Teaching Internship – T minus one and countingPosted: August 22, 2011
Yikes! It’s already the fifth week of classes, and I am way behind on this reflective journal. Time to play catch up!
This semester, I am enrolled in my final course for VCU’s Preparing Future Faculty (PFF) program. The course is an internship in professional teaching, and I am serving as a secondary instructor for one section of the educational research methods course that students in the MEd program are required to take. My dissertation advisor and department chair is the instructor of record, so he is mentoring me. This is a nice situation. Not only do I have the opportunity to get some practice teaching without having to start completely on my own, I’m also getting practical advice and learning what it means to use my own research for examples in the classroom. I think I’m going to like this! But, let me back up to the beginning.
About two weeks before the class started, I sat down with my advisor (Dr. M) to talk about the tentative syllabus for the course. Obviously, he has taught this course many times, and he wrote the textbook that we use. However, he had some thoughts about doing things a little differently than he has in the past. For example, he wanted to experiment with the use of electronic portfolios, and he wanted to build in some hands-on data analysis activities using SPSS. He asked me to coordinate both of these aspects of the course. I also agreed to manage the Blackboard site for the course and work with students individually to mentor them with their projects.
I spent a lot of time before the class started… reading and evaluating resources related to e-portfolios and SPSS. One of the students who finished her dissertation last year had already prepared an instructional module for SPSS, so I familiarized myself with the Powerpoint and the examples and began preparing to teach. I also organized the content areas of the Blackboard site, added the course materials that I had gathered, and began reading the textbook. I can see that staying organized and staying ahead is important to successful teaching… because this is a lot of work!