Thursday, June 21, 2007

Cohort Awards

At the end of winter semester our cohort decided to do cohort awards. We passed a list around, took down ideas for awards, and then had everyone nominate a member of our cohort for each award. Since me and the rest of Eureka headed up the party, we were in charge of the awards, and so we not only got to know which category we won, but also everything everyone nominated us for. Here's my list:

Most likely to start a business (this was my winner)
Most likely to compete in the olympics
Most likely to be seen on the red carpet
Most likely to get a PhD
Most likely to participate in a human-tested science experiment
Most likely to live in a tree
Most likely to be a millionaire
Most likely to make it into the White House

I was amused! But these are all things that I would want people to think of me... so I guess I'm giving the right impressions of myself :)

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

teenage insights

So I was reading through my journal the other day, and I came across a couple of funny entries. Thought y'all might enjoy them :)

July 2005

"Things don’t always happen like they do in the movies. In fact, I have rarely seen it happen when one side will act in accordance to some scene in a movie, and the other side cooperates. As a child, I would often relate life experiences to scenes from movies or books, and things never worked out the way they did in the movies. Usually I did this in an effort to help someone, because to me it appeared they needed some kind of help. I always got some kind of an “oh you’re so cute” kind of reaction, and then a “but you’ve got it all wrong” or something like that. In fact, this still happens to me today. I have yet to determine if these people are in denial, or if I really do have it all wrong most of the time."

August 2006

"This life is funny. As in strange and different and unique and odd and all the other words that mean that type of thing. But somehow it all ends up tying itself all up together in the end. It’s funny how things that aren’t real can shake you up so much and inspire you and make you think. Make you think about everything that is real. We can’t get out of the real. As if there isn’t enough stimulation in this world… we have to create our own to make us dig deeper. But the tricky part there is that these make-believe stories were sparked from something real that happened in someones life. The real caused them to think of the things that aren’t real. Fantasize. Things happen and they wish they could change it or they wish they could make it better, and in the real they can’t. But if they pretend, they can. So they do just to put their minds at ease. Why do you think Disney re-did Pocahontas? Someone was torn up by the ending and wanted to make it better and resolve it in their mind. Same thing with Little Mermaid, and all the other stories that have sad endings. But the thing is that the sad endings, and the reality, is ultimately what makes us think anyway. Maybe that’s why people like happy endings. Because it doesn’t require any thought on their part. The movie draws the conclusion out for you all nice and tied up with a pretty bow, and you don’t have to do anything. But when the story ends in a way that you aren’t expecting, or don’t really want, you are forced to face reality and think and resolve. But that’s what real is like, and we watch movies to get away from real. Our mind wants a vacation from solving problems and tying bows. But the other part is that when we are removed from the situation and watching it—say, in a movie—our mind can think much more clearly and pinpoint foundational problems, and learn from them. So watch a sad movie if you want stimulation and intrigue, and watch a happy ending movie if you want a vacation. "

Education from the educated

I've been thinking lately about how I love getting more and more educated all the time. I have a completely insane schedule right now, and at times I do get overwhelmed, but I can't get over the fact that we have all sorts of important people coming in all the time to inform us regarding how to reach our students. I mean we've had the Assistant Attorney General of Utah Steve Mikita, all sorts of people from the State office of education, plus almost all of our teachers are very very educated, and instead of finding research off the internet to discuss with us, they use their own research that they have done. Then they'll quote their own books to us... books that have been best sellers. Their names may not be particularly well-known, but I can tell by listening to them that they have experienced so many things in their lifetimes, and not only that, but have taken their experiences and translated them into knowledge, that they can now pass along to us.

Our liaisons, CFA's and facilitators have been teaching years upon years upon years, and they give us their cell and home phone numbers, email addresses, and encourage us to call them if we ever have a question of any kind. They are really people I respect because they have battled through all of the hard times (and believe me, there are plenty in teaching), yet they maintain their professionalism, and have a pretty good knowledge of how to deal with almost any situation that could come up. For those of you who would argue, you'd be surprised at the amount of balance needed in becoming an elementary teacher. It's one of the reasons I love my major. We learn about all the different subject areas (language arts, literacy, math, science, social studies, geography, health/nutrition, art, etc.). We study human developmental levels and psychology. We learn about how to teach, which is a lot more complicated than one would think (management, planning, how to write lesson plans, assessment and how it drives instruction, etc.). We learn the importance of professionalism. PR (public relations) is a very integral part--in dealing with the students themselves, their parents, co-workers, etc. And finally (although there is never really a final thing to learn in teaching) we begin learning how to implement accommodations and adapt our lessons so that we give each student equal access to the material we are teaching. Now, try to apply all of the aforementioned skills to a classroom of 25-30 children who all grew up with completely different backgrounds and have completely different needs. Not an easy task.

It's hard for me to believe that I've reached the point in my education where I can sit at the feet of these people that have sooooooo much experience, and so much knowledge, and whom I greatly respect (for the most part), and most of all that they are willing to open their lives to us, and allow us to contact them at their homes, and ask them questions about the math lesson we are teaching tomorrow, or the kid in guided reading group 3 that can't seem to grasp the concept of context clues. I sat on the phone with my math professor for an hour one evening discussing techniques on teaching kids what is happening with the numbers when you multiply a double digit number by a single digit number. She has been doing mathematical research on elementary school kids for years, and will be writing a book soon. Our Counseling Psychology Special Education professor has worked closely with a lot of big names in psychology and special education for years, has written books, and really has a passion for what she does. It is a similar deal with my literacy professor. Every time I think about the opportunities I am experiencing, I am seriously so amazed.

Bottom line: Teaching is a great profession, and it focuses me even more on what's important in life. And if you've never been a teacher yourself, you will probably never understand.