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Interns finish up their time here at Winnacunnet and reflect on how the year went.

Staff Photo- Maia Siden

English Intern Lindsay Hopkins prepares for her next lesson at

her desk.

As the year is coming to an end, teaching interns from nearby colleges are wrapping up their practicum at Winnacunnet. They all have had to face the challenges of teaching both online and in-person, but a veteran teacher helped them throughout this unique year.

While their cooperating teachers showed them the way as best they could, this year was not something any teacher had experience with in the past. This meant that at times, interns and mentors learned together.

“Having to teach ‘room to zoom style’ definitely wasn’t a traditional experience for both an experienced teacher and an intern,” Global Perspectives teacher Nick O’Brien said.

Mathematics intern Angela Brophy began her experience at Winnacunnet last spring, during the school’s first experience with remote learning. She and her mentor teacher, Robert Garcia, worked together to figure out how best to teach virtually.

“Last Spring, Ms.Brophy would act as a student and see what things worked well online, what looked good and maybe what didn’t,” Garcia said.

COVID-19 certainly changed the overall teaching experience for both interns and teachers.

It's changed a lot, having students both in person and online,” Social Studies Intern John Reilly said. “We have changed our resources as well such as using Google Classroom and technology like that.”

Interns have said this has been a challenging experience, as they had to learn to teach in a whole new way and mentor an intern at the same time. However, for mentors like Garcia and O’Brien, and English teacher Anne Persechino they found the positives.

“As an added bonus, it did get really lonely here when there were no students,” Perschino said. “It was really a gift to have someone else in the room with me.”

This became an opportunity for both teachers and interns to expand their knowledge of new technology and new teaching methods. Perschino said she sometimes found she was learning alongside her intern Lindsay Hopkins .

“In many ways we were all new teachers, in that there were new things we were all learning,” Perschino said.

Teachers and interns said they found it difficult at times to connect with their students, but this also became a learning experience for them.

It was definitely difficult to connect with students, but for me the first week of school I did introduction letters to introduce the students to me and introduce themselves as well,” Hopkins said.

This unique year offered a chance for unique lessons for the interns.

“COVID presented a lot of challenges, but also a lot of opportunities to learn things,” Reilly said.

When students were at home, interns turned their attention toward other skills like creating assessments and assignments.

“It ended up being great. She got to work on curriculum, and how to make a quiz and worksheet, “Garcia said. “Then as the kids started coming in she was able to learn things like classroom management”

When students came back to the building, interns were now able to really connect with their students face-to-face.

“I think that getting to know students in all my different classes has been generally successful,” Reilly said.

Hopkins felt the same.

“I enjoy just having a casual conversation, which sometimes is the difference between not knowing someone at all and having a really nice relationship,” Hopkins said.

Brophy, Reilly and Hopkins said they all had such a great experience at Winnacunnet that they all feel prepared to become high school teachers in the near future.

“I really enjoyed my time at Winnacunnet. I wouldn’t change anything, except for the pandemic of course,” Reilly said. “I’ve been able to teach both in person and online, which can help me prepare for the future.”

Hopkins is also really thankful for this internship and all it prepared her for.

“I feel like if I can do this year I can teach doing anything,” Hopkins said. “I feel like I’m even more prepared than if it was a normal year.”

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