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!