Thursday, 22 January 2015

First Day Teacher Internship in an American School........

It was a bright sunny day, the sky was a soft shade of blue and there was a slight breeze in the air. I stepped out of the cab that was sending us for our teacher internship right in front of the entrance of  Riverside Middle School. I did not know why, my heart was thumping really hard that it could jump out .. perhaps it was because that was my first day in a completely different environment as a teacher,,,, other teacher interns were equally nervous as all of them we very quiet in the cab. 
       Once we were inside the school building, we were shown our way to the office to meet the principal Dr.Kevin Black, a charismatic man in his forties who has shown high leadership skills in Riverside Middle and gained the highest esteem from the teachers there. I did notice at my first glance that he was a man who lead by example. I saw him running the school with great care and concern. He was rather very friendly and warm to the students. One thing I noticed about him was when he needed some students to arrange the chair at the assembly hall he called them in and arranged the chairs with them ( something that I have never seen in Malaysia, where principals only give orders and never lifted a finger.......,oppps no offence).  His exemplary acts are followed by the teachers as well. 
            During the assembly we were asked to introduce ourselves, we did but the students did not seemed to respond while we were introducing ourselves, there was a pin drop silence at the assembly hall and all their eyes were on us.. Despite the jitters, I  put a brave front and introduced myself to the students... I think they were told to keep quiet and watch their manners as they were all very quiet( we used to do that in Malaysia when we have visitors right?)....hahahahahaha

After the assembly ended we were approached by some students and they welcomed us in their american accent and asked more things about our countries till they were shooed away by a disciplinarian.. One thing I notice during my first day was the students do not greet their teachers with a 'good morning' or 'good afternoon' but with a simple 'hi' or 'hey' and the teachers seem to be okay with that.( In Malaysia, the "goods"is a must to show respect right? well that's our asian culture)

I was then approached by Miss. Wendy Hawkins and she informed me that my teacher partner Ms. Sharon was unable to come to school and  she will be my teacher partner till Ms. Sharon comes back. So I followed her to her class. Since it was my first day of internship, all I did was introducing myself to the students and sit and observe Ms. Wendy Hawkins. It was a great experience to be with Miss. Hawkins on my first day of internship because Ms. Hawkins has won the ‘Teacher of The Year’ award several times in the district and state. She shared her files, her lesson plans, the syllabus and also her modules generously, she even allowed me to make copies of her materials.... Such a great generosity!!!!!!!!!
Ms.Hawkin's Awards 
Ms. Hawkins teaches writing to 8th grade students (Form 2 in Malaysia). Her teaching style is completely different and in USA they are definitely using the 21st century teaching skills and she limits her role as a guide and facilitator in the class and allow students to explore the ideas on their own using laptops and other gadgets. Her writing lessons start with a simple short journal writing activity related to the topics/theme that they are learning and she continues her lesson with her current lesson. Currently she is piloting project based learning, where students are required to read, adopt and adapt articles form certain sites on the internet. Students are required to complete a four paged guided report based on their research on internet and their final work will be composition based on the knowledge that they have gained from their research they did on the internet. It was really, really interesting…In Malaysia, we have always seen that teachers including me  can start and complete one essay writing activity in just two - periods but here in US one writing lesson can be stretched to weeks, they really stress on the quality of writing by making sure students know what they are writing. Right now I am thinking of adapting this project- based learning activity in Malaysia once I am back and it is going to be exciting to bring back something worth it … at least for those who are thinking that I am having a holiday now they know that I am actually doing something beneficial here…hahahaha…..
American textbooks and teacher guide manuals 

Back to the American classroom, Ms. Hawkin’s classroom is very organised and she loves blue, so she decorated her classroom in blue which was eyes - soothing. I loved the arrangement. The number of her students in her class is about 20 to 25. I was told that a maximum number of students she supposed to have is only 25 and cannot be more than that. Being a teacher for 18 years she organizes her classroom so well and her students seem to love her so much… I did not see any errand offenders on my first day.. the kids seem to be very loving and fun. I saw some cheeky ones too who seem to be excited to see us and tried to crack jokes….I just laughed although I did not know what they were saying…hahahaha

The American classroom is so cool.........
 My first day was really  awesome and looking forward to go to school again and carry out my 1st lesson which will be about Malaysia…I am excited and will share once I am done with it…..

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