Friday, March 30, 2012

tough times never last, tough people do

Registration was this week for the fall semester and I have to admit, I am a bit intimidated by my schedule. I will be taking 18 hours in the fall. That's more than I have ever attempted in one semester and they are all mandatory for my program... no dropping one if it gets to be too much to handle.

The other intimidating part is that in order to maintin a schedule that allows me to work (read: pay all of our bills) in the fall, I had to rearrange my summer schedule. Now, instead of a math class and an art/music education class, I will be taking two math classes over the summer and the art/music education class on fridays in the fall. You read that correctly. I will be taking two math classes concurrently for six weeks this summer... Statistics and algebra to be exact. Yay me.

The good part of this plan is that I only have to have my math courses for six weeks instead of 15 like I would if I took it during the fall. I will also be completely done with my upper division math courses by August. These are all happy, good things.

When I first applied to this program I knew it was going to be challenging. I knew it was going to take all the brain power and determination I have and then a bunch of organizational skills I do not have. I knew I was going to be tired, uncomfortable, intimidated, and quite a bit scared most of the time. But even with that knowledge, it is not easy and sometimes it isn't even fun. At this point in the semester, my brain is essentially fried and the last thing I want to do is spend another Friday and Saturday working on the never ending pile of projects and homework I have.


I will.

I will do all of it and try to be grateful for the opportunity.

I will remind myself that I am stronger than I was five years ago. I can handle this.

I am 18 months away from graduation. 18 months of hard work, long days, and a bit of sacrifice in exchange for being able to live out all of my wildest dreams?

I can definitely handle this. Bring on the maths!

Friday, March 23, 2012

C is for Confidence

My supervisor observed me teaching a lesson this week in my Kindergarten class. I was teaching the struggling readers group about the -en word family using a lesson plan created by the teacher I'm observing. We had fun and I scored well on the observation form. The one thing that both my supervisor and my observing teacher said was that I need more confidence in myself. They both had several wonderful things to say about my teaching, my positive relationship with the kids, and my enthusiasm for giving them quality instruction, but both of them said they could see how nervous I was.

This is pretty much what my supervisor said the last time he observed me in the classroom. As much as I would like to say it was a fluke, I am well aware that I am lacking confidence when it comes to being observed and graded on my teaching performance.

Most of you reading this are probably well aware, but I actually started out as an early childhood education major back in 2005 when this whole college thing started. I got amazing grades, exempted from several tests, and was actually slated to graduate a semester early due to my AP credits from high school. Then I went into the classroom to teach for the first time.

To make a very long story short, my 19 year-old self was terrified. All I could think about was how I was going to screw up these kids and their development. I was terrified that they would be bored out of their minds and never learn anything. I was so scared that I changed my major to anything I thought I might possibly enjoy that didn't involve teaching.

Now that I'm older, I realize that teaching is my passion. Being with kids and working with them so they can acheive a new level of understanding sounds like an amazing way to spend the rest of my life. Those fears are still lingering in the back of my mind though... coming out every now and then to make sure I don't get too excited about teaching or too confident in my progress toward my degree.

After receiving feedback from my teacher, my supervisor, friends in my cohort, and Steve all telling me I'm a great teacher but I need to start believing in myself, I've decided that it is time to get rid of these fears once and for all.

After all, my favorite quote from Thoreau says to go CONFIDENTLY in the direction of your dreams. Not go meekly and fearfully in the direction of your dreams. If I want to live the life I have always imagined for myself, then I need to dig deep, find my confidence, and stop holding onto these unfounded fears.

In case anyone was wondering.... I currently have an A in my geometry class. I haven't had that subject in 10 years and back then I barely passed with a D. Here's to chasing down your demons, whatever they may be.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

hanging in there: a quick update on the semester so far

Nope, you're not hallucinating, I am actually updating my blog!

This semester has been a big adjustment for me since there are so many projects that require incredible amounts of time. Just when you finish one, you've got another one due in a week! Not that I am complaining. The information and experiences I have encountered so far have helped me grow by leaps and bounds already. This program is tough, but so am I.

The ABC book I mentioned a while back has been turned in and your's truly made top marks. Of course. :) Here is a little sample of my work for those who are interested...

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

The book was about grocery shopping for ingredients needed to make dinner for a group of friends with various diet restrictions such as gluten free and vegan. Who knew having knowledge about foods that start with X and Q would come in handy? Or that the few months of a strict elimination diet would provide source material for a creative assignment? Just goes to show you that there is a reason for everything.

Like I said, the completion of this project doesn't mean I can really relax. Next up I have to compile a text set comprised of children's books that address the topic of immigration. This assignment will hopefully be helpful when it comes time to actually write a story of my own (which is the next assignment for my ESOL class). Meanwhile, I will also be gathering information for my focal child project in which I monitor and report on the physical, social, and cognitive growth of one of the children in my kindergarten placement.

Of course we have lesson plans to write, journals to keep, and readings to keep up with each week as well. I've said it before... this program is tough. I am really enjoying it though. Nothing has really felt like busy work so far and that is a welcome change.

This week is my spring break so I have a bit of leisure time between working on projects. You can thank the break for this update. Next week it is back to kindergarten and due dates. This week is also registration for the summer semester. No rest for the weary.... after a break over the month of May (in which Steve and I are actually taking a vacation) I start classes again. I am registered for Statistics and an Art/Music in Education course. Should be fun!

I think that pretty much sums up the semester thus far. No promises about updates on the regular, but I do hope to be able to pop in more often. My fancy new ipad should help me out with that. :)