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Sunday, November 30, 2008
I am thankful for my position right now; however next year, I may not have it because the high school is switching to a Hybrid 7 period schedule with study hall and a 0 period. Needless to say, this is not an "elective friendly" schedule. By the time the students take Foriegn Language, Band or Fine Arts, and Business Ed, poor little ol' police course falls short on numbers as there aren't any students left to pick my classes. Although my time may be limited on this "new direction" the school is taking, I am thankful for the lives I have impacted and those who have made a difference or change in me, the relationships I have made, and the life lessons I have learned along the way. The students impact my life just as much, if not more, than the associates I work with. They are all great individuals exploring who they want to become and I am grateful that I may have helped guide them to bigger, better, and safer things.
What I am thankful for my teaching position: I am thankful that I am still employed. A lot of my friends that worked at the dealerships that I used to be at have been laid off. I feel fortunate that I didn't have to go through that. My teaching position actually came to me when I was thinking about changing careers. I didn't know if I wanted to still stay being a technician. I was tired of the six day work weeks, but the money was good so I kept getting up for work everyday. I still wonder what everything would be like if I hadn't started teaching. But, before I was a technician I taught music. My family thinks teaching was in my blood. My great grandmother was a professor in WI. She only taught for three years, then became a full time mother. My mom taught music, and still does. I grew up watching teachers teach, and had private lessons on several instruments. My teaching position came up as teaching dual-enrollment, but like a few other people. I taught part time while I was still working in the automotive field part time. A full time teaching position opened up and I took it. I am not in my third year of teaching automotive, and it's only my second year full time teaching automotive. I have moments when teaching that remind me why I'm teaching. I didn't expect the long hours, and all the lesson planning. One of the perks that I was seeking was the opportunity for more time off. Three of my grandfathers passed away while I was working as a technician. I hadn't seen each of them for about two years when they passed. I was upset with myself for not being available to take time off at holidays or time off for family events. I always worked the day before and after a holiday, even new year's day. Now I have time to travel to Indiana, Wisconsin, and Florida to see my family several times a year.
I am thankful to work in a place that facilitates a positive environment for students and staff. I truly appreciate veteran teachers who share their stories with me. This provides me with encouragement and lets me know that I am not alone.
I am thankful that I have students who make me think about things in different ways. They make me see things that maybe I had been looking at differently and introduce to me ideas that I may have missed. They inspire me to think with an open mind and remind me about the differences within us all. My students make me a better person.
Saturday, November 29, 2008
Friday, November 28, 2008
I am thankful and hopeful that through Divine interventions I will be able to continue this inspiring journey as a CTAE teacher. Teaching is a very rewarding and enjoyable position yet it is extremely exhausting at times. Sometimes finding the strength to continue in this position is difficult when you are sleepy and exhausted after preparing detailed lessons and grading stacks of papers. But when you take a moment to reflect back and when a parent at a PTSA meeting comes up and say my daughter really likes your class and is learning a lot, then a sense of satisfaction is felt in the midst of being exhausted and sleepy.
I am thankful for all of the wisdom and positive encouragement received from the NTI staff at Georgia State University. I am thankful for having the opportunity to meet my NTI classmates and for the opportunities we have had to share experiences with each other.
I have celebrated several Thanksgivings this past year. From starting a new career in education, to going back to school again. I have many things to be truly thankful for. What follows is the prayer why wife said yesterday at our "Thanksgiving" She was quite emotional when she was saying it and you can read a lot of extra meaning with every line. She also believes that it was a special calling for me to teach.
"We,ve come a long way this year, some of it very difficult, some of it wonderful, and some of it life changing. So as we come together this Thanksgiving let us give thanks again once more to our Lord.
Thank you for the miracles of today. For laughter and smiles, for hugs and kind words. For new babies, old friends and family that never let you down.
For old jobs and new jobs and for jobs yet to come. For old homes and new homes and homes yet to come.
For brothers and sisters, for daughters and sons, for Moms and Dads, and new family members we have come to love.
For Fridays when we think we've made it through another week. For Saturdays when we sleep late! and for Sundays when we decide that tomorrow we can be a little better than we were the day before.
For fireman and policeman, for our soldiers who fight for freedom. We call them all heroes and they really are.
For summers with butterflies and winters with frost, for good health and prosperity and for love of each other.
From top to bottom, thanks for it all, but most especially Lord, thank you for your Son, who gave His all so that we might have all.
We offer this prayer of Thanksgiving in His name. Amen"
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
RS in Alpharetta
Monday, November 24, 2008
First, I am grateful to have had a long career in law enforcement and making it to retirement. I am thankful for finding a teaching position in my field of interest and education after my retirement. When I started teaching on August 3, 2006, I had some misgivings about teaching teenagers in high school. Having been a police officer, I was more conditioned in arresting or putting criminal juveniles in jail. Definitely, I was not keen on teaching teenagers the pros and cons of law enforcement. But, now after two full years and one semester, I have discovered that teaching has become rewarding in many ways. I know I have made a difference in most of my student’s lives. I have discovered that students respond to you according to the way you treat them. I treat the students with respect and they treat me the same way. I may be the teacher but I have learned much from my students as well. The majority of the time, my students and I find class time pleasant and enjoyable. Therefore, I’m truly thankful that my transition from law enforcement and becoming a teacher has gone so well.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
I am from the old school of learning and I prefer the traditional learning environment merely because I am an auditory & visual learner. The best part of this experience has been the opportunity to work at my own pace and of course I appreciated the opportunity to save on gas. I must admit I am experiencing problems working inside the little box (screen) - some what confined and bordering on claustrophobic.
I am very open minded and very aware that this way of teaching and learning is the future classroom. I will probably do more on-line classes in the future and I will make the adjustments as I have done for this class. Overall, as I have stated before I have learned a lot and remain enthusiastic about the next two classes - whether online or in the traditional setting.
I also recognize that many of the master level classes are on-line. This course has helped me overcome some of my cyber world hangups. This is the first blog that I have been on in the cyber world. Text messages and instant messages are next. Over all I have enjoyed the on-line sessions. There have been some technical hang ups on my end. The school system's firewall has many problems with accessing education sites and the GSU sites. I have probably written more in the comment field than the post field, and I wrote some weeks more than what was required. I hope that this blog can be saved for future reference.
The blogging that we do for example, these discussions are so much more interesting to me when I can see all the expressions that accompany the discussions. But online, I see a lot of words, but I have a hard time getting the right “feeling” from the words of others. Let’s not forget about navigating around this blog site, it is not simple!
But there are advantages, however. Since I really do not have the time during the week to make it to class, it does give me the flexibility that I need for my busy schedule. I’m not sure what is my learning style is anymore, because I overcame my inability to learn abstract materials (materials that are not hands on), but online learning is not a problem for me. I still prefer interaction with people face to face.
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Thursday, November 20, 2008
I do like the idea of on-line learning. It has saved me time and money. It has forced me to learn more about computers, even though I didn't like it initially. I am able to be more vocal on-line than I would be in a classroom setting. I would like more PowerPoint type and video on-line instruction because that is more along my learning style. I would like less reading assignments because I have a hard time focusing and learning from reading.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
First, I think that on-line learning is the way of the future. I feel that I have gained a good deal of knowledge from on-line sessions this semester. I like on-line sessions because they are convenient and can be worked in with my busy schedule. The only disadvantage for me with on-line sessions is finding the time to complete the assignment when you are trying to keep up with your teaching duties and family life. Although, I rather do the on-line assignments than traveling to class which would be more time consuming for me. On-line sessions are good for my learning style because it gives me a chance to research and do the assignments in my own way and at my on pace. I personally like the on-line sessions and hope we continue them.
Online learning, for me, is definitely the way... Thoughts?
Monday, November 17, 2008
I did like the convenience of not having to drive to class every week. Putting and extra 60 miles on my truck every week would have been bank-breaking during the tough gasoline times earlier this semester. I do not like having to do a blog every week. I am not opposed to blogging per se, but I do not like being obliged to write every week.
My perfect mix of online and face-to-face learning would be 90% F2F and 10% online. I am a fan of technology, so I don't want to completely ditch the online aspect, but I learn so much more from the interactions and discussions we have in class.
On-line learning provides the opportunity of learning at your on-pace. If you find a particular material that you want to spend more time reviewing you have that opportunity. In addition you can re-visit the material very easily. The innovative ideas, such as games and web sites, can easily be moved from our learning environment to our teaching environment. On-line learning is great.
I do enjoy going to the campus to study with the groups but I find the trip very exhausting, especially when you consider that someone driving for almost two hours one way is sitting for almost six hours for the round trip. Not good for the circulation and for an old person ;>).
Even at this late stage, (me :>), I do need the reinforcement from my teachers, instructors and mentors to make sure I am on track. Thank “All of You” for your ideas, examples and suggestions.
RS in Alpharetta
Sunday, November 16, 2008
I do want to thank Ms. Hayden, Dr. Burns and Dr. Montrois for their continuous support and motivation of everyone in the NTI program. I believe if I had any other professors I would have withdrawn from my classes this semester. I look forward to finishing out the semester very strong and beginning the next one on a good note. I also want to thank my classmaates for their advice, encouragement and positive examples. When you all share what you go through as educators it always seems to lessen or put my individual struggles in perspective. I am a better person and educator because of my affiliation with the program and its participants and look forward to going up from here.
This semester I have learned many things that will help me to be a better teacher. The instructions have been great and the instuctors are some of the best.
This past week I scheduled a visit from two of our counselors to one of my afternoon classes. The previous week the students started out having a discussion regarding the outcome of the presidential election that deteriorated when several of the students started making personal attacks towards each other. I am so glad that I took Jessie’s suggestion to obtain outside assistance to facilitate a discussion to my students on how to disagree and be respectful of others at the same time. The visit with the counselors went very well and the students responded with very open and honest questions regarding the incident. I learned a very valuable lesson that it is important to utilize the resources and support available to me when a situation arises that requires additional intervention.
I'm all for 21st century learning, and I really love the fact that we have the opportunity to have class "online." I'd like to have some of the more complicated lessons in the classroom as opposed to online. I found the Bloom's Taxonomy module difficult. I had the feeling of being all alone when I had a question. Asking in e-mail is not easy for me, and I may not understand a response. I prefer the face-to-face ques./answer session for complicated issues. It was great having the fun stuff in class - and it was necessary to do the role playing/discussion panel in class - but I'd like to do the more complicated lessons in class too.
Of course, the online tools are a great resource, as is turning in lessons online. I don't think the online modules and in class lessons are mutually exclusive. All of our work is available and turned in online. I just Web CT was a little more user friendly and didn't boot me offline so frequently.
Like Penny said, I like the online caledar idea. Getting to the calendar requires clicking on one of the class links, navigating to the syllabus, click on syllabus, wait for the doc to open, and in my case, when I click open doc, it takes me back out of that page and back to the main page where I have to start all over again. Once I finally get the doc open I have to scroll down to find the list of dates. For us visual learners, an actual calendar works best. I have a hard time conceptualizing the list of data. I'd love to see two little calendars, one for each class, with a snapshot of what's coming up that month.
I love learning online. But I love learning in class more.
I usually make it a habit to first contact a parent via e-mail that I would like to speak to them on the phone about their child. It's worked for me so far.
Saturday, November 15, 2008
I have really enjoyed the online learning for the class for the following reasons:
- I can work from anywhere!
- Easy to use and submit work
- Easy to communicate with others and share a wide array of ideas quickly
- I can work ahead
- I am a technology / "21st century" learner
There has not been much that I have disliked. The only thing I would want to add would be a calendar on the main screen that shows what is due that month, important dates, etc. I know we have a syllabus but having something right there every time ULearn opens would be helpful.
For next semester, I would love to have more online sessions. Since I coach after school, many times with games during the week, it can tough to balance a schedule to meet both class dates and the team schedule. So, more sessions online would allow for more flexibility and less stress.
My perfect mix would be 90% online with only a few face to face meetings (intro, mid, final).
Have a great Thanksgiving break everyone!!
I have discovered that extended day is not something I want to do every semester. Its taxing on both mind and body. The previous two years I coached football and soccer but had a planning block. So, I had time to relax and enjoy some time to get the little things done that seem to add up quickly. But after a long day of teaching and then football practice, getting home at 730 or 8 meant I was tired. But, I think after experiencing my first extended day semester, this may be more demanding than that schedule! Its draining! So, since I am coaching soccer in the spring, I think I may reserve the extended day semester for the fall only. The pay increase is really nice but I think for sanity it may not be worth it for a whole year! Does anyone teach extended day both semesters and coach a sport?
I was wounding if any of you have had a student walk out of your class? Well I did and it was not a good thing the student would not do anything I ask he would only work on thing that he wonted to so how would you handle this? I have tyred to talk to him that work for a day but it just was not naff to keep him on task. if you have any thing to say about that let me know.
Think you .
I also had the opportunity to attend a Promethean Board Training Inservice to learn how to operate my very own Promethean board. Wow! That is really a great piece of technology.
I am actively seeking already great ideas to help keep my students ENGAGED. I am also looking for the an eletronic medical records (affordable) program to simulate
Friday, November 14, 2008
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
My most recent contacts had to do with grades. The students were falling behind on completing assignments that were part of their self-paced learning on computer assisted modules. I started assigning 0’s to their grades that were going to show up on their progress reports. When I called the parents they expressed their concerns and support. When the students arrived to school after the contacts and the progress reports, they were much more motivated.
On other occasions I have made contact with parents about student attendance. Contacts about attendance are sometimes not as successful, because parents’ attitudes about work is learned and perpetuated through to their children. Many times the parents did not know about their children’s absence.
I am starting to see more support and encouragement for the students from their parents. Parent contact is just one of the many tools we must keep available and use.
RS in Alpharetta
Monday, November 10, 2008
This Veterans Day, November 11, 2008, is special because we currently have troops in harms way in a foreign country. I am a veteran of the Viet Nam war and I remember the lonely feeling of being away from home and love ones especially during the holidays. Please take time tomorrow to remember and recognize our men and women who unselfishly serve our country in time of conflict. In our small way, Sprayberry High School will honor the veterans on November 11, by having a flag raising ceremony in front of the school at 0800. After the raising of the flag and during morning announcements each teacher who is a veteran will have their names and the branch of service announced on live TV to the entire school.
When I call during my lunch (b/c I have no planning period) I always get a voicemail. I have to call on my cell phone and block my number because I don't want parents calling my cell. My department is nowhere near my room to use the "dept. phone". When I instruct parents to call me back after 3:30pm and have the front office page me to the call, the front office does not comply and sends them directly to my voicemail that exists somewhere in outer-voicemail-space. I have no access to a phone unless it's in a common area. So then it's weeks of playing contact parent = tag instead of contact parent = conference. It's an endless circle. Why is it so hard to equip teachers with the resources they need to meet the policies and procedures set forth by the powers that be? And, what happend to the fabulous and easy communication resource - EMAIL?!?!?!?!?
I have had different experiences each time I contact a parent. Some parents are very understanding and want to help. Others just want to tell you everything you do wrong. I have a student failing my class- this requires me to contact the parents. I called home and left a message on the machine. A few days later the parent calls me back and expresses her concern. She is going to talk to her daughter concerning her tardies, disrespect and late work. She is going to put an end to this behavior in three weeks. She tells me that she wants to help her daughter in anyway possible in three weeks. Me being the slow person I am, about the third time she says three weeks I catch on. I ask her why three weeks? She tells me that is when she gets out. Enough said. I hate contacting parents.
Sunday, November 9, 2008
This is my second year of teaching and coaching and I am tired! I feel like I have too much on my plate. With my program only being in its second year, me being in school, and coaching, there is no time left for me! I feel like I could do a better job with my program yet time does not allot me to do so right now. I think I know what the answer is...give up coaching. I think I am just scared that I am going to let someone down or make someone mad. I will do what I have to do to preserve my sanity, I'm sure. It's just hard.
Everyone, have a fabulous week!
it showed on a review of the material friday. This was a lot to absorb for them, perhaps they liked the material. Perhaps my telling them this was the foundation for all the program had something to do with it. I had another duty friday night at the football game and we even won
the game! That does not sound like much but we only have ninth and tenth grades to fill the varsity squad. I hope the next week goes as well, I am looking foward to the thanksgiving break
to spend some time with the family as I feel I have neglected them for a number of months.
Good luck this week to all of you and I look foward to seeing you at class.
Sometimes the simple stuff is too hard to understand.
Overall school is good. I don't seem to have my time management skills in order.
Wishing everyone a good Nov VETS DAY. We are having a school contest with who can match the old photos from when we where young and skinny and fearless in uniform to whay we look like today. It is funny!
Just some advice for everyone right about now as things seem to be hectic and Thanksgiving break being so close...yet so far away...
I took Friday off last week. It was great. Just needed the day to catch up, run some errands usually reserved for the weekend, got some school work done, etc. It was awesome.
Kind of made me think it would be interesting to see if a school system would ever consider a 4 day work week...I wouldnt mind staying a little later or coming in earlier to have Fridays off.
Hope you guys are all doing well. Hang in there. Until next time.
Thursday, November 6, 2008
I taught two years on the high school level prior to NTI. I like the fact that some of my teaching strategies where already in place and I love some of the new strategies I have learned. It seems each year has been occupied with difficult challenges. My first year I took over a course that had absolutely nothing but walls and desks and created my program from scratch. My second year focused on getting my Associate's Degree and having my new baby. Now in my third year, I'm trying to manage extended day and NTI. I absolutely love what I do, even when things don't go as smoothly as others. Sometimes I vent that I can't believe these students do what they do (in a somewhat negative tone). I say to myself, "No they didn't...". Then, they do something so amazing that is above and bigger than themselves making me so proud that I know them and have worked with them. This really is a rewarding position.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Exhausted. Is anyone else feeling the same way? We have been trudging through a student film festival for the past several weeks and it is literally draining my life from me. To top that, yesterday was Election Day and it would have been nice for the Cobb County School District to d let us have the day off. But, alas, the powers that be didn't do that... they stick us in meetings all day.
On a positive note, we started a club for Broadcast Video students at my school. Not that I was eager to take on another responsibility, but it is nice to see the kids that are interested in this stuff. I kept telling them that we "may or may not have donuts". They asked me what I meant by that and I said, "Well, if you bring donuts, we'll have donuts." Guess what? They brought donuts. Oh, happy day!
Hope everyone is having a great week.