Learn About Greenwood’s Apprentice Teacher Program
The Apprentice Teacher program supports qualified teachers who have recently graduated from a teacher education program. Our apprentice teachers believe that all students can learn and grow, and they demonstrate a student-centred, technology-enabled approach to learning that focuses on impact. Teachers in this program also gain confidence in their ability to facilitate learning experiences and create positive and productive learning environments.
As a first-year apprentice teacher, Craig Harris has the opportunity to help out in the classroom, observe an established teacher and see the way courses unfold throughout the year. Rather than worrying about marking and developing curriculum, he gets to put his full focus on classroom experience. “It’s an excellent way to start a professional journey as a teacher,” said Craig.
There is a lot Craig enjoys about the apprentice program, but one of his favourite things is the professional learning environment. He enjoys experiencing this program with other apprentice teachers and the sessions that are led by Mary Gauthier, Director, Greenwood Centre for Teaching and Learning. “Having the ability to discuss issues that come up, brainstorm new ideas and just be part of this community has been such a great opportunity,” he said.
One of the challenges this year for Craig is learning how to navigate a hyflex environment. “Being a science teacher, the techniques we are using are so different from what we would normally do because we can’t do anything hands-on,” said Craig. “Being creative with ways to overcome this challenge has led to a lot of great ideas that I’m sure will be used in years to come.”
Aimen Farhat is now in her second year of the Apprentice Teacher program. In Aimen’s first year, she worked on an Action Research project called Mathematical Mindsets. The aim of this project was to strengthen mathematical skills that are timeless (e.g. addition, subtraction, division and multiplication) by using mental math for five minutes every Tuesday. “This repeated exposure to mental math will lead to fluency in those operations which would in turn enhance students’ confidence in their ability to solve basic problems without a calculator,” said Aimen. In order to measure the success of this project, Aimen conducted a pre and post survey to gauge students’ understanding and comfortability with mental math.
Aimen has her own classroom this year and is really enjoying it. In Aimen’s first year of the program she shared a classroom with another teacher and helped students more on an as-needed basis. “I believe I have a stronger relationship with my students as their main classroom teacher this year. There is also a lot more planning, marking and communication with parents,” said Aimen. “I gained immense knowledge of classroom management last year which is proving to be beneficial to me this year with my very own class.”
Both Aimen and Craig were looking forward to the outdoor education trips this year, but are hopeful that they will be running again in 2021. “The Outdoor Education experience last year was such a great learning experience for me,” said Aimen. “As someone who had zero experience in the outdoors, my time at camp really made me step out of my comfort zone. I am grateful for getting to experience the world of OE and the amazing opportunities it holds for learners of all ages.”
Craig is looking forward to getting to know his students better and helping them navigate the online learning environment. He also recently took charge of the Dungeons and Dragons Club and is very excited about it!
After teaching in the most unusual and challenging year due to the pandemic, there is no doubt that Craig and Aimen will come out of the program with valuable experience and more confidence in their role as educators.