Friday, May 15, 2015

Here’s the Cliffhanger

Now that it’s the end of my junior year, I’m left to think about and reflect on my experiences this past year.

This has definitely been the most difficult school year I’ve had yet, but I have learned so much from all of my experiences and classes that it has made me realize what kind of teacher I will be, and how I want my classroom to look.

My professors pushed me to think outside of the box more than usual this year, and I am better off for it. Every paper, project, and assignment I had forced me to look at something from a new angle, and I feel more prepared than I did even a month ago to begin my student teaching in the fall.

Photo a friend took of me at The Bluffs, which are near
Miami's campus.
While sometimes I felt like my professors were being very particular about certain assignments, in hindsight, I now realize what it was that they were trying to teach. It’s experiences like that that make me feel like I learned more this school year than I have in previous years.

I’m really looking forward to preparing for student teaching over the summer. After meeting my cooperating teacher last week, we discussed different lessons and what she would like me to do to prepare for the fall, and I’m looking forward to getting a start on all of that.

Despite this being my most difficult school year yet, I made it through, and I climbed the mountain, so to speak. And now that it’s over, I can admire the view…

Friday, May 8, 2015

The Stages of Finals Week

1.      Denial (in the weeks leading up to finals week)Finals are coming up, but I still have plenty of time to do all of these papers and projects, and study for all my exams. There’s no need to worry yet.

2.      Procrastination/Avoidance (the week before finals week)Okay, so finals are next week. I should probably knock out at least one of these papers. Maybe I’ll just watch an episode of Gilmore Girls and then get started. A little pre-paper motivation – maybe I’ll be inspired by Rory’s studious attitude.

3.      Caffeinating and Organizing (a few days before finals start)Alright, finals week starts on Monday. I really should buckle down and get something done. But first: coffee. What do I have due this week? By this point, I should probably have that figured out. I know I have four exams and six papers, but when are they all due again?

4.      Finally Getting to Work (the weekend before finals)Alright, 150 words. How long does this paper have to be again? Oh, wow. 2,500. Okay. So 150 divided by 2,500 means that I’m…oh.  I’m only 6% of the way done. Definitely not the best motivator.

5.      Bargaining With Yourself (the weekend before finals)If I can write another 1,000 words in the next two hours, I can watch another episode of Gilmore Girls.

6.      Panic (the Sunday night of finals week)I haven’t finished any of my papers and I haven’t started to study for my exam. Finals start tomorrow, what am I going to do? How will I get all of this done? How have I survived the past five finals weeks?

7.      Sleep Deprivation (throughout finals week)The only way I’m going to get all of this done is if I forgo the whole sleep thing. Alright, that’s not so bad. I can maybe do this on four or five hours of sleep. Maybe even less if necessary…

8.      Pep Talk (throughout finals week)
I can do this. I’ve done it before, and I’ve survived. I mean, yeah, it’s not easy, but it’s nothing new.

9.      Acceptance (before each final)Well, I guess I should have studied more, but this is where I’m at, and I’m hoping for the best.

10.  Exhaustion (the end of finals week)I’m finally done with finals! Now I can sleep… 

Friday, May 1, 2015

Student Choice in Writing

The best part about writing in college is the freedom to pick (almost) any topic. While some professors structure papers more than others, I have found that I generally have a lot more choice in the topics that I choose to write about than I did in high school.

I find this interesting since a lot of my preparation has been about letting students choose what they write about. I had some choice in high school, but usually it was to pick one of three prompts and write a paper answering that prompt.

Oftentimes, I resented this format.

The books I am using to help research the words
that Shakespeare coined throughout
his career.
Still, in college, I often find myself resenting papers that are so structured I have no room for creativity. While I don’t think that in a high school classroom I can just tell students to write about whatever aspect of such-and-such book that they want, I still think that more choice needs to be given within the prompts that are provided to students.

When students have a choice in what they are writing, they’re automatically more invested in their writing because if they chose a topic, it is often because of an interest they have.

Personally, I know that I have some go to topics that I will write about whenever given the opportunity. One of these topics is Shakespeare.

For my final paper in linguistics, I was given the choice to write about anything, so long as I can somehow connect it to linguistics. As a result, I chose to write about Shakespeare and the words that he created in his plays.

While the morphology of Shakespeare’s words don’t excite everyone as much as they excite me, I am looking forward to doing the research for this paper, as well as writing it, because it’s a topic that I’m invested in.