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

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

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Identity and Integrity

Identity and integrity are closely related concepts. How do you understand their relationships and distinctions? What does each concept mean to you?

Identity defines who you are as a person. Integrity is something you choose to be. If you decide to live with discernment and high morals, your choices in life will reflect your high standards. Thus, you (your identify) will become a person with integrity and someone to be trusted. As a teacher and a person, I want to be an example to my students and show them that it is important to live with high values and integrity. My students are at a very impressionable age (10-13) and they need to have several good examples in their lives. Some, however, do not have very many adults who are good examples so it is even more crucial that I portray what it means to live with integrity. In addition, I cannot just portray what it means to live with integrity during class. Integrity must be imbedded into who I am as a person. My identity should equal integrity. If I do not exhibit integrity in all aspects of my life then I am not a women of integrity, I am living a double life. I desire to be the virtuous woman from Proverbs 31 and live a life with high standards. I desire to be a woman who "speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue" (Proverbs 31:26)

Monday, November 21, 2011

Faith Integration

"Teach me your way, O LORD, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.  I will praise you, O LORD my God, with all my heart; I will glorify your name forever.  For great is your love toward me; you have delivered me from the depths of the grave."

The Psalmist requests the Lord to give him an undivided heart so that he can fear his name. In other words, the Psalmist desires to have a heart set completely on the Lord so that he can live a pure life and put the Lord first. With a heart set on the Lord first, a person's life is centered around obeying the Lord and following his will. Since the Lord's love is so great towards his children, we are extremely  grateful for Christ's deliverance from sin and know that Christ will always love us (and watch over us). In return, the Psalmist wants to dedicate his life to God. 

The Psalmist mentions that he will glorify God with all his heart forever. His "heart" refers to his passions, his hopes and aspirations, and his everyday life responsibilities. The same idea goes for every believer. For myself, my heart is focused on teaching and doing my best to help my students succeed. Over the short period that I've been teaching, I have come to care for each of my students and I desire the very best for them. I want each one to succeed and I want each one to know that I want them to succeed. I know that I am unable to accomplish this great task all by myself. So, at the heart of my life as a teacher, I want God to give me the wisdom and the strength to teach my students so that they can succeed academically and in life in general. At the heart of my life is hope in the Lord that I will also succeed in my goals.