Getting My First Intern!! Need Tips

Discussion in 'General Education' started by time out, Jun 27, 2014.

  1. time out

    time out Comrade

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    Jun 27, 2014

    Hello all! I'm very excited to announce that I will be receiving my first intern in the fall. I'd like to hear from any teachers who have had wonderful or not so wonderful internship experiences.

    What did you love about your internship and cooperating teacher?

    -or-

    What did you wish the cooperating teacher did differently?

    I'm not looking for horror stories or anything but just some good, quality suggestions.

    Here are some things that I'm already planning:
    1. Send an introduction email and invite intern to lunch for a casual get-to-know-you meeting.

    2. Get intern a school ID badge and spirit shirt.

    3. Invite intern to help set up the classroom.

    4. Give intern a small welcome gift of supplies like markers, post-its, clipboard, etc.

    5. At the end of the year, ask students to purchase a new book for the intern to help her build her classroom library for whatever grade level she wishes to teach.

    I'd love to hear your ideas! Thanks!
     
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  3. SleekTeach

    SleekTeach Comrade

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    Jun 27, 2014

    Wow, I wish you would have been my cooperating teacher!
     
  4. RedStripey

    RedStripey Comrade

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    Jun 27, 2014

    You already sound like you're going to do a great job making her feel welcome and comfortable in your class. My cooperating teacher was awesome as well. She was such a nice person and was always super helpful. She would guide me but would also let me try things on my own, which was good. I didn't want to be a carbon copy of her or any other teacher, plus you need to let your intern learn from her mistakes to help her become a better teacher on her own (of course if she's royally messing up you should intervene lol).

    My CT also helped me with my interviewing skills and reviewed my resume/cover letter as well. :)
     
  5. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    Jun 27, 2014

    Those all sound like great ideas. When setting up your room, be sure to make a desk area for her (could be a table, a student desk, whatever). It will help for her to have a designated space to do paperwork, lesson plan, etcetera.
     
  6. time out

    time out Comrade

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    Jun 27, 2014

    Thanks, SleekTeach!

    @RedStripey, I just completed the district's clinical ed training and they did stress the importance of letting interns learn from their mistakes. They also said that the quickest way to break their trust was to jump in during a lesson.

    I like the idea about helping with interviewing skills. I can try and find out some of the interview questions that our county asks.

    @agdamity, I thought about that but I'm really struggling with finding a spot. I'm picturing my room layout that I had last year (which I loved) and I honestly don't know what area I could give her. Every table is used at some point of the day, even my teacher's desk because I have one of the computers on it which students are allowed to use. Do you think it would be okay to give her an area that had a dual purpose?

    I could give her some drawers or shelves, though.

    I just thought of something else. Does anyone give their intern a getting-to-know-you questionnaire?
     
  7. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    Dual purpose would be fine. I just think it helps set the tone for her and for the students to see her in the teacher role.
     
  8. RedStripey

    RedStripey Comrade

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    Jun 27, 2014

    Ugh yes. This makes me so angry. A lot of the people in my cohort said that it would constantly happen to them. Like I said, unless the student teacher is royally messing up, there's no reason to jump in...save that conversation for your meeting with her. Also I worked as an aide this past school year and I had teachers scream at me in front of students, hence one of the many reasons I am not doing that again next year.

    During my student teaching my CT never interfered during my lessons (if anything, she would whisper/mouth things to me or point to something while standing behind the kids so they couldn't see), but some of the classroom aides did and it drove me crazy. There were always many other adults in the room (aside from me there was my CT, her full-time aide, two one-on-one aides, and two behaviorists were in and out...it was a challenging class to say the least!) so someone was bound to do it.

    Sidenote...One time, all those people plus the principal and guidance counselor were watching me teach a lesson. :eek:
     
  9. bewlove

    bewlove Companion

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    Jun 28, 2014

    First of all, you sound awesome! The beginning of the year is when student teachers are so eager, so it's such a great time to invest in that excitement. I remember wanting so badly to help my teacher out with open house, setting up her room, everything. It was before my placement began and we were strongly encouraged to volunteer by my university. I honestly didn't even hear from her for a few weeks (after a couple of emails). I volunteered to come in, she let me meet the students once, but then still never used me until my designated start date. We still had a great year together, but it made me feel awkward starting out, like she didn't really want me there, when all of my classmates were already in their rooms.

    I will share what I absolutely LOVED about my placement and what I would have done differently. I just student taught and graduated in May (we had a year long placement).

    LOVED:

    -I really did love having my own space. I know you said you aren't sure where you could put her, but it really meant a lot. It established me as a "teacher" to have my own little area. Not to mention that I constantly had lots of paperwork to do. I'm not sure how you will want things done, but during recess, planning, and even during times that my mentor was doing this such as reading the class a book, I would be in my spot working on things I needed to get done. I honestly can't imagine not having a spot. Now my spot was nothing extravagant, it was a portion of a big table. But it was still a place for me to put my things and get some work done.

    -I loved when my mentor made me feel really included, but talking with me and the other teachers at lunch, introducing me to new faces, etc.

    -I loved when I would get help with improving my observation scores. We had six observations, and my university supervisor could be a little less than explanatory. I loved being able to talk over my scores with my mentor, and she would give me new ideas to meet the indicators or improve the next time.

    -Included in meetings, like IEP meetings and in-services. These were just so educational as a student teacher. I looked forward to going.

    -Let your student teacher have a role in parent communication and PT conferences. Even if you just let them send home a couple of emails throughout the year or make some newsletters, or even keep up with the classroom website. This gives them practice.

    What I didn't love:

    -Not having enough classroom duties. There were many days that I stayed in my spot and played on my laptop all day. Not because I was lazy but because my teacher wouldn't let me teach lessons at first. She was kind of weird about handing over the class. She did say that she was going to let me teach everything for a week, so we did that. And after that, I asked her if I could start doing one subject per week. But before that, I really only taught my observed lessons. I don't know why. I think maybe she was confused about my responsibilities, because she had previous ST for six week periods, and they would observe half the time, and teach half of the time. My university wanted us to exercise a co-teaching model. I would try and help out when she was teaching, but there was only so much I could do. I never felt confident to jump in while she was teaching, so I just stayed in the back and helped out kids who needed extra help. I would have been happy to do the little things, even. Like read a book to the class or go make copies! Just something to make me feel like I could be helpful.

    -Not feeling super welcome at first.

    -Not being told about stuff until the day of. "Oh, we have an assembly today." or things of the like. It made me feel like I was one of the kids.

    -Not being involved in the planning process. I was of course able to plan my own lessons, but I would have loved to been involved in her planning, and seen things such as the pacing guides.

    -Not being invited to faculty meetings (although they didn't meet often, and I had to go to work right after school). But even when they did meet, I was never really told about it.

    That's really all I can think of. I enjoyed my placement, but there are some things I learned from that I will do differently. You're gonna be great!!! Good luck!!!!
     
  10. bros

    bros Phenom

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    Jun 28, 2014

    That is fine - in the classrooms I student taught in, my area was the table the teachers would use for small group or for putting things on that students might need (spare pencils, crayons, supplies for activities, etc.)

    Also, all of your ideas are great.

    I liked when my cooperating teachers would show me around and introduce me to people - though I knew some of the staff already.

    I didn't like how my special ed cooperating teacher refused to invite me to IEP meetings.

    Let the student teacher participate in conferences - When I attended P/T conferences, I would observe the teachers when they interacted with the parents, see what they said, etc. and I would also sometimes float out into the hallway and talk to the parents about their child.

    You need to be willing to transition teaching duties over to the student quickly, but not too quickly, go at the pace the student is comfortable with.

    If you can, provide them with the unit/marking period plans for subjects.

    Check in with the student teacher after every school day - ask them how it went, see if they have any questions, things like that.
     
  11. time out

    time out Comrade

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    Jun 28, 2014

    bewlove and bros, thank you for your detailed responses!

    I'm going to try my best to make my intern feel included. I have to speak to my team though and ask them not to turn our planning meetings into venting sessions which have become the norm recently.

    I like the idea of providing the intern with pacing guides. I could make here a little binder with important documents such as the guides, school calendar, faculty handbook etc.

    When I first began teaching, I was terrified of parent conferences. I could maybe put the intern in charge of discussing one of the subject areas so that she could become more comfortable with the process. She could also help me update my blog.

    Luckily, my intern's start date is the first day of preplanning. So the kiddos will see her from day 1. Which brings me to another concern. I want the students to see her as just another teacher so I'm going to introduce her as such but what should I say when the kids ask why she has to leave? I feel that mentioning that she's in college would undermine her authority.
     
  12. bewlove

    bewlove Companion

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    My mentor didn't say necessarily that I was in college, she always just introduced me as a student teacher. I never felt that it was an issue. Some of the students would ask what that meant, and I/she would just tell them that it meant that I was finishing up my teaching requirements to have my own classroom. They never seemed to question it. How old are your students?

    But, from day one, I was represented as an equal. I was Miss Last Name, and the only time I think that the kids may have seen me as inferior to their regular classroom teacher was when I would do it to myself by saying things such as, "Oh, let me ask and see how Mrs. H wants it done."

    Maybe give your intern a pep talk in the beginning about how you fully expect her to feel comfortable with being in charge of classroom management and making decisions. And then, don't question her decisions, at least not in front of the kids.
     
  13. bros

    bros Phenom

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    It won't undermine her authority - just say she is here to learn how to be a teacher and that from now until Winter Break, she will be their teacher, just like you.

    (Although I was in a Kindergarten, those kids would accept any reason to have another person around)
     
  14. time out

    time out Comrade

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    Jun 28, 2014

    I guess I'm over-thinking it a bit. I teach first grade so they will probably accept whatever I tell them =)
     
  15. DressageLady

    DressageLady Comrade

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    Jun 28, 2014

    I know, right?! And I had great cooperating teachers! What a great way to make your intern feel welcome.

    Both of my cooperating/mentor teachers had the classes write me good bye letters and I can't tell you how much they have meant to me. It was a thoughtful, meaningful gesture from both teachers. Maybe have your class do something similar for your intern when the time comes?
    Sheilah
     
  16. StarsofTommorow

    StarsofTommorow Companion

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    Jun 28, 2014

    Wow you seem like you are so down-to-earth, genuine, and that's amazing how you want to make her feel welcome. Good luck! Just always be clear of your expectations, inform intern about up to date things in education, give enough time for lessons to be completed, keep an open line of communication...
     

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