I created this website as a way to serve as a resource for those who are interested in education and child development. This blog will also serve as a journal of my journey as I become a teacher in California. Journaling provides an opportunity for self-reflection and improvement. I firmly believe that education is a lifelong journey for educators; we may reach markers (certifications, degrees, etc.), but to be excellent educators, we never stop learning, growing and developing as professionals.
I believe that every student is different, and as teachers, we must strive to reach out to students at their personal learning level through our lessons. To discover each student’s personal learning level, I would conduct assessment activities at the beginning of the year. The results would inform my instructional design choices for that student. The goal is for a student to have lessons that are challenging without being frustrating. I believe that another way to figure out the needs of our students is to help them discover their learning style. As a teacher, I will strive to create lessons that appeal to the whole class by including activities geared toward each of the three learning styles.
I hope my blog may inspire other students who are working towards a California multiple subject credential, elementary teachers, homeschool instructors, and parents. Together we can inspire the next generation to a love of learning and encourage them to become lifelong learners.
As a way to boost my blogging habit, which got a slow start, I will be posting content that I write for my Credential program, Multiple Subject in California, and my Master’s program, Best Practices in Education.
Steever, S. (2015). Personal Education Plan (PEP) Books. In Best Practices for Elementary What Award-Winning Teachers Do(2015 ed.). New York, NY: First Skyhourse Publishing.
The White Ash pattern by DC-Fix to cover all the orangeish cabinets and drawers. The front wall without cabinets or windows with bulletin boards 3D Waterproof Ceiling and Wall Murals from Bedding Inn Blue Sky and Lake with Stone Pattern. My desktop by Murals Wallpaper Celeste Agate Crystal. Computer Cart and my desk base Beach Wood by DC Fix. Student Desktops Gray Marble by DC Fix. Window privacy by Rabbitgoo Small Mosaic with Multi-Color. Inside of cubbies White Mat pattern by DC Fix. On the cabinets, I would print and laminate five different colors of water to use as frames for student work. I would alternate the order of the colors to make a more appealing display. I would incorporate live plants to bring in nature and for their air purifying abilities as well. I like how peaceful this theme is and how it would be a massive transformation. This room would be labor and cost intensive to create but it could be wonderful. I only hesitate as I wonder if it wouldn’t be better to wait until my second year before buying into this theme because I would have the keys, codes, and ability to go into setup much earlier. I worry that trying to get this set up solo (or at best with one helper) when I will be so short on time is going to be a nightmare.
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So I started this blog as an assignment and have kept expanding. I have also spread out to Facebook a while ago but I just dove into another social media source: Pinterest. So hop on over, follow me and check out my ever-growing collection of educational pins.
So I am anxiously awaiting the principal to be back from vacation and email me. He hopefully will be meeting me soon in my new classroom so I can take pictures and measurements. Time to think of a theme. I had a total theme planned for younger grades but I don’t think the middle schoolers will love it. So back to the drawing board. I am thinking of integrating inspirational quotes, growth mindset quotes and maybe hashtags with either: Beach or Steampunk.
I am so excited to share that I was offered a position with my dream district! I will be at the very school I did my student teaching. However, I have been tapped to work with a slightly older group than I originally planned, sixth graders. I accepted and started to complete the paperwork. I haven’t signed an official contract yet so I do not have additional details to share. So EXCITED!
I found out that all three of my references got calls from HR. They each in their own way said if the job is being determined based on references then I am a shoe-in because their review was fabulous. And I cried. Yes, I know that my references are supposed to sing my praises. Something about my dream district calling them and hearing those praises made me teary eyed. I feel like I am another step closer. Fingers crossed that they find all the resume and reference stuff up to standards and I hear from them soon.
So I went to my second interview with the HR Department on Friday. This one I felt very confident leaving. They did ask for some additional information from my program and university, which I requested the moment I got home. Unfortunately, that takes time and I am stuck in a waiting pattern until they produce the needed items. I am fairly confident that they would not be asking for so much if they were not leaning towards hiring me. So, I am taking this as a positive sign. One thing that is still a tad anxiety filling is that I still don’t know what grade level(s) they are considering me for at this point. During my first interview, one of the panel members mentioned that they had been given a glowing review for me working with older grades due to my tech skills-so I have a feeling I will be either upper elementary (3-5) or extending into middle school (6).
Stay tuned for updates…
On Friday, I went in for my first real (non-student teaching/intern style) interview for a teaching position. It has been a while since I interviewed for any job, not to mention, interviewing for my dream job at my dream district.
Prep I did: I researched the district, even though I student taught in it, to make sure I was familiar with the whole picture. I practiced my answers to lots of common questions that I found online. I did a lot of positive self-talk. I applied for the two listings that covered TK-5th. Before my first interview, the HR contact asked if I would be willing to consider 6th as there is someone who has a slot that they have not found the right fit (after tons of candidates), I said yes because this IS my dream district.
Reflections on prep I did not do: I regret not going out to recruitment fairs for places beyond my target regions. There were several earlier this year that I got word of and opted against attending since they were way beyond my commute range. I was wrong. My advice, drive beyond your target range early. Attend as many walk-in recruitment interview opportunities as possible so you get to practice, that way when your dream or even just second choice districts call for interviews you are prepared, plenty of practice under your belt.
Stay tuned for updates…
I found myself thinking about the idea of personalized learning, a popular buzz phrase in education these days. South Carolina is making a big push statewide on the idea of personalized learning, something I enjoy reading about. What is personalized learning? I think I could write a whole series on this idea but for today I will stick to a simpler break down. The four pillars of personalized learning: learner profiles, personalized learning paths, student ownership and flexible learning environments.
- Learner Profiles
- We need to understand who they are, what their ability levels are, what motivates them and what their goals are in order to truly support their individualized success
- Personal Learning Paths
- We must hold all students to high expectations which are clearly communicated to them and their families.
- Those expectations are based on their individual learner profiles (learning progress, motivations, goals, strengths, and needs)-they are custom fit, not cookie cutter.
- This means students are regularly and continually assessed to determine competency level. Once competency is demonstrated they advance/earn credit/move onward/etc.
- Student Ownership
- Students have a voice in their own education, they are empowered but also held accountable.
- They know what they are doing and why every step of the way.
- Flexible Learning Environments
- Different students learn and grow in different ways, Adaptive
- Student’s needs are the deciding factor, they are given the time, space, materials and support to succeed.
- Time and Support allocations include direct instruction and teacher time activities: 1-1 student consultations, small group instruction, whole class mini-lessons-how much time, how long and how frequent
- Space: How can we maximize the space that we have for the maximum function for the students?
- Group & Collaboration: How should students be grouped? This could encompass bridging grade levels for diverse collaborative experiences. As we prepare students for the “real-world” having them work with a variety of team-mates prepares them to face real-world diversity in skill and communication levels present in adult society.
I find personalized learning to be an exciting prospect, especially when combined with technology. Researching the idea of adaptive personalized blended learning programs is one of the things driving my summer to do list (that, learning to code and submitting my TPAs).
I managed to get a post in a week even during my second placement for student teaching. Woohoo! I am pretty proud of myself.
I have learned so much from this placement. I feel like every time I turned around there was a little tip here or idea there. My master teacher was just amazing. Hands down, everything I could have ever wanted and more. There is no way I can repay her for all that she has done for me. I can only hope to pay it forward someday and be a mentor to someone else.
I hadn’t worked in this district prior to student teaching (something I may have mentioned my post about getting on sub-lists). Now I am so thankful that I branched out. It was an amazing experience. During my time I discovered fantastic grade level teams that were supportive and collaborative both within their team and with other grade levels. I got to see a healthy and positive school culture that was supported by staff, administration, teachers, and parents. The PTA really blew me away, so amazing to witness all the cool things they add to the school for students and teachers alike.
I am taking June off master’s courses to focus on the one thing I have left to get my credential. My TPA’s are now my focus which means I may take a bit of a break. Don’t worry, I will be back to celebrate turning them in. Until next time…