Saturday, January 28, 2006

student teaching

I've survived my second week of student teaching, save for this terrible cold! *yea*!! So I thought I'd write a blog about my experiences thus far, but then I thought better of it -- Part of my student teaching experiences this semester includes reflecting in an online journal. So I'm just copying and pasting the entry I submitted for this week. :) Haha...I'm a cheater I know.

I'm really pleased with the amount of progress, although small, that I've made in just my first week. I think one of the things I really like about teaching is that the progress that is made is visual -- I can see that J and I are starting to make a real relationship with the students in the way that they talk to us and are responding to our questions during our lessons. I am starting to see progress in myself, too -- I feel like my energy is starting to build, as well as my excitement. I'm more inspired than ever to develop my skills and learn, and I think that the inspiration is coming from my students. One of the first things I noticed in both Mrs. C's and Mrs. O's classes was the great emphasis on learning-by-the-textbook. Neither of the teachers seems to make a big effort to think outside the box in their teaching, which is something I'd like to do in my lessons. I worked with the students a few times this week, and each time I tried to do something a little more creative than what they were used to -- making word problems out of the questions in their math book, for example, or letting them show their work on the board and share with partners, rather than working by themselves. They seemed to really respond to these fresh changes in their usual routine, and that inspires me to continue making more changes. Eventually I'd like to do a few lessons with the students without the textbook, focusing more on manipulatives and concepts rather than computation and problem sets; but of course, this is something I will have to build up to.

On Thursday, I did a lesson with a small group of students in Mrs. C's class and I had them take turns "teaching" the other students by sharing their answers to math problems. They told me that they were having so much fun that they wanted extra problems to do, and that completely made my day! It meant so much to me that they were having fun and were genuinely interested in what they were doing; I think that will be my main goal for every lesson I do. I want my students to be excited about learning for the sake of learning, which is something that I think is lacking in the students I am working with now.

In my last entry, I mentioned that S.M.E. would be a challenge because the environment is much different from the one in which I was educated. S.M.E., as I mentioned, is a beautiful campus in a rather wealthy area. Their is a definite sort of white middle-class culture associated with the school, which, for better or worse, is something for me to take note of, simply because it is a culture that I am now interacting with for the first time. There are some things about S.M.E. that I am really impressed with -- the amount of family support, for example, is incredible; I am constantly seeing mothers and fathers of students coming into the class to volunteer their time. However, I do see a lack of diversity in the class and in the overall culture of the school. There is an obvious rift between the students who are from the general neighborhood, and the students who are bussed in from other parts of Pasadena (usually lower-income areas). In my interactions with some of the students, I have seen some students who are lacking in cultural sensitivity; this is something that J and I can easily try to address in our social studies or language arts units, but I do think that cultural relevance and appreciation for diversity takes time to develop in students, and I wonder if we have the ability to instill these values in our students with what little time we have here. At the same time, being a part of that school as a teacher will change me, I'm sure -- because I am experiencing a new culture, I am sure that my perspectives of teaching and perhaps life in general will change as a result.

Monday, January 23, 2006


of course. i couldn't get through my first week of student teaching without getting sick. hahaha...all the stress, the getting up early, the piercing cold of the morning, the kids and their little boogers. yup. i had a horrid fever friday afternoon, skipped out of work early and came home and slept allllllll day until damon came to take care of me at night :) and then i slept early and slept allllllll night and woke up saturday and damy took care of me again. it went from fever/sore throat to sorer throat to cough. today i went from slightly husky 1-900-GIRLS phone operator voice to voice cracking and hardly audible in mid-to-high registers. nice. :P

and now i have a stuffy nose. :P does anyone watch the bachelor? it's friggin' GOOD this season!

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

And the tests begin...

My dad took his step down today. Change in shifts, change in income...and a definite change in my dad's demeanor, I can already see. I hope things get better after they get bad.

Student teaching today was....well, it was. To put it simply, it was a major culture shock. It's going to be twice the challenge I expected. I spent a good 4 hours talking it out to both my partner, and my dad. It speaks to a larger social issue that I feel very passionate about. It means a lot to me so fair warning -- if you ask me about this I'll keep talking and I won't shut up. Which is also the reason I won't blog about it now, since I've got books to read and social studies to study.


Tuesday, January 17, 2006


Damon and I celebrated 3 years last week. It's really been an amazing time with him, I can't even imagine what life would be like without him.

"In time all things grow old and weak, but my love for you only grows strong and better with every second of every day."

Time for tests...

The test of my profession -- I start my student teaching tomorrow. I'm nervous, naturally. But also excited. Hopeful. Anxious. I really hope that this turns out to be one of the best year's of my life. I pray that I will learn, grow, and become a better person, and most importantly, a better teacher as a result of what promises to be a very difficult and long semester. I hope that I have the confidence and skill to get through it with grace.

The test of our family's strength -- My dad is getting not so good vibes from work. Looks like we'll be facing, as a family, a loss in income, as my daddy may be asked to step down in his position. I'm just bracing myself for a difficult few months.

...And I'm sure that, as always, God will provide many more tests of my strength and my faith. And I just hope that I can handle it all.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006


Ugh. That was a rough loss. But I <3 my Trojans, no matter what!

Keeping my fingers crossed for next year....



Charlie says.....


Monday, January 02, 2006


I suppose, this being a journal of sorts, it would be appropriate for me to make some kind of reflection on the past year. It certainly has been an eventful one. There's definitely a big change personally -- a year ago I was so unsure of where I would be in the near future, and here I am now, ready to start teaching in my very own classroom (albeit temporary) in just a couple of weeks. I'm so much happier now with myself and with my life than I have been in a long time. And I think that just makes me a better person overall.

In 2005, I:

found true success. I graduate from college with two degrees that I worked damn hard for. And I took those degrees knowing full-well that I wouldn't do anything with them. (At least not directly). And I didn't care.

surprised myself. I spent a few weeks off from school and then went straight back to pursue my Master's. I never thought I'd go to grad school and yet now I'm halfway done with a post-graduate degree. Life certainly is full of surprises.

struggled. Mostly with work, but also with school. The usual stress-related issues, but also really feeling like I had been taken advantage of. It was one of the most heartwrenching feelings to work so hard and have everything fall to pieces without having any control. But because of it, I also...

stood up for myself. I took initiative and spoke up when I was unhappy and had something come of it. That was a good feeling.

watched others hurt. I had friends and family who took some serious and hard losses. Deaths, threats of illness, and even a friend who lost so much in the hurricanes. And it reminded me how precious life is and how important friendship can be.

discovered a new love in Charlie. He is such a great addition to my life and to our home, he really is a dear to have around and I think I discovered that I am at least in part, an animal person.

saw new places by taking trips...the cruise with the girls, and the road trips with Damon, Hollie and Jason.

I guess all in all, I'm starting to really grow out of my shell and take control of who I want to be. Little by little, of course, but ever-so-slightly I'm starting to see improvement in myself. I have new goals and I'm actually excited to be me and to live life. I definitely didn't have that a year or two ago. And it's very refreshing.

Resolutions -- I have many, and I probably won't keep them all, but in the spirit of trying, I figured I'd name them anyway:

1. Secure a good job at a good school upon completion of my degree.
2. Be financially independent from my parents by December of '06.
3. Start a paper-pen journal and really reflect on my life.
4. Read a chapter of a book every day - recreational reading, not for school.
5. Actually be really and truly organized, and not just pretend to be.
6. Graduate with a perfect GPA.
7. Dedicate more quality weekend time to Damon -- not just running errands with him.
8. Try and be more helpful around the house.
9. Be a better mommy to Charlie.
10. Try harder to be healthy -- not just to lose weight, but to really be healthy....which leads to:
11. trying to develop a genuine liking for exercise.
12. Develop at least two new skills within the year.
13. Learn to cook more dishes.
14. Learn enough Cantonese to have an actual conversation with Damon's grandma.
15. Save money.
16. Actually get an oil change every 4 months.
17. Lose weight and fit into my old clothes again.
18. Donate blood more frequently.