Sunday, July 24, 2011

Date Countdown - Student Teaching

The summer semester is complete and all of my course work has been submitted.
3 classes (7 credit hours) in 8 weeks was a challenge, but I met the deadline with a few days to spare.

It finally hit me today that I am finished with the formal coursework required for my undergrad degree.  Other than a few on-campus meetings, my journey to a degree and teaching certification is almost complete. All that remains is 16 weeks of student teaching and a few standardized tests.

As of today (29 days to go and counting)I'm not nervous. I imagine I will get more anxious as the big day approaches.

Do you have any last minute words of wisdom before I enter the domain of the 3rd graders?

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Good job?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Providing a spark

My recent discussion and posting of my philosophy of education has proved inspiration for another to do the same.

An online friend of mine, Pat Hensley, decided to post and reflect on her personal philosophy of education.
I enjoy reading what other people think and feel about education.  I learn something new in each philosophy statement I read.

I'm glad I was able to be the spark to inspire others to share. :-)

Care to share your personal education philosophy?

Friday, April 15, 2011

iPods in Kindergarten?

Can iPod touch devices be used in a kindergarten classroom?

Yes they can!

Take a moment and check out Gail's blog.

Philosophy of Education.... on one page

For the past few weeks I have been struggling with an assignment for my art class.  I was required to write my philosophy of education, but keep it confined to one page.
(See my previous post) 

It took a while, but I was able to write a one page version on my philosophy of education.

I still struggle with this assignment.  Confining this to one page, "One that you might want to take into an interview" as my professor said, seems counter productive. 

Maybe one day it will make sense.


Assignment Five

#5 PHILOSOPHY OF EDUCATION    Write a brief description of what your purpose is in becoming a teacher.  This should be no longer than one page. 

            My purpose in education is to make the world a better place while answering an internal call to service. I believe that most of the social issues that drag down society can be reduced or eliminated by providing all children with a quality education.  I strongly believe that all children can learn and be successful in school.
            I am called to education to be an agent of change. Problem solving, project based learning, differentiation, and inquiry are common elements of my classroom.  Teacher-centric instruction, the “sage on the stage” model, does not exist in my learning environment.  I am a facilitator, an “educational travel guide” who helps student learn to think, reason, question, and experiment.  Learning by doing, solving problems, and collaborating with others are the backbone of my educational philosophy.
            Because children learn in different ways, they must be taught in different ways.  Instruction must be presented using a variety of approaches so that the multiple intelligences of the students are engaged. My method of instruction includes hands-on activities, music, visual arts, reading, writing, and collaboration.  I do my best to provide what each child needs; whether it is a quiet place, access to technology, the ability to move freely, or an alternate method of displaying mastery of an objective.
            I believe that the unwritten curriculum of building social skills is just as important as state standards.  Building community, conflict resolution, and learning to work together will always take a high priority in my classroom. My purpose as an educator is to teach and nurture the whole child, not just increase his or her test scores.

4/20/11 update:  I received the equivalent of an A+ grade on my one page submission.  :-)

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Philosophy of Education...Readers's Digest Edition

Sometimes I just can't accept the rules as they are written.

One of my current courses required me to submit my Philosophy of Education statement in less than one page.  I felt compelled to write a letter to my instructor about the requirement.

Assignment #5 PHILOSOPHY OF EDUCATION:  Write a brief description of what your purpose is in becoming a teacher.  This should be no longer than one page.

I have written and revised my philosophy of education several times during my years as a Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College student. 
The latest version can be viewed on my public blog.

My personal philosophy, like my resume, does not fit on one page.

Try as I may, I have difficulty deciding what topics are the least important and should be cut.  My gut tells me that all of the paragraphs are important. My educational philosophy is a reflection of my thoughts, feelings, and passions.  It is personal.  For it to be mine, it has to be more than one page.

I can pare it down to meet the one page, double-spaced MS Word document requirement if you wish, but it will be an empty pile of buzzwords and catch-phrases... not my philosophy.

How would you like me to proceed?

Yes, I know I shouldn't be "kicking the beehive" this close to graduation, but I just couldn't bite my virtual tongue on this one.   I felt compelled to stand up for what I see as important.

As the old saying goes, you can't un-ring a bell.  The above email has already been sent.

Am I sorry?  No.   I'd do it again.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

The New Indiana Teacher Evaluation

Recently the Indiana Department of Education released their draft of the new model teacher evaluations.  At first glance I thought the rubric looked promising.  I was so excited about the language used I had to share this information with some friends.  My email about change and improvement triggered a passionate response from a teacher "in the trenches".

The following is a portion of the email exchange.  Names have been deleted to protect the sender's privacy.  I am publishing this with the author's permission.

Did you see this? first glance, I think I like it.
Your thoughts?

Honestly- I can see where it can be completely and totally worked to make it seem like the teachers in our building are meeting the highest levels of the rubrics by still using their teacher editions and their current teaching methods:

Domain 1-Purposeful Planning- all the category 4 criteria can be "met" using the teacher edition of the basal. They used this to say they met the criteria for (ADMIN'S) differentiation lessons & criteria

Domain 2- Effective instruction- This is covered in the current teacher evaluation and OF COURSE this would have already would have been fixed by our building principal if it wasn't being done & higher order questioning is in the side margins of the teacher's editions!

Domain 3- Teacher Leadership- The teachers in our building already serve on bunches of committees including (*** club), each grade level has a parent involvement evening through Title 1, there is a grade level representative on the (PTA type organization), and they do RTI. How much else should they have to do?

Domain 4- oops- You want them to be on time? Ok, well we can work on that one for the few who are late every single day. We will mention them in general at every single faculty meeting and maybe if they would shut up they might hear us!

In all honesty, we, as teachers, already fill out a form that makes us prove that we are highly qualified and it just asks if we have taken the NTE and passed or if you are a newer teacher if you have met some other criteria. This is just another bogus form that the principal will check off and say, "yes, of course, my staff does all this stuff and is highly qualified" because if they don't the superintendent will shoot them for causing issues.
It looks like a really good idea and I would love to see it not be so vague with so many generalities that can be met using a textbook or the same old methods. I would like to see it force teachers to step out of the box further, force them to change and prove that they are. Perhaps, proving you are a highly qualified teacher and that you will continue to be one by learning and doing something to improve yourself. In what way will you improve yourself as a teacher, how will you do it and how will you prove that you have done it? Now, if you want to keep your job, go do it.
Me:  I Love your reply.  Can I send it to the state DOE and/or publish it?  I Think Tony Bennett needs to read it 

Sure- it won't make any difference though because the state won't do anything that has real teeth to it.  There are ALWAYS loopholes..... The good teachers (and I bravely put myself in that category) will be the ones who worry and fret and work harder and quit teaching because we feel we aren't doing good enough and the ones who have been the same thing for the last 15-20 years will continue to find the loopholes and skate by and not really make any change (although they will gripe about how much they have been forced to suffer over these new rules) and nothing will be done.
Sorry- I do not mean to sound so cynical and bitter but I kind of am because I do work really hard and I want to do more and I want to be a better teacher for my kids (and I know there are a lot of areas where I need to improve) and yet I see people who do the least amount of work possible getting the same title "highly Qualified teacher" as me  and it does make me angry and bitter.
(maybe Tony ought to see this part of my e-mail, as well)

I'd love to hear some more opinions from educators and administrators.  Does the new Indiana plan look like it will make a difference?   Does it or will it have "teeth"?  Will this help foster real change or real red tape?

What do you think?
Please share your thoughts.  

I'm sending a link  I sent a link to this post via twitter to the Indiana DOE and Dr. Bennett with hopes that they might read the blog and the comments.  

Please post your feedback so that we can collectively make Indiana education better.  

Update 2/9/11:  Yes, someone from the state took the time to read this.  

Thanks for your visit, D.O.E.