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Connor ODonnell

LAS 399: Final Project


Even though it has been three years since I was a LAS 101 student myself, it has felt
like an eternity. I remember my intern distinctively and some of his advice still resonates. He
preached campus involvement and basic responsibilities of a college student. I remember him
showing us his google calendar, and I was astonished at his involvement. Looking back, I would
probably be astonished myself if I showed my freshman self my google calendar now. I have
developed my professional skills dramatically since I first sat in my first college lecture.
By far, the biggest memory that I have from being an LAS student is when my instructor
asked me what my goal was for that year. My answer was that I wanted to be promoted to a
Zamboni Driver at the Universitys ice rink. I just started working at an entry-level position and
wanted to prove to my supervisor that I had what it took to be promoted. I had this conversation
with my intern during our one on one meeting. His advice was that I should stand out by jumping
on opportunities for extra work or to volunteer to take on more tasks while working. Thankfully, I
took his advice and was noticed. My supervisor promoted me that year. Currently, I am the
longest tenure Zamboni driver at the rink and have had a wonderful time working for the
university. As an intern myself, I wanted to make my own impression on my students. Little did I
know, I accomplished this as while as learn lessons myself through LAS 101 and 399. Both of
these experiences have been very meaningful and have developed my professional
development.
Just as the one on one meeting were one of the most meaningful experiences as a LAS
101 student, the same could be said for me as an intern. If asked which event was the most
meaningful, then these meetings would definitely be my answer. Through the meetings, I gained
an enormous amount of insight on how my students operated and what they wanted to learn in
my class. For example, I inquired about my students study habits. I asked questions such as:
How much sleep are you getting on an average night, where is your favorite study spot, what
time of the day do you get the most work done, etc. One girl in my class comes to mind,
because she missed the first couple classes. In addition, she missed our first scheduled
meeting. When we finally met after class one week, I asked her about her absences. She said
that school has been more difficult than she expected. I noticed during our meeting that she was
very unorganized with her school work. She was very studious but forgot to write down
reminders about homework assignments and other commitments. To counteract this habit, I
recommended using reminders in her phone and bringing an assignment notebook to every
class. She appreciated the advice, and I could tell that this simple meeting gave her confidence
to catch up on her work. This is just one example of how I addressed a students need during a
one on one meeting and made recommendations. Most students seemed like they have
excellent work habits, but this is one example of a small handful of students that needed some
friendly advice. Also, I learned that my students had an interest on how to find internships.
During the co-teaching week, I showed my class and my partners class I-Link. The two classes
dedicated their time searching the website for potential internships for the summer. These one
on one meetings gave me information that I could not retrieve from a normal class meeting.
Giving advice to the whole class has to be adjusted because it has to pertain to twenty-four

students. The one on one meetings allowed me to give the same advice but make
accommodations for individual students. Hopefully, my advice will be remembered for four years
similar to the advice that I received during my meeting with my old instructor. As a future
educator, I plan on implementing meetings with my future students outside of class similar to the
LAS one on one meetings.
Another meaningful event for me as an intern was the grading process. There were two
instances during the year when I had to grade work displayed by my students. First, I had to
grade their campus resource presentations, and later, their resumes. The experience of grading
may not seem meaningful, but it was to me. Even being a pre-service teacher, I have never had
the opportunity to hold the fate of someones grade in my hand. Just like in the movies when a
protagonist has two voices talking to him on his shoulders, I felt like was torn between two
voices. One was telling me to give everyone a good grade because I wanted them to succeed,
while the other voice was hypercritical of everything. At times, it was difficult to find a common
ground between the two. It occurred to me that a lot of jobs, besides teaching, require people to
grade work done by their peers. It was my duty to be a professional and use the rubric as a
contract between me and my students. I owed it to my students to be fair while grading all of the
respected presentations and resumes. The weeks preceding these two assignments, I made a
point to tell my students that the more they follow the rubrics, then the better their grades will be.
Being a pre-service teacher, this internship looks very good on a resume. More
importantly, I have made profound steps in my professional development. Since the internship
carries so many tasks that align with teaching, it has been very beneficial to me. First, the class
has helped me develop my lesson planning skills. Even though LAS 399 gave me lesson plans
for every week, I made accommodations for every lesson. Each Monday, I made my lesson plan
and physically practiced it either with friends or in front of the mirror until my class meeting on
Wednesday mornings. I have come to learn that being a profession does not mean putting a
presentation the night before and not practicing to deliver it. LAS 101 has taught me that being a
professional means holding ones self to a higher responsibility when presenting in front of a
group. This is especially important when you are the leader in the room. It is not professional to
appear unprepared when you are expected to be the highest professional in the room.
Another skill that I developed through LAS 101 is the ability to lead discussions. I have
come to learn through this class that having questions to ask the class is not merely enough to
run a meaningful discussion. As a professional, I learned that I must prepare answers to the
questions, create guiding questions if the discussions is dry, and anticipating the answers. All of
this will lead to a more meaningful discussion.
Next, I have come to learn that as a professional, there must be a social gap between
me and my students. My teaching philosophy states that as a teacher, I want to be
approachable. Because I am the professional in the room, I am not striving to be friends with my
students. This means that I should not accept Facebook requests and avoiding social
environments with my students. For example, there was one student in my class who is friends
with someone in my fraternity. I saw him on a couple of occasions at social events, and I made it
my duty to remove myself from the environment to keep my professionalism.
Moving along, communication is an essential skill that I have learned while teaching my
LAS 101 section. Almost every week, I would send out an email to my class sending reminders
about assignments or what they should be bring to the next class meeting. It was my duty to

make sure that my classroom understood every week what was expected of them. Besides
emailing, I ended every lesson with a wrap-up slide that contained important information for
upcoming assignments and announcements. Also, I had to respond to emails in a timely
manner. Students would ask me questions or requests, and it was my duty to respond within
twenty-four hours. In the future, I will have hundreds of students along with parents sending my
emails. Thankfully, teaching LAS 101 has helped me address my communication skills.
Finally, LAS 399 has had its share of meaningful events this semester. While 101
required more work and more opportunities for meaningful events, 399 helped me prepare to
teach my students. By far, the biggest contribution from 399 was the support from my
classmates. Fortunately, I had two friends in the class who were interns the previous year. They
gave me a lot of helpful advice that was much appreciated. For example, one of my friends told
me that I should plan for more than fifty minutes because lessons while go by faster than
expected. While in 399 I was able to communicate with others during class about their plans for
lessons. They gave me great ideas that I used in my own lessons. Before the plagiarism week,
one peer told me that she was going to give her students scenarios, and they had to decide
whether or not it was plagiarism. I used her idea and it worked well in my own class. This is just
one instance that peers in class shared their ideas with me. Also, the presentations made during
the semester were helpful as well. Each week, the presenters helped prepare us to plan for the
upcoming lessons.
Lastly, I want to mention what aspect of orientation helped me the most. What stood out
to me was when a guest speaker came to talk to us about running discussions. He showed us
how to have student-based discussions. As a future educator, I am constantly being told that
anything that is student-centered is the best form of education. This quest speaker showed me
how having group discussions help incorporate everyone in the discussion. I used this
technique in most of my lessons, and it worked beautifully.
This semester I had a very busy course load. I was taking twenty-two hours while
working part-time. I was not required to take LAS 399, but my education would be lacking if I left
it out. It has taught me so much and has helped me grow professionally. Hopefully, my students
have taken away helpful advice which will help them on their future endeavors on this campus.
Finally, I know for a fact that this experience will be a talking point for interviews in the spring.