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Adriana Albor ED201 Scot Lawrence April 30, 2011 I Have What it Takes This is my first semester in the

school of education. I studied history alone for three semesters before I decided to apply it to a career in education. But, Ive known I wanted to teach since I was 16. In tenth grade my two best friends and I would choose one of our houses to go to for the weekend before exams to study. Our world history teacher, Mr. Hegelmeyer, would give us a packet of the material we were expected to know for the upcoming exam- a whole semester of world history condensed into four pages of key terms, people and events. During these weekends the three of us would lock ourselves in our rooms with snacks and our study material and I would re-teach a semesters worth of class. It was fun for me to teach them. I felt completely engrossed in what I was teaching. Everything, from the crossing of the Rubicon by Julius Caesar to the French Revolution to the Industrial Revolution, it all came flowing out of my mouth like I was a story teller. And just like two children listening absorbedly to a scary story, my friends seemed to really be enjoying listening to history! Not only did I love discussing things that really interested me, but I genuinely loved helping my friends succeed in the class. On another occasion I had the opportunity to help another friend in my history class. He had never performed higher than a C on any test for our class. One night before an exam he called me for help. I had no idea what to cover or how to help him understand. So, we started from the beginning and we talked for two hours. I asked him questions to make sure he understood and he asked me questions for clarifications. I will never forget the day he came up to me practically

screaming, I got a ninety-five percent! Even Mr. Hegelmeyer was surprised at his grade and asked him how he did it! I cant forget that moment because it made feel overwhelmingly accomplished. I felt like I was good at something and I was so glad that it was something that helped others feel good about themselves. Since then, other experiences have helped me recognize how much I like to teach. Not only am I blessed to have been given these experiences to confirm my interest in teaching, but they have been useful in harnessing skills that are necessary to become a successful educator. I am currently involved in four activities that give me the opportunity to learn about different aspects of teaching. At church I am part of a team that is in the process of building a new ministry for young adults. As part of this ministry, Im involved in developing bible study curricula. Developing these lessons has really familiarized me with several different responsibilities of a teacher. First, I research the Bible for topics and information in order to construct the different studies. Teaching continually affords opportunities for research and study whether it be within ones own discipline, or within the ever evolving field of teaching methodology. Second, I have to evaluate the best way to structure lessons based on the information I gather. I must prioritize and order information as well as consider the learning level of the learner, similar to identifying what grade level a lesson is for and how to structure the lesson plan. Third, when actually teaching information, I have to think about approaching different people in different ways. Each person has different background knowledge of the Bible and a different attitude toward its contents. It is crucial for teachers to know and build upon the prior knowledge of her students. A wise

teacher uses what is already available in a students mind to develop deeper understanding by relating new information to what they know. I also volunteer at a nursing home. A big advantage to this pastime is my exposure to a very different student body than anyone one of us in this course expects to teach. Although these students are well past the age I plan to teach, I find it extremely rewarding to be a part of their environment for several reasons. The first is the opportunity to facilitate discussion as part of Current Events on Saturday mornings. I read the newspaper and I try to engage the residents in discussions about what they hear in the news. I ask individuals questions and they are usually glad to share their perspectives. The second thing I get to do with the residents during Current Events is offer historical commentary on events we read about. In this way I get to practice my discipline and they love hearing about it. What is especially great about this is that they can often give first had accounts of the history behind the news! As a teacher, I know that these practices encompass skills needed to encourage student participation every day. The third activity I am currently involved with is tutoring. I have tutored study groups in the past, but this semester I was able to work one-on-one with a student. Tutoring her has taught me to communicate with other people who are also responsible for her learning like her instructor and the tutoring coordinator in Instructional Services. Collaboration between colleagues is very important to practice in the field of education. Childrens teachers should all be on the same page when it comes to knowing the progress of their students. It will only benefit students more when teachers get involved on multiple levels.

Tutoring has also taught me that sometimes the best way to find out what works best for her learning is to ask her. This may escape teachers from time to time, but I think the most efficient way to self-assess ones own efficacy in teaching someone is to ask the student. Together, a teacher and her student can reach solutions far faster and better than a teacher can alone. Finally, I have come to understand and expect that there will be different levels of proficiency in knowledge and understanding. Different students may have different outside circumstances that may affect their learning. For example, my tutee is a mother and a returning student. She is not very strong in math or geography and these have become areas that we emphasize in our meetings. Likewise, the concept of equity in education demands that teachers pay attention where attention is due. A students home circumstance and background will influence their performance at school. Teachers must expect some disparities among their student body and be prepared not to give each student the same attention, but to give each student the attention that they need.

Lastly, and most importantly, my first field placement at Manitoba Elementary School is another experience that has helped me develop as a future educator this semester. Aside from learning how to interact with students of ages I will be working with as a secondary-education teacher, this experience helped familiarize me with a classroom setting and with professional expectations. It was a formal introduction to teaching as a profession and a career. Although I have had several opportunities to teach others, my field placement showed me what it is to be a licensed teacher that builds lesson plans, has to incorporate state standards into the curriculum, and is who legally

accountable for her students. I think this was the most important experience in preparation for teaching because it was my first glimpse into what I should expect and what will be expected of me as a professional. Through all of these experiences in the course of the semester, I have been able to identify my development of at least two teacher dispositions from the Wisconsin Standards for Teacher Development and Licensure. The first is the teacher has enthusiasm for the discipline she teaches and sees connections to everyday life found under standard one. The second disposition, under standard nine, is the teacher is committed to reflection, assessment, and learning as an ongoing process.

I think that enthusiasm for ones discipline is a disposition that can be identified early on the path to becoming a teacher. Before deciding I wanted to teach, I knew I wanted to be a historian. It is a subject that has always fascinated me and continues to influence my perspective of life. It is evident in what I shared about tutoring my friends in tenth grade that I can get really excited about history. One of my biggest passions is to be able to identify and apply something I learn to real life situations and I find that studying history has allowed me to do this daily; whether its being able to discuss current events with the elderly, or just having an understanding of the huge deal it is for me to be able to vote in a public election, history is literally everywhere and I see out of its looking glass. Furthermore, it is an interest that I have tried to incorporate into every opportunity I get to teach. During my field placement at Manitoba Elementary, I was given several opportunities to teach lessons. The students and I did lessons on style in

literature, haikus, invertebrates, Brazil, and Australia and in every lesson I tried to include some history and some critical thinking. The second disposition I have identified in me is a commitment to reflection, assessment, and learning as an ongoing process. I think this is another healthy disposition to exhibit at this stage in my preparation to become a teacher because it shows my willingness to be taught. As long as I am willing, there is nothing that I will not be able to accomplish. When I had bad days my mom used to comfort me with the saying, no hay nada que no tiene remedio, which means there is nothing that cannot be fixed. I have made a lot of mistakes so far in my field placement alone, but I have learned that I am not doomed to perpetuate the same errors if I have the willingness to learn from them and from others who can advise me to do better. The day I did my videotaped lesson on style in literature, I taught for 46 minutes when I was supposed to teach for 15! I was distraught when I found out that I had surpassed the time my cooperating teacher had allotted for my lesson. However, she very calmly assured me that everything was fine and that pacing is a challenge that every new teacher faces and its something that is conquered over time with practice. Since then I have remembered the importance of pacing and tried to be very conscious of time during my lessons. I also learned that the world doesnt come crashing down when I make a mistake, but that I need to just get up, get dusted off and try again! Although I am not even close to perfect, I am confident that there is nothing that cannot be fixed.

When I took a minor in education, even though I was confident teaching was something I would enjoy and something I had a heart for, I was very scared. I thought of my experiences in high school teaching my friends about history and I would be convinced teaching was for me, but when I considered the experiences of two of my sisters who have gone to school for education, I would get intimidated. One sister, Karina, is currently at UW-Milwaukee studying early childhood education and ESL. She will be student teaching next spring. A fear of how to manage my time as a field student always crept up my back when I thought about teaching because in the back of my mind I would picture Karina on the run between work, school, and field as she always was. I wasnt sure if I could handle to work load, the busy schedule and the stress that she was going through. Another sister, Noemi, graduated from Alverno with a B.S. in biology and came back for a license to teach secondary-education, but dropped out. She had very bad experiences in her field placements and decided that teaching just wasnt for her. I decided I wanted to teach in urban public schools, but it was hard to hear her vent about her field placements and not get discouraged. Another challenge Ive had to face regarding my decision to teach is the fact that Im getting married. I have always considered teaching to be a full-time, on-call job. When I switched to education at the end of last semester I talked with my fianc and I shared my concerns about how to balance teaching with marriage. However, he assured me that everything was going to be fine and that he would support me in my work. These are some examples of tests I have had to confront since I decided to teach. But as some say, anything you have to fight for is worth the reward. Sometimes the worst

opponent you face is your own doubt. I have found, though, that prayer gives me the peace I need to get through every day. And when I get overwhelmed and I doubt if this is the path for me, I stop thinking and very seriously ask myself, do I like to teach? Because my answer is yes every time, I know that no matter how hard it may seem I have what it takes.