May 20, 2008

Internships: Advice for 9-to-5’ers

Posted in Internship tagged at 8:12 am by maf

As Cohort 7 moves into Year 2, the internship begins to be a topic of interest. Since this blog “belongs” to C7, our internship topics will be addressed here. (If you’d like to see blogposts that were relevant to Cohort 6’s internship, visit their blog.)

Today we have a guest post from Beth B., recent C6 Alum. She took me up on a challenge to the group: “Remember how uncertain you were at first that you could get those 100 endless hours scheduled? I need people who survived this to assure the next cohort that it can be done.” Beth works a traditional 9-5 job, and I think this group has the greatest level of challenge in getting internship hours in. She writes:

I work an 8am-5pm job, and I was pretty worried about how I would fit in time for 100+ hours of in-school time for an internship. I suspect everyone has personal challenges during the internship. I procrastinated. (I didn’t miss any of the contract deadlines, though, and that’s important!) I took three other classes during the same semester. I didn’t share with anyone at my job what I was working on. Many of these “challenges” were of my own making; you probably have others that you might or might not be able to control.
Somehow everything came together, though, and I ended the spring semester with a great internship experience and LOTS of extra hours.
These are a few things that worked for me.

  • I built up as much personal leave as I could in advance, and I took this leave to go to the school for my internship days. My mentor and I sat down in December and planned all the days I would come to the school. We planned on 16 days (2 full weeks and 3 half-weeks) through January-April. I thought this would give me enough hours; it actually ended up being enough and extra.
  • I went to the school early and stayed until my mentor left each day. Since I was taking leave to be there, I figured I might as well make the most of it. 🙂
  • Think about evening events when the students might be at the school, too. We had Book Fair during two PTA evenings, which gave me the opportunity to interact with students AND their parents.
  • The time I spent on collaborative planning (planning and preparing for the actual lesson, after the initial meeting with the teacher) could take place in the evenings/weekends and didn’t require time off from my day job.

Those few months were pretty hectic, juggling the internship, other classes, and my regular job. It was worth it (and I’m not just saying that because of post-graduation euphoria!) The internship is one of the most valuable parts of the SLM program, and the benefits make any temporary worries or stresses fade away. Hang in there, watch the deadlines, and enjoy it!

Beth B.

beth@alumni.mercer.edu