Internship was the greatest learning experience I have gone through in my life so far. It began with an email informing me of my placement, followed by a visit to the school, discussion of which classes I will teach, and an internship seminar to “prepare me” for my experience I was about to have.
Here is a list of the Top 5 Lessons I Learned during my Internship.
#1 -Teach As Yourself
As a teacher, you need to have your own teaching style and be yourself while you are teaching. You can’t pretend to be someone else, or teach the way another teacher does, that is just uncomfortable for everyone. You need to be yourself when you are teaching so that you are comfortable and your students know that you aren’t trying to act in front of them. Once your students understand that you are a real person it is easier for them to relate to and understand you. If you have a good sense of humor, if you are neat and organized, if you have great life experience, have interests or hobbies, bring it in to the classroom and let it show in your teaching.
#2 – Build Relationships
Building relationships is a vital part of education. You need to build positive relationships with your coop, other teachers, administrators, admin staff, caretakers, and the students. Positive relationships with students can do wonders for classroom management and helps make the classroom a safe and enjoyable place to be. It is also important to have good relationships with the other individuals who work in the building – you never know when you’ll need help from another teacher when planning, a crisis of malfunctioning technology, or an impressive reference letter.
#3 – Get Involved
Internship does not last long… four months will fly by before you know it (see my last post). Getting involved in the school and the community is a great way to build relationships with staff, students, and parents. Extra-curricular activities such as athletics or aesthetics are perfect ways to spend time doing something you enjoy outside of school while also building relationships (which, as we learned in point #2 is very valuable). I chose to coach soccer and basketball which provided me the opportunity to build relationships with students who I did not teach in my classrooms – this involvement also landed me a spot as a co-host for the fall pep-rally.
#4 – Share Resources
I found that during my internship teachers are more than willing to help you in your journey to become a teacher, they will provide you with advice and their opinions on various situations, and sometimes even share resources with you. As the intern you have just spent the past few years of your life as a student in a classroom learning various strategies, techniques, and tools to use when you are set free in to the real world of teaching… you can share some current resources that you use (such as wikis, edmodo, prezi, etc) with other teachers. Also, if the opportunity presents itself COLLABORATE with other teachers. I had the chance to collaborate and create a unit project for my History 10 class with another teacher who was also teaching History 10. We came to the school one Sunday and were able to bounce ideas off of each other and come up with a project that all of the students loved.
#5 – Sometimes You Will Fail Before You Will Succeed
Teaching involves being a learner yourself, it is a job for life-long learners and learning doesn’t always come without failure. You will sometimes teach a bad lesson, something that you thought would be great might not turn out so well, you may plan something to take an hour that the students get through in 20 minutes. It is important to experience these “failures” (or “learning experiences” as I like to call them) in order to become a better teacher. You will learn from the “bad” lessons and will teach it differently next time, or try something new. You can’t predict everything that will happen in your classroom, you need to be flexible and able to adapt quickly. It is through these failures that we learn how to succeed and to become better teachers.
Internship was an experience that I will never forget. I am grateful for this amazing opportunity I was given in my journey to become an educator and look forward to what awaits me in the future.