Wrapping it Up

July 23rd, 2019

The last two weeks at my internship site I have been curriculum planning with Mrs.Page for her classes next year.  These last two weeks have been the most informative for me as I have never done curriculum planning or seen it done before by any teachers.  I was able to learn about the Connecticutt system that the public schools use to enter their curricular data for the school year, which was really interesting for me.  Additionally, Mrs.Page taught me how to use the system, so I was able to enter the data in for the Spanish curriculum for next year based on her French curriculum.  We chatted frequently and discussed what activities she wanted to keep from this year, what I had observed since being there, and she entered the activities I had done with the students throughout my internship and the powerpoints/lessons I had made, which was extremely satisfying to see my work being used by another teacher who I learned so much from.

The relationships I formed with the students and how comfortable they became with me made me really feel like an important part of the community and I know from their actions that I impacted them even if just a little bit.  These connections I find to be the best part of the education field, the bonds you create with students who are learning from you and the people you work with and help you do it.  If they are positive an the environment is supportive, education can be such a powerful instrument and really be an enjoyable experience for everyone involved.  This is an important factor in today’s world as the influence of technology and the fast-moving world have affected the interest level of a lot of young students and their relationship with their education.

The most important thing I have learned over the course of my internship is that I am certain that I want to work with children in an educational environment.  This has come through during the amount of time I spent at the school and how rewarding a job I have found teaching to be.  Though I am not sure what type of school or age group exactly yet, this experience solidified the career path choice I want to make.  I have been so lucky to work with Mrs.Page, as a Dickinson alum she has made me hopeful for all the possibilities I have after graduating, and as a language teacher, she has given me so much advice and ideas for the future.  She has become a really important role model to me and I know we will keep in touch (we have each other’s phone numbers and addresses) and I am sure I will pop in next year to say hello during a break.  I am so glad to have had this experience, and the Dickinson externship program and the grant that I received were both key parts to making it successful.  The long commute was the one point of difficulty in my internship site and Dickinson granted me the ability to do it with less stress of worrying about gas money for the whole eight weeks which incredibly beneficial.  I hope that many other Dickinsonsonians can have an experience like mine through a Dickinson alum.

This image requires alt text, but the alt text is currently blank. Either add alt text or mark the image as decorative. Mrs.Page and I on-site at Captain Nathan Hale Middle School

 

A Day in the Life

July 23rd, 2019

The past two weeks have been the last two weeks of school, so activities in the classroom have been full of energy as the students get ready to go on summer break.  Mrs.Page took the majority of the eighth-grade class to Washington D.C. for a week, so I stayed back and was able to cover her seventh-grade classes (one French and one Spanish) as well as work with the eighth-graders who stayed behind while she was away.  With the seventh-graders, I was able to work on a whole weeks worth of work, which was super exciting, as this was my first time teaching these students on my own.  The lesson of the week consisted of learning how to properly use dictionary/translator sources, so each day we did a different activity together and then on Friday, which is ‘GameDay’ the students played a game I had created that was a compilation of movie titles in Spanish/French that they had to then translate into English to guess what movie it was.  They really enjoyed the activity and I was able to see the work we had done all week then be used by the students in a more contextualized format.  The last week was a whole mess of final remarks and bursting energy and goodbyes, and it felt good to be a part of the community as it wound down for the summer.

The experience that I have had at Captain Nathan Hale throughout my internship and over the past two years doing externships there has been one of a kind, and so helpful in my path to determining what career path I am interested in pursuing after college.  The externship program at Dickinson is how I originally came into contact with Mrs.Page, and so after the first time working together, I knew that I wanted to do more work with her.  That is why I applied to do to the same externship with her again, and during that time together over winter break of 2019, I mentioned to her my internship requirement for the Education major and she immediately started to contact the principal of the school and other members of the administration.  We had a long flow of contact throughout the early spring via email and phone call until eventually, we found out how we could make an internship program work and received all of the clearances on her end.

The biggest advice I have is to find Dickinson alums to do an internship with because it gives you a level of connection before you have even started to work together that makes it more comfortable and easy to start working together quickly.  They are usually going to be looking out for your best interest because if they are working with you it is because they had a good experience at Dickinson and want to help current students.  Here are a few more tips on finding an internship and being a good intern:

-do an internship experience even if you don’t think it is exactly what you’re interested in, it is just as helpful to figure out things that you don’t want to do as it is to find out what you do (and you never know you may love the field you work in)

-don’t hold back, you can only learn and grow if you put yourself out there

-remember this is a chance you have to work in the area of your choosing, take full advantage of the resources around you

-respect the mentor you are working with and also use them as a resource constantly, they are the person who is giving you insight on this career option, ask them as many questions as you can think of and also ask them to really get you involved on site

-take notes during the internship experience so you know how you felt about the environment you were and the role you served and your interest level so that you know how to navigate looking for future internships/jobs

This image requires alt text, but the alt text is currently blank. Either add alt text or mark the image as decorative. Photo with the Seventh-Grade Spanish Class

Calendar Talk, Soap Operas, and More

July 23rd, 2019

The past two weeks I was able to work more directly with the students in the Spanish classes and Mrs.Page even let me lead calendar talk and participate in activities of the day with the students.  During calendar talk I was able to use my Spanish to try and communicate with the students, asking them questions about the day itself (weather, what day of the week it is, how they were feeling that day) as well as what they had done the day/night before, or days prior.  This allowed for the circulation of dialogue throughout the classroom, peers helping each other to assist them in communicating what they were trying to say in Spanish.  Through this activity, I was able to see how important my impact as an educator is/would be up close, as the students then looked to me to help me with their Spanish writing and referring to me when asking how to say a specific word in Spanish.

Additionally these past two weeks, the students worked on soap operas in both the Spanish and French classes.  Therefore, I was able to work with groups on an individual basis, help edit their scripts, give them my opinion on a scene they were filming, and also get to know the students more in an isolated setting, and observe how they interacted with each other.  This activity allowed me to get to know the French classes as a bit more even though I was not helping them with the language directly, I could give them advice on their soap operas, and also get to know them as students.

The past few weeks have been really key to me finding a role in the classes I am working with, as now I am a trusting and familiar face for these students.  Additionally, I have grown closer with Mrs.Page and the other Spanish teacher through their weekly meetings planning the activities they will do with the students, and when sharing ideas about what to do about certain activities they used some of mine, making me a part of their language teaching team.  I have also interacted with many other teachers around the school through lunch periods and just hallway and copy room interactions, and have really started to feel comfortable as a part of the community.  There are also some student teachers who are getting their teaching degree currently at UConn who I have been able to work with and talk to about their experience getting their degree, and why they have chosen to work with middle schoolers, which has been really beneficial to me during my own journey trying to decide what part of the education field I would like to work in one day.

The comfortability I have formed with the faculty and students at the school makes it very easy for me to ask for help and ask them questions that I am curious about on a day to day basis.  This has been key to my knowledge development and ultimately be a helpful addition to Mrs.Page’s classroom and the Captain Nathan Hale community as a whole.  All of these faculty members that I have met with are there as resources now for me that I can turn to if I need advice or am looking for a specific way to work in some field of education.  Mrs.Page is a fantastic mentor for me and I know that I can always turn to her in networking when I am back at Dickinson or at home.

This image requires alt text, but the alt text is currently blank. Either add alt text or mark the image as decorative. Photo with Eighth Grade French Class

The Journey Begins

May 20th, 2019

I have started at Captain Nathan Hale Middle School this week and am so excited to be working with the 7th and 8th-grade students in the Spanish and French classes taught y Mrs.Page.  Having worked here in January through Dickinson’s Externship program I have met the students before, so it has been really great to see them again and begin to form closer relationships with many of them.

 

The first week of classes I was simply observing the classes and easing my way into working with the students.  This allowed for a good opportunity to get to know the dynamics of the different classes, based on their size, the types of learners in the classroom, the potential behavioral issues present, and the level of interest in the class.