At WestCAST, I had the pleasure of presenting about my internship with my faculty adviser. Why? My faculty adviser designed a new framework for advisership. The best way to explain this is by giving you a run down of our presentation.
It started off with Kathy explaining her plan and how it fit into the U of R. She wanted to enhance the engagement of the faculty adviser and build a stronger relationship with their interns. The basic set up we had was that she would visit me once or twice in person (as per a usual faculty adviser set up), and a few times I would either Skype her directly into my class or record a lesson and send it to her. However, the modification was that before each time she came to visit/watch, we had about a week lead up of planning, reflecting, fixing, and improving. We would set up a time about week before, then a few days later, I would send her my initial lesson plan. She would send it back to me a few days later, and we would have a Skype meeting talking about the highlights and the things I needed to improve upon. She would then watch/visit and we could post-conference about how the lesson went, how the changes did or didn’t work, etc. It definitely lead to deeper conversations and greater learning on my behalf.
For my portion of the presentation, I got to speak to the benefits and drawbacks of the E-Adviser Model. To save time (and avoid rehashing the twenty minutes), I’ll give a quick summary below.
- It was very good to have 1 on 1 pre-conference conversations prior to teaching a lesson
- It worked great to get in touch with other interns
- More diverse feedback
- Good to see how others are doing (not stranded on my own “island” wondering if everyone else was doing what I was doing)
- I used it on the iPad 2 to Skype Kathy into a lesson, which enabled me to literally take Kathy with me wherever I went. Ultimately, she was more connected and observed the conversations better than had she been there in person.
- This referred to the emails and Skyping back and forth prior to and after a lesson.
- The feedback on lesson plans was constructive.
- It enabled both pro-active and retroactive feedback. A typical Faculty Adviser Model (FAM) only allows for retro-active feeback on a lesson.
- Emailing opened up the conversation/pre-conference on Skype. It was less about me telling her what I was planning and more about getting feedback on what she thought worked/didn’t work in my lesson plan.
- Having another set of eyes reviewing my plans made me a better planner, which doesn’t typically happen within a typical FAM.
- Kathy provided each of her interns a Flip Video Camera to use during internship.
- Initially, it was very intimidating; however, forcing myself to watch the video before I edited it down and sent it off to her was very useful for my own professional growth. It was like getting double the feedback.
- It forced deeper analysis of my teaching since we both got to watch me teach.
Top Ten Reasons Why E-Advisership Is a Good Idea
- I had all the support of a typical FAM — I knew Kathy would come in person if I needed her too.
- It built a community of learners within the interns she was advising for.
- It enabled deeper conversations and reflection.
- Both sides (both Kathy and I) saw what each other was seeing/thinking.
- I had a closer and better relationship with Kathy because we were so connected. I knew she had a lot to offer, so I was able to get as much of that knowledge as I possible could.
- Because of the timelines and the constant connection, it forced me to be more accountable and more prepared (no “night-before-at-2-am” lesson plans)
- It enabled me to have better reflection on my own planning.
- It enabled me to have better reflection on my own teaching.
- It opened up the conversation with my cooperating teacher as well.
- It helped me to become more excited about using technology within my classroom, and pushed me to build my own PLN through twitter, this blog, and beyond.
- The interns need to have a good internet connection
- All the software needs to be installed and up-to-date
- Each intern needs to be sold on the idea of the E-Advisorship or it won’t work out as well as it could
Overall, I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything. I am ever so grateful to Kathy, and I certainly hope that I can incorporate some of the the professional development we did into my future classroom teaching.