Well here I am.. almost complete week 4 of internship, and wow has the whole month flown by!
I was told coming into internship that it will be a lot of work, a lot of planning, a ton of fun, constant learning, and it will fly by! Well those words of wisdom were absolutely true. In four weeks I have already learned more than I had ever imagined, and I only have 12 weeks left. I have experienced some of the most gratifying moments and some moments that have taught me how to be a better teacher.
Upon entering my internship, I almost instantly found myself in a very hectic situation: I was in a new school where I barely even knew how to get around, let alone who any of the staff members were. I was teaching my own class for the first time – I made the course outline, I set the expectations, I planned everything, and I was responsible for 22 students who I couldn’t even remember the names of. I was helping to coach the soccer team – another thing to plan for, another 19 names to remember, and another time commitment, and there was that constant reminder that eventually I will be picking up 3 more classes! I quickly realized that this could be an extremely overwhelming situation if I let it be – there was more than enough things to drown me during these next 4 months, but there is no sense in thinking that way.
I entered the Education program knowing that teaching is not an easy job, and that even though I am not a very experienced teacher yet, I have started to pick up on some very key aspects of teaching. The first step is to gain a level of comfort, and start building relationships. For me, it took nearly 2 weeks to learn the names of my students, my soccer team, and the majority of the staff. This was my first level of comfort and my first sign of building relationships.
I also quickly learned that if I was pre-planned for my daily lessons and had an outline for my whole week or unit, that I felt more comfortable teaching. It’s a lot easier to deviate from a planned lesson, then to make up a non-planned lesson. I found my second level of comfort when I was teaching an Information Processing class in the computer lab and the power went out mid-lesson. I did not panic or question my cooperating teacher as to what I should do, I simply just moved on to an activity that we could do using pen and paper instead of on the computer. This helped to prove that I am comfortable in my classroom, and that even though I was planned for the lesson, I can’t prepare for everything.
The power going out during class was also a test of the relationships that I have built with my students. As Josh Stumpenhorst stated in his blog post today, classroom management is heavily dependent upon your relationship with your students. A power outage in the computer lab is just asking for students to be disruptive, get off task, and shut their brain off for the rest of the period. Thankfully I have been able to build some great relationships with my students over the past 4 weeks and the class got down to work on the paper assignment without getting unruly – I was truly amazed.
Every teacher has their own way of doing things, their own strengths and weaknesses, and their own crutch to fall back on. Personally, I always feel best going in to a lesson feeling well prepared, this gives me confidence and a better ability to deviate from the originally planned lesson if an opportunity for greater learning presents itself.
There is no greater feeling than knowing that I taught students something new today, and helped to prepare them a little bit more for their future.