Throughout my college career there have been several times where I am just absolutely 100% positive that teaching is the exact profession for me. I will start with the first time I can remember that I had an epiphany about becoming a teacher, which was sophomore year of college. I had been tutoring a Bio 101 class for a full semester before this moment happened. The beginning of spring semester I had been working with this one freshman since the beginning of the school year and it was just another weekly tutoring session when he came to me for help on the anatomy of a fetal pig. Biology was definitely not his strong point when it came to school so I made sure he would pass this class by teaching him everything that I knew about this topic. After a few weeks of tutoring this concept to him he returned one Tuesday night with his exam. He had received his first A on a biology test for the entire year and he was actually thankful to me. That feeling was like no other feeling because I did what I could and I actually helped this person not only get a great grade, but also feel good about themselves which I think is another extremely important aspect about teaching. At that moment I knew that being a teacher was undoubtedly in my future.
Another experience that I had came at work, which is at Metcalf Elementary. Now I know that elementary is a much different environment than secondary will be, but it is still a school setting. At work just last year I was working the after school program in the homework room with a few of the third graders that were in the program. They were working on their math homework, which is difficult to teach because I have no knowledge of how to teach to younger kids. However, I did my best to instruct them without simply giving them the answers to their problems. After about an hour of working with all of the kids I had one boy come up to me and tell me that I should be his teacher. This made my day and it really stuck with me because when I asked him why he said that I really know how to do math good. Now, the reason that stuck with me is not because I am great at math by any means. It is because what he did not realize that I did realize was that it’s not that I am a math wiz, but it was because I was patient enough to sit with them and explain the steps they needed to take in order to solve their problems. In order to be a successful teacher you much be a patient person and right then I realized how patient I actually was because I could have simply gave them their answers and ended the discussion and moved on. This made me realize that I have one of the most important qualities that teachers need.
This semester in TCH 219 I also had many eye opening experiences because there was a lot of information that I learned this semester that I have never talked about before. For example, the different types of literacy strategies that are used throughout each discipline. I never thought of how different subjects have different literacy. I simply thought that being literate had one meaning only. When we first discussed being literate I just thought it was reading something and being able to comprehend it. However, during this class it dawned on me that there is a much deeper meaning to literacy and I had the “ah-ha moment” that there are different ways to approach teaching science and how my students will understand my content area. Another epiphany that I had this semester was that teaching using one of the literacy strategies at the beginning of your class is a very constructive way to get the students engaged. I really enjoyed the guided imagery strategy because I think I could use that during a science lesson in which they will be instructed to picture the paths of different systems in the body. I also realized in this class that there are many styles and ways to teach a class and there is not one “perfect teacher” in a sense. You must teach to your style and personality because I realized that the kids with know if you are not acting like yourself. I also learned a lot about my peers in this class and I had an epiphany which lasted all semester long in which I realized that teachers are extremely insightful and thoughtful people that care deeply about their profession and the children in their profession. I thought that this might have been one of the biggest things I took away from this class is that teaching also requires learning and being spontaneous. I really do look forward to my future as a teacher and after every eye-opening experience that I have had, they have all collectively bring me to one realization: Teaching is for me, teaching is what I am passionate about, and I will be a damn good teacher in the future.
I really enjoy TedTalks and this one (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SFnMTHhKdkw) really opened my eyes to how teachers are role models to students and how the students will not learn from people they do not like. It made me realize that you need to know how to associate with the students in a way that they like you but also respect you. I realized that you must be strict and nice to them in a way that they will not think you are bullying them but also not in a way that they think you are being friends with them. This video opened my eyes to a lot of different aspects about being a teacher and being in a classroom, so for my video post I would like to share this TedTalk.
My first peer review was for Katie Anderson and her blog “Katie’s Science Spot.” I chose to peer review her because she is a fellow science education major so I figured a lot of her thoughts would be relevant to the science classroom. One thing that I thought was interesting about her PLN blog post was that she said much of the things that were posted did not help her much. I found this interesting because I thought the same way except for the teacher that I followed who used social media to share articles with his students. The only thing I really took out of this activity was that you can use social media to communicate and relay things back to your students while you are not with them. Moving on to the urban exploration blog post, I found it interesting that the only urban schools she has been to are in Peoria. I will be teaching in the CPS for student teaching and I just feel that Chicago is a much different type of urban education than schools in Peoria so I would like to see her opinion of those schools in Chicago.
The second person that I decided to review was Joe Micetich’s “Mathematics Melting Pot with Mr. Micetich.” One of the reasons I decided to review his blog was that we share the same name, but the main reason is because I thought I needed to views and ideas of at least one of the mathematics majors in the class. As a future teacher going into the CPS next fall I always like to look at the views that people have on urban education so the first blog post I read was “Benito Juarez Community Academy.” I really enjoyed reading about Joe’s experience in a CPS school because he seemed to really appreciate the school and what it was about. Many people have mixed emotions about Chicago Schools, so seeing someone that enjoyed being there really brighten me up. I also enjoyed his blog post about the technology in the classroom because I think that it is extremely important nowadays to integrate as much technology as you can in the classroom. Kids nowadays do not know what it is like to live without some sort of technology so not only will it be more relevant to them, it will also spark more interest. I liked how Joe showed a few examples of how technology can be used in the classroom, but also how a teacher can use it outside of the classroom to make their classes better. For example he mentioned the use of pinterest to find lessons, which I have done in the past and never thought of this as using technology for my class.
The last person I decided to peer review was Lauren Keating’s “aufhebensite” because I always think that her ideas that she shares are always very well thought out and she has a catchy title for her blog. Naturally, I had to read the blog post about her urban experience first because I am always curious what others have to say about it and think about the urban education. I thought it was interesting that she mentioned the metal detectors at the front doors and how that turned her off, but I can see how that would be a negative if that is not something you see everyday. I did enjoy the part where she talked about how caring the teachers were for the school and the students because that is exactly what every school needs. I definitely believe that I will be that same type of teacher when I enter the CPS. I was thrilled to read that this experience reassured her that she belonged in a diverse setting because that is the attitude that schools need! I was also very intirgued with her PLN blog post because I 100% agreed with her when she said that the literacy of the education world is much different than the literacy of her past twitter account. There is so much to learn and know on social media that people just get focused on reading about the everyday activities of their peers. I also liked the screenshots that she posted because I actually went and looked at those twitter accounts after reading her blog and they were very interesting and insightful to say the least.
Literacy is a very diverse word in my opinion and by this I mean that it can be used in many different ways throughout different content areas. In one of my methods classes we are discussion science literacy and it is much different than the literacy we discuss in TCH 219. Science literacy is defined as “the knowledge and understanding of scientificconcepts and processes required for personal decision making, participation in civic and cultural affairs, and economic productivity. It also includes specific types of abilities.” With this there are many ways to approach the scientific literacy concept because there are so many different sections and topics to science. One way to approach scientific literacy is to read scientific study articles. One project that I put together for my students to do is to read a scientific article done by a researcher and analyze that piece. They were told to identify the problem being studied, the hypothesis, the procedural steps the researcher took to collect data, and they were to describe the data analysis and conclusion that the researcher put together. This is a great way to see how things work in science as well as see how a specific concept works in science. In order to gain some more insight of different science literacy I asked a woman that worked in the conservation center of the Peoria named Sarah a few questions after an exhibit explanation. One of the questions I asked her was simply what do you need to know in order to work in the science field. Her response was along the lines of you must be specific with your area because there are so many different parts to science. She brought up the idea of how there are six different sections of the zoo and she specializes in the conservation section. I also asked her if she were to teach a classroom how would she engage her students. She answered this question by saying she would introduce one of the rarest frogs that she had in the exhibit. I thought this was interesting because it reminded me of getting the students’ attention at the beginning of a class by sparking some sort of interest. Another important question that I would like to include here was that I asked her how do you explain things to people in terms that they would understand. She said that was one of the easiest yet hardest things because she could say absolutely anything and people would count her as credible, but she said that she explains things by having people ask questions and the tone and words they use she tries to keep on the same level with her answers.
Well since this post made me reminisce about high school a little bit, I found a fitting song that makes me feel a little nostalgic. You should definitely give the tune a listen while reading this. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Af372EQLck) First of all I had no idea how this professional learning network was going to go because finding other science related professionals was originally a tough task. However, I did find several teachers that were using Twitter to impact the field of science in different ways. The first teacher that I enrolled onto this journey was my current cooperating teacher for my methods class. I had asked him one day if he used twitter at all and coincidentally he used it for his class! I thought that this was an amazing idea because he had his very own hashtag for his class in which he would post science articles and other science material on. The students were then instructed to use those articles for several assignments throughout the semester. This is a great science literacy practice because it challenges the students to read the articles and write about them which would increase their literacy in the science field. Another professional that I found that uses twitter was my old earth and space science teacher from high school, who I actually do still keep in contact with. (And my youngest sister currently has him as a freshman in high school, which I think is pretty cool) Anyways, my old earth and space science teacher uses twitter in order to communicate with other scientists because he does studies on natural disasters. I remember how much of an advocate he was on trying to help relief funds for natural disasters and I thought that it was very admirable. So with his twitter account he reaches out to people, advocates the support efforts, and essentially advertises his knowledge and opinions about relief efforts.
Since this is the age of technology, it is inevitable that most activities that occur in the science classroom will involve technology. After doing some research on the different types of technology I found a few different tools that I thought would be perfect for my classroom. One of the technology tools that I would use if available would be some sort of student response system, or clickers, which would be great for informal assessments throughout a lesson. This will give me the opportunity to see how each individual student is following along during a lesson. Another tool that I came across which I thought would be great to use in the classroom was a document camera, which is found in some of the classrooms on campus at ISU. This tool would be great for showing different papers or notes that I want to give the students. Also, this is a great tool for dissection labs because it will allow me to demonstrate to the students how to perform a dissection while they can all have a clear view of me live. One more great tool that I came across that I thought would be almost essential in a science classroom is a ProbeWare kit. This kit will have different probes that are able to measure temperature, light, pressure, electric current, and other things dealing with a science experiment. All of the things that I have listed are all things that I have used in previous classes and I think they are all beneficial to the teacher as well as the students, which is most important.
Previously, I had taken a trip to an urban school in the area Little Village which is a south side neighborhood of Chicago. Going into this trip I did not have much of an idea of what it would be like both in the community and in the school seeing as I was born and raised in a south suburban, predominantly white, neighborhood and had not ventured too far into city territory. Once I had arrived at the school I was a little taken back by the lack of technology that the school had because all of the schools that I had attended were very well off and up to date on technology. However, I did notice that the students were simply kids and they were not “bad” as some tend to perceive CPS students to be. This really enlightened me and it was actually the beginning of my pursuit to teach in the CPS. It just surprised me how the students in this setting were not any different from the students in the schools that I went to because there are troubled kids in any area as well as straight A students anywhere. I found it amazing to see that even if their are limited resources that there are still students that have a desire to be taught and want to do big things with their lives when there are many things that can hold them back. I really admire the students, staff, and community in the CPS and that is why I will student teach their and hopefully pursue a career in the area.