Sunday, February 22, 2015

Spring 2015 semester classes

Hi everybody!

I thought I would do my semester class descriptions. First, I'm going to start with my other obligations:
  • Student Teaching: I still can't believe I'm actually student teaching! I'm graduating early thanks to my A.P. credits, overambitious class-taking freshman year, and an advisor who does her best to help kids avoid the crushing weight of student loans. Therefore, I'm actually a first-semester senior (wait, what? Wasn't I in high school last month?), and am doing my first of two semesters of student teaching. I'm not going to post too much about my placement here for privacy/career reasons, but I will say I am loving it so far!
  • Work: I still work as an America Reads tutor at the same school I've been at since 2012. This year, I got kindergarteners! These magical and adorable little munchkin bubbies are the light of my life. They give me so. Many. Smiles. And some excellent quotes!
  • Volunteering?: Andrey and I both desperately want to have multiple four-footed creatures around the house, but our lease prevents us from getting any. We're going to apply to volunteer at the local ASPCA (a convenient block from our apartment) when their next round of orientations and interviews start in late March. I worked at one Boston location in high school and loved it.
So now, on to classes! I'm happy to say that a month into the semester, I am so invested in every single class (and I MAJOR HEART two professors in particular). It's such a great feeling to know that each class and assignment is legitimately valuable and helping me become a better teacher. So, without further ado:
  • Integrating Students with Disabilities in the General Education Classroom (4): Our professor, Sharon, is a former principal from district 75 (the district dedicated to special education-only schools). In this class, we learn about how to best accommodate students with a wide variety of special needs as general education teachers. It's really helpful, especially considering so many of my kindergarteners have special needs, and Sharon is extremely knowledgeable and helpful. It's also nice having classes with fewer than ten students - you get to know everybody so well.
  • Integrating History & Literature with Adolescents (4): There's something ridiculously charming about a professor who only wears green and blue clothes and has no filter. This class is so fun! Most of it revolves around a team project - for five weeks, my group, which includes two other students, independently teach a unit we developed. Rebecca, our professor, used to supervise student teachers, so she gives amazing feedback on our lessons. Not only do I feel myself improving my lesson planning habits and instructional techniques everyday, but I can also tell you more than you ever wanted to know about badass pioneer women and their important legacy to the suffrage movement and first wave feminism. This class is especially helpful because I'm currently student teaching the seventh grade in a double period English/social studies mashup classroom (Humanities, which is more elegantly named than its science/math counterpart, SMath... yup, it's actually called SMath, Google it!). I've made some new friends, too! My other four classes are almost exclusively with the same social studies education majors (there are a whopping fifteen of us across all four years). While five of them in particular are friends I adore, it's also nice to meet new people from the English education track. Ah, the advantages of single-digit student count classes.
  • Key Debates in U.S. History, Post-1865 (4): I knew I would like this class right away, because the professor, Diana, is a good friend of my favorite professor last semester, and generally a very accomplished scholar in the social studies ed field. Rather than do a general survey course about US history, Diana chose to examine specific points of contention, beginning with the failures of post-Civil War Reconstruction efforts. It's super interesting, and with eight students (five of whom are the social studies buddies I mentioned), we can have really great discussions.
  • Student Teaching Seminar (4): This seminar is the counterpart to our student teaching placement. Because I'm a first-semester senior, I have reduced responsibilities in my placement (for example, I don't take over my class section as the main teacher for a few more weeks, whereas my second-semester friends already have). We discuss the practical dilemmas of student teaching, including curriculum, co-teaching, and class management. The instructor, Maura, teaches history in NYPS and completed NYU's teacher preparation program (her current student teacher is also a friend of mine), so she's super helpful. She's also very knowledgeable about the ridiculously long and complicated certification process, which I've already had to begin, despite not graduating for another ten months. With a whopping twenty or so students (it includes all of the Masters social studies education majors), it's my largest class!
  • Integrating Media & Technology in the Classroom (1): This little 1-credit course is so much fun. It only runs for six weeks, of which we've already completed four. Nonetheless, I have learned quite a bit; I thought I was pretty knowledgeable about educational technology, but the professor, Sava, has totally opened my eyes to some really cool resources! I'm actually pretty sad for this class to end. I think NYU should make it a 4-credit option, and not just because Sava could be a stand-up comedian!
As you may have noticed, I have no fewer than three classes nicknamed "Integrating." My planner can get very confusing! Speaking of my planner...

My beloved 2013-2014 planner, filled with freshman career musings, sophomore European adventures, and junior early graduation glee, has retired. Unfortunately I'm suuuper picky about the size and format of my yearly planner. But after searching since December, I finally found one that is perfect! Behold, my adorable new planner:

For $22, you can choose the cover print, the page type/layout, and words or a monogram for the front; I scored this one for $12 because it was predesigned. I don't work for them or anything - May Designs is just amazing, and beloved by organizational junkies everywhere! 

So there you have it - my semester, in a nutshell. With the 35 hours I spend at student teaching and work alone, it's kind of like being a full-time TA and full-time student simultaneously, but I legitimately love every bit of it.

Let me know what you'd like to hear about in upcoming posts, and thanks for sticking with this one through to the end!

Stay warm,

Friday, February 13, 2015

Long time, no see...

I've thought a lot about whether or not to revive this blog. After finals ended last spring, I immediately went on a wonderful three-week family vacation to Greece with limited internet connection and lots of beautiful views to enjoy. When I returned home, I immediately starting working at my summer job. When that ended, Andrey and I were working hard to make our new apartment home, and before I knew it, a whole other busy semester went by!

I didn't want to write a few new posts and then be silent for another long stretch. After wanting to share photos and stories here for the last several weeks, however, I decided I would commit to blogging again! For the sake of my own sanity and making sure TTM remains easy to maintain, I'm not going to fill it with catch-ups from the past ten (!) months. I do, however, promise to do my best to share new tidbits as they happen.

Stay tuned - 2015 has been mighty interesting so far, and it has only just begun!