Friday, April 29, 2016

Beyoncé, the Western, and Advertising

The end of my final semester of college is coming faster than I want it to, and once more, I find myself swimming in papers and presentations. A typical end of the semester scenario.
Photo I took in King Library.

But this semester, I’m not overly stressed about the pile of work surrounding me. While I’ve been spending the majority of my free time hiding in the stacks of King Library, searching for books to help me with these papers and projects, I’m not worried about finishing everything.

It will all get done, even if I take a break to go hang out with my friends (this is a mindset that is strangely foreign to me).

Because as much as I love that I’m writing a research paper about societal reactions Beyoncé’s song “Formation” and another paper about gender in advertising, I can’t fully seclude myself in cubicles in King during my last two weeks of college.

I have a bucket list to complete, and while writing an academic paper about Beyoncé may or may not be on that bucket list, there are other things I want to complete, too. I still would like going to a baseball game and visit my favorite spots on campus one last time.

And as exhilarating as I find writing papers about gender in the Western genre to be, I’ve finally come to the realization that this thing which people call “senioritis” is beginning to creep into my mindset. It’s not that I’m slacking off – I’m still doing all my work and I’m still applying for jobs like crazy – I’ve just come to the realization that I need to enjoy what little time I have left.

While I have very little time left, the key is that I have time, and it will all get done.

Friday, April 22, 2016

The Intergenerational Mentoring Program

During my freshmen year at Miami, I joined the Miami Student Education Association (MSEA), which is a pre-professional organization for students who are entering the education field. As a result of this membership, I have been a part of the National Education Association and the Ohio Education Association ever since.

During my sophomore year, I decided to take advantage of a program that is offered as a result of my membership with MSEA that is called the Intergenerational Mentoring Program (IGM). In this program, students are paired with retired teachers who mentor them and guide them as they begin the early stages of their teaching careers.

In my first year with IGM, I was placed with a retired high school social studies teacher and we would occasionally meet for lunch in Oxford and attend the IGM meetings together. We formed a bond that was helpful to me as I was just starting to figure out what my life would look like as I became a teacher.

As I began my second year with IGM, my first mentor moved away, so I was placed with a new mentor and another student. In some cases, mentors will have multiple mentees, and this was the situation that I found myself in last year.

At the banquet, each senior was given a journal
(titled as the one above) with their name on it,
in addition to a yellow rose.
The three of us would meet for lunch and would attend events together, and it was nice to have two other people to bounce ideas off of. While my mentor and the other student are early childhood educators, so it was a bit different for me, I still have appreciated having that bond.

The other student that was paired with my mentor and I graduated in December, and since we were both student teaching last semester, it was difficult for the three of us to meet. However, my mentor and I were able to meet for dinner during my student teaching experience, and we still meet for lunch in Oxford on occasion.

Each year, IGM has a banquet at the end of the year to celebrate the program and recognize graduating seniors. The banquet was this past Monday, and I had the honor of speaking on behalf of all the mentees.

MSEA and IGM have provided me with a support system of future and retired educators who have helped guide me on this path to becoming a teacher. I’m so glad that I decided to join both of these groups early on at Miami, and I would encourage all education majors to do the same.

Friday, April 15, 2016

T-Minus One Month

I’m in a state of denial about the fact that I only have one more month at Miami.

I recognize that this has been a common theme for me this semester, this unofficial countdown of sorts, but my anticipation of what comes next keeps growing, and I keep questioning whether or not I’m ready for the next step. I mean, I know I’m ready, but the question is more of whether or not I’m ready to start over with the unknown.

Photo I took of flowers outside of
Bachelor Hall on campus.
The past four years have (as cliché as it is) truly flown by, and despite my insistence at certain points that I could not wait to graduate, now I’m feeling sad that I have to leave this place that I’ve learned to call home.

In a month, I’ll move away from my friends who have become my rocks over the past few years, and we’ll be scattered around the country. It’s going to be weird not having all of my friends within a one-mile radius (even though that’s probably more normal than living in this tiny bubble in which we currently live).

In one of my classes I sit next to a first year, and on the other side of her is another senior. Yesterday in class, the other senior and I were commiserating with each other about how little time we have left on campus. I turned to the first year girl in between us and told her to make the most of her experiences on Miami’s campus.

While overwhelmingly there isn’t much I would change about my experiences here, there are small things that I wish I would have done, and there are classes I wish I would have taken.

First and foremost, I wish I would have been more willing to take risks. And for me, a risk my first year at Miami would have been actually going through the random roommate process. I ended up using one of Miami’s roommate finding services, and while I still lived with a virtual stranger, I picked who I lived with. And while there was nothing wrong with that choice, I wish that I had gone through the random process. I feel as though I missed out on a somewhat essential college experience.

During my first year here, I also wish I would have joined more student organizations. Miami has so many different organizations on campus, and I wish I would have gotten more involved – I think it would have enhanced my experiences here, and would have given me a better start.

While I can’t go back and change my experiences at Miami (and that said, I wouldn’t trade my experiences for the world), I can take what I learned and use this knowledge as I walk out into the “real world.” While the “real world” offers a whole different set of issues and experiences, I'm ready for them. 

Friday, April 8, 2016

Suit Up: Teacher Job Fair

Resume Copies: Check
Padfolio: Check
Professional-looking Pen: Check
Suit: Check

Teacher Job Fair: Ready.

On Tuesday, Miami hosted a Teacher Job Fair for school districts and schools to come and interview Miami students for potential employment.

In the morning, there was an hour meet-and-greet session in which the candidates (i.e. Miami students) had the opportunity to walk around and talk to potential employers. In these brief meetings, the employer may invite you to sign up for a 20-minute interview that day, or they may say that they are not currently hiring for the position in question.

I was fortunate enough to come out of the meet-and-greet session with seven back-to-back interviews. I chose to knock all of my interviews out in the morning session, which left me no time between meetings, but I ended up enjoying having to hop from interview to interview. Most of the other candidates did not do this, and they spread their interviews out throughout the day.

Since there wasn’t much time, the interviews were screening interviews, and I found that they became easier and easier as the morning went on; moreover, I felt very prepared. I was impeccably nervous walking into Millet that morning, but the more I talked with school districts and schools, the more excited I became about my future as a teacher.

For the job fair, we were not allowed to bring our teaching portfolios, but I was glad that I already created mine, as it helped me gather my thoughts prior to the interviews, which made it easier for me to recall different lesson plans and specific occurrences during student teaching that I could draw on for my interviews.

My interviews went well on Tuesday, and I’m expecting calls for another interview from a few of the districts/schools that I spoke with. I’m incredibly excited about the prospect of having another interview with these districts/schools.

Friday, April 1, 2016

When the Job Search Takes Over

The job search is in full swing.

This week, I feel as though I’ve spent the majority of my time drafting answers to questions on job applications, writing letters of introduction, and taking questionnaires that identify my teaching style.  

I’m applying for jobs like crazy.

I attended Grad Fest earlier this week and purchased my
cap and gown.
And it’s hard work. But I’m enjoying it – maybe even too much, as I seem to be applying for jobs in place of doing some of my homework (apologies to any of my professors who may be reading this – I promise I will catch up).

In my defense, however, I am attending two different teacher job fairs this coming week, and I’m trying my best to get all my ducks in a row, so to speak.  

I feel relatively prepared for both events, but I want to make sure that everything goes smoothly. By the end of tomorrow, I hope to have submitted applications to all of the schools I plan on talking to. By Sunday night, I hope to have my portfolio polished and ready to go.

My head is swimming with to do lists of things I need to do, and it’s causing some stress, but I’m also so incredibly excited. I can’t wait to attend these job fairs and see what’s in store.

Attending these job fairs makes me realize that graduation is sooner than I would like to admit, and as excited as I am about everything that comes along with the next six or so weeks, I’m also nervous.

But as I said, I’m enjoying filling out these job applications, and they’re making me picture my own classroom, wherever it may be.