Monday, May 17, 2010

We're Not Talking No. 2 Pencils...

Hits too close to home (literally). Scary.

AI, & EI, & CI: Oh, MI!

Okay, so MI isn't exactly a special needs diagnosis... but I thought it flowed quite nicely. Let's leave "MI" as an ode to my home state, represent.

In line with planning & considering my future, I'm trying to begin the weed out process of zeroing in on a specific special education endorsement. While my undergrad is in LD, expanding to a new endorsement is what I hope for... and YEARN for. For those of you who are unaware of what this all means, allow me to EDUCATE you! :)

*AI = Autism impairment. This has always intrigued me, especially with the up-rise in diagnoses. Autism is also a spectrum disorder, meaning it can manifest itself in a broad range of various ways. So interesting!

*EI = Emotional impairment. After observing and volunteering in a 3-5th grade, self-contained EI classroom for a semester, my heart strings were tugged at immensely. It really is a different experience from most special education classrooms. These students usually become aggressive verbally & physically. I liked interacting with kids who are different from me, who don't know how to express themselves & result to violence.

*CI = Cognitive impairment. All I can say about kids who have CI is "amazing." These kids have unconditional love and a rare zest for life. I think I could learn from them just as much as I could teach them. My boyfriend's brother-in-law Joe teaches a home-ec type cooking class for kids with CI, & says it's one of the most rewarding experiences.

Sooooooooo, HOW do I choose?!
Alsoooooo, to stay in MI? Not to stay in MI (I swear the mountains are calling my name, but I've always had a heart for Detroit)?

Not too worried about making these decisions right now, but just throwing out all my options. Time will tell!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Free Time? What?

After wrapping up my final semester of undergrad at Michigan State (graduation pictures to come & shots of MSU in springtime provided above), I'm slowly beginning to remember what these two words are: free time. It's a beautiful thing, let me tell you. Soak it all in, Meredith, because this will be one of your last. Sigh. As much as I enjoy this luxury, I'll be ready to become productive again, soon enough - right?

Speaking of productivity, tomorrow I'm picking up my copy of Love and Logic by Jim Fay and David Funk. The staff I'm student teaching with this coming year is reading it together, and I want to be in the know! I've heard the book mentioned several times throughout the College of Ed at MSU, so I'm anxious to soak up some classroom management theory. We shall see... I'll attempt a book review in the *near* future.

My goal is to snag a few other good books - especially on special needs teaching - for summer reading, as well. Recommendations welcome. Of course, the foil to that plan is my lack of connection to other teachers on this website. Mental note - work on networking in the special needs teaching realm, asap. At this point, I'll rely on some friends, family and professors for suggestions.

For those of you who are, well... aware or unaware... here's the low-down on my student teaching for 2010-2011!

-Public elementary school in Clarkston, MI
-Fall semester, I'll be in a resource room for 4th & 5th grade students with learning disabilities.
-Spring semester, I kick it with kindergartners in a general ed classroom.
-The school currently boasts approximately 450 students, at least 90 of which are ESL students!
-The majority of the ESL population is Spanish speaking.
-They've recently received an award as a Michigan Blue Ribbon School of Excellence.

It's going to be a crazy year between 4 days of teaching, 1 day commute back to Lansing for 9 hours of grad classes & everything in between... but with prospects like those above, I could not be as equally excited as I am nervous! Please, please, please wish me luck & keep me in your prayers... if you read this. I will attempt to share some learning experiences of students, as well as my OWN, as often as possible! No promises on frequency, though:)

Let's end on an optimistic note... Just in: I received my grades back from my final semester (also my most difficult semester, yet) of undergrad... & have accumulated a GPA of 3.9 for Spring 2010! Hard work pays off:) I feel like I need to tattoo that in some prominent spot right now, before I go crazy next year. Although the teaching faculty and parents may not approve, I'd be a hit with the kids.

'Til next time!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Just Do Something

I am constantly wondering, often guilty of worrying, if I am doing what I'm supposed to be doing; if I've made the right decisions; if I'm going in the right direction. This curiosity spans throughout any and every aspect of my life. But now, as a senior in my last semester of college, it pertains most significantly to my ever dreaded future in "the real world," i.e. my future career in teaching.

Kevin DeYoung begins his book Just Do Something proposing the idea of my generation being a "tinkering" generation. By "tinkering" he's alluding to the indecisive, dynamic, discontent nature that consumes this generation of young adults. It's true. How often do I waiver in my actions? How often do I feel unsatisfied and in wonder of new options? How often do I question who I am and who I'm becoming? How often do I play around with these ideas without actually going anywhere or accomplishing anything? Every moment of every day.

So far, this book has spoken and given peace to these troubling aspects of my soul in two quotes:

1.) "Does God have a secret will of direction that He expects us to figure out before we do anything? And the answer is no. Yes, God has a specific plan for our lives. And yes, we can be assured that He works things for our good in Chirst Jesus. And yes, looking back we will often be able to trace God's hand in bringing us to where we are. But while we are free to ask God for wisdom, He does not burden us with the task of divining His will of disrection for our lives ahead of time."

2.) "God is not a Magic 8-Ball we shake up and peer into whenever we have a decision to make. He is a good God who gives us brains, shows us the way of obedience, and invites us to take risks for Him."

In other words, if we wait around for a direct path to be laid out before us, we're wasting time. Take action. Make moves. Decide wisely. Use the Bible for discretion. Risk Courageously.

In my life, I'm starting to think that this book being placed in my hands may be a bit of divine intervention. It could not have come at a better time. Recap: Senior, final semester of college, unsure of student teaching/certification endeavors, weighing options. This book is lighting a fire under my rear, that's for sure!

Could it be this simple? Why not. I'm willing to just do something. Are you?

It's definitely sparked my interest in pursuing a new and interesting teaching opportunity shared with me by a family friend. More on this later:) But let me just tell you, it's exciting!

Again: Just Do Something. Kevin DeYoung. I highly reccommend. Get a copy in your hands. Or you can borrow mine!

Note: DeYoung is the senior pastor at University Reformed Church in East Lansing, Michigan, less than a mile down the road from my humble duplex here. Amazing. A friend of mine lent me his book, and after reading about the author, I couldn't have been more pumped! I'm going to hear him speak this Sunday, and cannot wait to see how God speaks through him in person!