Friday, December 27, 2013

It's Back to School in a Month

In one month from today, classes start again for second semester. I’m not sure I’m ready for that reality again.

Don’t get me wrong, I want to go back to school, I really do. I’ve been missing my friends like crazy the past few weeks. But am I ready for my course load? Not entirely.

Screenshot I took on my phone of the calendar. 
Last semester was pretty bad for me in terms of my course load, and I’m hoping that this semester is lighter, despite taking 18 credit hours. I would rather not repeat the week of 13 papers, so my goal is to avoid that.

One nice thing about this coming semester is that I’m taking a lot of classes that pertain to my major and my minor. In fact, all 6 of the classes I am taking are for my major and minor, which is really exciting to me.

This will be the first semester that I’m not taking any classes to fulfill my Miami Plan requirements.

On another note, after being home for such a long time, it’s going to feel really good to be back in Oxford. While I love coming home and being able to eat home cooked meals and take showers without flip flops, among other things, being at school has several benefits. 

At school I'm on my own - to a certain extent - and I do things at my own pace and on my own time. In addition, I get to see my friends. 

The hardest part about going back to school is getting back into a schedule. After being at home for a month and a half, my sleep schedule will be off and I definitely will not be accustomed to schoolwork. 

Friday, December 20, 2013

What I Learned This Semester in Education Classes

This semester, I only took one teacher education class, EDT 246A, Foundations of Language and Literacy. However, of all the education classes I’ve taken so far at Miami, for me, this one has been the most beneficial.

From this class, I learned more about the “how” of teaching than in any of my other classes. During my freshman year, I took EDT 190, which is an Introduction to the Teaching Profession class.

In EDT 190, it wasn’t so much about how to teach, but it was more about testing the waters, so to speak, and reflecting on whether or not we wanted to be teachers.

As a result, I really enjoyed my EDT 246A class since it was my first real exposure to teaching. We covered a great deal of topics in the course, all of which were valuable.

It was an interesting class as it was mostly discussion based and since there were only 10 of us in the class, it was nice to really be able to listen to and learn from my peers.

In this class, we created lists for both reading and teaching strategies as we read through articles that were assigned to us. I plan to hold onto both of those lists and add to them as I go through the rest of my education.

Image I took of a scantron test.
Within reading, we talked a lot about Kelly Gallagher’s concept of readicide. The basic definition of readicide is that students are beginning to despise reading for a multitude of reasons, one of which is standardized testing.

In his book, Gallagher writes that “…schools are working against developing independent readers” (7).

As a future teacher, this is an issue that will most certainly play a role, in one way or another, in my classroom. Students, reading, and standardized tests are almost inseparable, and I have not yet been in enough classrooms to see the impact that reading and standardized testing have on students today. 

Friday, December 13, 2013

3 Semesters Down, 5 to Go

After a lot of hard work and stress, this semester is officially over. Finals are done, and it’s time to go home. All that’s left for this semester is to wait for final grades to appear online.

This winter break is particularly long since Miami added a J-Term, and this will be the first time that it is in effect. I’m not taking any classes this J-Term, but I’m looking forward to being home for about a month and a half as a result of this added term.

My least favorite part about leaving for breaks is that I miss all the friends I’ve made at school. And as much as I don’t like saying it, I start to miss schoolwork too. At a certain point, being home starts to get boring when there’s not much to do. But maybe I'm alone in that opinion...

Picture I took yesterday in celebration of the end
of this semester.
One nice thing about having such a long winter break is that second semester starts 2 weeks later this year, which means that we’ll miss 2 weeks of cold weather at school, which is fine by me. Yesterday, I had a final at 8 a.m., and when I walked there, it was 3 degrees outside -- I was frozen.

That’s one of the reasons why I’m looking forward to break. I won’t have to walk outside to get food and I won’t have to wear 4 different shirts, a sweatshirt, and a jacket, just to make sure that I don’t freeze on my way to class.

Miami always looks pretty in the winter, but the cold weather and the snow aren’t fun, in terms of walking to class.

Catching up on sleep will also be a nice thing to do over break too, after a semester where sleep seemed to be an option and not a necessity. 

Hibernation sounds like a good idea for this break…

Friday, December 6, 2013

Better Catch Up on Sleep While You Can

With finals looming around the corner, sleep deprivation is starting to happen naturally, it seems.

Image I took while studying during finals week in
December of last year.
This week was the week before finals and there are always so many papers and projects due during this week. I’m lucky with the fact that I only have 2 finals during finals week, as I took one final yesterday and the rest of my finals are papers, only 1 of which still needs to be written.

Finals week is always an interesting time. The library is always packed with people studying for exams and pretty much every quiet spot on campus is crowded.

Coffee, energy drinks, and snacks surround each table that’s coated in laptops, cords, headphones, and books too. Sleep becomes an option, sadly, and healthy food options are traded in for processed food. It’s a true test of survival in college.

During fall semester finals week last year, I nearly forgot to put soap in my laundry. Then during spring semester finals week, I ran into a door and a pole on my way to a final. In my defense, when I ran into the pole, my mom was talking to me, so I was distracted. As for the door, I have no excuse for how that happened.

Finals bring stress, tears, and they can bring joy if properly studied for. The trick is to not only survive finals, but to survive the week too. 

Despite the gruesome nature of the week, finals week is also rather gratifying. It’s a sign that you’ve made it to the finish line of a semester after a lot of hard work. It’s a test of strength, in a way. Especially if the semester has been difficult, as this semester has been for me.

The best part about finals week is finally being able to go home for an extended period of time at the end of the week. After the lack of sleep and the stress, sleeping in my own bed is all I will look forward to.

Good luck on finals, and may the odds be ever in your favor.