Confessions of a graduate student

Graduate School, teaching

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It’s been a while since I have wanted to look at this website. I actually really like the interface and some of my posts, but really I did not want to write for a long time. With my newly appointed title as a recent graduate for my teaching credential and MA in Technology Education, I feel a weird sense of pressurized freedom. What does that mean? Here are a few of my takeaways from being a full time worker, student, mama and wife.

  1. It’s gonna suck. I’m telling it straight. You will miss birthday parties, beach trips, late nights out, that new drama everyone is raving about on TV, your sanity, sense of freedom. All to say it will be worth it in the end. The time will pass and you will be proud of the work you did to lay a path forward.
  2.  I love the saying, if it was easy, everyone would do it. This is not for the faint of heart. You will need everyone’s support to get you through not only finishing school, but also having a family and some friends who survive it with you. And not the people who say, give up, I didn’t go to college. Stay away from those people, they knew it was hard and they didn’t dare.
  3. Life after school will seem foggy. You may want to spend days scrolling through all social media, like a lot, because you have missed it for years. You find distractions in reading books you don’t even like, but you have time now. You might watch dumb shows that waste mindless hours of your life just because you can. Do it, you earned it!
  4. Teaching yourself to be a real human without the excuse of school may take some time. In the back of my mind I always feel like I have a looming assignment to do or a due date that needs attention. I’m not yet sure if this is a good anxiety or one I should cure with a glass of wine. I know I need to tune into relationships that can be nurtured and grown because I have time and a mental capacity at this point. It hasn’t been easy and I find myself looking around at functions that I should be enjoying simply because I have been so focused on the finish line that I didn’t spend time on much else.

I started late in the game. I started my BA in 2013 and pushed through to attain what I needed to become a teacher. I changed careers late in my life and I will never look back, but it is a balance between all the plates we have to juggle.

As I write this, I spent the last hour reading to my kids, something I missed dearly when I was at school or studying. The simple pleasure of having unadulterated time to ourselves, selfishly stealing every word. I am glad it is over and I graduated, but so very thankful for every hand that guided me and at times dragged me along.

What are you waiting for? Don’t take the easy road—

 

 

Google tools

teaching, technology

Google has to be one of the easiest and most helpful tools that a teacher can have at their fingertips. Gone are the days that a teacher is bound to their desk when creating presentations or word documents. Teachers are able to use Google apps through their laptops, tablets and phones. Teachers can merge projects seamlessly to produce engaging lessons for their students.

I have personally used Google apps for the last four years. I have used it for various purposes. Google forms is one tool that I have used in many ways for my classroom. I have created surveys for my students, colleagues and parents.

google

https://www.google.com/doodles/eiji-tsuburayas-114th-birthday

The survey below is still active. I wanted to poll teachers responses to reading in their own classrooms. If you have two minutes I would love to get your feedback. Imagine using this to do an end of the year survey for your parents on how they thought their child progressed.

Would you like to see the results of my poll? Click Reading in the classroom

Seesaw in my classroom

teaching, technology

I have chosen to share one of my favorite classroom apps. I started using Seesaw this year after our technology teacher recommend it to me. I signed up over summer and took some short professional development courses to get started. It was the best time spent over the summer.

Seesaw has been an amazing connection for school to home. My parents rave about how easy it is to see their child’s portfolio. This is similar to an Instagram feed. The parents only have access to their students work.

8thingstolookfor

https://georgecouros.ca/blog/?s=8+things+to+look+for+in+today%27s+classroom

We have used Seesaw to explain our learning and reflect on what we know in all subjects. Students can easily record their voice, take photos, create drawings and many other forms of reflection. Most importantly it gives students choice and allows them to share their learning with their peers, teacher and family.

George Couros has a great blog post Things to Look for in Today’s Classroom. One main point he states is, Voice – Students should have the opportunity to not only learn from others but also share their learning with others as well.  We live in a world where everyone has a voice and if we do not teach our students to use this effectively, they will definitely struggle.  To me, this is so simple yet so essential. (2013)

Point of View

teaching
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My POV

Driving into work today I had to mentally prepare myself for the questions I would be asked by six and seven year olds. I had to rehearse answers to their questions. I had to replay in my mind what I would say during our time of prayer. Today my point of view was very different.

What was my POV? A sad, brokenhearted teacher that had to explain to 24 little hearts why a man would decide to take the lives of so many innocent people. The teacher who wanted to avoid all the hard conversations, but know that speaking the truth was right. The teacher who was petrified of a world that these sweet children have to grow up in.

I spoke the truth. I told them that there is evil in our world and that some people are so evil that they want to hurt others. No one asked another question. They were satisfied with this truth. Their truth.

I will not let this affect my LIFE point of view. That glorious picture is what I get to see every day right before I step foot into my classroom. My classroom that speaks truth. That holds tight to faith and that in the midst of all this yuck still has HOPE.

Give someone a big hug today, share something personal today, linger a little longer in the coffee shop today. We all need our point of view to be glorious and filled with hope. We need teachers more than ever who are willing speak truth. We can-

 

How I Became a Marigold Teacher-

teaching

I have to admit that I never wanted to become a teacher. I knew I loved people and teaching people, but I did not see myself as a teacher.  Does that seem weird? Of course, I played teacher when I was a child. Mostly I wanted to be the boss, so I was the teacher to all things fluffy in my house. My brother never submitted to my requests to complete leftover worksheets or read books that were way too young for him.

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Out of high school I had no clue what to do. I knew I was creative, I had a love for learning, and I wanted to be in a different city then my home town. At 18, I found myself at the doorstep of FIDM in the heart of Los Angeles. I was enrolled in their visual communications program for set design, store displays, and marketing. I loved everything except the two-hour drive each way two days a week. I learned a lot about myself and what I wanted to do when I left FIDM. I gained independence, experienced a lot of culture in LA , and knew how to brush out mannequin wigs like nobody’s business.

From that experience, I took my creative skills to a career in cosmetics. I worked for amazing companies including Bare Escentuals and Sephora. I held positions in training and management and eventually ran my own store. I loved everything but the hours. I was a slave to the business. I was on call 7 days a week, I traveled many days a month and I found little time to be with my family. After 7 years of this I knew something had to give.

I took my love for teaching, training, developing talent and my love for people and went back to school. This came as a surprise to me just as much to my husband. We were three kids deep at the time, I was making a great salary and we had just started to get settled.

I had gone back to my high school a few months prior to this final decision for a gym dedication. The gym was being named after a great teacher, mentor and volleyball coach that was diagnosed cancer. He had a very short time to live and this was the school’s way of paying respect to an amazing man. It was that night that I realized my impact could be so much greater in the lives of children. A month later I was enrolled at Azusa Pacific University for my BA.

Going back to school when I was all grown up, well almost, was life changing. I realized what kind of learner I was and what type of teaching spoke to me. I also remebered how instrumental a few teachers were in my school life. I wanted to be that teacher. My drive for a career working with children was now set on fire.

Completing my BA, then my credential and now my MA is no freaking joke. Lets not forget that I still have an amazing husband and now four kids and I have been working and teaching full-time. It is no secret that we are all trying to survive this part of life. Cereal has been a dinner option more than I care to count.

I felt very discouraged my first year of teaching. I was inspired weekly with great information, research based strategies and a gazillion blog posts about what I needed to do as a teacher. I wanted to be the best at everything and I didn’t want to let anyone down, most importantly my students.

Through all the blogs and websites I found a beautifully written article about first year teachers. It spoke so deeply to my heart and what I stood for as a person and as a teacher. I had taken the long road to becoming a teacher. I had sacrificed many things including precious time with my own children to get to teach the future generations. I realized that no matter what I was doing I couldn’t lose the JOY I had in my heart for taking this leap of faith. I did not want anyone to steal the passion I had for this special calling. I had to find my marigolds as Jennifer Gonzalez stated in her article: Find Your Marigold: The One Essential Rule for New Teachers  

She describes marigolds as a welcome friend to other flowers (teachers). They are the people that will encourage you, love you and empathize with you even on your hardest days teaching. I found my Marigolds and I found them in the places I wasn’t looking. It occurred to me that I am surrounded by a family of marigolds through many people in my life who became teachers, SPED aids, doctors, social workers, and those who just love to support and spend time mentoring our young children to create a brighter future.

All of this to say I am elated that teaching chose me, God knows I didn’t have a clue. I am doing my best to be a marigold in other teacher’s lives and to spread the passion and creativity I have felt for what we all do. My students are not just the fuzzy ones now and I like to think that every day and every year I will become that teacher that made an impact on the lives of others. Maybe when I am gone my name will be on a bench, OK maybe a library bookshelf. I don’t need to be perfect, but I do need to give my all for these precious students.

superduper

And friends, if you dipped your toe in education and are not willing to dedicate your soul, sweat and tears into this profession, find your calling in something different. This career is for those who care about every set of eyes that meets theirs once a day or maybe just once a year. The career for the person who receives hugs from a child  and gives one back because this may be the only place to find them. This is the job that keeps you up at night creating visual aids for the child who still cannot read simple words. This is the job that you will gladly hand your paycheck over for supplies and decor to make your room feel like a second home to a child who has no home. THIS IS THE ART, THIS IS BEING A TEACHER———-

For all of us crazy enough to take on this role, you are loved. LETS DO THIS!!!!