Intern Updating

Lots of folk have been asking me about how interning and grad school has been going and I wish I had more complete answers.

Thanks to two snow days and MLK Day, I have been at the school four days. Having said that, I can tell you that I will be spoiled by the facility and the students. I’ve been given a desk in the English department, allowing me to chat with the faculty and letting me eavesdrop on conversations pertaining to teaching.

When I was in high school, the faculty rooms were off-limits except in the direst of circumstances but here, students stroll in to meet with teachers, fostering a better one-on-one experience. Additionally, adjacent to the office is a learning center with work stations and small tables allowing students to study together or meet with teachers. It’s always been busy which speaks well for the industriousness of the students.

They’re also really polite. They actually say thank you as they leave the classroom. Sure, there are slackers and those doing the minimum required, but overall, they seem determined to do well.

The faculty has been most welcoming and inviting me to shadow their classes, which is great. As I arrived, the second semester was winding down so the classes I’ve sat in on to date were all geared towards prep for the mid-terms. Now, the testing period should have begun earlier but snow has wreaked havoc with the schedule. The first day of testing was last Friday and should end this Friday, but today’s snow day may throw that into disarray. I eagerly await the testing to end and the classes to begin anew so I can see some real teaching and learning going on.

The building is only six years old and its layout and design shows modern thinking compared with the designs of earlier decades. In a semi-circle, the disciplines are clustered together in wings with clear signage. The schedule is interesting in that it’s an eight day rotation, staggering the classes and dropping one each day. The fifth period of the day is an extended one, allowing for more in-depth teaching, but also providing for breaks so the four lunch periods can occur.

So far, I’ve subbed for Spanish and in the special needs area and I was never tested much as I was by the Fairfield students. It was a different experience and one I could get used to. When not in class, I’ve sat in on 9th grade English, a senior social studies seminar, modern poetry and so on. When not in a classroom, I’ve sat at my desk reading up on the official high school English curriculum and starting in on the books I am likely to find myself teaching in the near future.

Grad school begins later today with two classes today and two more tomorrow so we’ll see what happens. But, so far, so good.

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