Keeping in touch with busy students

October 28, 2010 at 1:02 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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The semester is half over, so it’s time to take inventory of your interns, who have probably been so busy that you rarely hear from them. Even if students have been sending in their weekly reports, you still can’t tell if their internships are really working for them or if they’ve been too overwhelmed to contact you. And please don’t assume that all is well since you haven’t heard otherwise from internship supervisors, who may also be too busy to contact you.  It’s not too late to correct any problems, leading to a successful conclusion and rave references.

First, set up an appointment for a phone or onsite visit with each intern. You can find out much more about a situation by talking “live” to a person rather than communicating by email or text messages. Keep the appointment short and prepare a few direct questions, such as “What do you like/dislike about your internship? What problems are you having with the assignments or supervisor? What can I or the school do to help you be more successful in your internship?” Their answers should reveal specific issues and initiate resolution.

Second, create a more detailed reporting form for the second half of the internship. Initial forms often use boxes for check marks to save busy interns time, but by now your interns should be involved in projects. Request samples of projects or abstracts of meetings, so you’ll be more knowledgeable about the internship. If busy students show resentment towards more detailed forms, remind them that you need to keep a good file to help them get their next internships.

Third, keep in touch in positive ways that include fun and fellowship. Along with your colleagues, plan a mid-semester party for your student interns. If some student interns are on distant sites, explore ways to bring them back for the special day or to include them via long-distance technology. Celebrate your students for making it half-way through busy internships and cheer then on to a fine finish. They’ll appreciate your efforts and renew their own.


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