10-Day Countdown… :(

As tomorrow marks the 10-day countdown until Winter Holidays, it also marks the 10-day countdown until internship is complete.  To say the least, I’m feeling quite scared about the whole thing.  I know I learned so much and grew since the beginning of September, but I’m still shocked at the fact that I will be a certified teacher in four months!

As I put the final touches on my professional portfolio, I look back at all the fun I had over the past four months.  There were definitely struggles, but I am proud of the work I have done since the beginning of the year.  People always say that it goes by fast, but never would I have thought this fast!

I have to admit, I’m really looking forward to the next two weeks.  Tomorrow I get to go back to my Health 9 class as we move onto Mental Illness, Tragic Death, and Suicide.  Though this is a tough unit to get excited about, I think the teacher and I are setting it up in a way that it won’t be a dry or saddening unit.  This unit is full of guest speakers, and our very first Learning Agreement that we made together (a copy to come when it is completed)!  Tomorrow, we have the guidance counsellor coming to share his knowledge on these topics, and help students identify warning signs and strategies for someone who is coping with a tragic death or suicide.  A few days later, we have the two founders of Understand Us coming to talk to us about mental illness, why they think it is important to discuss, and how their organization is helping people with mental illnesses.  Just as our inquiry projects begin, we’re having the Kids Help Phone in to talk about how they can benefit someone who is suffering from depression, as well as many other challenges our students may be facing.  I really hope the students get as much as they can from this unit so that they know how to appropriately create awareness for these topics in the future.

This weekend also marks the 25th Anniversary of the Balfour Classic!  As the assistant coach of the Jr. Girls basketball team, I am so excited to be part of this tournament.  I remember playing in this tournament when I was in high school, and often think back on what a blast it was.  Since this year marks the 25th Anniversary, we have some “extra’s” going on throughout the weekend as well!

I am so grateful to be helping out with the Jr. Girls basketball team.  This group of girls are so much fun to work with, and I feel connected to Balfour in a whole new way.  I’m enjoying getting to know students I’ve never met before, or getting to know students I have taught a bit better.  Talking with my co-op the other day, we were talking about how nice it is that basketball season runs until the middle of March.  It will give me another reason to keep coming back to Balfour and feeling like I’m still connected to the school.

Here is to hoping the next 10 days don’t go by too fast!

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Only 5 weeks left?!

First off, let me say – oh my goodness, I cannot believe there are only five weeks left of internship! People always say that it goes by fast, but never would I have thought it would go this fast.

I have had the opportunity to spend the last two weeks in the “Making Connections Everywhere” (MCE) classroom. This room’s focus is to keep at-risk youth at school. This room is made up of 47 students in grades 10 and 11. Although there are 47 students enrolled, there was usually about 20 students a day that showed up. It was really interesting to see how these two teachers in the program were working together to ensure these students succeeded.

When I was there, we spent a lot of time working on math. The good thing about this math was that students worked from booklets, so no one was behind/ missing a lot of instruction when they did come to class. It was also nice to see math that they called real-world math. We were working on grocery shopping on a budget, finding the best deals while shopping, and converting pounds of apples into kilograms. I thought at how good this would be for other students too – math that actually makes sense in their lives.

I have to admit, the first two or three days in MCE I felt a little useless. I found these students very reluctant to talk to me or work with me. After hearing bits about their lives, I quickly realized how hard it would be to trust someone new in their lives, especially an intern who they’ve never seen before. It wasn’t until the fourth day when we had a substitute teacher that the students actually talked to me. For once, they asked for help! I thought it was a huge step that some were starting to trust me and interact with me. It also helped that I have a brother similar in age who also listened to 2 Chainz. As soon as I started singing along to one of his songs that the kids were playing, some finally started to work with me.

This classroom was so much fun. I instantly noticed how relaxed the environment was compared to a regular classroom. The students were treated as young adults, and the teacher was super real with them. I’m not saying that this shouldn’t be the case in regular classes, I just felt that the kids seemed more comfortable and relaxed in this space.

I can really see myself working in a class like this in the future. I think it’d be fun to find neat ways to tie their interests to the curriculum. For example, for ELA they just finished analyzing Tupac’s lyrics, then had to write their own poetry. How much fun would that be?!

Tomorrow I start in the Shirley Schneider Support Centre. The SSSC is an program at Balfour for females who are pregnant or are already young mothers. I’m planning on spending the next week there, learning how teachers in there are tying the curriculum to things relevant to these young women, such as prenatal health. I can’t wait to see what goes on!

On a sport note, basketball season has officially started!! I could not be more excited to be in the gym assistant coaching an awesome group of girls. I think the head coach and I are going to have a great time, and hopefully the Jr. Girls feel the same way.

And so it continues…

As my three-week block is coming to an end (early next week) I’m finally starting to feel like a real teacher.  I’m finding myself busy and slightly stressed, but not stressed enough to panic.  I don’t mind the stress, because from what I hear, that’s normal during my 3-week block.  My two health classes have been quite an experience.  There are tons of challenges and interesting behaviours that I have come across over the past month, and I’m learning so much from these two groups of students.  My cooperating teacher and I were talking about it one day, as I felt deflated and like I wasn’t getting through.  She brought up a good point – I’m lucky I’m experiencing these challenges now with so many support people around me, as opposed to when I get a job and am teaching on my own.  It made me feel more comfortable and confident in what I was doing.

My grade nine tutorial class is my favourite hour of the day.  These 10 students are such a great group of kids and everyday I feel like I’m getting to know them better and better.  Though some days I have my struggles with some of them, most days are a lot of fun and I really enjoy it.  Eight of my ten tutorial students are also in one of my health classes, so I see most of them for another hour each day.  I’ve realized that by having these specific students in mind when planning my lessons, I have become more adaptive in my lessons.  For some reason, I almost feel defensive about these kids, and want to make sure they are getting what they need to be successful.  As it turns out, there are quite a few others who need the same supports, so most of my students are also benefitting.

My health classes are filled with quite a few defiant students.  I’m still trying to figure out how I can help them be successful.  I have to admit, I find it a little frustrating when someone is fully capable to do the work, he/she just refuses to work on it, then refuses to give suggestions as to how they would like to learn.  I think coming from the Learning Resource program, I find myself constantly trying to figure out what works for them, where some teachers may have already started to let things slide.

3-way conferences are coming up next week, and I’m looking forward to meeting the guardians of my tutorial kids.  I’ve exchanged e-mails with most of the parents, but it will be nice to finally meet them face-to-face and talk about how their son/daughter is doing so far in grade nine.

Man oh man, who knew this job came with so many meetings and e-mails?!  I feel like any extra energy I have throughout the day is donated to responding to e-mails or planning/attending meetings with other staff members!  Having said that, the many meetings in the past month have been quite beneficial!  I learned how to collaborate effectively, make semester/year long plans, and have been exposed to numerous ways of helping struggling students.

Slam Poetry at it’s Finest

I found this video on Facebook and couldn’t help but have similar thoughts towards education as this man does. Just from the brief time I’ve spent in the EAL rooms, I can’t imagine how difficult it must be for these students who barely understand their own language to figure out our language in order to stay in school.

http://www.upworthy.com/teaching-children-in-this-awful-way-is-like-helping-a-person-who-is-on-fire-by-drowning-them

 

Was I that active in Grade Nine?

Now that internship seminar is wrapped up, I’m glad to be back at Balfour this week!  Internship Seminar was a worth while experience, and I’m now feeling better prepared for the next four months.  Laurie and I spent a great deal of time discussing our expectations of one another during internship, and what our goals were over the next four months.  Though I had interned with Laurie in the winter and had an idea of what her expectations were of me, I can see how crucial this process would be to new interns and cooperating teachers.  Those three days really helped to “clear the air” and build a strong foundation between Laurie and I.

This week I got a better look at our two grade nine health classes.  Boy, are they active! Both classes are diverse in learning styles and have a handful of busy bodies!  These kids seem to constantly need movement and peer interaction, so I’m really looking forward to working with these classes, as I feel I learned best by moving around and being involved.

Tomorrow is our Open House, so I’m anxious to see how Balfour runs their open house.  I hope there is a good turnout, and I can meet some of the families that are either in my Tutorial or grade nine Health classes!

Where are all the students?

I am fortunate enough to be back at Balfour Collegiate for my internship this fall!  I have to admit, I’m really happy to be back at school!  Who knew someone could get so excited just from getting a “teacher day planner” from the office?  Though the school year for teachers has begun, it isn’t what I expected.  I guess as a student, I never realized all the preparation and organization that took place before the first day of school.  I kind of thought they showed up the day before school started, and were ready for the year in a few hours – I’m quickly learning that is not the case.

There have been a lot of interesting meetings and in-services so far this week!  This has helped me to meet the staff and feel more comfortable figuring out my role here at Balfour.  I’m really looking forward to wrapping this week up, and getting to meet my class!