Summer Goals

Summer is here!

I just finished my grad school courses – what a busy semester.  My program requires 7 core classes and the practicum (student teaching/internship).  This past semester, I took the 5 professional methods courses – English language arts & social studies, mathematics, science, reading, and differentiating instruction.  Honestly, I can’t believe I made it out alive!  It was a tough course load, but overall I am happy I took the 5 methods courses simultaneously.

Three of my classmates were crazy enough to take 4 or 5 classes this semester as well.  We grew very close over the semester, and I’m not sure I could have done it without them.  If there’s one thing I learned, it’s that teachers need collaborate as much as possible!  Many of my professors and mentor teachers have complained about how teachers don’t collaborate enough.  I experienced the value of collaboration with these 3 ladies – I think we will all remember how helpful it is!

In the fall, I begin student teaching.  I have received my placement at an urban elementary school.  I am not sure which grade I will be working with or who my mentor teacher is.  I’m anxiously awaiting my official placement.

I have outlined some goals for myself this summer.  I have over 3 months until student teaching begins, and I want to be as prepared as possible.

  • Read all of the books on my book list  – the list includes an array of teaching, nonfiction, and fiction books.  I will post my list in another entry soon – I’m still compiling!
  • Create a classroom management binder (using information from various teaching resources, i.e., books, The Cornerstone, Pinterest, etc.) – Although the classroom is not “mine,” I want to have a good idea of how I will create a safe learning environment and practice constructive discipline.  When I am able to contact my classroom teacher, I will ask her about her classroom management plan.  I am actively researching different ways of creating a classroom management plan.
  • Rewrite my philosophy of education – My junior year in college, I wrote an extensive philosophy of education.  My professor was an intelligent, thoughtful, inspiring woman.  She helped me a great deal in writing a professional and comprehensive philosophy of education.  However, I think I may have echoed her beliefs too closely in my own philosophy.  I think that I was so influenced by her views because I was relatively inexperienced then (it was my first semester taking upper-level education courses).  Don’t misunderstand me – she was an astoundingly wonderful educator.  She was always adamant about one thing – the philosophy of education is a living document.  This means that it will be constantly edited and changed according to experience and changing beliefs.  Now that I have more professional and classroom experience, I need to revise this philosophy to more closely describe my own beliefs.  I also want to shorten it a bit – I remember it being well over 10 pages.  My grad school professors have advised that during an interview, the interviewer wants to read no more than 2 short paragraphs on the subject.  Yikes!  I have some consolidating to do.
  • Actively eliminate slang from my speaking and writing – ‘Nuff said (ha).  Really though, I would like to improve my speaking and writing – I don’t want to be a teacher saying “like” every other word.  One surefire way to appear unintelligent is to write/speak with bad grammar and use slang.  No thank you!  I had a professor my first semester in grad school that used to count how many times someone would say “like” while speaking and report the number to the class.  He also pointed out slang terms we used that I didn’t even realize were slang (e.g., “finishing up,” “kind of”).  Although it was initially infuriating, I began to realize he had a point.  I need to find a book or list of terms to eliminate from my speech. Any suggestions?  I’m thinking The Elements of Style by Strunk & White might be something to check out.
  • Build a stylish, appropriate wardrobe – This is something that might seem somewhat frivolous on a preservice teacher’s list of things to accomplish (or does it?).  Either way, I believe that dress is one of the many ways to be an effective, respectful teacher.  I want my wardrobe to project my individual personality without detracting from teaching and learning.  I am going to post soon about some resources student-teachers and teachers can use to build a school-appropriate and budget-conscious wardrobe.  I’m guessing it will include lots of cardigans, A-line skirts, and wrap dresses!

Looks like I have a lot to do!

Until next time –

Shauna

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