Well the end is finally here! On friday my partner and I boxed up our teacher things and took one last look at what had become our classroom home for the past couple of weeks. It was a sad moment saying good-bye to our co-op teacher who had become like a teacher mom to us. While we were elated to have made it to the end and have all the stress conclude, we were also sad to leave. We were so fortunate to have the co-op teacher we had as she was awesome! She taught my partner and I so much in so little time, not only in what she told us explicitly, but also in what she demonstrated on a daily basis. I had grown so accustomed to our pre-intern table and our daily routine, that I had almost forgot how to go to class today at university. I miss my students and my classroom, and while I know I can’t really claim these as mine after only three weeks, I still feel like they are somewhat mine. This experience has been such a positive reaffirmation of my desire to be a teacher. Sometimes things were difficult, and sometimes lessons went really wrong, but at the end of the day you have to roll with the punches and focus on the positives.
I love creating engaging and fun lessons plans and thinking outside the box. I think my teaching style is a little different than most, but I think that’s alright because every teacher teaches in a such a diverse way. I think this enthusiasm for teaching and the connections with my students are what makes me so excited to have a career as a teacher!
This last week of my pre-internship was all about evaluations and emotions. Because this was the wrap up week, both my partner and I had lots of projects wrapping up. With projects comes evaluations. In my period three grade nine class I had my students complete their major project which was spotlighting a survival story. Their task was to find and research a survivor story that they found interesting and then share that story in one of three ways: a Facebook profile of the survivor, a brochure spotlighting the survivor story, or a poster which displays the survivor in a creative way.
I found that these options provided all learners with a different platform to demonstrate their knowledge and skills. I also provided each student with a detailed assignment sheet which included the evaluation criteria as well as all the elements which were to be included. As a class we look through some exemplars of each type of assignment in order for the students to have a more detailed look at what was expected for the assignment. I have learned the importance of providing my students with student work and exemplars of projects, so I made sure to go through these in detail with my class. I think in the long run it truly did benefit my students as the majority of the final projects were exceptional.
In order to evaluate these marks I used different criteria for each of the three types of projects. I provided the students with my evaluation criteria prior to them completing their projects, which I think is so important for teachers to do. Otherwise, how can teachers expect students to fulfill criteria that is invisible to them? Without a guide, students are lost and frustrated when their projects don’t meet the teacher’s expectations. There were a lot of projects to mark and at first this seems very daunting. “How long is this going to take?” I wondered. I found that some of the assignments were easier to mark than others. And while I relied as much as I could on my criteria, sometimes I had to re-evaluate the project and reassess the mark. Sometimes I felt I was marking too easy, and sometimes I found I was marking too hard. And I know that this is why using criteria and rubrics is so important, but what do you do when there is controversy with the rubric? When you feel the rubric is doing the project justice. Some students failed the project and this broke my heart. I felt I had given my students all the necessary directions and supports, as well as class time to complete the project with the criteria expected and communicated. Nonetheless, two students failed to fulfill the criteria and went a completely different direction. Because It was the last day of my pre-internship, I had to leave the marks with my co-op teacher. However, if the situation had been different I would have liked to give these students a second chance to re-do the project.
In our team teaching class my partner and I had to evaluate our students’ Etymology Posters. These were a much more positive evaluating experience because we got to do it together. We went through each project and evaluated it using the rubric together. For the most part we agreed on marks, and a few we had to hash out to come to an agreement on the mark. Creativity was one of the criteria for this project, so it was a little more difficult to evaluate. I really enjoyed evaluating with a partner, and wish this collaborative assessment and evaluation could be a constant. It was a much more productive and positive process I found, not to mention an amazing opportunity to connect and learn from other educators in the area of assessment and evaluation.
The end of my pre-internship and my final good-bye were an emotional chapter, and I’m so thankful to have experienced it all.
Thank you so much for reading my posts and following my internship journey! It has been an amazing journey and I’m happy to say that it is not the end, but just the beginning.
Please stay tuned for a showcase of my pre-internship lesson plans and evaluation guides!
Until next time,