Breakthrough Collaborative at San Francisco Day School
How has your internship helped build skills and clarify your career goals?
They've actually taught me how to run my classroom in extreme detail. They've already determined what objectives I'm teaching and have given me a lesson plan template, but the actual lesson planning is done by my co-teacher and I. They have multiple supports in place to help us, like an instructional coach, who gives us lesson plan feedback and observes us in our classrooms several times a week. The program is for high-achieving, low-income students in San Francisco. This is clarifying my career goal in wanting to teach at a low-income high school. I think this summer will definitely prepare me for student teaching in the Spring.
How do you apply your Liberal Arts skills in your internship?
My English courses have definitely helped me in the content areas of teaching. I know exactly how to frame my lesson plans and how to answer student questions because of those skills I've learned in classes. However, the education classes at Purdue could be improved. There is no strict methods courses in Purdue that help you explore how you want to run your classroom, such as routines and procedures, ways to involve students, how to give directions, what to say to a student when they're acting inappropriately, etc. This might be the case for early childhood and elementary ed majors, but there is no classes that teach these skills in my secondary English Ed program. I feel like the classes are more content based and free flowing, but there is no direct instruction for how to present yourself in the classroom. I understand that different schools have different procedures, so it does depend on the classroom you're teaching in, but giving us some concrete classes in classroom management would be really helpful.
What is the a typical day like as an intern, any challenging or exciting aspects?
I teach two blocks of Grade 5 English Literature everyday in the morning. I have two blocks of periods where I'm either lesson planning with my co-teacher, or I'm in department or grade level meetings. During lunch, we have lunch and recess duties, which alternate depending on the day. After lunch, I teach a volleyball elective with 6th, 7th, and 8th graders. Then, I teach an advisory/study hall course to a small group of students (4). After this, we have an All School Meeting, where we do fun games/skits and make school announcements. At the end of the school day, we have a faculty meeting for about an hour where we discuss different issues and upcoming events. During the evening, my co-teacher and I meet to make new lesson plans or finalize plans for the next day. I am also the committee chair for Staff Culture, where we plan events and activities for teachers and admins. We have weekly meetings for the committee. We're still in Orientation Week right now, so I haven't begun to teach in my classroom yet. I think the most challenging thing is going to be all of the responsibilities I have. I'm teaching multiple classes and turning in lesson plans weeks in advance. It's a very rigorous and fast-paced environment, but it's also very supportive and welcoming. I think the most exciting thing about my role is that I'm actually teaching students. There's not very many teaching internships, and most programs want licensed teachers, not prospective teachers in college. This internship allows me to spend six weeks in the classroom practicing my lesson plans AND receive feedback on them from a veteran teacher. It's a supportive environment where I actually get to teach for more than 20 minutes in a field experience, something that most prospective teachers don't get the opportunity to do. I think the thing that surprised me most was how organized this specific program is. There have everything scheduled and organized well in advanced. It's amazing how they've thought about every little detail and leave nothing out. The most meaningful experience I've had is the amount of support we have here. From fellow teachers, to instructional coaches, to administrators, everyone makes you feel welcomed, supported, and loved. Hopefully I will have multiple meaningful experiences with my students as well.