"You're gonna be a teacher?"

That's the response I get when I told people I signed up for the MOE Teaching Internship Programme. Well it was partially true, because I was going to be a teacher intern. Fast forward three months later, I can't believe my internship has ended! It was really an enjoyable one, definitely very useful in helping me decide my career path. (: So here I'm just gonna briefly share with you what I felt of this.

When I first got the mail that said I was posted to Cedar, I was so elated. Can you imagine going back to your alma mater, teaching your juniors in a classroom (although you may not know them), and working alongside your teachers? I was quite mindblown about the last fact, because it's gonna be so fun and awkward to be 'colleagues' with the people who once taught you! Yeah so I had all these expectations and impressions in mind before I started out.

At the same time, I was also aware of the fact that I may not get a whole new experience when it comes to teaching in general because I'm going back to a familiar environment. After all, I know the school well, how it works, the teachers, and most importantly, the students, who are generally well-behaved. It'd be a very different story if I was posted to any other school. My friends were all posted to schools that they weren't affliated to, mostly those near their houses. So in a sense it's good for them because they get to experience what it's like to work in a totally new environment and interact with students that are different from them.

First day of school
No matter, I was still excited for my internship to start. The first day truly felt surreal! As I walked along Cedar Avenue in the morning, I really felt very... touched? Haha, touched to be able to go back to Cedar and do something that I've always enjoyed doing. The walk in was so, so nostalgic! And perhaps I dramatised it a little ahha. But it really does bring back a lot of memories. Those mornings where I was still kinda half asleep and the sky was still dark blue. The fresh morning air and the background noise of cars behind at the main road. Then during morning assembly, Kelyn and I were being introduced to the school as teaching interns. Whoa I swear I felt so proud yet so awkward standing there! And the more awkward part came, when I went to the staffroom and saw all the familiar faces of my old teachers! Some looked surprised and went, "What are you doing here?" Those who didn't teach me last time but recognised me gave me incredulous looks hahaha. It took me a few days to finish explaining the purpose of my presence lol. But it felt really good to be back to talk to my teachers.

My classes
My first teaching subject is Geography, which is my ultimate love yes. I taught lower secondary all the way. But there were a few shuffling here and there in terms of the classes that I taught. I started with four classes then midway I dropped two because I had to take over another five. Because Cedar now has both the O Level track and IP route, not all the classes of each cohort learns the same things. I was teaching both O Level Sec 2 and IP Year 2 so I got a feel of how the teaching methods differ, and whether there was any difference in the learning styles or attitudes of the students. Because the content was different too, I had to make sure I don't confuse myself with the different topics to be taught haha. I also taught O Level Sec 1 and for a short while, IP Year 1.

It was enjoyable overall to be teaching my juniors, even though I don't know any of them since they entered when I had already graduated. Cedarians are generally self-motivated so us teachers don't really have a hard time pushing them to study. So I guess the challenge for me was to keep them engaged and interested in my lessons. I tried a few ways and I also had to be careful of what I did because of the different tracks and different proposed teaching methods. This is something I learnt, the teaching pedagogies to engage a class and improve their learning.

We had a few discussions in class and I enjoyed them, because some classes are more vocal and outspoken by nature, so they had very heated debates haha. Sometimes I do get impressed by them, and I feel proud of them for thinking out of the box and expressing their thoughts in class. My advice to my students (if any of you are reading this): continue to be attentive in class! Stretch your mind and think critically, read widely, and if you have any questions just ask! (:

Other experiences

Kelyn and I were quite fortunate to be able to go for learning journeys and the Sec 3 Outdoor Adventure Camp (OAC)! For me going for OAC again was something special, especially since I went for it 4 years ago. (Oh no I sound so old yikes.) And of course, this time the roles are reversed and I'm going as a teacher instead! No playing around and being led around by the OALs anymore because I have a responsibility, that is to look after the welfare and safety of the students. But this was also the time where I broke some ice with the other teachers. Haha, it's all those behind-the-scenes that students don't see while at their activities. I shan't talk much about this, but let's just say that teachers are really just humans too. We have our serious and fun times as well. xD

Last day of school
I don't know why I'm using the word 'school' like I'm still a student haha, but yes I do wish I can go back to my Cedar days again~~ Anyway the last day of the internship was the last day of Term 1, and Cedar marked the day with an evening Cross Country! This is the first time Cedar is holding its annual Cross Country in the evening, and also the first time it's going to be in school! I know the venue isn't that appealing, I mean the students have their jogging sessions around the school all the time. But they spiced it up and made the route more exciting, by having different zones. It's something like those fun runs that are becoming more common. There's a bubble zone, water zone, supporters' zone where the school band performs (yes really) and even a zombie zone! Lol, it sounded good enough for me to look forward to it. 

Another thing I like about this year's Cross Country is that the teachers introduced (for the first time) different route lengths, and the students choose how long they want to run. 3, 4 and 5km. It's good because they're going by the mantra 'challenge by choice' and I really like it. By the way, those involved in the various zones are not spared the run. Haha, they actutally ran the day before. Thumbs up man, it's time to stop all those people from envying their friends for not having to run!

Oh dear I feel like I'm being very long-winded now oops. Ok finishing already just read on! I ran the 5km route and it flagged off at 6pm. There was still the haze issue then and it was indeed a little hazy, but still safe enough for us to carry on. Jogging the same jogging route was literally running down memory lane! I imagined 3C/4C around me, jogging and some huffing as we turned each corner, the classroom block, the driveway, basketball court, track etc... Oh my I was literally smiling as I jogged! Even though we weren't the neatest class when it comes to jogging, I still wish we could come together and relive those days again! :')

Words of gratitude
Yes as typical as it gets, I really have to thank some people throughout the term of my internship. My teacher mentor for being really supportive and guiding me to be a better teacher! And also for tolerating the mistakes I made (initially, haha) and accommodating to a second person's schedule etc. It's not easy to teach and have a 'trainee' under you at the same time too... 
My internship coordinator, for taking care of me and Kelyn! And asking us if we needed help or coping well. I appreciate all that you've done for us!
All the other teachers that I've met who've helped me in one way or another too. Some are new teachers but they're also experienced and there's much to learn from them!

Quick, just round this whole thing up!
Ok ok, some final thoughts. Really, really thankful for this opportunity to go back to Cedar and contribute to the school! I hope I've done a good job heh. This internship has also exposed me to the realities of teaching and it's really a valuable experience! I'll drop by the school once in a while to say hi to the teachers and students again, heh. Hopefully I've left a positive impression on them! :P