Thursday, January 10, 2008

Classes, students and routines

I have officially met all of my classes for the first time this semester. I teach three courses but two of them are with the same students - my business education pre-interns.

Although the excitement is still there - the beginning of the new semester - I know that things will turn into routine fairly quickly. Does that happen to all teachers? And how do we keep the routine from making us boring and predictable?

I remember a professor in my grad program that told us that he was amazed that he was still coming to lecture - we must be a special group - because usually by this time of the semester in other semesters he had stopped coming to class!!! And we were only about half way through the semester.

For me the relationship with my pre-interns keeps things fresh for me - I work hard during this semester to understand each of them as people, as prospective teachers and as future colleagues.

But my first responsibility this semester is to understand, even better than before, my students' strengths, weaknesses, potentials, etc. I need this sense of understanding to be able to pair them up for their three week field experience, but more importantly probably is to match them with an appropriate cooperating teacher for their pre-internship and then again in the Fall for their Internship.

I really do believe that I can't just arbitrarily send a student to any old teacher. There needs to be a fit. Some students need pushing and some coops only know how to push. Other student need gentle prodding and some coops are good gentle prodders. And then there are all the students and coops somewhere in the middle.

On top of that I also like to put students in places that are convenient and 'happy' for them. Its a juggling act but as usual I allow my students to help me with the project.

I encourage the students to attend and participate the Regina Business Educators Association and the Saskatchewan Business Teachers Association meetings and workshops. There they meet lots of teachers and perhaps even work with them on committees, etc. Over the years I have found that my students can pretty much pick the 'right' coop for their internship. I always have the last say but if they have been attentive and have met enough teachers they are pretty good at picking the right one.

My other course is ED 800 Introduction to Research. It is interesting to me that although I always pay attention to my students in this course, in many ways, the content 'rules.' I still need to 'teach' - help the students acquire the requisite knowledge but because the course is focused I have a little less concern with the overall professional development of the students and more concern with their acquisition of the content

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