Friday, September 27, 2013

When Opportunity Comes Knocking...

Image I took in November 2012 when First
Lady Michelle Obama came to campus.
            Since I started at Miami, I’ve had the opportunity to attend lectures and events with public figures and interesting people. Last year, I had the opportunity to hear First Lady Michelle Obama speak and I attended a lecture given by Zainab Salbi, who grew up in Saddam Hussein’s inner circle. I had several other opportunities that were available to me to see figures such as Neil deGrasse Tyson and Jerry Springer, but I couldn’t fit everything into my schedule. This week, I attended a lecture given by Benjamin Jealous, the President and CEO of the NAACP. I had hoped to attend a lecture given by Kari Byron and Tori Belleci from the show Mythbusters that was also this week, but this lecture sold out before I had the chance to get a ticket. Other than educational lectures, I also had the opportunity to see bands such as Timeflies, South Jordan, Parachute, and O.A.R last year. In addition, I’ve seen comedy groups such as Dakaboom, and Sketched Out, Miami University’s own improv group. Later this year, I have the opportunity to see comedian Jim Gaffigan. While all college campuses make an effort to bring public figures to their campuses, I feel that Miami does an exceptional job with this. In talking to my friends who attend other schools, I’ve recognized that I’ve had more opportunities to attend lectures such as these, as well as concerts and comedy nights. Miami does a lot for the students and makes it easy to find something to do on campus. There’s always something going on somewhere on campus, and in my experience, the events are generally worth attending.
It’s so easy to be involved on campus, especially when there’s such a wide array of events to attend and different organizations to participate in. There are so many groups on campus that put on their own programs each week, it’s impossible to attend them all. I attended a lot more events then I listed, including sporting events, but these are the ones that stand out in my mind the most. My experiences at Miami so far have been mostly positive, and the events that I have participated in have helped create some of the best memories of my freshman year of college, and I’m looking forward to seeing what this year and the years to come have in store.

Friday, September 20, 2013

My Experience in Education Classes at Miami

All of the education classes I have taken at Miami so far, have been very beneficial in preparing me to become a teacher. All of my education classes have been relatively small, and right now, one of the classes I am currently enrolled in only has 11 students, including myself. In comparison to other education classes where there are generally 20 or more students, I've come to really like this smaller class. There’s more room for class discussion and everyone can share their opinion with this smaller class size. While this can also be done with larger class sizes, it’s harder for everyone to say what they are thinking/feeling because of time restrictions, and I think everyone in a class can benefit from hearing what their peers have to say.
The general education classes offered at Miami focus on the perception of schooling and teachers in today’s society. In these classes, we cover a lot of what teachers face in schools and the wide array of students we could teach. There’s also a heavy focus on federal laws and mandates that will, no doubt, have some effect on any future teacher, just as they do on current teachers. Covering all of this material is crucial to becoming a teacher because it’s important to know the climate that surrounds the field of education. Having an awareness about the issues and problems I could face as a future teacher is one of the many keys I need to become an effective teacher, and Miami is helping me achieve this goal by giving me some of the tools I need.
Some of my classes have required Service Learning, which is a great feature that Miami offers through some of their classes. Service Learning could mean several different things depending on the coordinating teacher, but in my experience, I have typically been tutoring students outside of the classroom. In my case, Service Learning has always taken place outside of my field of English, and I've generally been helping students with math. Despite not helping students with reading/writing, Service Learning was still a beneficial experience for me because I gained experience both in the classroom or helping a student outside of the classroom, one-on-one.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Deciding on My Major

          When students leave high school, and go off to college, everyone asks them the same questions: where are you going to school? And what are you majoring in? Throughout my life, I’ve changed my mind on what I wanted to be when I grew up so many times, that even as a junior in high school, I wasn’t 100% sure what I wanted to do. When I was younger, I considered being a fashion designer, then I switched to wanting to be a dance teacher, at some point, I wanted to be a graphic designer, a photographer, and then in my senior year of high school, I decided I wanted to be a first grade teacher. However, when I was applying to schools at the beginning of my senior year, I put “Undecided” on my application. I was slightly embarrassed about this, and I didn’t like the idea of not knowing exactly what I wanted to do when all of my peers seemed to have a grasp on this. I felt a little lost, and I still wasn’t even completely sure on my decision to become a first grade teacher. While I loved that age group, and I knew that I would have a lot of fun being in such an environment, I still wasn’t sure exactly how to go about deciding on what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. What did I want to devote 40+ years to?
            I entered Miami as a freshman in the fall of last year. Before coming to school, or even scheduling my classes, I officially declared my major as Early Childhood Education. I was happy with this decision, but more importantly, I was excited. As I started my classes first semester, I really enjoyed them. My professors were great, and I was interested in the topics of the classes required for my major. One of my classes required service learning, and I was placed in a third grade classroom in the Talawanda School District. The students were excellent, but I realized that I was simply just not a third grade teacher. I recognized that if I stuck with Early Childhood, I would only want to teach first grade, even though I would be certified for kindergarten through third grade, and I didn’t want to limit myself that much. I wanted to be a teacher; my general teacher education classes taught me that. I just didn’t know what I wanted to teach. In the back of my mind, I knew that I always had loved English, and it was always the class I looked forward to. So, in October of last year, I made the decision to switch my major, and I officially became an Integrated English and Language Arts Education major. I was ecstatic with this decision and I couldn’t wait to start taking classes that were directed towards my major.
            English is something I’ve always loved, and writing papers is something I actually do enjoy (well, for the most part). I wasn’t always excited about books and reading, but I’ve grown to love books and to love reading. In second semester of my freshman year, I added a minor in Writing and Rhetoric so I could study English even more in depth. I’m so much happier now that I’ve finally decided on what I want to do with my life, and it’s nice to know that I’ll be doing something that makes me happy.