“Ms. V, can you come help me?”
Ms. V — the main name I was known as in my school that I interned at because I don’t think any of my students knew how to say my last name – van Staveren.
I’m Helyn van Staveren. I graduated from the University of Regina in June 2014 with a Bachelor of Education. I was in the secondary program with a major in English and a minor in Drama. Currently, I am working towards my Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in English. I plan to complete this degree by April 2015. I also do casual subbing at a variety of schools around Regina since I have a day free.
For my internship, I was placed at a small, rural school of roughly 180 students from grades K-12. I was placed in a grade 6/7 classroom and that, at first, was quite the shock since I am a high school major.
However, once I began to know the students, and once I was up there teaching them, I actually very much enjoyed my time with them. I enjoyed chatting with them, and as I taught them, I learned lots (I had to teach them Social Studies!). I did, as well, get the chance to teach grade 10 English so I did get my fix of English. I taught them Of Mice and Men and I really enjoyed it.
On a more personal level, I love reading and writing (as are most English teachers) so I love to keep myself up to date with the latest fiction books and books that are going to be turned into movies. As a writer, I’ve been writing since I was in grade 6. My best friend and I would skip recesses to go sit in our library, around the corner where no teachers could see us, and write stories. We would work together on these stories and give each other feedback in the margins. Sometimes, we would phone our other friend and talk to her about our stories over the phone. When I’d get home, I’d hop on MSN to chat with her about school and our stories.
I grew up on a farm and went to school in a small, K-12 setting and there ended up being eleven people in my class when I graduated high school. We all knew each other pretty well and all of us seven girls in my grade played sports together. We all did volleyball. Then only six of us played basketball together. Each of my three years high school years that I played basketball, we went to Provincials (HOOPLA) and became Provincial Champions. Our school was, and still is, basketball orientated.
As a teacher, I want to encourage students to enjoy reading and writing as much as I do. I want to pass that passion on in any way — whether it be making a book review via YouTube or having a blog dedicated to writing pieces. In my internship, when I was teaching the grade 10s Of Mice and Men, I had them each create characters who might have lived in the 30s in the States. From there, they were asked to create a Twitter account for these characters and then connect to HootCourse, which is where I can send out tweets and they could all read them. I signed up as John Steinbeck (the author). However, we had problems with it because the school had the website blocked. So, as an alternative, I had them create Edmodo accounts for the characters. It worked but it still wasn’t the same, fun aspect I wanted that one might get from Twitter. Nevertheless, I believe the students still had some fun in creating these characters and working with them in an online environment.
So there’s a brief snapshot about who I am as a person. I’m eager to try different teaching ways with social media but it’s hard when some websites that are useful to education and the learning process are blocked.
Thanks for visiting my blog!