Sample Memo
[Note to students: This demonstrates memo format. You will need to provide your
own content. Refer to the text, for more information about memos.]
DATE: March 13, 2003
TO: Natalie Barfuss
FROM: Orlo Manning
SUBJECT: Information-Gathering Interview
I interviewed Glenda Spiker, an Elementary School Teacher, for the purpose of learning
more about teaching. Elementary Education, Special Education, and Sign Language were
specifically interesting to me. The interviewee I chose has experience in all three areas. I
thought it would be beneficial to interview her and learn about these three areas. I chose
to interview Glenda right after school in her classroom where it was most convenient for
Elementary Education
I think that the teachers and the experiences you have as a child have a great impact on
your desire to be a teacher later in life. Almost everyone can remember their favorite
teacher as a child and the influence that they were to them. Teaching takes a lot of
dedication. Many projects have to be done and many classes have to be taken. These
classes and projects take so much time and effort to make them effective. I never realized
all of the preparation that goes into preparing the curriculum and making it memorable
for the students. There are many difficult tasks that teachers deal with every day. One of
these tasks is to keep a child's attention for a long period of time. Another challenge is to
deal with the few uncooperative children. Many different discipline actions have to be
tried until one is found to work. Despite these challenges, teaching seems very rewarding.
Glenda has had such a love for children all her life, that nothing could stop her from
accomplishing her dream of being a teacher. The ability to teach a young child is
priceless to her, and she wouldn't change anything.
Special Education
Special Education takes a lot more work and dedication than teaching a regular class of
children. These children have special needs, and all of their needs require special
attention, which sounds very difficult to me. Parents are more involved with these
children and sometimes can be overbearing. Teaching Special Ed. takes more time and
effort in order for it to be effective. Each of these children have such different needs that
it seems almost impossible to teach them all at the same time. The curriculum is not as
advanced and fast paced as that of a normal class. Communicating with the students is
harder and definitely takes a lot of patience. These children seem harder to discipline,
although I don't think they would need to be disciplined as often. Getting attached to
these children seems to be easy because they could grow so close to you and sometimes
even become dependent on you. To me, teaching Special Ed. seems emotionally tiring
compared to other classes. It takes a very special person to teach Special Ed. and to teach
Sign Language
My interviewee doesn't teach sign language, but she uses it in the school a lot. This
language is amazing to me. I would think learning how to sign would be hard for a deaf
person because they can't speak. However, it is just like a young child learning to speak
English or any other language. Learning sign language takes time and a good example.
The language consists of signs and symbols representing words. They have an alphabet
that can be used to spell anything if the sign for it is unknown. There are no set signs for
names of people, usually they are just spelled out by signing the letters of the alphabet, or
the person can make up a sign for themselves. Signing can be done fast or slow just like
speaking fast or slow. Tones and expressions can be also be shown in signing by the look
on the signer's face or the body language they use while signing. Sign Language is
fascinating, and I think everyone should learn some of it.
Interview Analysis
From this interview I learned a lot about a teaching career. I think I learned even more
about how to conduct an information-gathering interview.
I had always known that teaching requires a good deal of patience and that the monetary
rewards are not great. The information Glenda gave me verified that view. I think this is
something I can live with. I was inspired by her ability to reach out to these students, and
I feel I could contribute a lot in this area.
What surprised me most was the difficulty of conducting an interview that flows well. I
had written my questions ahead of time, but I hadn't really practiced saying them out
loud. Sometimes Glenda would answer part of one of my later questions while I was
asking her one of my original questions. This interrupted my logical organization of the
interview. It was all really good information, but it didn't seem very organized. I ended
up losing track and skipping a few of my questions. Also, it was hard to maintain eye
contact with her, listen to what she was saying, remember her points, and get ready to ask
my next questions all at the same time. I ended up just reading my questions off the
paper. It sounded kind of stiff. Next time I conduct an interview I will become very
familiar with all my questions so I can orchestrate the interview better.