the relationship between sine/cosine/tangent of an obtuse angel that the sine/cosine/tangent of its supplementary angle.  The lesson overall went fairly well.  It wasn’t super great but it also wasn’t a complete disaster.

The lesson plan actually pretty much went according to plan except for a few minor things.  There were a few good, yet unexpected things that happened during this lesson:

– Ali decided to do random questioning during the discussion of the chart which got students to pay attention and allowed for a variety of students to answer questions.

– I had noticed that the students seemed bored after completing the second row of the chart as a class.  So, instead of completing all the rows, I ask students to check their work with a partner later on and that we would just move on to answer the big question of the different types of patterns revealed in this chart.

There were a few things that Ali and I have changed to our lesson plan since we taught this lesson:

– In the lesson, we went through the chart provided in the textbook and didn’t provide any examples outside of what was given in the table.  The change that we made were to reorganize the table so that students could have a clearer visualization of the relationships between the angles and to include examples of the relationships that were not in the chart so students can have more examples to see.

– We added a few more questions to the assignment.  In the lesson students had roughly an extra 10 minutes of class time.  They were all caught up on homework so they stood around talking.  We just added an extra two questions onto this assignment and completed a homework check at the end of the period instead of at the beginning of the next.

– Also, we added a classroom management strategy.  During the discussion of the chart, one student was answering all the questions, except one or two.  So, to get other students answer, we will be calling off names off the attendance sheet (since we still don’t know names!).  We tried this later on in the lesson and it worked great! All students were trying out the answers and became prepared in case they got called on.  Also, Ali asked a student to answer a question who was busy talking with a friend.  After this, it seemed to make the student pay attention to class and not talk with his friend.

Just a general comment about my growth so far: I feel that my questioning is getting better.  During orientation last week, it felt as if I was only asking basic questions and that I was asking those same questions over and over again to the point where I was annoying students.  Today, I feel as though my questions were actually deeper questions and they encouraged students to ask me questions if they were stuck (which before they would just say they were fine and go back to working).

So already I can see myself improving from this experience (small improvements, but improvements none the less!).

One thing that I am excited for is tomorrow.  I am teaching a lesson on proofs that I changed last minute and I am trying it in a style that is considered “out there” for me and is out of my comfort zone.  I originally have planned to teach my lesson using a conversation/guided discussion type lesson; but today, I decided that I wanted try something different and something that might be more engaging then just writing notes on the board.  So, I am teaching proofs using  an already solved proof, but it is cut up into many pieces and the students have to work in partners to put it in the right order.  I discussed this with my partner and cooperating teacher and we are all unsure of how it is going to go (my cooperating teacher has never tried a lesson like this with this particular group of students) but they are interested to see how it goes.  I am very excited but very nervous, but I’m sure all will go well. 🙂

Wish me good luck!!