Archive for the ‘The Internship From Hell’ Category

Bittersweet relief

October 30, 2008

On Sunday, I promised a super-long blog about how my internship is going. And I can tell you today that it is over.

When I first met my teachers and started my internship, I was deliriously happy. I wrote blog entries on how this internship would be so much better. Well, not really. Everything seemed to go downhill after my first evaluation in late September. My teachers then began to build a tendancy to wait until they saw my university supervisor to tell me everything I was doing wrong. She even said something to me a week ago where she feels she has to be there in order for my teachers to communicate anything to me!

They never once told me that they had serious concerns about me. They told my UP and she set up a meeting between us where my P.M. teacher didn’t say much of anything (Oh, except for telling me I should’ve done more at their PLC that morning – like him? Watching ESPN and looking up stats for baseball?!) and my A.M. teacher expressed her concerns. OK. I was a little distraught (fine, fine. I was a blubbering idiot!) but I resolved to take their suggestions and do better.

My P.M. teacher gave me the reins of teaching at Week 4 or 5. It was up to me to find out where he keeps his pacing guide (and he never showed me one for science or social studies). He never asked me for lesson plans. Except for 1 or 2 times, he never told me what I was doing wrong. Obviously, when you get no feedback, you think you’re doing an A-OK job! I had given and graded 2 separate math tests before he told me how he graded. His communication skills sucked. And I knew he didn’t like me. I could just tell. And he said something to the effect that people know when he doesn’t like them. Yeah, I knew.

As for my A.M. teacher, she came to me about three Mondays ago and asked to see all my lesson plans for the week. So, OK. I give her a sheet where I had written out in shorthand what I would be doing that week. “No,” she says to me. “I need the lesson plans that tell me exactly what you’re doing.” Oh, OK. I had seen her make 2 different types of lesson plans. The first was a shorthand, teaching points for the week and the second was more of a format of “Teaching Point/Modeled/Active Engagement/Link”. So I worked on that that night and showed it to her the next day. Do you think that’s what she wanted? Nooo. Her communication skills are JUST AS BAD as my P.M. teacher! So I wrote out 4 lesson plans of EXACTLY WHAT I WAS GOING TO SAY, a script. She never told me, nor did she show me hers. She assumed I should know it. Um, does she also assume that all of her students know when to put an exclamation point or question mark at the end of a sentence? I didn’t think so.

Every single time I went in for my internship, I cringed as I thought what thing she could criticize me on today. She never gave positive feedback. It was always negative. I started calling her Ms. Negativity. She totally was.

When I told her I was feeling very overwhelmed with the writing, she told me that concerns her a lot. Wow. Thanks! Way to boost my confidence in teaching, Ms. Negativity! How about, “Well, then let’s do something to help you feel more confident. What can I do to help?”

It was such a bad situation that I feel a sense of relief. I felt so alone there, my teachers weren’t there to support or help me. They were there to get a few hours of peace from teaching. They didn’t help me out and expected me to do things they had been doing for the past 10 years. My teachers had a conference with my UP during the kids’ PE time where they told her they wouldn’t be able to pass me and were not “impressed” with me. Well, honeys, I wasn’t very “impressed” with either of you! (And, on a side note, my UP agreed with me on this one) I keep debating whether I should send them an e-mail. They were so sneaky about everything. Except for once (which was the week she kept wanting the long lesson plans), they never sat me down and told me what I was doing right or wrong. They never conferenced with me alone. It always had to include my UP. I felt like they were tattling on me! Everytime we sat down with her, it was as if I had been hit by a Mack truck because they were telling her things they never told me. They had a meeting about me during the kids’ PE time yesterday and that was when they told her they wouldn’t be able to pass me. Again, being sneaky and underhanded. They never told me this. They never said, “We’re getting concerned that we won’t be able to pass you.” They talked to my UP and then she came with me to the classroom where I got my stuff and left. They said absolutely nothing to me. I had left some things in my P.M. teachers room and he had the kids give it to me.

Luckily, my UP was able to get me a spring internship where I am already formulating a list of everything I want to say to my new cooperating teacher. I’m really thinking I’d like to try out 2nd grade. I definitely don’t want 3rd or 4th. Maybe 5th. Because of Florida Writes and FCAT, 3rd and 4th grade will be so busy with that for the first 2 months of my internship. I don’t think it’ll be SUCH a big deal with 5th. I always said I wanted to to intermediate but I did just fine in my primary internship. Maybe that’s where I’m supposed to be. I don’t know. I don’t even know if teaching is what God wants for my life. Scratch that. I know teaching isn’t the Big Plan God has for me. I know it’s writing. I know God wants me to use my ability to write for His good. So maybe I should just take some writing classes next semester? Maybe I should change majors? I. AM. SO. CONFUSED! I honestly don’t know what to do.

I really need to pray about it and see what God wants. I always said, “God, close doors in the places you don’t want me to be and open doors where you do want me to be.” Is this a closed door? Have I been fooling myself for the past 2 years? I just don’t know.

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One of those days…

October 3, 2008

I had one of those days where I question whether becoming a teacher is even in the cards for me. I feel like I’m not a good teacher. Point and shoot.

When I have my observations, I never get a perfect observation. There are always so many areas that I need to work on. All of my friends who are in their internships always talk about how great their observations go and how they did everything perfect. They got the best review. They are going to be a such a great teacher.

Huh.

Not me.

And I know they don’t do everything perfect and everyone always has something they need to work on. It just seems like I’m doing more things wrong than right.

Am I kidding myself here? It’s a fact that most people who get a degree in elementary education end up not being in the classroom. After today, I am so doubtful that I will ever have my own classroom.

I went in on Friday, excited to start the day and around 10 a.m., I wanted to completely quit my College of Ed experience. Blegh. I hate this feeling.

Exhaustion

September 19, 2008

So after 3 weeks of internship, exhaustion is setting in. I’m getting about 6 hours of sleep a night. I’m not tired at school. I’m very pumped up and excited at school but when I come home, all I want to do is sleep. I wasn’t tired for my first few weeks of internship but now it seems like I’m struggling to keep my eyes open all the time now.

It’s way more than being just tired. It’s exhaustion. I’ve never been this exhausted in my entire life. Tonight, I took a 4-hour nap and I would’ve slept longer if my mom hadn’t woken me up!

I couldn’t imagine doing this, my online class (which is soooo much work!), and have a job right now! We’re struggling financially BIG TIME but it’s only for a few more months and then I’ll be working (hopefully, as a classroom teacher!) and we’ll be fine.

For right now, I’m just going to try to get as much sleep as possible and take some vitamins!

Yo, Teach!

September 13, 2008

Well, I started my Final Internship two weeks ago and I’m almost full-time teaching. I was only supposed to be observing for the first 2 weeks but I’ve already become acquianted with the school and students so I started doing little things, like taking them to art or music and going over math problems and began teaching some subjects last week.

My teachers are so awesome. They don’t take their job too seriously, usually leave by 3:15, and they are really letting me become the teacher! My A.M. teacher is the one who may have the most trouble letting go of the reins but it’s in a good way. She does it so the students get the most benefit and also because she doesn’t want me to be uncomfortable. She wants me to be comfortable and at ease when I start full-time teaching. My P.M. teacher is so good about leaving me alone. I don’t think he’s been in there for more than 3 minutes when I’m teaching them. 🙂 I love it.

The kids are great. I have my quiet, “good” ones, my talkers, and my low students who need so much extra support. The good ones make the job easy, the talkers make it fun, and my low students make it challenging. I have one student who needs so much help in math. It is such a struggle to figure out how to explain something in a different way to help. But I want the student to succeed and will try my best to do it.

Anyway, I love it. It’s turning out to be my best internship so far. I had a good internship, a horrible internship, and a great internship. I’m learning more about my teaching and discipline style. I know there are some students I can’t joke around with and there’s some students I can. My P.M. teacher is even letting me assign homework and such! How cool is that?

I hope to give more updates, better than biweekly, about how my internship is going. It’s an exciting time!

It starts tomorrow!

September 1, 2008

Yikes!

I start my Final Internship tomorrow. I really don’t know how the next 3 1/2 months are going to go. Am I going to be stressed and tired 24/7? Happy and excited 24/7? A mixture of both? It depends on my attitude.

I choose to have a good one.

I woke up today, excited to get my Final Internship started. I’ve never been excited to start an internship. The teachers I have this go around are exciting teachers. They are real people who are funny and don’t take their job too seriously. I love them already.

I need to be full-time teaching by October 6th. In the meantime, I’ll also have to complete an online class where I have to shadow a student using special services (luckily, I have one of those in my interning class!) and volunteer for 20 hours in a special education environment. That class will keep me busy. I’m completing the first module now and it’s a lot of work. :/

And I also have to get all my requirements done to graduate. I have to make sure my online portfolio is all up-to-date (it isn’t), finding a way to get ESOL hours, passing another professional exam, and trying to find a job for January.

It’s going to be a long, stressful, but extremely rewarding 3 1/2 months.

Kind of like teaching will be.

A prayer answered

August 16, 2008

Yesterday, I visited the elementary school where I will be doing my student teaching internship. I wanted to meet my cooperating teacher since I would be with him for these next 17 weeks, Monday-Friday. I was anxious, excited, and very nervous.

What if I hated the school, hated him?

I had to deal with that above answer in my previous internship. I hated the school (the staff and teachers were very unfriendly and the classrooms were disgusting). And I also hated my teacher (her word of advice: “If I had to do this over again, I would never have become a teacher.”). It was an awful internship. I felt sad and discouraged after every day, being in her classroom. I began to question if teaching was really the right career path for me.

This school is so different. The teachers joke around with each other and have fun. They aren’t disillusioned about teaching. They enjoy their jobs, even if it’s not the easiest.

It’ll be a different situation for me. In the morning, until lunch, I’ll be with a female teacher, teaching reading and writing. In the afternoon, after lunch, I’ll be with a male teacher, teaching math, science, and social studies. I think it’ll be fun!

I was very happy the entire time I was there. The school seemed to fit me. I really, really want to get a job there when I graduate in December. It seems like a great school.

The best part was my male teacher’s statement during the time I was there. He said, “You know, I can’t change the world, but I can change the lives of the 50 kids I have this year.”

I’m stealing that.

Trying to look professional

August 14, 2008

I will begin my final student teaching internship on September 2nd. I have done 2 previous internship (1 day a week and then 2 days a week). This one will be five, full days a week. This gives future teachers an insight into the world of teaching and makes it so our first year of teaching isn’t so shocking. We aren’t thrown out there to the wolves, so to speak.

As I prepare for this internship, I also have to prepare my new “business professional” look. As every college student knows, we have 3 items of clothes: jeans, t-shirts, and sweatpants. Nothing else, really. We may have a few slacks and blouses left over from our church days (when you actually wore nice outfits to church…) but we soon realize that we need a wardrobe overhaul.

I do have a few nice slacks and outfits to wear that I’ve picked up through my previous internships. I have:

  • Black slacks – that smell that popcorn since I wore them when I worked at a movie theatre during the summer of 2006.
  • Gray slacks – that need to be hemmed so badly. I actually had one of the workers at an elementary school roll them up for me one day. Can I help it if I’m the size of a ten-year-old?
  • Black-and-white striped capris – my nicest pair of slacks that make me feel professional, yet stylish. Thank you, New York and Co.!
  • An Indian red skirt – adorable on me! It’s oh-so-cute but I haven’t found any color but white to wear as a top.
  • Red flowery skirt – very cute but again, I can only wear it with one shirt.
  • Black flowery skirt – same deal.
  • Khakis – tons of shirts to wear with them but only have one pair.

So this is my dilemma. It’s not that I have NOTHING to wear – it’s that I only have a few things. And I am so into the “business professional” look. When my friend Kim and I were preparing for our first internship, we were so excited that we could wear skirts and slacks to teaching and look like real-live teachers! After spending so many years in jeans and sweatpants, it’s exciting. (This may just be the two of us, though…)

So I debated, for about 5 minutes, and then applied for a Target credit card. Not a very smart move, seeing as I’ve maxed out my Achieva credit card and my Old Navy credit card already (I know I can pay them back once I’m a full-time teacher) but this was a necessity, in my opinion. I needed some clothes to show the world that I am serious about being a teacher!

So I spent my first $100 of the $300 allotted.

Pinstripe Pants - Gray/ Blue

Merona® Pleated Skirt - Feather Print

I also got a black collared blouse to go with the pants (super cute) and a lime green shirt to go with my skirt (also super cute). And I bought the cutest brown flats with faux-fur lining on the inside! They were soooo comfy and sooooo cute that I had to buy them!