Tuesday, January 24, 2012

1 Peter 2:4-10

How will your life as a teacher honor God’s love for you and all that He has given you? I believe that God is the one who has blessed me with the gift of teaching, but I am the one who needs to do something about it. I can glorify God and show him honor by becoming an effective teacher. I can work hard to learn new teaching strategies and even continuing to leaner more content. My goal is to be a servant of God, doing what he has called me to do. I must earnestly desire to also see my students excel both academically and socially. God places a high standard for those in authority, so I must demonstrate that in more than just my time in the classroom. One thing that that I can do to show how I honor God's love is to show that love to my students so that they know that I respect and care for them. Though I can't actually Explain God's love to my students but I can demonstrate it through mu actions. I can also show God's love to my colleagues and administrators by being patient and respectful. I must find the higher ground and walk that path so that I will not only honor god but be a witness to those I am around.  9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Trust in Educational Setting

How can you create relational trust in an educational setting?

Trust can be created sometimes with a simple smile, a kind word, a helpful hand. A teacher has the ability to set the mode for trust in his or her classroom. "Actions speak louder than words" can still be words to live by for teachers. In my own classroom, I desire my students to feel safe and welcome. I show that by waiting at the door for them and greeting them by their name when they enter. I also show that to them by updating them on their progress in class-whether declining or improving. I want my students to know that I really do care about their success so I make it a habit to point out what they do well and what they need to do to excel. When I explain how they are doing, I let them know that they are intelligent and that they are capable of succeeding. I encourage them to try harder or keep trying because I know that they can do it and I do not want them to give up. I think that caring also provides an atmosphere of trust because the students know that if I care then I am probably a trust worthy person. In addition, I always make myself available to answer questions and assist the students with what they need help on. I think this also provides an element of trust, knowing that they can rely on me to be there to help them. I also like to share my experiences with the class as it pertains to history (or even school). I believe that students feel more comfortable around someone who is willing to share with them-once again, creating trust. Finally, students also trust teachers who they respect. I think a teacher must be able to properly manage her/his class in order to be an effective teacher. The teacher needs to know when to pause for discipline (or when to wait to discipline privately) and when to teach (present yourself as an authoritative figure). Students will respect that and it will also encourage them to trust that you know how to handle a class and provide for their safety as well as education. Trust in education is absolutely crucial for the students to succeed. If there is not trust then students become anxious instead of attentive and studious. 

Monday, January 9, 2012

Undivided Self

How can we use our undivided self to reform education so that all are honored?

Teaching is can be challenging and sometimes draining for teachers. This is not necessarily because the teachers lack passion for teaching or for their students, but it could also be because teachers put all their effort and so much of their time into helping each student. Good teachers come to truly care about each student and desire each one to succeed. Sometimes that desire can become consuming and it can be devastating to see a student fail or failing (or going through difficult times). First, it is always important that teachers remember to balance out their teaching and their lives so that they do not get "drained" out. Yet, at the same time, teachers who do have this passion, who are connected with their students, and are devoted to helping each student are the people who are meant to be in the educational field. For me, teaching has been such a great experience and I am excited to keep teaching. It has been in those little moments when students have said something positive about learning, or given a warm smile, or even asking a probing question on the topic that I have come to realize that this occupation is what I am meant to be in. I really care for every one of my students and I wish that they could understand how much I want each one to do well and succeed. I think that is what gives me motivation to continue teaching, to continue working and trying hard so that I will not stop working to develop ways to help my students learn. I think it is this motivation and this passion that come from deep inside me (maybe like a gift) that will contribute to educational reform so that all are honored. I think that true teachers have this same belief and are the ones that can really bring about a change.

Monday, December 19, 2011

 Palmer’s The Courage to Teach: ‘Good teachers possess a capacity for connectedness.’ They “weave” the connections between themselves, their subjects, and their students on ‘the loom of the heart.’ How does that image speak to you? What is your experience of trying to hold the tension of these connections in your heart?

Connectedness between ourselves as the teacher and our students in our classroom help make a bond between us that gives us the ability to care for each student and to work our hardest to teach them. Some tensions that arise may be inward such as feeling as if I am not helping them properly or well enough. I want to see each student succeed, but there may be times when some students do not achieve their greatest potential. I cannot let that bring me down, but must continue to learn different strategies to reach different types of students. I think as a teacher I need to have an earnest desire to see my students succeed, but I must also remember to not let it get to me if they do not. It's difficult, but  must be done or else I will focus too much on what has been done and not on what could be and should be done for next time.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Capacity for Connectedness

How can you develop the capacity for connectedness?

There are different ways to connect to knowledge. One way is connecting knowledge with knowledge. We add new knowledge in with our old and compare it to what we've already learned.  We can accept it or reject it. Another way to connect to knowledge is to allow it to effect our thoughts on different topics. New knowledge can help enlighten us on other things we may have believed-it may cause us to change what we believed or increase our belief and understanding of why we believe the way we do. A third way to connect knowledge is to determine how it fits with the way the world works-does it contradict it or explain it? A fourth way to connect to knowledge is to determine whether or not the new knowledge fits in with how we believe the world is and what our values are and how they all tie together. As a Christian, when I learn about something new or hear the beliefs/opinions of others, I always compare it to the principles of Christianity before I decide to accept it or reject it. This is how my worldview is formed.

It is crucial to remember that God's Truth cannot be contradicted, so any information that I learn and consider adopting cannot go against the Bible. Also, it's important to remember that my Christian foundations and worldview affects all aspects of my life, not just part of it. Thus, all knowledge that I learn will continue to be included in my Christian Worldview.

"Christians must be intentional about making the connections between their faith and the knowledge claims they encounter to keep the Biblical framework in the foreground as the structuring principle of truth." (Harris 4)

Everything we do, say, and believe must be based on God's Truths because that is the foundation of a Christian's worldview and life.

Defining the Integration of Faith and Learning,Robert A. Harris, September 20, 2003

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Role Models

Unit 4: Session 4 - Blog Topic Week 4 Read and reflect on Romans 12:1-3 Consider the following statement and questions from Palmer’s The Courage to Teach: ‘We cannot know the great things of the universe until we know ourselves to be great things.’ Do you agree? Why or why not? If you agree, are teachers responsible for helping students develop this sense of self-worth in order to help them learn deeply and well? Is the scripture verse and text statement at odds with each other?  Explain. I think this statement can be a little confusing because there are different ways it can be interpreted. One way this statement can be interpreted is that we must think of ourselves as an exceptional being because we are worthy of such thoughts. After we recognize how important we are then we can start looking at other things in the world including people. With that idea we put ourselves first. However, I think this statement is saying that we must understand our value as a person, know who we are as a person and then we are able to start seeing the beauty and good things of the world. I believe this interpretation correlates with Romans 12: 1-3. This verse is saying that we must give ourselves to God because he is the control of our lives and we are his servants. However, God has a will for our lives, thus, we have purpose. We are important and we are loved. It is crucial for us as people who hold an authoritative position who are influencing the lives of young people that we be a good example of what it means to be secure in ones self. I think it is important for teachers to be role models for their students and part of that is showing them how to be confident in themelves.

 “Now I Become Myself” by May Sarton
Now I become myself. It's taken
Time, many years and places;
I have been dissolved and shaken,
Worn other people's faces,
Run madly, as if Time were there,
Terribly old, crying a warning,
"Hurry, you will be dead before--"
(What? Before you reach the morning?
Or the end of the poem is clear?
Or love safe in the walled city?)
Now to stand still, to be here,
Feel my own weight and density!
The black shadow on the paper
Is my hand; the shadow of a word
As thought shapes the shaper
Falls heavy on the page, is heard.
All fuses now, falls into place
From wish to action, word to silence,
My work, my love, my time, my face
Gathered into one intense
Gesture of growing like a plant.
As slowly as the ripening fruit
Fertile, detached, and always spent,
Falls but does not exhaust the root,
So all the poem is, can give,
Grows in me to become the song,
Made so and rooted by love.
Now there is time and Time is young.
O, in this single hour I live
All of myself and do not move.
I, the pursued, who madly ran,
Stand still, stand still, and stop the sun! (from http://www.breakoutofthebox.com/now.htm)

What connections can you make between identity, integrity, the undivided heart, and the message of the poem?
This poem emphasizes the need for people to take time to relax, to meditate, and not be worried about the stress and pressures of their busy lives.  There are so many responsibilities in our lives, in my life. I tend to stress out more than I need to because I have high standards for myself and I want to do things as perfect as I can. However, being a student teacher, going to school full time, and all of my other family duties can tend to be overwhelming and it's hard to see past all of the things that HAVE to get done (or get paid). I know this poem also discusses how one should take time to be still and discover who they are as a person. Take time to regain your focus and look at the important things-such as leaning on God for peace. That is where we find out how we are personally able to conquer the pressures of our fulfilling our duties. We can't let stress and the world's peer pressure to "do more, get it done, and hurry up to do more" get in our way of realizing we are who God made us to be and we will get to where we need to be with his help. To "wear other people's faces" and attempt to become who you are not does not help you become what God intended you to be. Everyone has their gifts and talents, that is what God wants us to do. He said he will never give us anything that we cannot handle...with His help. I think it's important to remember that we must not try to do things without him because we will fail, we will become stressed. This is so much easier said than done. I am at that breaking point right now. I have about a month and a half before I begin to go on the hunt for a new job and finally finish school. It's been a long journey and I've almost given up several times because I didn't think I could find the time or money to continue, but somehow I always manage to make it. I know I am doing the right thing because I know that teaching is what God has called me to do. I just have to keep going, but I must not forget to keep pausing and relflecting