My sad story of an internship gone awry... but first, a little background.
The University of New Hampshire Department of Education offers a five-year master's degree in teaching which includes a full-year internship -- basically, the graduate student (me) undertakes the responsibilities of a full-time teacher for a year, to learn the ins and outs of the art and science of teaching. As a part of this internship, the student goes to area schools and selects the professional teacher with whom s/he would like to work, called the "cooperating teacher."
I began that process in March of 1997. After visiting several schools, I found the woman I thought would be my "dream" teacher -- her classroom reminded me of my dorm room at school, full of bright and informative posters, science-oriented toys, tons of books... in essence, it was the way I pictured my eventual classroom. I felt instantly at home, and the teacher herself was easygoing, intelligent, and seemed very happy with her students and her position. We hit it off well, and even though she had only been teaching for four years, we decided to give the internship a shot.
There was not much communication over the summer; both of us were busy. In retrospect, there were a lot of things we should have done differently; but neither of us had the benefit of experience, and so we had no idea of what would be ahead of us. That is summarized in the "journal entries" that follow: the other portion of the internship, besides the teaching, is a weekly seminar in which all of the interns in that particular school (there are 5-6 per school) would meet to discuss their experiences. Required for the seminar were summaries of the journal observations we had made in the previous week; though I could never summarize everything that had gone on, these entries will probably give you some idea of what was happening.
I post these here in hopes that other teachers-to-be can learn from my cooperating teacher and me, and the mistakes we made. In the end, I enjoyed working with the students, but the stress seemed to have induced a "major depression" (according to my counsellor at UNH Health Services...) and so in the middle of October 1997, I ended my participation in the internship, and began the application process to the Department of Biochemistry, as I had been working in a lab there for some time, and I thought graduate work in Biochem had a lot of potential for me. You may know by now that Biochemistry never panned out, and I am now working for the Experimental Space Plasma Group at UNH as the webspinner (yep, those are my pages!).
It's been a while since these were all written, so I've made an update to my life after the internship. Although I was still a pretty sad case as of September of 1998, things have really picked up since then, and I'm now quite a happy camper.