Abby H.

January 7th – January 14th (3 hours) – One meaningful experience within these last two weeks was when I offered to cut out laminate for my mentor. She had a huge sheet of full size 8×11 bingo cards that I assumed needed to be cut out so I offered to cut them for her and she was so grateful. I felt honored to be helping her out and I felt good about the fact that I was doing a simple task that needed to be done. My mentor is a very independent person and a lot of times will have everything done that needs to be done before I could even offer to do it for her. She also has an assistant teacher aide that comes in during her second science class (I’m only in that class for 15 minutes) that does a lot of the smaller tasks. I just saw an opportunity and jumped on it because I knew it needed to be done and I wasn’t doing anything else besides watching over the class so I offered to complete the task of cutting out bingo cards from laminate. I hope that my mentor noticed that I was willing and enjoyed doing tasks like that and will save more for me to do in the future.

Within my internship, I have been able to develop and work on some of my soft skills. Being with students, it is crucial to communicate and build a relationship with all students. I have learned when the appropriate time to communicate with students is. I have gained the ability to speak to my students on a personal level and on an educational level. Some students love saying hello to me and talking to me personally about my life and high school and some students aren’t afraid to ask me questions based on curricula that they’re learning. At first I had a hard time jumping in but with the encouragement of my mentor, I was able to break my wall down. From the beginning my students idolized me and looked at me as a higher but as we have gotten to know each other, it has become apparent that I’m not far from them and some treat me that way so I have had to do a lot of self study to learn that appropriate things to talk about considering my students and I are close in age and live within the same generation. I guess what I’m trying to get across is I am working on students seeing me as a mentor to them rather than just a high school student that comes to visit their class. I hope that my developing soft skill will aid me in this process and I have to be very aware of this skill and my goals for it.

With the soft skill of communication can go a long way in many aspects of my life not only college or career. Communication is the first step to building a relationship and relationships are very important to me no matter who it is or what type of relationship is it. With the skill of communication comes the aspects that go into communicating that I must be aware of like the appropriate vocabulary and timing depending on who I’m talking to. Skills take time to master and perfect but no matter how hard you work to improve, there will always be more room to improve. When going through college and a career, I will learn more and adapt to improve my skills to meet modern standards and what is appropriate. Within my career of being apart of the education system, communicating is crucial in more ways than one. It takes a lot of people to get the gears turning at every single school and all those schools create a district and those districts make up the state. Everything said and done as an effect on somewhere or something so it is super important to develop and have communication skills.

A vocabulary word that is used often at my internship site is classroom routine. My mentor will talk about how she needs to let her students in so they can start the routine. My mentor’s classroom routine consists of students coming in and going to their assigned seat, taking out their discovery log (bell work), and waiting for instructions following going over bell work as a class.

January 15th – January 28th (9.95 hours) –  One meaningful experience that occurred at my internship site was when a fellow teacher, Mrs. Carson, gave me an opportunity to shadow among all grade levels within the school from K-8 and even SPED kids too. I will definitely take her up on the opportunity sooner rather than later but I was honored when she brought it up into conversation. I also found it very flattering that she would give me that opportunity to narrow down what grade level I wanted to teach because she said that was one of the hardest things that every teacher struggles with when they first become a teacher. Mrs.Carson also gave me very meaningful advice about school and possible opportunities that I should look into when I go to school in the future. I was so honored that she was cheering me on in my future career. We talked about my plans for the future and my path about going to school to get my degree and teaching certificates. She was very supportive and understanding about me taking a year off before going to school and actually encouraged it. Mrs. Carson is someone that I have a lot of communication with because she collaborates with Mrs. Greene often, is the school’s SAT (Student Achievement Teacher), and is also the mother of one of Mrs. Greene’s students, Brady Carson who is in Mrs. Greene’s second science class.

I recently learned what an IEP is for a special education student. IEP stands for Individualized Education Plan/Program. Basically it is a layout of what will work best for the student in order to give them challenges and aide them in being successful. Within Mrs. Greene’s first science class she has a student who is SPED and after class, the student’s para and Mrs.Greene always touch base on how he is doing in her class and talk about if he is being successful within his IEP.

January 29th – February 11th () –

February 12th – February 25th () –

February 26th – March 11th () – 

March 12th – March 25th () – 

March 26th – April 8th () – 

April 9th – April 22nd () – 

July 20th – August 13th (31.09) – One meaningful experience that occurred recently happened last Friday. I walked the students through a step by step mitosis vs meiosis lab with oreos. The students were in partners of two and in a group of four. One of the pair of partners was arguing and having issues. It was a boy and a girl and the girl was being very loud and dramatic about the situation so my mentor sent the boy to the back pod and let the girl calm down and work by herself for a little. My mentor went in the back and talked to the boy and found out what the source of the issue was while I talked to the girl and got her side. Bottom line was that the boy didn’t want to work with the group and was being very negative towards himself and his peers. The girl was going off about how she was paired with a boy and how stupid he is and how she hates working with him. Little did she know, this particular student has Asperger’s disease. That is confidential information that stays between teachers and staff so it was clear that she had no idea and I’m sure she would understand why he was acting the way he was if she knew that his actions were out of his control. My point here is that I learned that sometimes not all groups will get along and some people would prefer to work alone or not at all. As a teacher that is something you have to think about when pairing students to work together. You have to pair those who work well together in order for students to ultimately be successful. Students need to be able to understand each other and cater towards each others strengths and weaknesses. This situation is something that will from now on, stick with me throughout my entire future career.

Referring to the Vail-based Internship Program that is purposed to give students professional work-life experience, it is so much more than that. There is so much that goes on behind the scenes to make a good candidate for any job they strive for. I admire Mrs. Wahl and Mrs. Polivchak’s determination to build and create a professionally experienced student. I hope to advance my communication skills in many aspects. I would like to learn how to communicate with others face to face based on the pointers that I have been given by Mrs. Wahl and Mrs. Polivchak. I tend to get anxious when I am communicating with someone I don’t really know so I would like to work on that. In addition to my communication skills, I would also like to continue working on my time management skills. I feel like I have been doing a really good job but I’m not where I would like to be. There is always room for improvements and that is one of the main things I have been focusing on doing. Within the Vail-Based Internship Programs comes a variety of many learning experiences.

Being a student within the program has taught me how to communicate with my teachers, peers, mentors, and previous students in the program. The teachers behind the program have not only taught me how to communicate but taught me the proper forms of communication and how to communicate professionally based on your audience. Communication skills are big in any aspect of life and career. I am grateful for the skills I have aquired and am excited to improve and learn more about them. Something that I learned about myself professionally is that I am really good at creating relationships in my place of work. Relationships are a very important aspect to me for more reasons than one. Not only have I created close kit relationships at my job, Panera Bread, I have started and created some new relationships at my internship site. I love all of my co-workers at both places and look forward to seeing them. I feel like it is important to add that even if i don’t particularly like someone for whatever reason, I keep that to myself and create a relationship anyways, all opinions aside. A lot of the time, my thoughts on that person change after I get to know them and build that relationship. I think that is an important ability to have in the professional field.

August 14th – August 27th (3.28 hours) – One meaningful experience I had this reflection log period was between me and my mentor. My mentor and I are literally the same person. We have gone through similar experiences and she is in the position I want to be in and has been to the places I want to go. She has gone down the path in life I plan on going down. Our growing bond has made this internship so much more enjoyable and meaningful to me. Every time I go to my internship, I gain more and more respect and love for her. My mentor is everything I want to be and strive for. She is an amazing teacher and role model to not only me but all of her students. We share the same roots, values, and goals. The meaningful experience is the bond that my mentor and I have created that I cherish and that will last even after my internship is over.

August 28th – September 10th (7.7 hours) – One meaningful experience that I experienced within these last two weeks occured Friday, September 7th, my birthday. When I walked into Mrs. Greene’s classroom she wasn’t in there, she was in the back pod. All of the reteach/enrich students were present and immediately started singing happy birthday. Them singing to me immediately made my day because Mrs. Greene not remind them it was my birthday, they remembered me talking about two weeks prior. Some students even brought me gifts and came running up to me to tell me happy birthday. What I learned from this experience is that students actually pay attention to personal things you talk about and don’t just view you as a teacher. Although I think something that I need to learn from this experience is that not every group of students that I have will be as considerate and caring of not only me as a future educator but their peers. I have a really good group of students this year and I couldn’t be happier. They all treat me with the utmost of respect and some of them even look up to me as if I were their idol! I am so ecstatic that I’m creating such a close bond with students so quick intp the school year!

One of the main things about my expected behavior at my site that has not been explicitly stated but I have picked up on it and made it an expectation for myself is the way I interact with students. I am expected to differentiate what conversations are appropriate and inappropriate to be having with students. I don’t struggle with this aspect but I have caught myself about to say something that I shouldn’t. I feel like it is harder for me to differentiate what kinds of conversations I should have and what I should keep to myself because of how close I am in age to the students I am around. How we grew up is very similar and the culture we are around plus the fact that we are students within the same district. It is a lot harder of Mrs. Greene to relate directly to students based upon social media, popular music, etc. For example, I was talking about fortnite with a group of student during bellwork when I should have been distracting them from their learning environment. I should note that the students had completed their bellwork and were waiting to go over it with the class but it was still an interaction that could be viewed as inappropriate. I feel that this is hard to explain but basically I feel that I can relate to the students personal lives and pop culture more than my mentor can and with that I need to be careful when speaking with students to ensure that they view me as someone within a professional prospective and not just a friend of as their “homie” as one student once referred to me as.

I do not think that I have to necessarily work for this expectation of behaving maturely and professionally towards students but I do feel like it is something that I have to constantly be mindful of. I feel as if I have a natural ability to teach others and be a role model for them so in that behavioral aspect is is natural for me. I have a very nurturing and caring aspect of my personality that only comes out when I am around a younger population. I am self aware that I am around the same age as the students I work with but I actively try to maintain that respect and professional view from them because I want to be treated as if I were their teacher. I feel as if my work and realization is paying me off because not only do other staff but students and parents who don’t know that I’m a student intern often mistake me for a new teacher/staff member.

One word that I came across at my site isn’t necessarily a word but a language I must understand. My mentor and her direct coworkers call it “code”. Within my first day, I heard this word being tossed around during our lunch and I witnessed the language being used and I totally picked up on it and instantly understood it. The language of teacher code is used when there are students, parents, other staff around who could possibly be eavesdropping. It is basically a language that is over generalized to prevent naming names. The speaker of the code has to ensure that the listener understands who they are talking about without explicitly stating names our detailed facts that could result in an identity of a student.

September 11th – September 24th (6.93 hours) – One meaningful experience that I recently had at my site involved the whole school. On September 21, 2018, Esmond Station had a spirit assembly. Now keep in mind that throughout the week, students and teachers dressed up based on the themed spirit days throughout the week. During this assembly students played games while competing against the other grades, fought over the spirit stick with a yell off, were recognized for their hard work through first quarter, and were praised for being the school to donate the most amount of diapers in the district. This assembly was just a really cool thing to see and be a part of! I took pictures and videos to cherish and look back on as good times. I will forever hold this experience close to my heart and carry it on with me in my future career in being a teacher in hopes that i can create the same experience at the school I teach at in the future! All and all, it was meaningful to see the whole school coming together and being connected with one another.

While chatting about possible site visit days, my mentor said that she had an IEP meeting on one of the mornings and was going to be unavailable. IEP is an acronym that I’ve heard multiple times from my mentor and it stands for an individualized education plan. An IEP is only for special education students because they are the ones who need more assistance and adaptations when it comes to learning. An IEP meeting is a meeting with a students parapros and inclusion specialists and their teacher. These meetings include talking about what a student is and is not capable of doing and/or learning. If they are capable, what ways are best for them to be successful and if they are not, how can that be improved on and make it possible. These meeting also entails how the student is doing and what may or may not be concerning.

September 25th – October 8th (0 hours) – Due to my internship being on the same break schedule as me, I could not attend my site over the break because they were also on break. Although I must point out that I ran into a handful of students over break and I surprised that they came and said hi to me. When I saw some of my students I was expected them to dodge me but they ran up to me and told me about their break!! I was surprised because I know that I would never do that if I saw a staff member from my school in public. It meant a lot to me to hear about some of my students breaks and even meet the parent they were with. I reflected upon those situations and come to the conclusion that not only am I an approachable person in class but outside of class too.

At my internship site, I have used all forms of communication. It depends on the situation to determine what form of communication is appropriate. When in emergency or something comes up last minute, my mentor and I call each other because that is the quickest form of communication for us. When it comes to professional manner and things related to multiple parties, we email each other to have that documented conversation. We email about the program, due dates, meetings, and assignments related to the internship program and students in her class. We have personal in-person conversations when we catch up or talk about something that is extensive and easier to talk about in person rather than going back and forth over email or text. I must say that our biggest and most used form of communication would be via text message. I text her the day prior or at the beginning of the week letting her know the days I’m coming and when. I text her and she texts me when we need to inform each other of quick information or ask a quick question. Ex. I ask what she wants from Dunkin’ Donuts if I’m stopping there before going to my site.

I am very comfortable with choosing which form of appropriate communication should be used with my mentor and at my site. I don’t think too hard when communicating because it becomes unnatural at that point. I reread my form of communication before i send it and make sure I am clear and all possible questions are answered. Depending on the situation, as explained in the question prior, I determine what form of communication I should use. But as stated before I don’t over think when I communicate because as I said, it becomes repetitive and unnatural. Communication should be easily understood and smooth on all sides and I try my best to make it that way. I gladly answer any questions my mentor has when it comes to me and the internship program as a whole because she is new to the understanding of the program.

A vocabulary word that I have heard not only at my site but through my entire school life is PO which is an acronym for Performance Objectives. PO’s in the Vail School District are created to satisfy the need and want for students to highly perform on the created objectives in order to answer the essential questions at the end of a standard. The learning of a PO is determined by how difficult a standard is and the time needed for a students full understanding.

October 9th – October 22nd (1.63 hours) – One meaningful experience that I have had at my internship site included having a conversation with my Mentor about standards. This topic of conversation is meaningful to me because it is what my Senior Exit Project is about. I enjoy having these conversations with my mentor because it not only allows me to gather information from a teacher but it exposes me to how Common Core standards interfere with the teaching and the appropriate times to teach. The conversation we had surrounded the idea that some aspects of subjects should be taught during the same time as another learning aspect of another subject because they coincide. For math and science this is a big thing because without science there wouldn’t be math and vise versa. While students are learning the periodic table in Science, they should also be learning scientific notation in Math but that is not the case thanks to Common Core standards.

A vocabulary term that i have heard in a school setting in general not just at my site is the word “SPED”. SPED is a shortened, more polite way to label a student with Special needs. SPED stands for Special Education. My mentor will say “SPED kid” when speaking about a student and not naming names while doing so but I know exactly who she is talk. Even outside of my internship site, I hear SPED within my peer mentor program at Empire High School.

October 23rd – November 5th (2.84 hours) – One meaningful experience that I have had this reflection log duration would have to be the fact that my mentor wants me to lead multiple labs in December. I am very excited for this opportunity for more reasons than one. Not only did my mentor and I come to this idea together but she is adamantly pushing for it and is talking to parents to even donate supplies for the lab. All parties involved are very excited for these upcoming labs. I even had my mentor reach out to a fellow science teacher within the district to see if my mentor could borrow certain chemicals that my mentor doesn’t have access too. With that communication came a connection and a new friendship between the two teachers that I am very excited about. I learned that stepping out of your comfort zone ultimately results in a positive outlook on something new. I have grown from this experience because it will forever be my first experience teaching a class something that I put together and coordinated. Throughout my future teaching career, I will always look back on this experience.

A time I interacted with co-worker for professional reasons would be when I talked to another science teacher within the district face to face. I met with her outside of class in my own time to discuss chemicals we could borrow and age appropriate labs/experiments. The teacher I talked to was Hillary Stacy at Empire High School. I wouldn’t say that Ms. Stacy is a direct co-worker to Mrs. Greene but she is a fellow co-worker within the Vail School District. I hope that counts as a professional encounter with another co-worker. I brought up the idea to my mentor about borrowing supplies from another teacher and she liked that idea so my mentor emailed her and I also initiated a face to face conversation with Ms. Stacy about the email and the matter. It then moved to me directly being the communication between Mrs. Greene and Ms. Stacy. Ms. Stacy and I would have passing conversations and I would then tell Mrs. Greene via email or in person about those conversations and then Mrs. Greene would add in her ideas and I would relay that information back to Ms. Stacy. It was all and all just a triangle of communication and tossing ideas around.

An instance were I have interacted with a coworker solely for social reasons, would include seeing them out in public and saying hello. In addition, passing a fellow coworker in the halls of Esmond Station and greeting them with a simple smile, wave, hello, etc. I regularly interact on a social level with coworkers but it’s not often when I do but its every time when I do see them outside of school. It’s rather odd but every time I have gone to our local Walmart, I see at least one of my many direct coworkers. Mr. Beaver is definitely one that I see most often. I am 100% comfortable with taking the initiative to make that social interaction.

An industry specific vocabulary word that I quickly learned at the beginning of my internship and that is used everyday and my site, would be ‘Discovery Log’. A Discovery Log is another term for bell work. Students complete their Discovery Log’s everyday in class. As soon as students enter the classroom they get out their Discovery Logs and get to work until Mrs.Greene starts the class.

November 6th – November 19th (9.12 hours) – One thing that has always stuck out to me and not just within that last two weeks is the relationship between my mentor and her students. The experience I had was being a witness to pure happiness among a student that radiated through the whole class. This particular student and my mentor were joking around like they always do but they had me and the whole class laughing. This experience that involved a teacher, class clown, students, and a fig bar just really made an impact on my values. Not only my personal values but my personal standards and values I have developed for myself as a future teacher. I believe that it is crucial to develop relationships with everyone especially when in a classroom setting. It is important to know all students situations in order to build that relationship and know their level of tolerance to jokes and pulling their leg. Coming from a very comical person, it is important to stay in your boundaries and to not overstep those boundaries in any given relationship.

From the get go, my mentor has always told me that she has an open door policy which I really appreciated because we are both really busy people and never set a solid schedule because of that. It is clear within my reflection logs that there is no pattern with attending my internship. I held myself to my attendance and knowing when I could and couldn’t go and calculating how many hours I had left in order to reach my 62 hour mark. I was fully aware of school breaks, absences, and doctor’s appointments. Some of my personal standards for myself when attending my internship included going every Friday and bringing her coffee and being there for her science classes in which was my whole purpose for going. I am very appreciative for her open door policy because she is always understanding when things come up or when I worked late the night before. I have always let her know when I’m coming and when I’m not and if something comes up. Just a simple text message either the night before or before school starts and she has done the same for me via text message. For example, If one of her kids was sick and she stayed home with them, she would let me know and offered that I was welcome to come even if there was a substitute teacher. In order to succeed, I held myself to my own standards and always communicated with my mentor.

When it comes to juggling aspects of my life like school, homework/extra curricular, family, work, and my internship, I would say that I have had to sacrifice a lot in order to fit everything in my schedule. I have missed out on opportunities at school and outside of school because all those aspects of my life are like checks and balances. Ex. I can’t be involved in extracurricular after school because I have to work. Due to one aspect, I miss out on something from another aspect. There are some weeks/days that I juggle everything better than others. Overall, I juggle everything pretty well but there is always room for improvement. I think something I should improve on next semester is trying to set aside time to sit down and do my homework all at once rather than doing it throughout the day/week little by little until the due date. Homework/schoolwork is an area that I suffer in most because there is just not enough hours in a day to get everything done that I need to get done.

A vocab word that I have learned to know, use and understand is “on file”. On file in the education world means that a certain situation or trait of a student has been recorded in their school record and it is something to be aware of. Ex. “The student stole something from my classroom and I put that on file.”