Visit to Tyler Art Gallery – South

Today, I visited the Tyler Art Gallery, the South one, which has a lot to do with the mixing of cultures. I was therefore able to connect most of what I saw to this class, because this class has a lot to do with assimilation, the mixing of cultures. There are many pieces of art in the display, so it unfortunately would have taken a great deal of time to cover everything and then write about it. I picked five sites that really stood out to me and decided to primarily focus on those, even though I did examine everything.

The first piece of art that I examined was called “Clash of Cultures.” Like everything that I saw today, I absolutely loved it. It is a painting and portrays an older woman standing in front of a house with another older woman in the left window of the house, a Protestant pope in the right window, and a Catholic pope in the upstairs window. The painting is meant to be a depiction of the artist’s parents’ wedding day in 1946. The artist’s parents came from different religious backgrounds; one was Catholic, and one was Protestant, and for this reason, there were parental issues involving disapproval, ultimately resulting in religious hybridity. The painting, anyway, was gorgeous, very colorful, and by the way, I have that background knowledge because there was a panel of information located directly to the right of the painting, which I had to take the time to read. The painting, along with a number of other paintings that I looked at, was in a style known as “egg tempera.” I didn’t know what that was, but running a quick search on Wikipedia told me that it is “a permanent fast drying painting medium consisting of colored pigment mixed with a water-soluble binder medium (usually a glutinous material such as egg yolk).”

The next art piece that I looked at was a collection of photographs. There were two photograph collections that I looked at, and they were really neat because they were in a window display with curtains, as well. I really like this idea, because it made me feel like I was looking into a window to the past. However, what I don’t like about the window displays is that there is only a title next to them, no information, so I was left wanting to know more. For example, the first window display that I looked at was called “The Life of the War Hero” and featured photographs of a soldier during what I presumed was World War II, and that’s all I know. I wanted to know – who is this man? What was his name? I knew nothing and wanted to know more.

The second window display that I looked at was called “Ancestors.” The collection of photographs seemed, to me, to be different photographs of someone’s family, and one in particular really stuck out. It was a photograph of an older woman standing outside in a gown. She was staring ominously at the camera, and the photograph was a negative, so her eyes were white, as was her dress (which meant that it was actually black). It was, in a word, creepy. I examined the photographs and made note of the time period – a lot of time spent outside, and families were very close. There seemed to be a very high respect and admiration of the elderly, since they were photographed quite often. Once again, however, I was left wanting to know more. Whose families were these? Who took these photographs? None of this information was provided.

The next art piece that I looked at was another egg tempera painting. The painting was titled “The Adventures of Great Uncle Pete.” This was the exact opposite of the photograph collections. Like the “Clash of Cultures” egg tempera painting, I got some information. The painting was based on a photograph of the artist’s uncle, Peter Barone, who had been a sailor. The photograph, which was also on display, showed Barone standing on a ship. The artist changed the background, however, to feature an array of adventurous displays. There is an array of exotic places, the sea, and a dragon and knights. The artist really seemed to be proud of his/her uncle and was displaying that pride in this painting. Once again, it was very colorful, and I loved it.

The final piece that I looked at was called “La Mia Vita.” The painting looked like it might have been another egg tempera painting and shows an older woman in bed, and she doesn’t look all that happy. Again, there was some background information provided. The panel told me that the artist’s grandmother (the elderly woman in the painting) was, in a sense, stuck in time, that she thought that it was still forty years ago and that Roosevelt was still president. In the painting, behind the woman, were hills, fields, and an old barn, which I interpreted as memories. In front of the painting was a bed with a very colorful quilt, which I assumed was a replica of the artist’s grandmother’s bed. The old woman’s name, by the way, was Carrie Barone, so it was the same artist that did this painting and “The Adventures of Great Uncle Pete.” One thing that I really liked about this painting and the background knowledge behind it is that it kind of has this theme of being frozen in time, and, to me, that is kind of the whole theme of the art gallery, in a sense. The point of paintings and photographs is to capture time and make it a constant, just like it was in Carrie Barone’s mind.

I really wish that I had gotten photographs, but I didn’t want to risk being reprimanded, because I didn’t know if it was allowed or not. I really enjoyed attending this gallery and really appreciated all of the art. I also really enjoyed the music that was playing. It was very light, classical music and helped put me in that mindset of being in the time period. I was really able to link concepts such as assimilation and hybridity to what I saw.

Seventh Day of Practicum, Fall ’10

Today was only a half-day for Syracuse City Schools, so it was a pretty easy day. Unfortunately, I was very hungry the whole time and hadn’t brought any food to snack on, and the classrooms were uncomfortably cold. At first, I thought that maybe it was just me, but no, the first words that came out of my Host Teacher’s mouth were in regard to how cold the room was. I guess that the heat wasn’t on, and I know that it was very cold outside, because my ride was a few minutes late picking me up, because her car was frozen. Unfortunately, Winter is upon us!

On our way to Practicum, the three of us (carpooling mates) were talking about how after next week, there is only one more time that we have to go to Practicum, and that is December 3rd (the day that I have to teach). December 10th, I will not be going as far as I know, because my ride is going home, and that is the last day of classes, anyway. I doubt Practicum students will be expected to go, anyway, for that reason. A lot of students, especially Education majors, don’t have final exams, and a lot of those students don’t have classes on Fridays, and they will therefore be going home on Thursday. Anyway, I can’t wait for the semester to be over. It has really taken a toll on me.

Today, all I basically did was grade more papers, but my Host Teacher was great with the students, displaying a great deal of patience and understanding. Today was apparently the last day of the marking period, so she gave them time in class to complete missing assignments in order to bring their grades up, and since it was a half-day, this was the first time that I observed Fifth Block. The class was pretty noisy, but it was a study hall, anyway. Anyway, I will be writing about Practicum again next week (when my Host Teacher will be a substitute), and I will be doing so at home!

Next Semester Is Going to Be Awesome

Well, as I have been saying, the semester is nearing an end. Tomorrow, I have a half-day of Practicum, and then, after next week, there are only two sessions of Practicum left. I can’t believe how close we are to the end; this semester has gone by so quickly, and I am not complaining about that, because stress-wise, it has definitely been my worst so far.

Next semester may not be too much better stress-wise, because I am taking an English class with a-Professor-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. The last time I took a class with this said professor, the professor would give pop writing assignments to be done in class, and I missed one. On top of that, when the professor assigns a major paper, he/she cares far too much about positioning of the margins, how far the heading is from the top, and so forth. I have never had a professor even care about that let alone enforce it as strictly as this one does. They just want it to look professional. I am taking the class with a good friend of mine, though, so I am actually kind of excited about it.

Plus (and forgive me, this is confusing), second-semester sophomores who took their first Education Block last semester are actually taking their third this semester. I can’t remember the exact reasoning for that; it has something to do with a certain Block not being available at a certain time, so next semester, I will actually be taking my second Block, whereas this semester, I am taking my third, so I will already know how to write lesson plans. It should be an easier semester.

Lastly, my boyfriend, Ray, got accepted into Oswego and sent in his deposit on Monday, so he will be here next semester, and I am so excited about that. It is all that I have been talking about for the past few days, ever since I found out, really. I am extremely excited and actually want Winter Break to fly by. We are trying to get into Sheldon, and our fingers are crossed. I live in Mackin now, and I don’t like it. There are a lot of very immature residents here who are supposed to be adults but certainly don’t act like it. Anyway, I will definitely be writing again soon to report on my Practicum experience tomorrow. I hope that you will be reading then. Adios!

Sixth Day of Practicum, Fall ’10

When I got to Practicum today, I immediately felt a hostile element to the environment, and its source was none other than my Host Teacher. She told me that for either the first or the second block, “the state” would be coming in and that “they would not like you sitting in the back of the room. They are very judgmental of that.” So, she told me to circle the room and ask the students questions and answer any that they may have. The way that she said it and her general attitude told me that she, herself, does not like me sitting in the back of the room, either. I don’t know what else she expects. It is beyond my boundaries to discipline the students, and she has told me repeatedly that the students’ behavior does not signify a preparation to work in groups. Would “the state” not want me grading papers and/or making copies of papers for her? Even the other teacher who shares the room with her seemed to be in a very foul mood.

The woman who came in is a graduate of Henninger High School, and she knew some of the students in the classroom, having had them as students in elementary school. She was great with all of them, and as it turned out, she was not from “the state,” but it was just from the District. That class was great, since it is 9th grade honors. The students seem to have a genuine love for reading. When Silent Reading was over, the students literally begged the teacher for more time to read. That was awesome. Throughout the day, I graded papers (which really helped the day go by) and observed four classes, one of them being the other teacher’s class. Next week is a half-day, but I will be going. I believe that the week after is when I have to teach my lesson to the class, and I am nervous. It is the first time that I have ever had to teach a class, so needless to say, my nerves are getting the better of me. Anyway, I will report back next week about Practicum.

Wow, Almost Over!

As my religious readers know, I always write about my Practicum experience every week, but this past week, Syracuse City Schools had a half-day, so I was told that I didn’t need to go. This past weekend, I had so much fun. I watched a lot of NCIS with Ray and Saw VII with him on Saturday, which I absolutely loved. I felt that it tied everything up, and as an avid Saw fan ever since the first film was released during my freshman year of high school, I was very emotionally satisfied.

Anyway, though, moving on to more important matters, who can believe that the semester is actually very close to being over? We have about three weeks left until Thanksgiving Break, and then, when we get back to school from that, it will only be another three or so until Winter Break. Good news? Most definitely, but it has its downsides, too.

For example, I have a major Final Project to worry about for my English 360 class, one that I have not even had the chance to start thinking about yet, let alone actually start, and I believe that it is 25% of my grade. Am I worried? Definitely. On top of that, I have a Teacher Work Sample to complete for ADO 310, English Methods, which involves a unit’s worth of lesson plans, as well as five additional parts (one of which is complete, thanks to EDU 380).

It is just so difficult to believe how close to the end we are. This semester has (thankfully) flew by. It has been very rough on me, with a ridiculous amount of work that needs to be completed on a daily basis, and I have very little time to myself. I am so looking forward to Winter Break, which will be a much needed break. Friday, I will be going to Practicum, and (I believe) next week, I have to teach a lesson to the students, so I met with the other Practicum Students who have the same Host Teacher that I do and will be meeting with them again on Thursday night. I will be writing again soon.

Fifth Day of Practicum

My fifth day of Practicum went pretty well, because I actually got the opportunity to grade papers. They were just tests and quizzes, not essays or anything like that, but it was still good to be in those shoes. It was clear that my Host Teacher was trying to keep me busy, which is a good thing. I like being productive.

A student in one of my Host Teacher’s classes got snippy at one point, but I was very happy with how she responded. The student was upset because the teacher told her to put her math homework away, but the student said something back, and the teacher calmly wanted to know what the problem was. She discovered that the student was struggling to get the homework done in time for class because she didn’t understand it. However, overall, there was not a lot of interaction in the classroom, and a great deal of time is spent on handing papers back.

In all of her classes, she talked about a literary element – suspense. Additionally, the students listened to an audio recording of the Most Dangerous Game, and she walked around the classroom to make sure that they were reading along with the audiobook, saying that that way, they were making use of two senses – seeing and hearing. I think that her heart was in the right place, but I don’t really agree with the method, because it makes the mistake of assuming that all students learn the same way. That isn’t going to work for everyone, and at the end of the class, some even told her that they didn’t like it.

This week, I don’t have to go to Practicum because it is a half-day for Syracuse City Schools, but I will definitely be reporting back next week. I am going home this weekend, and then Halloween is Sunday, so I am really excited. Until then, take care, everyone, and stay warm – Winter is quickly approaching!

Fourth Day of Practicum, Fall ’10

Today went well, and I was very happy that I did not have to go through a metal detector. I started out by punching holes into what had to have been three or four hundred papers for my Host Teacher, but I didn’t really mind that, because it was a good time-passer. Unfortunately, though, I don’t really feel like I have a whole lot to write about this time, because most of what I observed today was students taking something known as the SRI Test. I had no idea what that was at first, but she said that it tests their reading ability. I looked it up, and it stands for Scholastic Reading Inventory. Despite the students having a little bit of trouble following directions, that went pretty well. The Host Teacher was a little more calm with the students than usual. They frequently call her “miss,” even though she repeatedly tell them that they her to call her “Mrs.” and her last name. I didn’t used to be aware of it, but “miss” is often regarded as a sign of disrespect, and my Host Teacher, unlike last semester’s, seems to be aware of that.

The students then engaged in silent reading time. Some of the classes did, anyway. Some of them, due to how long they spent taking the SRI test, did not have time, but my Host Teacher, anyway, seemed pleased overall. Once again, I observed the other teacher’s class, but not because my regular teacher had a meeting. It was because for the block after lunch, she didn’t have a class to teach, but he did. They had been watching a movie called This Boy’s Life. That class is, as far as I know, advanced seniors, but they certainly didn’t act like it. The teacher had to ask one girl to leave because she was using obscene language, and at one point in the film, there was sexual tension between two boys; they almost kissed, and apparently, they were unable to handle that. Despite the “Safe Space” display window in the hallway, they found this to be revolting.

Anyway, I guess that that is out for now. Like I said, I unfortunately don’t have a whole lot to report. The copying room finally got some paper, so that is good news. I was going to go to the Dracula stage production tonight. I was really looking forward to it, but for starters, due to my having gotten up at 6:30 this morning, I was exhausted, and second of all, it was pouring and very cold outside, and Tyler is quite a distance from where I live at Mackin. I lost the $7.00 that I paid for it, which is very unfortunate since I don’t think I will be able to get a refund, but I was just not feeling up to it. I’m sure it was great, too. My point is that I was planning to write about it, so that is regrettable. However, despite my incredibly hectic homework load (my head hurts now, and my body is screaming for my bed, but it will be very late that I actually get in it), I will do my best to look for another opportunity to write.

Third Day of Practicum (Fall ’10)

This should have been my fourth day of Practicum, but my ride was sick last week and couldn’t go, and I could therefore not go. I contacted my host teacher in advance, so everything was just dandy, because without my ride, I have no way of getting there. Anyway, something must have happened since my last visit. When I got to the school, I had to wait in a very long line of students waiting to go through a metal detector, and that took about ten minutes. This is the first time that we needed to do this. Perhaps, it has to do with whatever happened two weeks ago to initiate the Lockdown.

I once again had the opportunity to observe the other teacher’s class, since my regular host teacher had a meeting to go to. This teacher, for his first class, opened with a grammar mini lesson, and much to my surprise, the students were very responsive. I think that they were AP, so that could have been why. However, even so, it was early on a Friday m0rning, so one probably wouldn’t think that their minds would be very engaged. They answered questions and asked their own. They then did SAT practice together.

Secondly, I observed a class that my regular host teacher taught, and that was ultimately the same as always. Some students paid attention while others slept. The teacher was very upset, because quite a few were late, and she reported one of them because he smelled of marijuana. Then, I observed yet another class taught by the male teacher, and as I have said before, the students really seem to respond well to him. Lastly, I observed one last class taught by my regular host teacher, and the day was over. Overall, everything went pretty smoothly.

My weekend, just as a side note, was great. I don’t remember if I said anything about it before, but this weekend was supposed to be the weekend that I went to Ohio with my significant other, Ray, to go on a ghosthunting expedition. That didn’t end up happening, but to make a long story short, it was our decision not to go. I instead went home and spent the weekend with him, and it was still a great weekend. The main reason that I was looking forward to this trip was spending a weekend with Ray, and I did that, anyway. Also, today, my Adolescence Education professor and advisor, Sharon Kane, said that she spoke to my Host Teacher last week and was told that I am liked, so that made me feel really good. Anyway, I’ll be writing soon. Take care, everyone.

Second Day of Practicum, Fall ’10

Today didn’t turn out quite like last week did, because like Corcoran High, Henninger runs on a block schedule, so the teacher’s schedule was not the same as it was last week. The first class that I observed was taught by a young male teacher who I really liked. My regular Practicum Teacher had to go to a meeting, so she gave me the choice of either going with her or observing his classroom, and I chose to observe his classroom. He seems to have a great relationship with his students, which are Seniors. He jokes with them and respects them, and in that regard, he reminds me of an English teacher that I had in high school named John Smales.

I was delighted to have the opportunity to observe his class today. His class was very well-behaved. He had them get into groups of five and analyze a poem that they had read, and although it took them a minute or two to get on task, once they did, they were really on target. There was a great deal of respect in the classroom. There were opposing viewpoints, both between the students themselves and the students and the teacher, but everyone respected each other’s opinions.

He talked to me about literary classics, since his class will soon be reading 1984, which is one of my favorites. I admitted to him that I unfortunately have a lot of classics with which I need to familiarize myself, and he told me that there are quite a few that he hasn’t read, either, because there are so many that it is nearly impossible to read all of them. However, I haven’t even read To Kill a Mockingbird yet, which I’ve heard is really, really good. I will definitely be getting on my classics in the future!

Something that I learned from him is that each teacher is allowed 1,000 pages of paper per month, and he has six classes of students. This is utterly ridiculous. If I knew exactly how many students that amounted to, I could do the math, but I do know that it is not sufficient, because he struggles. This is so unfortunate, because a steady paper supply is so important to an English teacher. I don’t see how one can teach with such drastic limits.

After his class, I went directly to my regular Practicum Teacher’s class. Last week, she had her students interview each other, and this week, she had them present what they learned about each other. My first impression wasn’t fully accurate. What I witnessed last week wasn’t really her fault. The school has an approximate population of 1,800 students, and the school is not large enough to school that many students. Some students have 30-35 students per class, and it is therefore extremely difficult to get to know your students quickly. That is a big part of the reason why she is doing this “Getting to Know You” exercise.

However, what I witnessed today was an apparent teaching method with which I don’t agree and do not plan to implement myself. As a whole today, her classes, as a whole, this week were not anywhere near as enthusiastic as her classes last week were. Many of the students were not ready to present, and so she lectured them. She said that teachers are commonly criticized for students’ failures when in reality, it is the students’ faults. “Shame on you,” she said. What happened is exactly what one would expect to have happen in a room full of adolescent students. They fought back, defending themselves, making statements such as, “No, it’s the teachers’ fault! Shame on you!” When you speak to your students that way, you have to expect that kind of response.

The day went by really quickly, which was really good (getting up so early when you’re not used to it is not fun). However, something was said during lunch that really angered me, enraged me, even. The teachers are all really angry because of the limited paper supply. This is completely understandable; I would be, too. However, one of the teachers was ranting about the situation, and she referred to her Special Education class as her “stupid kids class.” How, I wonder, could a teacher say such a thing? Even if it was said out of anger about the paper, that is utterly unacceptable. You do not call your students “stupid.” I really wanted to say something, but it wasn’t my place. I would have had I been a teacher, and it’s just as bad that no teacher who heard that (which most of them did) said anything to her.

For my Practicum Teacher’s last class, less than half of the students were there, something that clearly frustrated her, but even though I don’t really know why, the school underwent a Lockdown. A male student arrived to class late, and he explained to the teacher that he got caught up in a storm of people in the hallway due to a major fight, but it would seem to me that it would have to be more serious than that to initiate a Lockdown. Maybe one or more of the students had a weapon of some kind. Anyway, it was definitely an interesting day, and I sincerely hope that no one was hurt.

On a completely unrelated note, are there any other Fringe fans reading this? If so, what did you think of the Season Premiere last night? I really liked it, but there were a couple of points that kind of disappointed me. You can read my blog entry regarding the episode at I’ve been excited about the third season all summer long.

First Day of Practicum, Fall ’10

I already have a pretty good feeling that this field placement is going to be a bit better for me than my last one was at Corcoran. First, I, as well as the group that was with me, met the principal, Lynette Francis. She is really nice and has a lot of energy. A few days ago, in my ADO class, a fellow student said that she would have liked to have had Ms. Francis as a teacher, and I can agree. It is quite obvious that she cares a great deal about the students and has even built relationships with some of them. For example, she saw one male student in the hallway and asked him if “they” won last night, referring to a sports team. Obviously, she finds interests that the students have and then uses those interests to attempt to connect to the students, which is a very good quality for a teacher to have.

My Practicum teacher is a nice enough person, but I don’t really like her teaching methods. She seems to treat her classes as units, not as groups of individuals. She seems to do very little to connect to her students; she instead gives them instructions and then leaves them be. She doesn’t know the students yet, since it’s only the second week of school, and that probably has a lot to do with it, but like I said, she doesn’t really seem to make a big effort to get to know them.

About a week ago, I spoke to Sara Blaney of Residence Life and Housing, whose office is in Waterbury, and I told her that I was doing my Practicum at Henninger, and she wished me luck, telling me that it was a rough school. I can definitely see where she was coming from, but it really isn’t too bad at all. When I introduced myself to the teacher’s first class, the class seemed very interested. They asked me a lot of questions. That made me very happy. They are fairly well-behaved. Some of them are late to class, but they aren’t too noisy, and they are engaged in the activities. Apart from having to get up at 6:00, I think that I might actually enjoy this a bit.