Tuesday, January 31, 2012

One step closer

I am finally in my capstone! I am delighted to know that the end ... yes, and the start of BIG loan payments, is close. But the end is in sight.

Meanwhile, I am suffering from monstrous writer's block. I am supposed to be writing the first part to my curriculum development project right now, outlining my journey and interest in my subject area. But goodness! It sounds like I have a stick stuck ... you know what I mean! So, here are my rambles just to get my brain "turned off" and my fingers moving. Thank you for subjecting yourself to it.

It has been quite a journey. When I started my master's program, my options at the local satellite campus was either administration or Practices in Teaching with a focus in Urban Education. I chose the latter rather than the formal, for truly administrators and kindergarten teachers both hold special places in my heart. When I began my program, I was teaching in a middle school gifted and talented program. I now teach Technology and Media at a newly-formed STEM elementary school. I love it! Though I loved middle school, I can't beat the environment I teach in, and I feel like I contribute to that environment.

I turn 30 in a few short months and I really thought I would fear it. Grumble about it. Though I might grumble jokingly about turning "old," I wouldn't want to be anywhere else. Goodness, the people who warn high school and college students about leaving behind the best days of their lives don't have a clue. I don't see it! Things keep getting better and better.

Working on my capstone has made me look back and consider how very far I have come in my teaching experience. Days before I graduated with my undergraduate, my mentor teacher suggested that I was not cut out for teaching and that I did not seem to have the passion for it. That hurt. But I could also see what she meant. For several personal reasons, senior year of college was really hard. More than anything, I graduated a 4 1/2 or 5 year program in 4 years and it had caught up with me. I was competing during my internship with another intern whose vibrant personality and uber-organizational skills made me feel incompetent. Here nor there, I left that experience ready to show what a masterful teacher I could be.

I substitute taught and tutored for a national tutoring agency for the next year, gaining experience, sharing my name, and taking notes. What did I like about the classes I visited? What annoyed me? What worked? What didn't.

My first job was as a Library Technology Specialist for a charter agency. It was a great opportunity for me. I received over 90 hours of professional development in my first year of teaching alone! It wasn't without it's bumps, but after two years, I got married and moved to Battle Creek. And here I am.

I landed a job teaching middle school gifted and talented. I learned a lot about what it meant to create a classroom environment that actually mirrored wat I believed in.

And I am blessed to have come even farther than that. My journey through so many neat positions has imparted with me a wealth of knowledge and a passion for the multiple literacies to which our students must be exposed and fluent. And now I see that multiple literacies and high expectations are not enough; I've got to help my students see through the media messages that are repeated day in and day out and continue to oppress some and empower others.

It's with a commitment to learn how to integrate critical media literacy into my classroom that I move forward from here. I am moving forward despite an u-g-l-y day today (and my first attempt to discuss stereotypes with kids). Still, I am hoping that my muses of Paulo Freire, Jeff Share, Joan Wink, Stephanie Harvey, and Harvey Daniels help me do what is best for kids and continue to learn, grow, and for heaven's sake ... get my master's capstone done!

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