And we are off to the races! It is hard to believe that a full two weeks of interning at O.M. Irwin School has gone by. First off, I can’t stay what a great experience it has been so far! The staff is amazing and the whole overall school community has been very inclusive and welcoming. Believe me, when you move to a new community, where you hardly know anybody, it makes life so much easier.
My placement at Irwin school, started with meeting the school staff as well as some of the other staff members who are in the Chinook School Division. During these first few days, we were able to attend different professional development seminars. Two of the seminars that I attended were really interesting and provided a lot of new teaching ideas that I could use in the classroom. The first one was quite innovative in terms of allowing students to express their knowledge in different ways. It was about sketch noting and for this, students are able to sketch images that are related to the information that they are receiving. Afterwards, the students go back and write in the information that corresponds with the images they drew. Personally, I think this is a great way for students to connect to what we are teaching them because they are able to work with the information we give them both linguistically and pictorially. The second seminar that I attended was about incorporating agriculture into the classroom. I think that this would allow the students, perhaps from more rural areas, to connect out of school experiences to what they are learning in school. It is also a great way to blend subject areas and teach cross-curricular lessons. Agriculture can easily incorporate science, social studies, math, and English language arts.
Our two days of professional development ended with a talk from Karl Subban about potential. If you don’t know him, perhaps you will know his son, P.K. Subban, who plays for the Montreal Canadiens. Karl had many important lessons in what he was talking about, but there was one thing that really stuck with me. He told a story about a little girl that once asked if the cow really jumped over the moon. He told the little girl that cows can’t jump over the moon but you, and all other children, have the potential to reach for the stars and become the person you want to be. That really made me think. We often think that we need the right conditions, to meet the right people, or to be in the right place at the right time to fulfill our dreams, or have a lifestyle we want. Sure that makes the process a whole lot easier, but it doesn’t mean that things become impossible when we don’t have those just-right conditions. I think that it is one thing to have a dream, but it is another thing when you have plan. A dream will only stay a dream unless you take action. It is likely something that you will have to work hard to achieve, but if you stick with it and plan for what you are going to do, it is doable. The only person that can stop you for achieving what you want is you.
In terms of teaching, it has already been quite the experience. I am without a doubt seeing the difference between pre-internship, where you drop in once a week to teach, and internship where you are at school every day as a teacher. The biggest thing that I notice is the additional responsibilities – parent meetings, staff meetings, supervision, extra-curricular activities, and the list continues. Teaching is definitely not a nine to four type of job. And of course, there is always the lesson planning. So far, I have been able to work with a grade six class teaching English Language Arts. It has been interesting to see the personalities emerge as the students get back into the routine of school. A quiet class somehow transforms into a chatty group of children.
All in all, I am thrilled that I get to spend my time at this school while working with this group of students. I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for the next three and a half months!