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Internship Reflections

Pre-Week 1:

The week before my first week of Internship was filled with great highs and many lows. The day before my first day at Ruth Pawson Elementary School in Regina I was hit with a serious blow to my personal life at home. My Dad, who was fighting a brief battle with Stage 4 Cancer, passed away. This was a shock to myself, my family, and my cooperating teacher. Luckily, I have known my cooperating teacher, Jodi McMartin, for 7 years as she was my  Grade 8 teacher at Dr. L. M. Hanna School.

Despite Jodi asking me to not come in to the school Monday morning and wanting me to take the first week before school off to spend time with my family, I went in to the school library at 9:00 on Monday morning. As I told the staff when we were doing introductions, I decided to come into the school for two reasons: 1) I feel that it is very important to surround yourself with a strong support system who will look out for my best interests; 2) I never pass up a free breakfast. Luckily for me, both of these things were present at the staff meeting.

After our initial staff meeting, the rest of the week consisted of a significant amount of prep work. My first order of business was designing my “Mr. Giesbrecht” bulletin board. I decided to introduce the students to myself based on my family and where I have traveled, which are two of my greatest passions. I also signed up for my extra-curricular activities this week (girls’ volleyball, SRC, and lunchroom supervision) and decided which subjects I would be teaching first (Phys. Ed. and Science). With the beginning of the school year on the horizon, I am getting anxious for my class to arrive!

Bulletin Board

Week 1:

Well, this is it. Time for the Big Show! All of the nerves that I may have felt before the school year instantly disappeared when my 30 students sat down in their desks. All of the students were very excited to begin the new year in Grade 6/7 and I was just as excited as they were. The majority of the first few days in the classroom focused on establishing rules and procedures for the classroom which will be essential going forward.

Highlight of the Week

Easily my highlight for this week came from my first Art assignment for the students. As part of establishing our classroom routines, we needed to assign lockers. In order to identify who was in which locker we created Life 101 Tags. The criteria for the students was that each student needed to create a locker tag with a positive life quotation that means something significant to them. The moment of this that stood out to me was when I told the students a quotation that meant a lot to me in my life. The quotation was “Don’t count the minutes, make the minutes count.” In one of the most candid moments of my very short professional life, I revealed to my students that my Dad passed away a week prior to school beginning. I told the students that these words were something that I always kept in mind when spending time with him while he was in the hospital. I feel that this conversation allowed me to start a relationship of trust with my students only a few days into the school year.

Challenge Going Forward

I feel that it became fairly clear in the first week that an issue in the class will be classroom management. While I have experienced classroom management issues before, this will be a much more difficult task. I believe that this will be the case because I have these students in my room for the next four months and need to solve these issues early in the year. I believe that the classroom procedures we have put into action will help with this, but that remains to be seen.

Life 101

Week 2

The second week of school went much more smoothly than the first. Classroom routines are now in full effect which brings a greater sense of order to the class. I am beginning to build great relationships with my students and I am continuously learning more and more about the strengths and challenges that they face with their learning. This week we took our first field trip of the year. We took our class, along with the Grade 2/3 class, drove out to Fort Qu’Appelle for the festivities at Treaty Four. This field trip was a great learning experience for both myself and the class.

Highlight of the Week

As mentioned above, this week we took our class on a full-day field trip to Treaty Four. My personal highlight for this week was having my cooperating teacher feel confident and comfortable enough to leave me alone to supervise a large group of students. When we arrived at the location, we promptly split our class into two groups and went on our separate ways. It was great knowing that I was able to be trusted with my group of students for the majority of the day. With this freedom, we were able to do what we pleased and attend the sessions that interested us the most. I hope to have similar experiences with the many field trips that we have planned. One of the two activities that we were involved in was geocaching. We have a full-day field trip planned for October where we will go geocaching. Seeing how excited the students were to complete this activity makes me very excited for the field trip coming up!

Challenge Going Forward

One of the downfalls of this field trip is that it was highly unorganized. The festivities at Treaty Four were attended by many students from various schools. In a nutshell, it was highly unorganized chaos. Without a set schedule of events, my group was forced to wander from location to location and wait for extended periods of time. We were only able to get into one event on our own where we listened to Elders share stories about the history of treaties. While the presentation by the Elders was good, it was difficult to comprehend all that they were saying. We shared the tipi with another school who were very restless and made it hard to understand. On top of that, there was a gentlemen constantly speaking over the PA system which made it very hard to hear. What I learned through this is that it is very difficult for me to deal with unorganized events. Going forward with field trips, I need to ensure that our time spent on the trip is productive and we do not spend time standing around not being engaged. This is something that I will need to focus on when planning field trips in the future.

 Treaty Four

Week 3

Teaching took a backseat this week as I was out of the classroom for three days for my Internship Seminar. This seminar was a great learning experience in many ways. There are several areas that I now know I need to focus on. The collaboration that took place was phenomenal. So many great ideas were shared over the course of those three days that helped me develop and focus as a student. Two other major events that took place were girls’ volleyball tryouts and our first canoe trip to Wascana Lake for our Grade 7’s. Each of these events provided challenges, but as we progress forward I am sure that they will turn into successes.

Highlight of the Week

I feel the greatest benefit that I took from this seminar is that my relationship with my co-op developed to a much greater level. Although Jodi and I have known each other for many years, I felt that the dialogue component really allowed us to connect on another level. Using the dialogue prompts provided by the Internship Manual, we had a great hour-long conversation on the first day of the seminar. These prompts allowed us to talk about what we felt were each others strengths, we concerns we may have going into this internship, and anything else imaginable. Overall, I feel that this was a great three-day experience to set my internship in the right direction.

Challenge Going Forward

The challenge that is now evident with these three-days away from the class is that I need to work on planning ahead. Naturally when you are away for the classroom for three days, you need to plan for a substitute teacher. What I learned through this experience is that my lesson plans for a substitute teacher in a much different way than I do for myself. In my own lesson plans, I know enough of where I envision the lesson going to have a simplistic lesson plan. However, when planning for another teacher my lessons need to be much more detailed so they know exactly what to do. This week I also learned what goes into preparing an information package for the substitute, which takes a lot of work.

Wascana Lake and geese

Week 4

After returning from our Internship Seminar, we knew that there was a possibility for our classroom management and expectations to be in shambles since we were out of the room for three days. Luckily for us, our substitute did a great job of maintaining classroom management and allowed us to pick things up right from where we left off. This week featured our final two Grade 7 canoeing trips which were a complete success. Seeing the level of effort that the students put into learning the new skills was fantastic!

Highlight(s) of the Week

I had two standout moments this week which made it difficult to choose from. The first highlight that I had this week was taking part in SPARK training. SPARK is a specialized Physical Education program the I learned through a seminar at Hawrylak School. This was a great learning experience shed a whole new light on the Physical Education landscape for me. This resource will now play a major role in how I shape my lessons going forward. The second highlight was having the first game of the season with my girls’ volleyball team. The girls performed better than I could have ever imagined and we won our first game. The level of growth and development they showed after only a few brief practices let me know that this team will go great places.

Challenge Going Forward

During our Collaborative Team Meeting this week I volunteered to assist two of my Grade 7 students with the Leveled Literacy Intervention Program. The LLI is a program which will help these students develop their literacy skills in order to succeed. Although I feel confident that I can make a positive difference for these students, I know that it will take a lot of work. However, I am willing to take this work on, learn how the program works, and put it into effect.

SPARK

Week 5

This week was another typical week at Ruth Pawson School. I was kept quite busy with the subjects that I taught, the extra-curricular activities that I work with, and my Faculty Advisor visiting me for the first time. Although I felt that there was a small amount of pressure on me to perform well, I did feel confident in my abilities as a teacher. Another major event this week was that our girls’ volleyball team had their second game of the season and won! We are now off to a 2-0 start to the season and the team is developing very well.

Highlight of the Week

This week’s highlight – for the students especially – was a movie incentive afternoon that we had for the students on Friday. At the beginning of the year, we told the students that on a monthly basis we would have some form of incentive for the students that completed all of their classwork and assignments. Early this week we sent out a Homework Alert checklist for parents and students to see which assignments they had completed and which assignments they still needed to hand in. I found that by having this movie afternoon in place, it made the students more dedicated to completing their schoolwork. Having the Homework Alert was also a great way to create an inventory for the students to know what they still needed to complete in order to qualify for the afternoon.

Challenge Going Forward

At our staff meeting this week on the PD Day, we had a presentation about how assessment should be recorded in GradeBook for all of the students work. While I pride myself on the rubrics I am able to create for each assignment and activity, it was made evident that there are considerable changes that I need to make to my assessment practices. The greatest challenge in this regard will be in my Physical Education class. Up to this point, we always had the students self-assess at the end of each class based on how they felt they performed that day. This provided us with numerous marks for this subject and an opportunity for the students to have a say in what their mark would be (provided it was a deserving grade). However, after this staff meeting we learned that there should be no marks included for aspects such as effort, participation, and a homework checks. Everything now needs to be based solely on the outcome it is working towards. This revelation will now make me go back to the drawing board and reassess my assessment practices.

power teacher

Week 6

This was a great week at Ruth Pawson School! All of my extra-curriculars are now in full swing after the Student Representative Council kicked off this week. We have begun establishing roles and plans for the coming months at the school. Two major events we have upcoming are a Halloween Dance and a Fun House for the younger students. Seeing the leadership that this select group of students are showing is a great representation of their character and community of the school. Sadly, our volleyball team lost their first game of the season, dropping to 2-1. Our girls were gracious in defeat and put forth a great effort. Despite this loss, we are second place in the league and still have a lot of momentum going forward.

Highlight of the Week

This week’s highlight came in the form of one student celebrating their birthday. While we always strive to make students’ birthdays special through giving them a small gift box with candy, this week I went the extra-mile with a student. This student and I have a special love-hate relationship with one another. One of my favourite subjects to teach is Phys Ed. I love getting the kids active through our intense warm-up, which we do once a week in our hour-long class. This student absolutely despises the long warm-up. On his birthday, the student constantly asked me if in today’s Phys Ed class we would be able to play his favourite game: Bench Ball. Although I told him that we would be unable to do this today because of being in the middle of our busy volleyball unit, I had all the intentions of playing Bench Ball. With the help of my co-op and one of the students in my class, we were able to stage a little prank on the other students where I told them that since they were not lining up quietly and being respectful, we would be doing nothing but exercise today. Naturally, this flustered the birthday boy and everyone moved down to the gym in silence. After explaining to the students the very difficult fitness stations, I told them that I had to grab some free weights from the hallway for them to lift. Little did they know, the free weights were actually dodgeballs and they began playing Bench Ball for the remaining 20 minutes of class. Seeing the look of appreciation on this student’s face when he realized that i fulfilled his birthday wish was priceless. It proved to me that the littlest thing can make the greatest difference in making someone’s day.

Challenge Going Forward

Over the past week I have been trying to find new ways to diversify my presentation while teaching. I am trying to make a conscious attempt to do more than simply stand in front of the class and speak from a textbook. This week, that took two forms. First, with our Ecosystem Science unit winding down, I decided to have the students learn about food webs and interdependence. This was done by giving each student a card with a role of a forest organism and having them throw a ball of yarn to the other organisms that they interact with. In the end, this create a large red web stretching across the class room illustrating to the students how they depend on one another. Another method is by using technology in the classroom. We recently had our projector mounted on the ceiling of our classroom which will provide many new opportunities. I am now able to easily show videos and slideshow presentations to the class. While I am gaining a firm grasp on alternatives to lecturing, there are many more opportunities for me to grow in this dimension. These new changes provide many new professional targets, namely withitness. This is an aspect of my teaching which will require a great deal of focus and attention going forward.

happy-birthday-cupcakes

Week 7

Despite only having a four-day school week with the Thanksgiving holiday, this week was jam-packed with activities for our class and school. Our Girls’ Volleyball team won yet another game which improved our overall record to 3-1. Our class took two field trips this week: one geo-caching in downtown Regina and White Butte trails, and the other for an afternoon at the Lawson and Fieldhouse. Between all these field trips and my continually increasing workload of subjects teaching is becoming more and more busy, yet more and more enjoyable.

Highlight of the Week

The highlight of this week was easily our class field trip geo-caching. We started our morning off with a Historical Building Scavenger Hunt. After breaking into our groups (which will be further expanded on for the Challenge this week) we used our GPS to enter coordinates, searched for street addresses and pictures of buildings, and entered locations as waypoints for coordinates. This was a great introduction activity with the students learning a lot about the old architecture in our city.

The second part of our field trip took place on White Butte Trails. After a quick lunch, we broke off into our group and had to search for five caches, each with a different puzzle to solve to get the treasure. Going from point-to-point provided a great workout for many of the students, as each point was about 800 metres from the next. While that may not seem like a long distance, it certainly is when you factor in zig-zagging through trees and walking through the thick bushes. At the risk of sounding like I’m gloating, I will mention that my group was the only one to find and unlock all five caches in the time provided. This was a great way to have my group work as a team, as each member had a different role each time, in order to accomplish a goal.

Challenge Going Forward

My challenge this week, as alluded to earlier, came in the form of creating groups for the field trip. Between the three staff members and three volunteers, there were roughly four students per group. The challenge with this was decided who needs to go in which group. There were many factors to consider: Who works well together? Who cannot work well together? Who will act as a leader? All of these questions lead to creating, at least what I felt to be, six fairly well-balanced groups. While there naturally some issues, everything went fairly well. When faced with putting students with parents who are giving there time to volunteer, it is very important that they display the same level of discipline that they typically – or better yet, ideally – display in the classroom.

Geocaching

Week 8

It felt fitting that this week, which is now the mid-point of my internship experience, featured both very high highs and very low lows. I feel that this week provided some of the most true-to-reality teaching experiences. This week included lessons which were soaring successes and one that came crashing down before my eyes. I always knew that this moment would come, and frankly, I’m surprised that it may have taken this long before manifesting itself.

Highlight of the Week

This week’s highlight came in the form of seeing a moment of great personal growth and achievement in one particular student. At this point as a teacher, I see my specialty coming in the gym. I love Phys Ed. I have always enjoyed sports and fitness and value the opportunity that I have to share this with my students. I like being able to teach students new skills or sports that they were either previously weak in or had little appreciation for. A major aspect of my Phys Ed class places a focus on fitness. At the beginning of every lesson, I have the students complete a warm-up. Some days it can be as easy as running five laps around the gym and stretching. On other days, it consists of an intensive six-minute warm-up. The latter of these two options is often dreaded by the students. One student, in particular, despises the physical fitness portions of this subject. During one of my Phys Ed classes this week I decided to lead the students through a game of Fitness Bingo. Using a Bingo card I prepared, each square consisting of a different exercise, students had to complete whichever exercise was drawn until two lines were complete on the card. This process resulted in a near blackout before acquiring two lines, but the students were engaged nonetheless. Well, except for the one student who loathes fitness. After much prodding and encouragement, we were finally able to get him off the bench and participating in the exercises. When the student completed a 30-second plank, which he previously believed to be impossible, his classmates rejoiced! Everyone came over and gave this student a high-five and said “Great job!” Seeing the sense of community that these students demonstrated in this moment was fantastic. Everyone was extremely supportive and enforced our idea of supporting one another through our tough times.

Challenge Going Forward

As mentioned earlier, this week featured a major disaster of a lesson that came crashing down before my eyes. The project that the students were completing was making a Halloween-themed baking item to eventually make in during a class and share. the assignment involved the students researching a recipe and making a poster to show what they are making. Previous to this lesson, we had extensively worked on how to create a proper procedure by creating a recipe together for “How to Make a Grilled Cheese Sandwich”. After making an example together, I told the students that they would have the opportunity to make their own pairs for the project. This should have been the first indication of what was to come. There were numerous issues making the groups: so-and-so did not want to work with this person, this person didn’t have a group, these people wanted a group of three. After some deliberation, groups were established. Somewhere throughout the process of making rough drafts, revisions, and second drafts there was a great deal of confusion. Students were in different places and seemingly no one had any idea what was going on (and I include myself in this statement). Eventually, this whole project was thrown out and we have gone back to square one with learning how to make a procedure in much greater detail.

From this experience, I have learned two things:

1) I need to be much more explicit in my directions. Everyone needs to be paying attention to know what is going on when I say it the first time. From here on out, I need to constantly check for understanding before moving on.

2) During all the confusion, many of the students resorted to asking my cooperating teacher, Jodi, what was going on. Since she wasn’t teaching this subject or assignment, she was just as confused as them. This, to me, is a huge problem. Having the students resort to asking Jodi what is going on when I am the teacher shows that I have not filled that primary role in the students’ eyes. With my three-week block only one week away, I need to do more to fully become the teacher in the classroom.

Bingo

Week 9

This was a very busy week at Ruth Pawson School. With the exception of the last day before winter and summer break, I cannot think of any time that will be as frantic as Halloween. With being involved as one of the advisors for the SRC, I watched with great pride as members of the Student Council put together many great events. In the morning of October 31st, these students organized a Fun House for the students in Kindergarten through Grade 4. This Fun House involved many activities, including an obstacle course, face painting, computer games, and colouring. This event went off without a hitch and all of the younger students had a blast! In the afternoon, we had a Halloween dance for the senior students. This was my first experience as a chaperone for a school dance and it was very interesting. Between all the set-up, running the canteen, and mopping up pop spills, it was easy to see that everyone was having a great time.

Highlight of the Week

My greatest highlight this week was wrapping up the Girls’ Volleyball regular season. After completing eight games, the girls finished with a great record of 6-2! With this record, we have clinched first place in our division going into the playoffs. With the playoffs quickly approaching next week, I feel very confident in our athletes’ abilities and I do believe we have what it takes to head to the city finals!

Another major moment this week was having the opportunity for our schools Superintendent come out and watch me deliver a lesson. I greatly valued this opportunity to present a Phys Ed lesson to Luc Lerminiaux, as I do feel that Physical Education is one of my greatest passions and strengths when it comes to teaching. Perhaps what was better than just having him watch my lesson, he was actively involved in assisting me to develop my students’ volleyball skills. This was a great opportunity for me and I hope to have it happen again in the future!

Challenge Going Forward

Next week will be a big week for me. On Monday I will begin my three-week block. While I am very eager to be able to work with my students full-time, I find that I am encountering a great deal of anxiety as a I enter this experience. I am fully aware of the heavy workload that will come along with this work. I am more than prepared to spend early morning and late nights in the classroom, regardless of how exhausting it may be. I feel that my biggest challenge as I enter my three-week block will be maintaining standards and management expectations, as well as developing my own routines. During my block, my main goal is to try new things and take chances. This is a perfect time for me to experiment before I have a class of my own for a full year, which will allow me to see whether or not these new techniques succeed.

Volleyball

Week 10

This week marked the first week of my Three-Week Block! I came into this week full of nervous anticipation and anxiety, but that quickly went away once I found my groove in the classroom. I greatly enjoyed having full control of the classroom from the start of the day until the very end. Another major event that happened this week was Divisional Playoffs for my Girls’ Volleyball Team. Despite our strong outing in the regular season, we did not bring our A-Game to the table when it mattered most and we did not move forward. Although we did not achieve our desired result, it was very clear to me that the girls showed tremendous improvement from the first day of try-outs until this point, and that was great to see! I cannot wait to continue working with them again when I return as a volunteer coach for the Basketball Team after the Winter Break!

Highlight of the Week

As mentioned in the introduction for this week, I began my three-week adventure as a full-time teacher. While many of my colleagues in this situation found it stressful or were dreading it, I was greatly looking forward to it. Being able to organize my timetable to fit my needs and have the students come to me for assistance and not my co-op teacher was a great feeling. While there were many instances pandemonium and chaos, I greeted it with a smile and marched on through to 3:37 when the bell rang. I know that all these moments are bringing me to the realization of what the real life of a teacher is like, so I am meeting them head-on and learning from them.

Challenges Going Forward

The biggest challenge that I feel I am facing this week is all the preparation work that is involved with each day. While planning for each day and the lessons is not difficult, as I am rather organized with my day plans and planning ahead, I find that the greatest challenge is reteaching myself many of the things that I learned about 10 years ago when I was in Grade 7. The primary example for this would be math. Although I have not been weak in the subject of math during my time as a student, the methods of learning math skills have definitely changed. When I was in the 7th grade, there were no manipulatives. I learned that this is the way you divide decimals because that is simply how it is. Now I am frantically trying to teach myself how to use tiles, blocks, and all sorts of objects to teach my students the proper way for them to maximize their learning. While I feel that I am getting the hang of it, I feel that this will take up most of my preparation time in the weeks going forward.

math

Week 11

Week Two of the Three-Week Block. I finally think I’m getting this! The craziness of the full-time teaching experience is slowing down and I am realizing how to do things in the most efficient way possible in order to meet the needs of not only my students, but also myself. This week I have become fully engulfed in my role as a teacher. I have been frequently arriving at the school around 7:30 every morning to start preparing for the day and making sure everything is in order and have stayed the latest of any days from the past two-and-a-half months. While the long nights of photocopying papers, preparing lessons, and putting up bulletin boards may seem like a lot of work at the time, it’s nothing that a quick nap after school can’t remedy.

Highlight of the Week

With report cards quickly approaching next week, I am now aware of how much of a burden maintaining marks can be. For teachers throughout the school, this week has been a frantic race to get all assessment collected and prepared for entry when they are completing their report cards. Remarkably, I have been able to escape this stress and torment. As it luckily turns out, my co-op teacher and I have recorded all of our marks up to the proper standard and that alleviated a lot of stress. This process of completing report cards has taught me a very valuable lesson: stay up-to-date with marking. The major reason that I have been able to avoid a lot of the report card stress is because I am always very prompt in entering my students’ work as soon as it is submitted to me. Now… If only there were a way to do that for the report card comments…

Challenges Going Forward

In last week’s post, I made mention to the fact that preparing for math is going to be one of my greatest challenges in the coming weeks. After numerous late evenings of planning – which would result in my dreams being invaded by base-ten blocks and yellow manipulative tiles – it turns out I have not had as many opportunities to teach math as I had initially intended. This week, our class had two field trips during our math times and that caused us to lose that class time. In the end, this will just cause a minor inconvenience of having to extend my math teaching beyond my Three-Week Block as initially planned, which won’t be a major issue. This week has taught me that there will always been distractions and other events taking place and requiring you to move away from what needs to be taught that day. Regardless of what the reason is, I now know that I need to be able to change my plans on the fly and adapt accordingly.

report-card

Week 12

This week is the third week in my Three Week Block, and things are moving at full speed. The day smoothly moves from start to finish, the students know that I am their primary teacher, and I am feel very comfortable in this role. As I posted about earlier, I have been cautiously navigating how to introduce some teaching methods which may be considered controversial or inappropriate by some. After some consultation with my Principal and Co-op Teacher, I decided that the best method to avoid any confrontation with parents was to send home a permission form to keep the parents fully informed. One of my goals as I have entered my Three Week Block was to achieve a level of transparency with the parents that makes me seem more approachable to them and keeps them up-to-date with what is happening in the classroom. I feel that this method was the most successful and it allowed me to show what I was wanting to show without needing to worry about a negative reaction.

Highlight of the Week

This week I began working on a P.A.A. project with the students focusing on photography. I reserved some cameras from the School Board and the students have begun learning how the cameras work, how to take great pictures, and have started working on a major assignment using the cameras. In our current Health unit, we are focusing on bullying. Students were placed into pairs with a camera and they have been working on making a comic using their own images in a program called Comic Life 2Students have really been enjoying working with this program and the cameras, and I am really excited to see what their final product looks like!

Challenges Going Forward

In what is turning into a common trend over the last few weeks, math continues to be my biggest challenge. Now that I have been able to grasp an understanding for myself, or at least I believe I do, that challenge now becomes delivering this content to my students. The difficulty I am having with math is being able to cater to all the students different needs. Finding ways to challenge the students that understand the concepts quickly while simultaneously attempting assist the students having troubles sometimes feels like I’m being pulled in four directions at once. While I’m sure I’ll be able to find my groove in conquering this issue soon, this is proving to be my main challenge at this point.

Comic Life

Week 13

The end is near! This week marked the end of the journey which was my Three-Week Block. While it was definitely and odd feeling not having to start off the morning on Wednesday teaching, it was a great relief to start winding down. The first subject I wrapped up was Language Arts and my poetry unit. This will soon be followed by Social Studies and Health. I will continue teaching Phys Ed and Science until the last day of classes. After the great success of the volleyball season, this week marked the beginning of basketball. There were two tryouts held this week to narrow down the students vast number of students who came out try and make the team. It was rather surprising how many students tried out. Naturally, with this many students that meant that there needed to be some cuts. This was something that I did not have to experience with volleyball as we did not have that many girls come out for the team. Deciding who to not select for the team was a very difficult process with some hurt feelings, but I feel we have a very strong squad.

Highlight of the Week

Without a doubt, my highlight of this week was completing the Three-Week Block aspect of my Internship and reflecting upon it. There was a lot I learned through those three (and a little extra bit) weeks that I was never exposed to before. The greatest benefit that I felt in these three weeks was having my own sense of independence for this time. I was the one running the show. I was the one the students came to for assistance. I was the one who got to take risks and watch them either flourish or crash-and-burn. Overall, I feel that this was a great experience and I cannot wait to have my own class in the future.

Challenge Going Forward

With my Three-Week Block behind me, I now feel that my main challenge will be slowly letting go of the control I had in the classroom and handing it back over to my Co-op teacher. I will also need to work on finding ways to fill the time that I now have vacated from the subjects that I no longer teacher. Ideally, this time will now be used to rotate around the classroom and now operate as more of an assistant to the teacher and help the students who need extra assistance. While I’m sure this will initially be difficult, I feel that taking the time to work one-on-one with the students will continue to present me gain a new perspective as a teacher. One thing that won’t be a challenge is getting a little rest and relaxation with fewer late nights of planning.

feet-up-on-desk

Week 14

This week allowed for a considerable amount of observation to occur with not teaching full-time. I also have used my newly found free time to start running practices with our Girls’ Basketball team. With the season not officially starting until after the Christmas Break, I’m hoping to use this time to develop the basic skills these girls need in order to succeed in the New Year. This week I also continued to wrap-up subjects as I finished my Social Studies Inquiry Project on Pacific Rim countries. With one less subject to worry about, I place a greater focus on Math as that comes to a close.

Highlight of the Week

As mentioned in the opening, this week provided many opportunities to run practices with my newly-formed basketball team. After having a month off with the end of the volleyball season, it was good to get back in the gym working with a group of students. I have once again realized that coaching and Phys Ed are really my element when it comes to teaching and working within the schools. Since I will be returning to complete my degree after the Winter Break, I will be coaching on a volunteer-basis while working with the team. I am very happy to be spending more time in my school interacting with the students that I have grown to know over the last few months through sport. For me, extra-curricular activities have provided a great avenue to get to know students I would not usually have the chance to work with and build relationships outside of the classroom. I cannot wait to extend my stay in this school and help these students develop further athletically.

Challenge Going Forward

This week’s challenge – no surprise – focuses around Math once again. This week our Math unit took us into multiplying decimals using operations and manipulatives. After spending a major part of my weekend teaching myself how to multiply decimals using Base-10 blocks, I was ready to deliver my lesson. For the most part, it went pretty well. Many of the students caught on quickly, those that had trouble came for help, and I actually knew what I was talking about! However, after a few classes of working through examples and assignments, it became apparent that a considerable group of students did not have a strong grasp of their multiplication tables which caused major problems working through the assignments. Because of this, we had to take several step backwards and reteach the basics of multiplication, as well as long-division to prepare for the next lesson. While this action was necessary to help these students succeed, it has now presented a new hurdle for us to overcome in order to complete the unit before the Winter Break.

cropped-basketball-banner2-1

Week 15

One more week to go! As I head into the last week of my Internship, I find things getting more and more frantic in the classroom. Between trying to get all assignments in and marked before I leave next week and the Christmas concert put on by the students, it’s been a mad dash towards the finish. Aside from the Christmas concert, there were also several other events happening such as basketball practices and Candy Cane sales to support Adopt-A-Family for Christmas. The rate that those candy canes disappeared was unbelievable! Students came out in a rush to pick up as many candy canes as they could. Next week we will go out shopping for the family and deliver their gifts for Christmas. This will be a great community serve

Highlight of the Week

This week, the SRC at Ruth Pawson School decided to hold a spirit day for all the staff and students. The theme for this spirit day was Pajama and Messy Hair Day. Most of the students embraced the opportunity to show up in their pajamas and show their bedtime style to their classmates. Since I have a role on the SRC as a staff adviser – although only for one more week – I decided to wear the most flattering set of pajamas I could find (shown below). Seeing the smiles on the faces of teachers and students in the hallway as I walked through was priceless. Making everyone that happy was easily my highlight of the week.

Challenge Going Forward

With only one week remaining in my internship, the focus now turns toward wrapping everything up before the last day of school. Over the next five days, I need to give and mark two exams, and evaluate all outstanding assignments that I have. Keeping the students on task and focused on deadlines will be key for making this happen. While the finish line is definitely in sight, I need to do everything I can to not stumble before crossing it.

1463227_10153566367815058_1868076407_nWeek 16

Well, this is the end of my internship journey! Over the past 16 weeks I have worked very hard to build relationships with staff and students, get out of my comfort zone to develop my teaching skills, and begin to lay a groundwork for what my future classrooms will be like. While this year started on an extreme low, by the end of this experience I have had the time of my life. I cannot wait to finish my degree and get back into the classroom.

Highlight of Internship

Reflecting back on the the last 16 weeks, I can easily say that my involvement in extra-curricular activities was the highlight of my internship. I took every opportunity I had to get involved outside of the classroom. Being involved with Terry Fox, SRC, Girls’ Volleyball and Basketball, and lunchroom supervision was a great way to get to know students that were not in my classroom. Being able to form these relationships was a great way to make the students feel more comfortable. I look forward to coming back to the school in January to continue coaching basketball.

Challenge Going Forward

Now that I have completed my internship, the challenge now moves to asking myself “What do I do now?” In the New Year, I will be returning to the University to complete my degree. Luckily, due to planning ahead, I now only need to take three classes to finish my program. With the way I planned my classes, there are two taking place online and one on Thursday nights. This leaves a considerable amount of time for me to try to find something to do during the day. This schedule is one of the reasons why I decided to continue coaching basketball – so I can stay busy in the school setting. Ideally, I hope to become employed as an Educational Assistant to stay in the schools as much as possible. If this doesn’t work out, I’ll have to explore other avenues, but I absolutely want to be in a school as much as possible.

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