These past few months have flown by. I am finding myself avoiding the fact that I am going to have to leave this school in less than two weeks. I have grown to love it here – the students, the teachers, the staff, the experience – all amazing. I am truly lucky to have been placed in such a diverse and accepting school. If I were to picture the perfect job – this is it. I’d like to do some reflecting in multiple areas in order to summarize my internship journey.
I cannot believe I won’t be spending the majority of my time with these students come January. I have built connections with each student in my class and students throughout the school. In conversation with the grade 1/2 intern, we discussed our feelings regarding the end of internship. We feel like we work here – hired in August, only to be leaving a short 4 months later. We have built routines into our daily lives that will end all too soon as we head back to University classes. The relationships I have built with these students will not come to an abrupt stop though. Although I will be busy in the New Year, I plan to come back for visits, volunteer for field trips, and make the effort to continue those connections.
Overall, I am so grateful for the experiences I’ve had while interning at GMS. I have had incredible days and I have had challenging days, but I know that each day offers new opportunities to learn and grow. I think every beginning teacher struggles with understanding their own pedagogy, the best way they feel they can teach a class including things like behaviour management, providing an inclusive environment, and always working for the betterment of students. I have had to plan differentiated, inclusive-based lessons to provide students equal opportunity to learn, learned from the students themselves, and have been amazed by the diversity in student backgrounds and thinking. Many of the students at Gladys McDonald are not originally from Canada – there are many different languages, histories, and families within the school, making for a wide variety of knowledges and worldviews. I am truly going to miss spending so much time in this school!
- School Community and Collaboration
Gladys McDonald has shown me the true value in school collaboration and developing a deep sense of community that transfers year to year as students get older. Things such as Daily 5 integrated into EVERY classroom, the opportunity to rely on the school Math Specialist, and making time for a Common Collaboration meeting each week with teachers at both the primary level and middle years level. This school is small but booming. I cannot say more good things about what the teachers are doing here. Building relationships is key, not only with students but with the school staff as well. The EA support in the school is unlike anything I’ve seen – they work hard day in and day out to help the students succeed. The administration is supportive and always willing to help. The school secretary is one of the hardest workers I have seen and the facilities operator continues to find ways to keep the school in the best shape possible (with minimal budget). Everyone is willing to help when you need it. The teacher librarian works with all students to ensure they are progressing towards their literacy goals, the learning resource teacher offers suggestions and assistance when dealing with varying student needs, and our EAL support teacher helps the students feel more comfortable and welcomed by providing one-on-one support.
- Opportunity to Learn and Grow as a Professional
I am so fortunate to have been placed in such a welcoming school with a supportive and understanding cooperating teacher. I have had nothing but opportunity day in and day out to develop my own teaching pedagogy, experiment with different instructional strategies, utilize different forms of technology, build upon my existing educational philosophy, improve my classroom and behaviour management strategies, and more. I have felt comfortable the entire time I have been at GMS, something that doesn’t always happen when interns are placed in schools! I cannot state enough how positive this internship experience has been for me. I have been developing into the educator that I have always wanted to be.