Monday, February 12, 2007

Pre-interns, schools, tomorrow and reasons

Last Wednesday was the first day of my students' pre-internship experience. As part of their semester's work they spent Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of last week and all of this week in a high school attached to a Business Education department. Next week is our midterm break. They will come back to classes for a few weeks and then they will return to these schools for two full weeks.

This experience is integrated with the courses they are taking this semester and is intended to prepare them for their full semester of student teaching which for most of them will happen next fall.

They are placed with a cooperating teacher and I regularly go to the schools to visit and see how they are doing with this first experience.

Today I went to two schools and saw 4 of the pre-interns.

There is something invigorating for me when I enter a school. In most cases I feel the optimism in the place. I can sense 'future.' These are places where adults work with the young to prepare them for tomorrow. No matter what that tomorrow is, in our society, tomorrow begins with today in a school.

The pre-interns often see schools as large, confusing institutions, filled with bodies, long hallways, classrooms and other 'stuff.' And in some ways all of this is scary - who are all these people? which ones are teachers? caretakers? principals? secretaries? parents? students? What if I go into the wrong classroom? What if I sit on the wrong chair in the staffroom? What if I use the wrong coffee cup?

And this is in spite of their own experiences as students in just such an institution.

But it is explainable - they are here in a new role - they are about to be teachers - they will be judged - by the students, by their cooperating teachers, by themselves and by me. They are like anyone else in a new, confusing circumstance - some fit in immediately and others have to take their time.

But I also think that they recognize the responsibilities they are about to assume - and that is scary.

I think they recognize they are dealing with 'tomorrow' - a tomorrow that is shifting and changing - a tomorrow that is unknown in some ways.

And probably more importantly they recognize the responsibility they have to individual students. They just aren't doing a job that may or may not work out. They are dealing with human beings, tomorrow's adults, individuals - some of whom live lives that my students can barely imagine.

I recognize these responsibilities, I recognize the tomorrows we deal with in schools - and that reminds me of what my job is about.

Somehow, in the things that I do, I have to make a difference for teachers who are dealing with their students' tomorrows

I am going to visit my other pre-interns tomorrow. That means I will be in more schools. I am looking forward to tomorrow

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