Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Observations IV & Resume, Part 2

Today was my 4th day of observations; after looking at the calendar, I realized I had only two more weeks before I would be the one in front of the classroom. Kind of scary, no?

Amy's English 10A's read the second chapter of Of Mice and Men and did a more involved worksheet. Her English 10B's finished up the video on To Kill a Mockingbird, presented their final projects to the class, and they began the Julius Caesar unit by reading the introduction to Shakespeare and filling in a worksheet.

During the 3rd hour class, I worked with some ELL (ESL?) students. I thought of Jenny teaching down in Texas--"Miss, can you help me?" There were three boys, all who spoke Spanish, and a girl from VietNam and a girl from West Africa. They were making pamphlets to encourage people to visit their (first? original?) countries. I felt kind of awkward back there--"Do you need help?" and they kind of looked at me. Like what? I can't tell. Anyway, I am hoping that I can work with them maybe once a week until I'm done at Roseville Area High School (June 9th is the last classroom day and it's a half-day). It will be really good for me to know what they have had to go through to get to this point and it will make me appreciate my own ability to get through this world as it is. I can't imagine if my family moved me to Mexico or Laos (um, or to any other country whose native language isn't English) and I had to suddenly figure it all out.


The resume workshop was very helpful. I wrote a draft of one last night, but I see that I am going to have to completely revamp it. But it's a good thing! It was very helpful. There are a few websites I thought I would share (from what I can tell, these are general, so anyone could use most of these links!):

University of Minnesota-Resume Tutor
Resume & Interview Resources
Resume Resources
Resume Dos and Don'ts
Resume Components
How to Write a Resume
Resume Resources
the Education Resume

Basically, I am going to have to have a two page resume. I know that they say a person who is "new" to the field is supposed to only have a one-page resume, which I think I could probably do (if I futz with the font size and margins), but they basically said to have three to five bullet points for each work experience. I have one bullet point--it says what classes I taught at Crosswinds and RAHS. Another good tip was to have a "Skills Summary" instead of "Objective." (My objective: To teach high school English. Too obvious, maybe.) The skills summary would highlight all the fun stuff on my resume; they said to write that part last. I have a few ideas. Like, I haven't run screaming out the door quite yet. That's got to be a good thing, right? Ha ha. One of the things that I can now play up is the fact that this Journalism class is new to RAHS (hasn't been taught in a number of years), so we're basically building from the ground up. I'll teach Shakespeare and TKAM; I'll teach poetry and drama. I'll teach a research unit and film; I'll teach how to build a newsmagazine and I'll integrate contemporary and new voices to each unit (such as, with the TKAM unit, I want to make sure I have some contemporary piece as well as a piece from an African-American perspective that looks at the themes/times of TKAM).

I joined NEA today. The Minnesota branch is actually called Education Minnesota. So that makes four educational organizations I've joined: Education Minnesota, NCTE, IRA, and MRA. If anyone has other helpful organizations they think I should be a part of as an educator, please let me know! These are really great resources for educators, and right now, I can actually join as a student. If (and when) I get a job next year (fingers crossed), the dues will go up!

And one last thing, from observing today--it's not a teaching thing, though it could be used that way. Vicki Ryan is the special ed person that team teaches with Amy, my cooperating teacher, every first hour. She's really great; she helped me out in getting set up with the ESL tutoring. Anyway, people were takling about her parenting techniques at lunch today; she said she didn't want to buy her children things as rewards (right on!), so they did a "I choose/you choose" kind of situation. If the son (or daughter? She only spoke of a son, Tyler, I think) was "bad," then she would choose the activity. For example, if any of her kids had detention, the child would be charged for gas to pick them up (ha ha $1/a mile with five miles there and five back is $10, which is funny) and they owed her the time (half an hour or an hour, as those are the increments at that school) and she would choose the activity. In the same vein, if they did something good (I assume a good report card, etc.), then the child would pick the activity. So once the son had his father cleaning toilets and once the son had his mother playing Legos (she said Legos frustrated her, though not in so many words). It "backfired" and became a kind of ha-ha, let's punish the parents sort of situation, but I still think telling them they can have quality time as a reward is definitely the right idea. My parents never gave us money for good report cards, which we whined about once in a random while, but it was a good thing. My mother made me a cake for reading something like a billion books for the Book It! program; my parents would take us out to eat if we had a good report card. (Hmm, food as an incentive...) We also got to do fun things--go roller skating, etc. I will definitely have to use this philosophy in my classroom as well as with my own future children. And maybe Ryan. Enough of paying him to be nice to me. Ha ha. :)

And one last thing and then I'm done, I swear. It's related to the previous topic. (I may have mentioned it before, but my mind is weighed with a million different things, so forgive me if I repeat myself.) Ms Doherty has a good class rule with food and drink in the classroom. See, I think all these restrictions, while good intentioned, are too frustrating for both the teacher and the student. It's tiring to go around saying, "Take off your hat," "No food or drink in the classroom," etc. It's tiring to police these ridiculous things that are totally acceptable in the "real world." (How often do we eat or drink around our computers? On our sofas that we swore we never would eat on?) And I think we need to pick our battles, which is an annoying cliche, but true. I think some of the rules just make them more child-like (though some of them are there because they behave like children--I'll soon find out which those are). So, at RAHS, they let the teachers decide what the rules are about food and drink. Amy's rule is that anything is allowed--no drinks without a top, however--but if they leave the garbage behind, that particular kind of food/drink isn't allowed. (I was very curious about the "Banned Foods" poster at the top of the blackboard with various items--"Minute Maid," "Little Debbie Snack Cakes," etc. under each hour.) It gets the students to police each other, and it's actually effective. She also does the whole, "Hey, X, I know it might not be yours, but could you throw that soda bottle away for me?" Sure, it's probably that student's bottle, but it makes them think you're asking for a favor rather than yelling at them for being a punk and leaving garbage around yet again. (Did your mother raise you in a barn? Sheesh.)

OK, I'm done for the day. I have to write a few journals for various classes... what is it about making the English cohort write journal entries for everything? :)

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