I have lived in the Mobile area all of my life. I graduated from Baker High School in 1991. I came to USA that Fall for my first and only quarter in the olden days when the quarter system was in use. I was not college material at the time. In the summer of 2006 I restarted my college career. By taking only one or two classes at a time, I have been on a long but steady road to maybe becoming a teacher when I grow up. I have been married for twenty years. I have three children: a freshman in college, a ninth grader, and a first grader.
I want to enter the field of education because I love what I call "light bulb moments". I love the look on a child's face when something clicks in his or her mind. The other reasons I will list may seem very idealistic and maybe too simplistic. I want to help students achieve and be successful. I want their horizons broadened. I want them to go further than they thought they would. I want the struggling reader to break through and love to read day and night. I want math to appear like solving fun puzzles rather than drudgery. I want students to enjoy the lasting satisfaction of learning rather than the momentary satisfaction of earning a piece of candy. In a nutshell: I want to change the world.
One of my passions is traveling. Traveling takes time and money. Traveling must be worked around school, work, and the daily grind of laundry. The next best thing is reading books, though I don't have much time to read a really good book right now. I watch entirely too much TV. I also love to sing though I have a mediocre voice. It's just plain fun.
As I think about my future classroom, the picture is a little hazy in my mind. I expect I will learn a lot more about methods as my own college courses progress. I want to teach fourth or fifth grade or even sixth grade math all day at a middle school. However for this reflection, I am focusing on fourth or fifth graders. I want to keep and maintain their attention. I want the students to expect the unexpected. My personal teaching style is incorporating lecture with discussion followed by hands on experience. I know I will have to be flexible and be able to assess what actually works versus what a lesson plan says.
In a class size of 25+ students, I will have to constantly be aware of the array of learning styles and ability of the students. There are always the high, middle, and low students, and possibly special needs students contained in the class. Natural leaders will emerge. There will also be those that are shy or content to not be as verbal. Regardless of these things, I worry most about behavior problems. Their home lives may not be so great or they may have medical issues. Social dynamics between the students will be a factor. Fourth and fifth graders should no longer need help tying their shoes or sounding out words, but they have other needs. I want them all to develop skills to assess information, solve problems, and achieve success because of and despite all of these factors.
I expect to use various tools in the classroom. Of course the basics are pens, pencils, paper, and textbooks. I know art is a valuable subject to integrate into other subjects so I plan on having many art supplies and music. I want to have a quality classroom library while also making use of the school library. For different units of study, I want to bring items for hands on demonstration. Concerning technology, I would love to use a Smart Board well while also allowing students to use classroom computers to enhance learning.
I want my classroom to be the place my students will enjoy entering every day rather than dread. I want my classroom to be a place of safety, positivity, stimulation, and achievement. While I am not a sports fan, I may use a sports theme for decorating because I want my students to have the attitude that we are all on the same team.
I would describe Dr. Randy Pausch's discussion on Time Management to be catchy and concise. He said two real problems of life are stress and procrastination with procrastination being the main one we need to get a handle on. That is incredibly true for me in so many areas of my life. Because I stress, I procrastinate. And procrastinators are very good at avoidance, excuses, and blame. I succeed when I buckle down and quote Nike: Just do it.
Dr. Pausch's advice to evaluate why is very useful. Doing the right things and focusing on them will eliminate wasted time on things that don't matter. I like his idea of planning on multiple levels: by the day, week, and semester. This seems a lot more manageable than one giant plan, which leads into his idea of breaking a plan into small steps. Even the simple task of preparing a peanut butter and jelly sandwich is comprised of small steps.
Before this assignment, I had no idea who Randy Pausch was. A quick Internet search revealed that sadly he died at an extremely early age of pancreatic cancer. His book of lectures and speeches, The Last Lecture, has been a New York Times bestseller.