Highs and Lows

Here I am going into week four of my internship (week three with students), and I have laughed, cried, stressed, and everything in between.   This career I chose challenges me in every single way and just when I get ahead, something new comes up. This past week flew by and I spent around 55 hours at the school from Monday to Friday. To say that I was exhausted this week is an understatement. I have been busy teaching my math unit on whole numbers, teaching my grade 9 art class, and I began my social studies unit on Saskatchewan. I have also begun to plan some grade 3/4 art classes, a healthy eating unit, and the next math unit on patterns. On top of that, I am still helping to coach the senior boys’ volleyball team. That in itself has put me completely outside of my comfort zone. I never played volleyball, let alone coached it.

This upcoming week I am attending an Internship Seminar with one of my cooperating teachers for two days. That means that I will be planning for my first ever substitute to teach my lessons.

One thing that I am proud of so far is my dedication to my students and their individual needs. I have been able to differentiate my lessons fairly well and I cannot wait to see the benefits of this.

One thing that I am currently not overly proud of is my math unit and the math booklets that I made for my students. I anticipated that my students would be at a higher math level than they currently are at. Due to this, on Friday I scrapped my plan and started from scratch — after a slight breakdown though! I was just feeling so frustrated! I was frustrated that I had spent two class periods teaching concepts that many of my students did not grasp. I was frustrated because I had put so much time into creating a booklet of worksheets for my students that I ended up scrapping. I was frustrated because I did not know how to reach those students who needed the extra guidance. I was frustrated because I should have known better. I definitely learned a valuable lessondo not over plan; you need to meet your learners. So, on Friday, I tossed the lesson that I had planned and we started over. Starting over and talking about the basics was the best thing that I could have done. Starting Monday we will review a bit more and then slowly work our way into the harder concepts. I guess this is another lesson, ease into the learning rather than rushing in. 

This upcoming week I will be teaching three math lessons, two social lessons, and an art lesson. I will also be leaving lesson plans for a substitute for math, grade 9 art, and social.

 

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I may have changed my plans last week, but my goal and intent are still the same — be the best teacher that I can be for my students.

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My First First Day as the Teacher

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And what a whirlwind of a day it way! No, there were no tears. But, I may have been a teensy, weensy bit close. I find that any hiccup in my day causes me to question my career choice. This is definitely not ideal. Then, on the other side, I have an amazing and extremely fulfilling day and I feel so sure of everything. My guess is that this sense of not knowing comes from being in a new and uncomfortable place. Good things are yet to come.

Learning is change, and change is not comfortable

 

My Day:

  1. Arrived at school feeling 0% nervous.
  2. Began to feel slightly nervous.
  3. Nerves were climbing.
  4. Starting meeting my students.
  5. Failed miserably at introducing myself to the entire K-12 school.
  6. Officially 100% nervous.
  7. Planned an introductory math lesson that was way too much for my students.
  8. Wandered around unsure of what to do.
  9. Worked on memorizing 50 students names.
  10. Stressed about the stress I am going to stress about later.
  11. Got a hug from a new student of mine.
  12. Chatted with a new student on mine.
  13. Realized that all of my stress, my un-comfort, and my awkwardness is worth it in the end. I am extremely grateful for this opportunity and no matter how unsure I feel, I know that every moment is worth it.

 

Now, time to go to my first ever coaching experience – Senior Boys Volleyball. Imagine how stressed I am about that! HAH!

The Night Before

Here I am, the night before I begin my big   Internship.    What does this mean? It means that the next four months will be total and complete insanity. I am afraid for the exhaustion that I will feel. I am afraid of the frustration I may feel.    But … I am excited for the smiles that will greet me every morning. I am excited for the waves that will leave me at 3:30. I am excited for the ambitious eyes that will follow me as I teach a new lesson. I am excited for the Ah-hah!! moments that some students believed would never come.

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Internship has always been a big scary thing that loomed in my future. Now, here I am, completely ready to take it on.

 

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This is one of the last big steps to being where I want to be — and I could not be more ready.

 

This semester I begin by teaching Grade 4 Social Studies, Grade 5 Math, and Grade 9 Arts Education. Each one of these things is going to challenge me.

 

This semester my main goals are to: integrate technology, differentiate instruction/assignments/assessments, and give clear and assertive instruction.

 

This semester I am melding with the school community and becoming a part of the Senior Boys Volleyball Team, the school Choir, the Kindness Club, and the Green Earth Club.

 

I am extremely grateful for this opportunity and cannot wait to see the teacher that I will be after this amazing experience.

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Key Words … Keep Calm

Internship – a four month period when ‘teachers in training’ are given the opportunity to try on the hat of a real life teacher in a real life school. During this time, one must be prepared to cry, to laugh, to jump for joy, and pass out from exhaustion. This is my glorious next step on the way to becoming a teacher.

All summer I have been preparing to begin my internship. I have put in an unbelievable amount of hours in order to feel confident and ready for next Tuesday when the hallways are once again full of students. In my classrooms this fall I will see a split class consisting of grade 3s and grade 4s, I will also see a class of grade 5s and grade 9s. I am getting the chance to teach a bit of everything. I also hope to teach/help out in the Kindergarten class as I have had no experience teaching/guiding students of that age. So, I have my binders labeled, my dividers in place, my lesson plans printed, and my clothes picked out for my first day of school next week. Mind you, I have been there this week with the wonderful chance of meeting my fellow staff and getting settled into the school.

I begin my internship by teaching Grade 5 Math and Grade 4 Social Studies right off the bat. This will be my second time teaching math and to say that I am nervous is an understatement. I have put in countless hours trying to get my first unit just right but watch – it will change the moment I meet my students. That is okay though because that means the second go around will suit the students that much better which means they will learn much better. I am very excited to teach my grade 4s their social studies. The unit is entirely about our beautiful province – the past, present, and future. I love it.    I will also pick up the grade 9 art class, grade 3/4 art, grade 3/4 science, grade 3/4 health, and grade 5 ELA.

It will be a fantastic and wild ride but it just means that I am one step closer! Time to literally Keep Calm and Intern On.

Exciting Times! Pre-Internship Week #1

What a wonderful and tiring, terrific and exhausting, incredible and frustrating career I have chosen!         I         LOVE         IT!

The past four days of my pre-internship have been four the most exhausting AND incredible days ever. By being in the school every day instead of once a week, I have been building wonderful and strong relationships with my students, I have been learning tons and tons from my cooperating teacher, and I have seen my comfort and confidence levels increasing. I love feeling a part of the school community as well. I have come to see that the school I am placed in is extremely supportive and nurturing. Any new teacher would be blessed to get a job there!

Today I taught my fourth lesson on poetry – I am really excited about my unit! The students also seem engaged and energetic to learn more about poetry!

Lesson #1 – Pre-assessment regarding poetry & Poetry Introduction

Lesson #2 – Colour Poems

Lesson #3 – Sensory Poems

Lesson #4 – Concrete Poems

I have been marking the students’ poems each night and while it is difficult, I love it! My students are very bright and artistic! They really are wonderful poets! It is very easy to teach this unit to students who are so excited to learn!

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I have been more exhausted than every before! I have also been happier and more ambitious than every before! I cannot wait to have my own school, my own staff, my own classroom, and my own students!  — ONE MORE YEAR.

Tomorrow is a Culture Fair and Celebration of Learning. I know it will be another busy day, but I couldn’t be more excited!

The Outcome

I won’t lie, over the last couple of years in university I have asked myself a couple of times why I hadn’t put my time into a career that pays a bit more for my hard work and time. When deciding to become a teacher, I also had nursing in mind. Periodically, I had a feeling of regret. This regret would disappear in a week or so but during that time, I wished for a more solid compensation for overtime hours and a higher wage. I fought this inner battle for the past year and a half or so.

As I progress further into my education program, I am starting to see a familiar trend that all of us early elementary teachers share – we do not do it for the money. Instead, we all have hearts overflowing with empathy, kindness, and sincerity for our students. We go to schools every day and we instantly see why we chose this career. Our passion is to give our students the absolute best that we can each and every day – even if that means spending our evenings and weekends preparing our teaching to better suit each one of our little learners.

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Why I Teach

This quote sums up the reason that I know that I chose the right career. It is due to the smiling faces, the kind words, the difference that I can make in my students’ lives and learning.

So while I may not make huge amounts of money, what I am able to do really is priceless.

See you later, Alligator

Well, today was the day. It was the day that I said goodbye to my littles! I took a lot of time today to chat and build my relationships with the students. They were especially sweet with their hugs and sweet comments today. I cannot believe how strong my friendships are with them! They have helped me become a closer version to the teacher I one day want to be.

I cannot forget to mention my cooperating teacher. She has opened my eyes to many things. Firstly, I have come to realize that I can be a bit too hard on myself and I instead have to think of the good. Last week during my physical education lesson I was very negative because the students were louder and chaotic. But, Susan prompted me to think about what the students got out of the lesson. Yes, the students were able to be active and to practice skills, so really, what more can I ask? I have to realize that I cannot control everything…this is going to be hard for me! Secondly, I have learned that I am sometimes too soft spoken. I need to work on being more assertive with my voice. Phrases such as “Can you please do this”, give students the assumption that they have an option. I have to improve my phrasing and ‘teacher voice’. Thirdly, I learned that at the end of the day, those students are children. Six hours is a long day for them and they really do need time to have fun and be kids. I have always thought of grade twos as mature and invested in classwork all day, but this is not the case. They are still young and their brilliant minds need time for relaxation and fun as well.

They students made me feel especially emotional today. I really am going to miss them. There are quite a few of them that I have ‘brought home in my pocket’ for the next few months (I do not physically have them with me but in my thoughts). While I am planning for my three-week pre-internship in March, I will be thinking of my diverse learners.

Below are a few of the cards that I received today. These cards will definitely be keepers!

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Today marks the end of something that I was terrified to do. I was terrified to stand in front of a class and teach, I was terrified to say the wrong thing, I was terrified to challenge myself. Instead, I persevered and I am now a confident and inspired pre-service teacher.

My next challenge is to plan an interdisciplinary and engaging unit on poetry for March! Remember Gladys McDonald School, it is not a goodbye but a see ya later!

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