TJ’s Talk

Chat about teaching, teacher education, business education and lots of other stuff.

In the Classroom…as a pre-intern January 23, 2008

Day 1 

My first time in a big high school, Campbell Collegiate. I couldn’t believe as I was walking down the hallway, well almost running to keep up with my cooperating teacher, there were so many kids!!! I graduated with 40 of my peers from highschool and there was a max of 300 students in my entire high school, grades 7-12. 300 is like their graduating class. What an overwhelming moment for me. Suprisingly, for how many students there are the school doesn’t seem that big, thankfully or I would be lost in no time.

The day went really well. I found out that I will be teaching two Entrepreneurship 30 classes, in which I get to use most of the sequence I had already created, yeah! I will be doing my second sequence in Computer Studies 9, which is a compulsory course at Campbell and is actually only 50 hours. The other 50 hours of this course is made up of Home Economics. In the CS 9 I will be teaching resumes and introducing spreadsheets. All three of these classes I get to teach for 5 days, for a total of fifteen classes in the remaining 10 days that I have at Campbell. I am really looking forward to it.

My cooperating teacher also has an Accounting 10 class, which I am hoping I get to teach a little bit, it seems like a lot of fun and I love accounting, and an Accounting 20/30 split.

 During my downtime at Campbell, meaning when I am not directly teaching, I am likely going to go into one of the Special Education classrooms and also a Phys. Ed. classroom. Those are the ones that I know for sure, but I am sure that other opportunities will arise as I continue to be at Campbell.

 That is all for now, stay tuned for my thoughts after Showcase tomorrow…

 Two Steps… – Day 2

Or at least that is how many steps it felt like I took today between seeing some of the educators from my past. I took in Showcase today, which is a conference that is put on by the STF and only comes to Saskatchewan every 8-10 years (or so I heard from who I think is a reliable source). This is a two day conference and it is mandatory for every STF teacher in Saskatchewan. Saskatoon had theirs last week and it was Regina`s turn this week. This includes the Southern Saskatchewan rural school districts as well.I went to Stuart Mclean in the morning and it was excellent. I had never heard of him or the Vinyl Cafe before, I know get out from under my rock right. He was very funny and the time flew by. As I was exiting to the displays I saw my grade 5 teacher, my grade 6 teacher and other teachers from the elementary school in my hometown. Unfortunately I did not get the opportunity to talk to them, but I saw them. I went for a walk through the displays with a classmate and that is when it happened:I ran into my history teacher from high school who was also my golf coach and got the opportunity to catch up with him, and guess what, he is a Business Education minor and Cyril taught him!! Hahahaha. He said to say hello Cyril. When I was done catching up with him I saw my chemistry teacher/basketball coach, who has now become my friend. I haven’t seen him at all this school year which is pretty awful, although we stay in contact through email, but not nearly enough. He was with the the principal of the elementary school in my home town and we all got caught up and they reminced about their interning experiences. My chem teacher was saying that the school he interned in was so big that he had a map!!! Thankfully I have Campbell pretty well figured out. He is originally from a small town too so he gets the overwhelming nature of being in a big school for the first time. I was hoping that I would see him there as it has been too long and he has been a very important person throughout my life and he is one of the people that I can thank for helping me to choose this career and that has shaped the person and teacher that I have been, am and will be! Thanks Mr. L! Done talking to them, about to go and get a bite to eat when I run into a man who used to teach in Balgonie and coached the senior girls basketball team there. He is a great guy and from what I have heard from his pre-intern a great teacher. Then Mr. L showed up again and we all got to catch up. It was really awesome to see him as it has been a long time, probably 4 years at least. He told me about his travels across the school division and then about him ending up at Usher and of course we talked basketball. By that time I had lost my classmate and my ride! I found her though and we eventually got out of there. It was a really awesome day and I was really happy to see my old teachers. It was also really nice to start talking to them like I am their colleague. Who knows, come the fall of 2009 I might be! I still can’t call them by their first names though, even though they want me to!Tomorrow is going to consist of planning for my CS 9 class next week. My whole weekend will consist of planning, but hopefully I can take a break to watch the Cougs qualify for Nationals!
Planning without context – Day 3
Okay so not really without context, but still after one day of observing the classes that I will be teaching I sat down today to plan for those classes. Theoretically, I know how to engage students, I know how to vary my instructional strategies, I know how to evaluate, I know how to assign times to activities and instruction. Practically, I have no idea. I have never taught in a high school classroom! I have never taught 26 grade nine students how to do anything, never mind how to prepare a resume and cover letter for a specific job in a computer lab where there are many other issues to worry about than just who and what I am teaching.Having said that, I know that is the exact reason that we are pre-interning right now. If these things were easy to do and everyone could do them without practice there would be no need for teacher education programs and no need for classroom experiences before obtaining a certificate. Thankfully, someone very brilliant decided that these were not skills inherent to every individual and we now have the Faculty of Education.As I work through this planning I know that it is not fair to expect myself to be perfect at this point (or ever) and as long as I put in my best effort, I am prepared and I learn from my mistakes I will improve with every lesson. That is all I can ask of myself at this time.
So I really want to be a teacher? – Day 4
Today was quite the interesting day. Well really the first four periods were pretty straight forward and routine, then came period five! Wow! Let’s just say it was a real experience. Hopefully I can apply this experience to my future teaching to take some positives out of it. The other thing that was a positive is that it can’t really get much worse…if it does someone might need to rescue me or something.

 Okay so I might be exagerating just a little bit. It was pretty awful and I was pretty awful. It was extremely difficult to motivate them to do anything at all, the work we were doing was not hard and it did not even require any high level thinking. We were doing a web quest and it was pretty simple stuff. I was just amazed at how needy they were, they expected me to give them all the answers, well that is not happening!

So tomorrow I move on and try again. A colleague was nice enough to give me some resources to maybe try and get the students back on my side (thank you so much for that). So I will be trying that and hopefully if the regular teacher is back from having the flu, things will go a little smoother, hopefully a lot smoother.

I am also going to be teaching in the special education classroom this week as they have started budgeting. Nect week is Entrepreneurship. The time is just flying by!

More tomorrow…

Thankfully there are core leaders! – Day 5

So today was a new day and while I was not really recovered after the experience with my grade nines from the day before I was ready to move on, or at least try to. I had spent some time on Monday night revamping my lesson for Tuesday to try and get the students back on my side, although I am not sure that they ever started out there. I felt a little bit better about my lesson but I still had a very limited idea of how it was going to go over. More on that later.

 When I walked into my co-op’s classroom this morning I definitely did not see her but instead a substitute in her place. So this was my second experience with a sub while pre-interning in as many days and I have to say that my heart did a little flutter when I realized this. My co-op arranged for me to go into some computer classes and spend some time with the PAA Core Leader so I got to experience some new things today. In homeroom when the sub and I were talking I realized that he would be my prof for a class I am taking in the spring…kinda neat.

In third period I was able to corner the PAA Core Leader and we had a nice discussion for pretty much the entirety of class. He had a prep so I was not interupting a class and although I am sure he had other things to do he made time for me and I greatly appreciate it. He was able to help me out with the school description assignment, which was really nice.

Then we started to talk about my wonderful grade nines and the resumes I was trying to get them to do. He reminded me that the demographics in the area of my school make it hard to sell resumes to grade nine students as they are not going to be getting jobs anytime soon, or at least most of them won’t be. It was really amazing to me how all of a sudden he came up with this idea, and I literally mean all of a sudden, that he says he has never used in the classroom, to have the students choose a person of interest to them (celebrity, sports start, musician, etc.) to do a resume for. They would be learning all of the parts of a resume but would be doing it in a more engaging way. They would also be able to practice their internet searching skills which is part of the CS 9 curriculum. I really loved this idea and was willing to try just about anything to have a better lesson than on Monday. So I spent lunch revamping my lesson again so that I would be able to give them instructions on how to do the Celebrity Resume Assignment. I was excited!

The first 20 minutes of class did not go that differently than the previous day as they were continuing to work on a web quest that I told them they would have time to finish. Some of them were not on the right site, some were copying and some saw to it to distract everyone else. When we finished the web quest (well almost finished), I started to explain the assignment. It was a struggle. Thankfully at this point the teacher whose class this is normally helped me out at this point and that made a huge difference! I am very thankful that she did this or I would have had a tough time holding it together!

Finally, the students got to work and although there was still a problem with one or two students everyone else was working. At one point, I think that it actually was silent in the room. The students were buying in to this assignment way more than what I was doing previously, so thankfully there are core leaders or I probably would have had a breakdown!

Because of the success I had with this class, or semi-success, I have decided to attach the assignment for others who would like to use it: Celebrity Resume Assignment Hope that it can help someone out the way it helped me, or maybe it can help you avoid the problems I had in the first place!

Another thing that I wanted to note is that while I was talking to the Core Leader he asked me if I learned anything from the lesson I did on Monday, I did not even have to think! I learned more in that lesson than I would have learned if the students would have listened and did all that I asked of them. It was a tremendous learning experience that was very overwhelming at the time. And after two days with these grade nines I have to say that I am lucky I have thick skin, although a lot of what they did and said (especially today) got through and hurt I got through it and I am still okay!

Tomorrow I only have 5 of my grade nines as the rest are a play with their English classes. We are going to be playing some keying games and having competitions. Hopefully it will be a nice break for us both and we can still work on some skills.

Also tomorrow I will be teaching students in a special education classroom about clothes shopping. It should be a lot of fun and I am looking forward to it. The teacher that I am with in that class is just wonderful!

Sorry for the length of this entry, I hope that I did not bore you too much.

Until tomorrow…

March Madness – Day 6

No I am not talking about the NCAA basketball tournament that will be starting soon (I can’t wait), Campbell is in a bit of March Madness right now as well.

This is the final week of city basketball playoffs for both junior and senior teams and Campbell had three teams competing. HOOPLA will rap it all up next weekend for the senior teams and while a great experience it is an overwhelming, emotional experience.

There is a group of students and teachers leaving on a ski trip tomorrow to Kimberly, BC and in two weeks a group of students and teachers, led by my coop will be going to Europe.

If that is all not enough there are still classes to teach and prepare for, grade 12 students filling out post secondary applications, and 11 pre-interns in the school. Oh yeah, midterm marks come out on Monday and Tuesday! Wow, what a busy time. I think that I am busy, can you imagine adding all of that to your plate as well?

 Okay to the teaching, today I taught the VAP math class about clothes shopping. It was an interesting lesson. I had them go online and find things that they would like to buy, write down the exact item, where they were buying it from and how much it cost. While one student was done in the first 10 minutes (he didn’t take it very seriously, he knew how to clothes shop already) the rest took the entire time that I allowed to them. Then we headed back to the classroom and they had to pay me for the clothes that they were going to buy (they were given $600 at the beginning of the month and it has to last them through the entire month, unless they get a job). The teacher kinda has them doing a simplified simulation, it was interesting, fun and nice to work with a class that was respectful. I even remembered all of their names, okay there is only 7 of them so it was not that hard. I will be going back tomorrow to mark their sheets and observe their class again.

 I then sat in on my coop’s ACCT 11/12 class. I love that class, they are a lot of fun but still able to work at the same time. Tomorrow I will be working with the grade 12’s (three students) taking up questions.

Next week I will be teaching Entre 30 in period 1 and 3. It is amazing how different these two classes are. I have heard many professors say how different classes can be even when they are in the same subject, but these classes are a perfect example. The period one class is quiet and gets their work done, period three is more loud and chatty. Today I was able to observe my coop in this class and I know it will be a challenge to try to teach the same lesson to both of these classes next week.

Fourth period was ACCT 10 and I LOVE Accounting. It just makes so much sense to me. I was able to help the students and interact with them as they were working on a problem from a handout. I know that there are two ways to approach internship, you can teach your strongest subject or your weakest. If I were to pick my strongest I would be picking accounting for sure, weakest is for another time but from the way things are going grade nine computers.

Today in my grade nine computer class there were 7 students there. We played some keyboarding games and had some competitions. Yep I got schooled in TyperShark and just about every other game that we played. These kids could key! Whether they were using proper technique I don’t know but they could pump out the words. I have to comment on the one game that we played. It was in funster.com and you were given the first and the last name of a person and you had to make as many names as you could out of it. We were all in the same room so we were competing against each other.  The point of the game is to not only get the word but you have to get it before everyone else because as soon as someone uses a word it is gone. There was one young man who won every single time. He was amazing. He came up with double the amount of words as the person in second. It was awesome! Good job TacoRico!

Tomorrow the grade nines will have a work period on their Celebrity Resume Assignment. Hopefully they will buckle down and get it done! Let you know tomorrow.

I have to get going, I have marking to do…

Off to Saskatoon. – Day 7 and 8

I forgot to post on Thursday night, so Friday morning will have to be good enough.

 Thursday I was able to take up questions with two of the 30 level accounting questions and I did my last lesson with my grade 9s. The grade 9s were much better today as they got right to work on their Celebrity Resume Assignment and spent the entire period working. I asked them to do some peer editing and they did with no problems. It was a much better day. They will have 30 minutes in their class today to work on their assignment and then they will hand it in to me on Monday. I am looking forward to seeing their finished products and being able to use the rubric I made to mark them. It should be a good learning experience.

 My coop and I also went over the Entre 30 lessons I will be teaching for her next week. Besides some minor changes, all is a go and I think that it should go well. My last lesson in that sequence is the Story in a Bag so it should be an interesting one. So I start that in Period 1/3 next week.

Today I am taking off home to meet my parents so that we can go to Toon Town to watch the Cougars play. Hopefully all goes well and I will be watching them tomorrow at 6 or 8 pm to get into the finals.

As I will be at home for the weekend, with dial up internet, I won’t be posting so talk to you again next week.

GO COUGS!

What a difference… – Day 9

Today I started teaching Entrepreneurship 30. I have experienced a huge difference between teaching grade nine  students last week to teaching grade 11/12 students today. The ability to reason, the respect, the discussion was so much better with the grade 11/12 students that with the grade nines last week. I was quite happy to be reminded that although there will be classes that are a struggle every day and that make you question your desire to be a teacher, there are others that will solidy this desire for you.

I was way more comfortable in the today’s lessons than at any point last week. It was a great way to start the week.

I am teaching two Entrepreneurship 30 classes, one is in period 1 and the other is period 3. There could not be more opposite classes in the entire school than the ones that I have. Period 1 is quiet, it is hard to stimulate discussion, they listen intently, they focus on their task and they do not question. Period 3 is the polar opposite; they are chatty, always volunteering their opinions even if you don’t want them at this time, they are so busy chatting with each other they miss the instructions, they need reminders to focus on the task at hand and can get off task very easily through discussion, and they want you to PROVE to them that what you are saying is correct. Wow, it is amazing the difference beetween these two groups.

Today I taught the concept attainment lesson that I used in Cyril’s class that most of my peers were able to experience. In period 1 my timing was perfect, we got through everything and by the end the students got it. In period 3 we didn’t get through everything and they struggled with the classification of opportunities or non-opportunities. Some people started discussing and thinking of opportunities more as a chance than a problem, an unmet need/want or missing goods/services and then even those students who got it were confused. The discussion that we had was really good though adn I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Tomorrow I will need to finish todays lesson and try to tie some loose ends together for this class as I don’t think they are quite there yet. They don’t quite get it, at least not yet.

One frustrating thing that I experienced today after having a really good morning in my Entre class was picking up the Celebrity Resume Assignment from my grade nines. Out of 26 students, 12 handed them in, some so poorly done that it will be a waste of my time to even use the rubric on them. They were given 2.5 class periods to work on this assignment and 12 is all I get. I am not sure if they didn’t take it seriously because it was my assignment (even though it does contribute to their overall mark) or that they just don’t complete anything. Oh well, as is life. Tomorrow is 10% off, I will have to see if I get anymore in.

Tomorrow I will again be teaching my two Entre classes and we will be looking at what an idea is and how trends and demographics affect entrepreneurship. Should be a great time! I am looking forward to it.

If my head was not attached to my body – Day 10

I think I would have forgot it at home today. I forgot my folder with my entire pre-internship life in it at the University last night. After I had a panic attack and drove the 20 minutes back to the University at 10:30 pm, I found my stuff and was able to go to do some prep and then go to sleep. Then I woke up this morning, late as normal, made it to school and taught my lessons. The lessons went fine and I again enjoyed myself.

Then I went to go to my car, and it took me a while because my feet hurt sooooo bad, and realized that the unit I needed to hand in tonight I had forgotten at home! What was I thinking this morning, so I had to drive all the way home and then drive back. Man I hate being forgetful! That really irritates me.

Okay done the rant for today.

During school hours today I taught my Entre classes and then was able to observe a PE 9 class. It is an all girls class and they were working on calculating heart rates and determining how effective their heart rates are. They had to do step ups on the bench for 5 minutes and then were given a minute to rest and then the checked their heart rate. I coudn’t help but to think that I would not be able to do that for five minutes or at least it would have been extremely difficult for me. Wow!

Tomorrow in Entre we will be doing some research on areas of Regina and then they will identify opportunities and ideas for these areas. We will be doing this in the computer lab and the students will be working in pairs. It should be a great time. Hopefully they will be motivated to work as they will have to hand this in for marks and the rest of the unit depends on them completing the assignment.

I am off to Saskatoon for a few hours tonight so I am sorry if this seems rushed. I will update you tomorrow on the condition of my grade nines an their celebrity resumes!

Only 3 days left? – Day 11

How is that even possible? It feels like yesterday was the first time that I met my coop and started my pre-internship. Now I am almost done. Wow, how time flies when you are having fun.

Here is an update for you:

1. I received two resumes yesterday and one today. It is a department policy that for each late day students are penalized 10%. Considering that most of the resumes I got were not the greatest this 10% (20% for one student) will really hurt them. I am not marking anymore resumes after today. Students who have handed in nothing will receive a zero!

Today in Entre we had a work period in the computer lab. Students were working in groups to identify opportunities and ideas based on the demographic information in the Neighborhood Profiles for Regina communities. Both groups got a lot of work done, suprisingly period 3, on average, got farther in the assignment even though they are the rowdier class. One thing that I found difficult about today was giving instructions, students don’t listen in the computer lab when you are giving the instructions there and giving them in the classroom means that they can’t see what they are supposed to be doing. I must have answered the same questions for every group in the class. It was frustrating. My coop and I talked about this after the lesson and we worked out a way to get the students to be on the same page as me when I am giving instructions in the lab and competing with the “brain sucking monitors”.

Tomorrow, we will be having half the class as a work period to finish today’s assignment and then we will move into evaluating ideas against a set of determined criteria. I have this feeling that tomorrow’s lesson may be a bit confusing for the students, I am going to have to make sure that I put into practice the instruction giving talked about today.

There was one really nice thing about today, I gave a homework assignment yesterday that needed to be handed in at the beginning of class today. They had to answer the question: Does an entrepreneurial opportunity give rise to an idea or does an idea give rise to an entrepreneurial opportunity? I really enjoyed reading the students work, it also showed me that the majority of the students got what we have been talking about for the last two days. This also gave me the opportunity to get to know the students a little bit better and see where they are coming from. I really enjoyed this part of the class.

Until tomorrow…

Thank you little birdie… – Day 12 and 13

A little birdie told me today, when I mentioned that I only had one day left, that I had better update my blog because the last post says three days left. So here is the update.

Thursday, March 13:

Today I gave both Entre classes 30 minutes in the computer lab to finish their assignment. Everyone got done the first part of the assignment and some even got done the second part too. Those that did not get both parts done needed to have the second part done by the beginning of class today. The work period in the lab today went much better than the previous day. That could have been in part due to the way I approached it or it could have something to do with the fact that a few people were missing from each class and so there was just less people. The second part of the class was spent evaluating opportunities and ideas, using opportunity cost, financial cost, time and whether they satisfy needs and wants. This part of the lesson was a bit of a struggle and that carried over to Friday’s lesson as well. After talking with my coop we both agreed that evaluation requires a lesson of its own where it can be introduced and taught before the students are expected to do it. I didn’t really teach it to them, I spent a short period of time explaining it and then gave them the activity. Most students were confused about opportunity cost. I think that the confusion was bigger than just the concepts in the activity and I will explain that more in my Friday section.

I also spent some time marking some assignments today and I was pleased to see that many of the groups were right on about both opportunities and ideas. There are a couple of groups that I will be giving the chance to redo the assignment as they would have received a zero as they missed the boat completely. They are good kids though and they tried so I think that it is only fair to give them another shot. So I spent some time talking to them after class and clarifying, they will each be expected to hand in a new copy (no longer in their groups) on Monday and I will not take any marks off for being late. I think that it is more than fair, I also feel partly responsible for the one group as I looked at their examples and didn’t see the problem at the time. The other group didn’t get much work done in class so I was unable to give them any guidance or get them back on track so I don’t feel quite so guilty there.

I spent my last afternoon with the Phys. Ed. 9 class and all I can say is that I am glad that I don’t have to teach in that weight room everyday. The acoustics were terrible and you could hear every footstep in the gym above us. And when 25 grade 9 boys are running in this gym it can get to be extremely noisy and distracting.

Friday, March 14:

Today we went over as a class what ideas we would like to do based on the evaluations that did in a previous class. Our goal was to get down to one or two possible ventures that we could actually do as a class, even though that is not a part of their course that is the context that I wanted for the discussion. First period was so quiet that at times I felt like I was the only one in the room. This may have been because more than HALF my class was absent today! That made it extremely difficult to teach and create discussion about what we would like to do as a class. I also think that it was hard for the students to relate to what we were doing because it was hypothetical and not something they actually needed to be interested in doing. I will comment on that at the end of the reflection though.

In period three most of my class was there and we had an extremely lively discussion on what things they would like to do as a venture in class. Perhaps the discussion was too lively. It would be so perfect if there was a class in the middle of these two instead of having polar opposite classes. Oh well, as is life. I was not really happy with my lessons today or with the evaluation part of the lesson yesterday, I am not sure that I taught it in a way that made the information important to students. It almost felt more like busy work than vital work for this unit. I did not intend it to be that way but I will definetly be making adjustments to these two lessons if I am going to teach them again. Evaluating ideas is very important but I need to give the students more information upfront before throwing them into the activity.

The discussion in period 3 was also a bit of a problem. The students were constantly talking over one another and having side discussions. It wasn’t really even a discussion for the first half of the lesson it was more like a free for all where everyone talked and noone listened. And everyone had some really good things to say, really excellent points were brought up, it is just a pity that not everyone heard them. I understand completely that this was my fault and that if I would have set the discussion up differently there would have been less problems. When I talked with my coop after the lesson she posed the question: how do you stop them from all speaking at the same time? We discussed it further and decided that with period 3 I needed to go back to the basics. Hands up, use a talking tool (bottle, bracelet, pen, etc.), and set guidelines that if you don’t have those things you can’t speak. I think that this would have worked a lot better. It would have still gave the students a chance to discuss but everyone would have had a better opportunity to give their opinion. Note to self: just because they are in grade 11 and 12 it does not mean that they are above talking tools or using their hands, at least not when it means respecting others and having a constructive discussion.

Because this was not a ‘real’ activity for them I think that they had a hard time, especially my period 1 class, in understanding the importance and relevance to this course and them in general. I think that I need to do a better job setting it up. To do this I would change the assignment that they did to be more specific in identifying ideas that high school students could do as entrepreneurs. This would help to set the stage for them to evaluate and discuss things that just have more relevance to them and their situations. That is why we are doing this right, even though we may have a flop of a lesson we know that we are still learning and progressing into being teachers, what isn’t as great is that the students are not always that understanding!

On Monday I will be giving each of my Entre classes a test on what we have done over the unit. I decided to drop the story in the bag lesson, partly because I felt that it would be a filler lesson and not really vital to them learning the information and partly because they took me more seriously once I told them that there would be a test.

Student A and Student B

These are stories about two of my students, one that is really easy to dislike and one that is really easy to misunderstand.

Student A:

Is the student that you wish would never come to your class, they don’t care and all they want to do is get through with a 49.5 with the idea that they will be bumped up to a 50. They come to class one day, stand at the door while you open the computer lab and then bolt as soon as your back is turned and leave their partner to do the whole assignment. They are the student that comes back the next day to class, is disruptive as they walk in late and then freak out when you are going to give them a zero on the assignment that they skipped out on. They are the student that tell you “I’m not getting a zero on that assignment, Ms. Jordan, I will show you” as they text their parent in the middle of your class to get an excused absence. They are the student that gets the excused absence and that you have to allow to do the assignment regardless of the fact that they weren’t really sick but just said that after the fact.  They are the student that gets time in class when we are supposed to be working on something else to finish the assignment and then only does half of it anyways.  After causing my all kinds of problems over the last four days this student then asks me if I get paid to do this. I laugh and answer definetly not, that I actually pay to do this. They say, “you don’t get paid to deal with kids like me, now I have a higher level of respect for you, Ms. Jordan. At least when I am like this with other teachers I know they are getting paid.” After saying that this student was an angel for the rest of the class. I guess I just needed to tell them that I wasn’t getting paid a little bit earlier and some of the problems could have been avoided! If only it was that easy, hey.

Student B:

This student suprises me just about everytime they open their mouth. They are a mature student, past the traditional graduating age, and they see life from a different perspective. This student is an artist, a very good one from what I have seen, and they think outside the box. Sometimes a little further than I can see but it is so interesting. In our discussion today they had awesome things to add, had great insights and looked at it from a different perspective than any other student. What a treat to listen to what they had to say. Many of the other students snickered and thought the student was saying things that were ‘stupid’ or something but I thought it was brilliant. I was very impressed.  When I get this students assignment in Monday, my appreciation for their input into the discussion will be put on their. Some of the students in this class may think that this student is ‘weird’ but if they took a second to actually hear and think about what they are saying they would realize that they could learn a lot from the student’s input. But they are high school students and there is no way that they are going to change their mind about something, right! What a priveledge it has been to teach this student for this short period of time.

These are just two of the students that I have encountered through my experience and I am sure that I will share more over the coming days as I reflect on the people that I have met and the way they have impacted my view on education. Stay tuned.

And that is a wrap! – Day 14

Well today was the final day of pre-internship for me. I still have some wonderful marking to do and I will be going back on April 3 to give them back their tests but I am done in the classroom. Today I gave both of my Entre classes a test on opportunities, ideas, fads, trends and demographics. Some students did really well and some students did not, from what I have marked already. The students that did not do as well were the students who were not in class last week at times so that is probably a pretty good indicator of why they did not do as good. I have an opinion question on the test that will be marked on how well the students support their ideas and I have really enjoyed reading those. I love to get to see behind the shells of the students and see into their heads and sometimes even their hearts. Here is an exerpt from one of my students where they are explaining why they chose their ideas:

All of my ideas are not-for-profit. It’s important in entrepreneurship to do things out of your heart too and not just for the reward. All of my ideas would benefit Canada and would reduce the number of street kids, which was the maing goal.

I really enjoyed reading what this student had to say and I wish that I had more time to get to know all of my students, as  I am sure that we would suprise each other every day,

I am having mixed feelings about being done. First, I have to say that I am happy and relieved that it is over. Life has been extremely stressful trying to balance work and teaching. Which is much harder than just working and going to school. I can’t wait until that point in my life where I am just doing one of these things at a time instead of doing both. That probably won’t be for a few years though so I guess I have something to look forward to. Second, I am sad to be leaving my coop who was extremely wonderful to me. I am sure that we will see each other throughout our careers, and I will be grateful to her forever for all that she did for me throughout the two weeks I was there. To any of my peers that end up with her for internship, you should count yourself as lucky, she is awesome!

I am going to need more time to reflect on how this experience was in general as it has been difficult at times for me.  That reflection will probably have to wait until I get back from San Antonio and have a few days by myself though.

So I guess that is all I have to say right now. I am going to be putting this chapter behind me for the next few days, so that I can focus on my time at NBEA. Somehow this has just snuck up on me and I am not quite ready for it yet. Oh well I am sure that I will get there!

Who are my learners?

Here is the assignment that I completed to show who my learners were for my EPS 350 class.

The purpose of this paper is to examine what I have learned about the students of Campbell Collegiate, where I did my three week block of pre-internship. This paper will have three parts, in the first section I will discuss the school in general, in the second section I will take a closer look at the students, and in the third section I will share specific stories about the students from my experiences. There needs to be a disclaimer to accompany this paper as well. I was only at Campbell Collegiate for 12 days, the statements and generalizations that I make are only based on my experiences for these 12 days and might not be applicable on a bigger scale over a longer period of time.

 

Campbell Collegiate

                This school is located in the South part of Regina on Massey Road. The Principal of the school is Mr. H. Jesse.  This school offers a variety of programs for its students including music, IB, vocational programs, French immersion and a variety of clubs and sports programs. This school is known to have a very strong music program and parent council.  As of March 16, 2008 Campbell Collegiate had enrolment of approximately 1334 students, which is about 21% of the entire population of high school students in Regina. The school is 44 years old and according to the Regina School Board Renewal plan found on the Campbell Collegiate website is in need of some upgrades, such as “painted lockers, washrooms and locker rooms, improved teaching resources and equipment…” (2008). The report also recommends addressing the high teacher to student ratios that are present within the school. From my experience within the school I was able to observe this and even experience this first hand. There are a lot of students in each class, even in Business Education which is often an area of study that will see less student enrolment there are full classrooms.  In short, while the school is functioning there are some areas that could be addressed to make the school more beneficial to all parties involved with the school.

                Campbell Collegiate runs a homeroom program called CAP (Campbell Advisory Program) and the leaders of this program are called CAPtains. This program is run daily between first and second periods. The school has an announcement program that plays on networked televisions in each room. The announcements are played generally for the entire student body and then at other times only for specific grades, like grade twelve when they are discussing graduation.

 

The Students at Campbell Collegiate

                This section is going to be general in the discussion about the students. There are two main areas that will be discussed in this area of the paper. The first is who my learners are and the second is what is important to them.

Who are my learners?

                My learners came from primarily upper-middle to upper class families. Most of the students are from neighbourhoods outside the immediate vicinity of the school. At one point I had the students complete an assignment that dealt with the neighbourhoods of the Regina and I discovered that the vast majority of the students that I did this assignment with (45 students) were from the East end of the city. While this may not seem like many students in relationship to the 1300 that go to this school, I believe through my experiences that this can be generalized to the larger population. Especially when it is considered that there is no school in the Arcola-East South neighbourhood in Regina.

                The parents of my students are educated and have high income levels. Most come from families where both parents are working outside the home. The parents of these students, both because of their income and education levels, are highly involved and influential at the school. They are involved in many of the decisions and that is one of the reasons that the Campbell Parents’ Association was one of the most powerful parent organizations in the city.

                The ethnic backgrounds of the students in this school are diverse. There is a low population of Aboriginal students, but higher populations of Asian students.

 

What is important to my learners?

                Material possessions are important to many of the learners at this school; this is partially due to the fact that they have so many because of their parents’ income levels. Most students have cell phones, right from grade nine to twelve, and many have MP3 players. Both of these items are often in class and visible to the teacher during lessons. Many of the students at this school have access to money and are able to spend it on what they want. I have a story in section three to demonstrate this. The students at Campbell also are very focused on brand name items as they have the money and want the status of having these items.

                When a survey was completed in grade twelve homerooms by the CAPtains most of the students (all except one in my coop’s homeroom) indicated that they were planning to go on to university after high school. Furthering their education is also important to the students that I was working with.

                Students at Campbell are very involved in a variety of charitable and non-profit organizations that show they want to make a difference in their communities and on broader stages as well. Campbell students are involved in SADD, Feed the Children in Africa and blood donor clinics.

                The variety and number of extracurricular programs, such as sports teams, drama, arts and music shows that students are interested in being involved in their school and expanding their education through a multitude of clubs. It is important to the students of this school to have a variety of clubs that meet each of their needs as they are a very diverse group.

 

Stories of my Experience with These Students

  1. Student A: Is the student that you wish would never come to your class, they don’t care and all they want to do is get through with a 49.5 with the idea that they will be bumped up to a 50. They come to class one day, stand at the door while you open the computer lab and then bolt as soon as your back is turned and leave their partner to do the whole assignment. They are the student that comes back the next day to class, is disruptive as they walk in late and then freak out when you are going to give them a zero on the assignment that they skipped out on. They are the student that tell you “I’m not getting a zero on that assignment, Ms. Jordan, I will show you” as they text their parent in the middle of your class to get an excused absence. They are the student that gets the excused absence and that you have to allow to do the assignment regardless of the fact that they weren’t really sick but just said that after the fact.  They are the student that gets time in class when we are supposed to be working on something else to finish the assignment and then only does half of it anyways.  After causing my all kinds of problems over the last four days this student then asks me if I get paid to do this. I laugh and answer definitely not, that I actually pay to do this. They say, “you don’t get paid to deal with kids like me, now I have a higher level of respect for you, Ms. Jordan. At least when I am like this with other teachers I know they are getting paid.” After saying that this student was an angel for the rest of the class. I guess I just needed to tell them that I wasn’t getting paid a little bit earlier and some of the problems could have been avoided! If only it was that easy, hey.
  2. Student B: This student surprises me just about every time they open their mouth. They are a mature student, past the traditional graduating age, and they see life from a different perspective. This student is an artist, a very good one from what I have seen, and they think outside the box. Sometimes a little further than I can see but it is so interesting. In our discussion today they had awesome things to add, had great insights and looked at it from a different perspective than any other student. What a treat to listen to what they had to say. Many of the other students snickered and thought the student was saying things that were ’stupid’ or something but I thought it was brilliant. I was very impressed.  When I get this students assignment in Monday, my appreciation for their input into the discussion will be put on there. Some of the students in this class may think that this student is ‘weird’ but if they took a second to actually hear and think about what they are saying they would realize that they could learn a lot from the student’s input. But they are high school students and there is no way that they are going to change their mind about something, right! What a privilege it has been to teach this student for this short period of time.
  3. Money: On the Monday of the second whole week that I was at Campbell some students had just returned from a competition in Edmonton. Some of these students were discussing their shopping while they were there. One student said that they spent $700 and another said that they spent $500. In two days they spent that much money shopping in Edmonton. This just goes to show the disposable income that these students have access to.
  4. Giving back: During an assignment on developing entrepreneurial ideas for a business venture this is the comments of one student. “All of my ideas are not-for-profit. It’s important in entrepreneurship to do things out of your heart too and not just for the reward. All of my ideas would benefit Canada and would reduce the number of street kids, which was the main goal” (Anonymous Student).

Pre-internship Reflection

So it it almost the end of the semester and I guess it is time to look back at the semester and evaluate how I have changed and what I have learned over this semester. I am going to use the guiding questions given to us in EPS 350 to reflect on my experience over this semester.

Who am I as a teacher? I don’t know that this has changed that much over the semester. I think that I am still the same person that I was and thus the same type of teacher that I was before this semester started. I do think however, that I am going to have some problems fitting this into what my role in the high school would be. Here is an exerpt from my philosophy on education to demonstrate who I am as a teacher:

Children are an amazing group of people. They are very resilient, they can learn like sponges and they are often wise past their years. For these reasons and others I love to work with children in any setting. That is why teaching is such a perfect profession for me. I believe that teaching and education are really about giving your students the skills to be successful, responsible people throughout their lives, not just in the classroom. In order to do this students’ have to be given the best opportunity to learn, this may mean that to treat students fairly and give them this opportunity I will have to treat students unequally. I want to focus on my students’ strengths to help them work on their weaknesses. I believe that by focusing on students’ strengths they will feel better about themselves and their ability to succeed thus they will be more willing to work on the things that they are not as good at.

                Another important part of education is that students are given the opportunity to make choices for themselves. We expect children to grow into adults and be able to make wise, healthy decision yet they are never given the chance to learn how to do this or practice and reflect on the choices that they are making. In order to emphasize this skill in my classroom I will focus on teaching my students how to make decisions, there will be logical consequences and responsibility that accompany all of their decisions and I will empower my students to make decisions that affect their learning. While I believe that this is a very important piece of the education process I also think that it is important to know who my students are so that I can offer choices and power to the students at levels that are appropriate for them.

                I also believe that it is important to work with and for students. I see myself more as a facilitator to student learning, growth and development rather than the lecturer or other traditional role of the teacher. I want my students to know that I care about the people that they are and that I will work with them to assist them in becoming the people that they strive to be. Using the role of the facilitator also takes the power off of my shoulders and shifts this to the learners as they play a major part in their education. Students should be responsible for their own goal setting as it is their education and not mine. I believe that this will make students more responsible for their own learning and also make them buy into what they are learning regardless of the content. Their education should be based around their needs and thus should be tailored towards them. I also understand that while I say this it is important to follow the curriculums and not change these, this can be done while still meeting each students needs.

                Ultimately I want my students to be responsible, productive and healthy members of society. I want them to become good people, that make a difference in their community in the present and future.

 

How have I changed and grown as a person/professional?  

I think that through my pre-internship experience I have become more aware of what I want out of this profession. I know that I do not plan on staying a high school teacher for the next 30 years, although I am sure that I would be happy doing that. I want to do more and I want to have more of an impact on education and business education specifically. Now I realize that this may just be pipe dream and that I may be looking at this with very naive eyes thinking that I can make a difference but I am not satisfied. I am not satisfied with the state of Business Education in Saskatchewan schools. I think that Business Education is too important to the success of students in their life to just let is fly under the radar of students, parents, teachers and administrators. Throughout this semester I have become more involved with the future of Business Education. I am hoping that by attending these conferences and being involved in the cities and provincial Business Education organizations I can make a difference in the future of Business Education. That is the kind of professional that I see myself as, someone that is involved in making and becoming an activist for Business Education.

What are my strengths as an educator? Through my pre-intership experience I realized that I had more things that I need to work on than I ever thought. I realized that I am not quite ready to be in the classroom and I have some more developing to do. I am sure that this will happen for me, I just need to continue to work at it. In terms of my strengths, I am a very organized and planned person. This helped me to worry about other things than whether I was ready for my lesson. I could concentrate on how I was teaching, the students I was teaching and on bigger issues than what I was teaching. Also I think that this helped me to make a connection with my cooperating teacher as she was not worried about whether I would be ready for my lesson and she always knew what I was going to be doing.

Another one of my strengths is that I am able to take criticism. I know that I am not perfect and that I have a long way to go to become a  good teacher. For this reason I welcome all of the suggestions and advice that my cooperating teacher or other faculty members give me. I asked for this feedback throughout my pre-intership and I also asked other teachers for input on my lessons and how I could do a better job. I think that this will serve me well as I continue through this learning process of becoming a teacher.

Another strength is that I genuinely care about my students. While this did not necessarily make a difference for the two and a half weeks that I was at Campbell, I think that it will serve me well as I move toward my internship and then getting a job in a school. Once students realize that I care about them they will be more likely to open up to me, participate in my class, treat me and other students in my class with respect and appreciate what I can do for them in the classroom. This is an integral part in building relationships with my students and building relationships is extremely vital for success as a teacher.

 

What have I learned about high school students? I have learned a lot about high school students. I don’t actually even think that I realized how much kids have changed since I was in high school. Maybe it isn’t even that though, it might be more that these students were not like I was in high school. While I had my moments and didn’t always want to learn, I was respectful and I attended school. This is not the way the students were that I taught. They had problems with attendance, respect, bullying, etc. that I just didn’t see in high school. The other thing that I noticed is that if these kids have changed so has they way they are being parented. I know that if I had ever skipped class and then asked my mom to phone the school and say I was sick so I didn’t get a zero on an assignment I would have been in more trouble than just taking the zero. I think that parents and schools are working together to create a generation of students without accountability and responsibility and we as teachers have a long road ahead to combat this. I think that it is a necessary road to travel, just a hard one.

 

What challenges did I have? I think that the biggest challenge that I had was the needy nature of students and their lack of responsibility. Everything was the teachers fault. If they didn’t hand in an assignment, it was the teacher’s fault. If they skipped a class it was the teacher’s responsibilty to get them caught up. If they didn’t understand what they were supposed to do, even if they didn’t try, it is the teacher’s responsibility to do it for them. Basically it is the teacher’s job to do whatever they have to just get the students through high school. I do not and cannot agree with this. This caused some major problems with me on a very deep level. I am not even sure if I can fully explain it. While it is my job to teach the students, and I will take responsibility for that, it is also their responsibility to learn. They need to take responsibility to at least try to do that. Of course there will be struggles and things that they don’t understand but I cannot be the only one that needs to do the work. I am assigning the work and teaching the material because they need to know it, not because I need to, I already know it. This has been a big challenge for me, I am sure that it is not going to go away anytime soon and I am going to need to figure out a strategy or action plan on how to deal with this.

 

What would I change about high schools if I could? I would change the way that the students treat people. I think that everyone deserves to be treated with respect and dignity. We are all people, no one less important than the other and I think that the way children treat each other is appalling. Not only how they treat each other but how they treat teachers and other school staff. I think that this is at the crucst of many of the issues in schools today, not all, but many. If this would change I think that drastic improvements would be seen in all students and the overall atmosphere of the school.

 

So that is it for this page of my blog. I have now kept you all updated on my experience as a pre-intern, including my reflection afterwards. I enjoyed writing about my experience and feel as though this has been an excellent way to evaluate what I have experienced and how I feel about it. See you everyone, on the main page!

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