Spring break for Student Teachers

So this week was supposed to be very relaxing.  I think I only disappoint myself by hoping for a quiet and peaceful break. 

This week has been very busy and eventful.  I started off my break by going to my end of the year banquet for hockey.  It was nice to see the team again, but it was really sad saying goodbye to my collegiate hockey career.  We watched an end of the year video recapping on-ice and off-ice memories.  It is really wonderful to watch those memories and to have them forever on a DVD, but it is also really sad.  The academic and team awards were announced and handed out.  Then our wonderful Juniors read a letter to each senior, which was very touching and we were presented with gifts from the team.  The last thing was the naming of next years captains.  I think the team next year is happy with the pick of captains, and I wish them all the best.

I spent the next 2 days in Utica with my boyfriend, we didn’t do anything very exciting, it is just nice to spend time together.  I think we are still trying to catch up from being apart when i was in Paris for 5 months.  It is so hard with him working and with my student teaching and being at school.  We haven’t had a nice solid block of time together, which is what I am looking forward to.  I am not sure when, but it will happy eventually. 

I drove the last 3 hours home on Monday and my mom was so happy to see me.  I relaxed at home, got settled in and did a little work.  After that, I hung out with my little niece Hallee, who has been waiting to see me for days.  As soon as she finds out I am coming home, the hope for her paying attention to anything else is nearly impossible.  We played her Wii at her house.  I played a new game “Just Dance” for a while and it was soo cool.  You have to follow the beat and do the correct dance moves, it is like guitar hero but for dancing.  It is so much fun but it is exhausting. 

Tuesday, my mom and I went to Plattsburgh to run some errands.  We had to get invitations for my sister’s wedding to the printer’s and we did some shopping for the bridal shower that I am planning.  I did some school work, lesson planning and I helped my parents at their office.   In the afternoon, I took a trip tomy old high school to see some of my old teachers, and specifically my old French teacher.  Unfortunately, my French teacher was not there because he is stranded in Russia due to the volcano in Iceland.  I stopped at the elementary school to see my old 6th grade teacher, who is now the elementary school principal.  He is the reason I wanted to become a teacher and I have always taken time to go see him.  He has had such a positive impact on my life, and one day I hope to be the teacher that inspires students.  If I can affect and inspire one student the way he did for me, I know that all the hard work I put into teaching is worth it.

Wednesday, I spent the day lesson planning and hanging around my house.  It was quite uneventful, but it was nice to relax.  Yesterday I focused my energy on planning my sisters Bridal Shower.  I am throwing her a Garden Party themed shower, complete with floral dresses, floppy hats, and dainty finger foods.  I have contacted all the bridesmaids and the mothers of the bride and groom.  I contacted friends who want to help.  I got the location confirmed, the tent is rented and I have already assigned most of the food and other responsibilities.  I am trying to get as much done before I leave because I will not have time in the next few weeks to focus on the bridal shower.   When I get home from school there will only be about 2 weeks until the shower.  My hope is that the shower will go flawlessly, the only thing that can hold me back is the weather. 

So yesterday was Earth Day, I spent last week teaching my students about Earth Day.  I was very excited to be Earth friendly, and I did everything I could to help the earth.  Unfortunately it is hard to get older people ( referring to my parents mostly) to get out of their habits they have had forever. (Like using paper plates or printing one sided on papers!)  I do my best to help the Earth as I have become more aware of what I can do to help the Earth!  If each person could just do a few very small things, then we could make a world of difference. 

So my plans for the rest of my spring break are to finish school work and lesson plans, to spend time with my family today and tomorrow and then visit my boyfriend once again before I head back to Oswego for the 3 weeks that I have left at Oswego.  I cannot believe that in 3 weeks I will be graduating from college!  Who would have thought?!

Hope you enjoy and Happy Friday!

Nearing the End

May 6th is my last day of the semester, which is next to impossible to believe. Where has this semester gone? It doesn’t seem like all that long ago that I was at home during Christmas Break, and this semester hadn’t even started yet. Now, it’s almost over, and as happy as I am that summer is almost here, it’s a little overwhelming, because I have a lot of work to do between now and then, with only a little over two weeks to do it. I’m really shooting for all As this semester. Unfortunately, I don’t think that it’s going to happen, because I am pretty sure that I am going to get a B in my English class, but hey, I’ll even take that. It’s better than the Cs and Ds that I usually get in math and science courses.

Speaking of such, shortly after I get out of school for the summer, I begin two online summer courses, a science course and Safe Schools Healthy Students, the latter of which I need to be a teacher. The science course, however, is one of my last Gen Ed requirements, a 300-level science course that deals with Exploration into the Natural Sciences, if I have that title correct. It’s not something that I am looking forward to, but I figured that since I hate science so much, I would get it over with now so that I don’t have to deal with it for an entire semester.

On top of that, my birthday is on May 4th, which is only two weeks from tomorrow. It’s not like I’m a little kid and make a big deal about my birthday, but I mention it because I am going to be twenty years old. I can’t believe that I am no longer going to be a teenager. Where have the years gone? I remember turning thirteen and being excited that I was now a teenager (I was stupid). The funny thing is, though, is that even at twenty, I won’t feel any different. You never do. Anyway, I guess that’s it; I’ll be checking back in soon, I’m sure.

Earth Day, every day

You know what bothers me more than people who don’t care about the environment at all? The people who advertise “going green” one day out of the year, while negatively impacting the earth every other day of the year.

With all of these Earth Day clean-ups going on around central New York and all over the country, the question comes to mind: why, on this 40th anniversary of Earth Day (April 22, 1960), are we still celebrating the earth only one day out of the year? Why hasn’t this evolved?

I feel myself being a bit hypocritical as I am the main organizer for Mother Earth Week. It’s a step-up, true, from Earth Day, being a whole week. But, does it really do the deed of providing lasting, sustainable stewardship to the planet? Not so much.

I spent last weekend catching up on episodes of the show, “The Lazy Environmentalist,” starring Josh Dorfman, a fellow environmentalist, who goes around parts of the country (mostly in urban areas) addressing issues of sustainability and helping people fix those problems.

He shows people how you can be “greener” on a daily basis. Not just once a year. Celebrating the earth once a day, leads people to think that they did something good for the environment. And I agree. The fact that people took some time during their Saturday morning to clean up our area is remarkable. But, why stop there? I think there are many aspects of “greenwashing,” which is defined as the “practice of making a product seem more environmentally friendly than it might actually be” (Greenwashing), that create a sense of accomplishment and success in being “green” for some people.

Companies that give you the impression that what you’re purchasing is “eco-friendly” don’t focus on the fact that what their company does to produce that isn’t so friendly. The Huffington Post refers to several companies who are guilty of greenwashing customers. These are bigger companies that tell you that what you’re doing is actually helping the environment. But, they’re just skirting EPA rules and regulations and feeding lies to trusting customers who don’t see the the truth.

So, before you may or may not plan to do something spectacular for Earth Day, remember that every day should be earth day. If you use a little less water a day in the shower, buy a reusable water bottle instead of the multitude of plastic “eco-friendly” bottles, take mass transit over your own vehicle, use a power strip and turn off your power when you’re not using it, unplug your charger, throw your recyclables in the recycling, pick up a piece of trash daily… if you do all of this, you can be part of the bigger movement which is Earth Day Every Day.

For more information: check out the Earth Day network at http://www.earthday.org/. Or visit the government’s site at: http://www.epa.gov/earthday/

Making Connections

This week has been a very busy week for me.  But when I think about it, this week has had a common theme.  It has been all about connections. 

I created a unit for my students on the environment.  We have been learning about animals, geographical features, the environment and nature.  My students keep asking, “Why are we learning about science in French class.”  The truth is everything is connected.  I am teaching these things to my students for a variety of reasons.  First because it is becoming a very popular topic on their upcoming proficiency exam in June.  Although, it is becoming a popular topic because is is becoming a very important issue in our world today.  It is becoming a world issue because it is affecting the world a lot, especially right now.  My students should care about the environment because what we do now will affect them in their future, if not because the world is coming to an end, because it is affecting their wallets and their quality of life.  

I found that there are so many connections in the information that I teach.  In addition, I was talking about how we are exploiting the earth of its natural resources and we are exploiting certain places in the world, but not only are we exploiting these resources we are also exploiting the people who live there.  The people who are affected by these “searches for resources” are in 3rd world countries where they are already suffering.  We can also exploit people based upon certain characteristic that they possess and we can use injustices against people to exploit them. 

In speaking about exploiting people, my week moved on to having a Graduate Assistantship interview at Syracuse University.  The job interview was at the Office of Engagement Programs, which is an office that works a lot with immigrants and refugees.  As you may or may not know, Syracuse has a very large immigrant and refugee population.  In talking about  the refugees we began a discussion about social justice and injustices that occur towards these diverse groups of people. There is a negative stigma that comes with being a person of color and these people face injustice everyday and sometimes they are exploited based upon their race. 

Regarding race, I filled out my census this week, as they are required of every student going to college, and I was shocked that Hispanic, Latino and Spanish people were all singled out on the census.  I was shocked to see this and I did not understand why.  I did not see the reason to separate the Latino, Spanish and Hispanic population from the rest of the population of the United States.  If we believe so strongly in equality, why don’t we practice what we preach?

Needless to say I have had a very interesting week.  It is true that all of the world is connected in some way.  In just one week, I was able to see connections between many polar opposite events.  I believe that it is very important to understand the world around us and to make connections with the things that we experience, because as a result we will become more understanding and compassionate individuals.

Besides my massive post on social groupings and connections in the world, I am so thankful that I have all of next week off from student teaching as a result of spring break at my placement.  Since I did not gett the college spring break I am very very happy to be able to have a little bit of a break for a week from all of the things that I have been doing all semester.  It is a relief that I will have a little time to sit back and relax.  Anyway, I hope you enjoyed my post and my analysis of connections that occured this week.  Enjoy!

Fifth Day of Practicum

I did not observe an English class today since I did that last week. Shortly after arriving, Ms. Patapow asked me to grade quizzes for her, which I did. I then filed the graded papers for her. At around 1:30, I went to a meeting with her and an English teacher named Cara Greene, if I remember correctly. At the meeting, the two of them were evaluated based on their lesson plans made since the last time that they met. Ms. Patapow said that she and Mrs. Greene do this instead of having an administrator come into the room to evaluate them. It was an interesting experience for me, as it gave me an opportunity to see how I might be evaluated as a teacher.

I made an attempt to visit the library today, since that is something that I’m supposed to do for my EDU 301 class, but the library was not open. I don’t know if or when I’m going to be able to do that. I will have to try to do it the next time that I am there on a day that I only have to observe a Study Hall, as long as it is not closed again. Anyway, it’s difficult to believe, but I only have two more days of Practicum. Next week is Spring Break for Syracuse City Schools (and for most schools, I think), so I have the 28th of April and the 5th of May, and then, I’m done. Granted, I started my Practicum very late, because it took a long time to get placed, but even so, this semester has gone by very quickly.

21st Birthday!

So my 21st birthday is coming up and I am so excited. I can’t wait to go out and have some fun! I have been working so hard. I feel bad because I have been working so hard on stuff that I have left some of my organizations hanging. I haven’t been as involved in the school of business nor development, but my classes, grad school prep, finding a place to live and the job search has been crazy.

Check this out though, cool thing I found for my office to use: http://meetordie.com/

I feel bad but at the same time, I know I have to prioritize my education before extracurricular activities. I am happy though, some of my job prospects are panning out, I can’t say which ones yet because I am unsure of which ones I am going to accept but regardless I am starting to become pleased :)

21 is a big number, I feel old. I feel like at 18-20 that is ok to mess up in life but once your solidly in your 20s that you shouldn’t be as all over the place as I am.

I have so much I want to and or can do. I want to start my own company, but work for a corporation…I want to be a marketer but a manager and work in human resources too. I want to kind of label myself as a life waffler. I just wander to whatever I like that minute. I suppose it is all productive in the end, but seems a bit crazy still.

Back to studying, my finance homework has way too many letters in it to be math, I will be up all night :)

Life + Finance = Crazy Graph

Life + Finance = Crazy Graph

My Friend from Cali

So, as I promised, I am following up on the adventures of my Californian friend and I. It’s kind of funny, because I did end up talking to my Hall Director, and much to my delight, she said that it was fine if he stayed with me for that long as long as my roommate was okay with it, so I figured that I was back to not having anything to worry about. I was wrong. When I mentioned it to my roommate, he kind of freaked out and said that it was unacceptable, that he was not going to allow someone that he doesn’t know to stay in the room for eleven days. He was right, really. I didn’t give him enough notice.

Therefore, last week quickly became disastrous disarray. I was stressed to the max, because my friend was coming in a couple of days, and I had nowhere for him to stay. He wasn’t bringing enough money in order for us to stay at a motel, my roommate simply wouldn’t allow him to stay with me for the entire eleven days, and my mom would not allow us to come home and stay there, because she said that she didn’t know Fady, so I was in a bind. I did the best that I could to compromise, but as long as the condition was that Fady was staying with me for eleven days, he remained unwilling.

Oddly enough, though, everything worked to our advantage. Fady’s father gave him more money, so he therefore could have afforded to stay in a motel for two weekends, to which Allain agreed. So, when he got here, that’s what we planned. However, my mom came to visit me Friday, and when she saw Fady, she decided that he was a good kid and that it would be fine if we went home. To make a long story short, she paid for our motel stay that weekend and then allowed us to come home this weekend.

Everything pretty much turned out to be a blessing in disguise, which, considering the fact that only last week, I was freaking out, is kind of ironic. It has been pretty obvious that in the past few days, though, that there has been tension between Fady and my roommate, but we have managed. Now, we are waiting at the Regional Transportation Center in Syracuse for the bus to take us to Utica so that my mom can pick us up in Utica, and this weekend is going to be amazing.

I feel kind of blessed. Something that started out looking like it was going to be a major disaster ended up being an amazing experience. Of course, we have not spent very much time together these past few days because of classes and homework, but we have tried making up for it at night by hanging together. This weekend, I am going to have some homework, but that’s all right. I think that we will be able to find a balance. Anyway, I have to run; I just wanted to update everyone on the situation.

Fourth Day of Practicum

The school is just about as out of control as usual. When I got there, a class that I am assuming was a Study Hall was lined up at the door ready to leave, and a student asked me, “You a student?” I am used to this. Despite my attempts to dress professionally and behave in a professional manner, there is still the occasional student who feels the need to ask me whether or not I am a student.

For my EDU 301 class, I have to conduct an interview between myself and my Practicum teacher, Ms. Patapow, and I mentioned it to her today, saying that I would need to be conducting it very soon. I figured that it would be most convenient for her if I sent her what I needed to ask her via email, but she insisted that she wanted to get it out of the way today, so that’s what we did. I prepared the questions, and we took care of the interview today. It feels great to have one more part of the Final Project done.

During Study Hall, a man came in and administered surveys. The man, who I’m assuming was a counselor, said that they are meant to help assess what each student might want to do after graduation and said that the surveys are “too damn long.” He, too, assumed that I was a student and asked me if I had already taken the survey. I found it funny that so many people made the assumption today, since last week, a student thought that I was thirty. The Study Hall was surprisingly pretty well-behaved, and some of them who are also in Ms. Patapow’s English class did some required reading of John Steinbeck’s The Pearl.

Also during Study Hall, a student complained that she was having trouble reading The Pearl, and Ms. Patapow read it to her. I thought about how during my first day of Practicum, Ms. Patapow told me about how a lot of her students are reading at a third grade level. It therefore did not really surprise me that this student was having trouble reading The Pearl, a book that I read with ease on my own time during my tenth grade year.

It made no sense to me, but after Study Hall, I observed an English class like I did last week. I brought this up to Mrs. Patapow, but she said that it must have been the week before last. I know that it wasn’t, though. I definitely observed an English class last week and have the journal entry to prove it. I remember the class reading about John Steinbeck.

One student walked in late to English, and when Ms. Patapow told her that they were going to be reading The Pearl, the student bluntly stated, “I don’t read, miss.” Then, when the student was asked a couple of minutes later to remove her earbuds, she said, “I can’t read this. It’s boring.” Some of them are very honest, at least. Some of them certainly don’t even pretend to be interested. Some of them, however, do seem to actually be interested, though, which was obvious when the class read chapter two of The Pearl out loud. The class then concluded with a ten-question quiz. Overall, the class went well.

New adventures!

Happy April! Things have finally settled down within Student Association, for the most part! Steven DiMarzo was elected president after a long, hard fight. Some people are still angry but all I have to say to those who are still angry is, why? We’re all here for the same reasons as the end, the students of SUNY Oswego. We all want change, we all want a better tomorrow. So put aside your resentment and come together, lets make things happen. Holding grudges about things doesn’t get anything done, it only hinders the process and the opportunity to create change for an improved student association. I guess it’s easier for some to understand than others but it’s all a learning experience.

On a lighter now, I’ve unofficially finished pledging Alpha Phi Omega, a national co-ed community service fraternity! We had 30 pledges this semester and it has been one heck of a ride! I’ve made a lot of great friends through the experience and hope the relationships will last for years to come! We cross on Sunday, April 11 and I really can’t wait! It’s going to be so excited. Next weekend, we go to sectionals. It’s a leadership conference for APO. I am running for a position on eboard next year, the leadership chair. I think it fits in with my major and minor quite well. Elections are on April 27, a little nerve wrecking but we’ll see what happens!

Also, I recently applied for an internship in Walt Disney world in Orlando, FL and I was accepted! wwoo hooo! However, I don’t think I’m going to take the opportunity. There are just more cons than pros to the experience. I would be gone for 7 months and I wouldn’t really be furthering my education here because the classes I would be enrolled in, I have already taken here at Oswego. So that means I would be a semester behind when I return. Also, I would miss out on my trip to Italy and Student Association. It also isn’t really fitting to my career choice. It’s just a confidence booster knowing that i was accepted into an extremely competitive internship :) I can’t complain. Speaking of internships, I was also accepted into an internship in our Development office on campus. I’m very excited about it. I start in mid-May and will continue right up until I leave for Italy.

It seems as though I talk a lot about my extra curricular activities, you’re probably thinking does this girl ever go to class? Of course I do! I really enjoy my classes this semester. My management class has really got me thinking about what I want to do in the future and only solidifying my decision to look into West Virginia University even more. For my job at Maurices, I was recently asked if I wanted to start the MBA program, is a training program to become a store manager. I was completely honored when my manager mentioned it to me. I really enjoy my job there and the people I work with. The company is so different than most other retail stores. I eventually would like to work in the corporate office in Minnesota. I’ve got a little bit more research to do on that but I’m exticed.

I’ve got a lot going on lately and it’s starting to get a little bit scary. I’m applying for graduation next week. Like REALLY?!?! I have two semesters left and so many more things I want to do! I am still in a little bit of shock from it. I can’t believe it’s almost time for me to move on with my life from undergrad to graduate school. Wow, that’s kind of depressing?! Anyway, I have class in a half an hour and I’m going to grab something to eat quick.

Have a wonderful day:)

Busy Busy Spring Semester

Oh my… I cannot believe how long it has been since I have posted on my blog.  Where did the time go!?!?!?!  I have been so busy with student teaching I have barely had time to breathe.  So I apologize for my absence for a little while from blogging. 

I am in the 3rd week of my second placement for student teaching.  Things are going great this placement.  I have been teaching since my 2nd day in the school and I really love my students.  I am at Fulton Jr. High and my cooperating teacher is incredible.  She is really an inspirational person that makes being in the classroom as a student teacher a great experience.  My students are really warming up to me.  I think it might also be due to my effort in creating very fun and rewarding activities in class. 

I was observed today by my supervisor.  I had a great lesson and he was very pleased with what he saw.  He told me that parts of my lesson was flawless, which is a wonderful complement to a student teacher.  He said that I did a wonderful job and he knows already that i am going to be an extraordinary teacher.  Compliments and positive feedback like this really makes my more passionate about teaching and French.  Not only do I love French and everything about the language, but it lets me know I am successful at what I do, which strives me towards constant improvement! 

It is not all fun and games though.  I am teaching an alternate education class, which consists of students who have difficulties being in mainstream classes, but also students who are pulled out of regular classes due to behavioral issues.  I only teach 4 students and there are always at least 3 adults in the classroom, but last Thursday I had girls jumping out of windows and kicking and breaking windows, I also had students call me every bad word in the book.  I had a student just walk out of class without permission or a pass andI also had a student threaten to hit me.  So needless to say it is a difficult class.  Although, to their defense it was the last day before a 3 day weekend, and they had been behaving very well for the 2 weeks prior to this incident.  At the same time, there should never be an excuse for such terrible behavior.  I was in shock with what I saw that day, it was not my best teaching day.

Although, teaching is not easy, there are always students that have a bad day, which makes teaching difficult.  There are students that come to class mentally not prepared to work.  There are students who come to class not expecting to work and they end up being very disruptive all day.  But there are also classes that make the entire career worth it.  Classes that are focused and motivated and excited to be in school.  Those classes really make up for the more difficult classes because the students show you appreciation for the language and the material from the class.  It is also very rewarding seeing the successes of students.  To see the students learn and grow gradually each day, really makes me happy with the career I chose.  It is the small things that make a big difference. 

Last placement I really enjoyed my students.  They were wonderful and I learned a lot throughout the experience.  My teacher was tough on me, but in a way that really helped me grow by leaps and bounds.  Not everyday was easy, but looking back I know that I really took alot from my experience.  I am grateful for the students that I met that showed me their appreciation for language, and I am also grateful for the difficult students that make my job hard, but gave my the experience to deal with similar situations in the future.  I know that with all the experiences that I do have, that I will really become a great teacher.

This past weekend I went home for Easter.  It was only the second time I have been home since returning from France, so I really take advantage of the time with my family.  The weather was wonderful and I had the opportunity to help out around my house a lot which really helps my parents.  I had a great Easter and it was wonderful to be able to spend the time with my family. 

There is not that much longer until Graduation and I am really looking forward to the culmination of my higher education at SUNY Oswego.  My time here had been precious and very wonderful for me.  I am very sad to be leaving soon, but it is wonderful to be able to move to the next chapter of my life.  I was accepted to Graduate school at Syracuse University last month.  I am very proud of that accomplishment.  I am certain that I am going to enjoy my studies at SU.  I am going for a degree in TELL (Teaching English Language Learners).  I am very excited to start that program.  I know that I will be able to have as much success at SU as I have had at Oswego. 

I will do my best to continue to update my blog more regularly, it has been very difficult due to my schedule, and I apologize again my my absence.  I hope that I can make long posts not to make up for the ones that I have missed.  As always I hope everyone enjoys reading my blog and Happy Easter a day late or (Joyeuses Paques!!!)