Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Intern.

I'll be interning this semester and I'm excited to get in the classroom. I think it will be such a huge help going into next semester's student teaching with some experience under my belt. I will be at a high school in Murfreesboro working with a mentor teacher for the remainder of this semester. For the internship, I am required to keep a blog on wordpress and you can find it HERE. It will strictly be about my internship, and I may double post some of the information here on my regular blog. I'll be going for my first day on Monday morning, so stay tuned! :)

Thursday, September 2, 2010


So, I'm taking a course on the use of modern grammar and, after the first day, I can tell it's going to be fairly intense. I've already had to read a lot about the history of grammar and ideas about linguistics, etc. Mostly drab stuff, right? Right. However, I did come across a bit of information in one of the essays presented in the book Language Alive in the Classroom. This particular essay was written by Edwin Battistella. In it, he comments on an issue that I have heard raised on more than one occasion, and that is the relevance of grammar. He writes:
The fact that students are anxious about grammar suggests that they will be attentive to the question of grammatical correctness, and there is a fairly extensive body of literature on how and whether grammar should be taught. Turning students' concerns about grammar into a teachable moment has some risks, of course: it is easy to be misunderstood in a classroom, and when students are told that traditional grammar is inadequate and that no varieties of language are linguistically right or wrong, they may hear that grammar does not matter.
Grammar does not matter. Have you heard this proclamation lately? It's absurd. Grammar is not a full, firm set of rules that constitute a language. That's the misconception we're seeing today. Grammar is descriptive of a language. Just as language grows and changes, so should the grammar describing it. Of course, there ARE rules. Without them, language could very well run rampant and it would all be foreign, but I think people approach grammar in the wrong way. Grammar should comment on the appropriateness of the use of language in different settings, not dictate an absolute right and absolute wrong.

But those are just my thoughts.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Congressional Candidate on Education

I have recently been plagued by terrible television commercials for Diane Black and Lou Ann Zelenik. After being annoyed by them for about the thousandth time, I decided to read up on the two.

This, which is written out twice exactly the same, from Lou Ann Zelenik's website:
 I support merit pay for good teachers, classroom discipline, parental involvement and reject social promotion through rewriting of our school text books, with an agenda.
What? Think about that sentence for a moment.

I'll leave you with that to simmer.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A Note About Standardized Testing stinks.

But we all knew that, right? We've all been on the test taker side of this topic. And now, as I am making the transition to the other side of this equation, I'm beginning to realize that it's worse on this side. I'd rather take a test any day than have to rely on the results of my students' test scores to keep my job. It doesn't matter how good of a teacher you are because some kids are just terrible test takers. Students are unreliable when it comes to testing. Sometimes, it's a bad day. Sometimes, it's just a bad test. "Teaching to the test" - a phrase I never heard until I went to a public high school. This notion is what I am least looking forward to in my own classroom. What can you do, though? Especially with these new Race to the Top funds that TN has been granted - it's even more important that students perform well on these tests. You have to teach what is going to be tested, otherwise you're putting your job in jeopardy.

In an ideal world, I'd have control over what's being taught in my own classroom.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Website Atrocities.

I just finished a class called "Microcomputers in the K-12 Educational Setting." A bit antiquated, huh? Well, that was the tone for the entire class. Basically, our professor had us build an entire website using Microsoft Word (gag). Now, I'm no html professional, but I've used Dreamweaver and other such html editing software and, after you get the hang of it, it's lightyears better than Word. Ok, so I realize that not everyone has access to Dreamweaver or something similar (::cough:: even though there are plenty of free html editors out there), so I guess that's why Word was the program of choice. BUT, to force us to use Word is ludicrous. I had to keep everything really basic, because trying to do anything more was entirely too frustrating.

Needless to say...I'm glad the class is over.

Thursday, July 22, 2010


I'm reinventing my blog to chronicle my life as an aspiring teacher. I am currently in the middle of my master's program at MTSU in Murfreesboro, TN. The degree program is Curriculum & Instruction for Secondary Education and it's part of the initial licensure track. So far, it's a bunch of BS. I have learned TWO things that can be applied to a career in teaching.

1.) How to make a lesson plan.
2.) How to make a good test.

After 8 classes, 2 of them have taught me 1 piece of useful information each.

"Educational reform" is a myth. A joke. TN has heralded a "better teacher education program" for its universities. As a product of one of these programs, I can safely say that I am sorely unprepared to enter the classroom as a teaching professional. I say this now because next semester will be my last before student teaching and all I lack are two education courses. The other three courses I will be taking are English classes (fun!) to meet the requirements for a secondary English endorsement on my license. I hope my student teaching semester will give me a hefty dose of pertinent information to take with me to my own classroom because my professors sure haven't done anything to prepare me. How do you expect aspiring teachers to learn how to teach when you are incapable of doing so? It doesn't make any sense that I am supposed to be learning how to teach from those who cannot teach.

Also, the field of education has the most acronyms I have ever seen. Professors throw them out there like the whole world has been hanging on to every tidbit of information trickled down from the educational head honchos. NCLB, IDEA, IEP, INTASC, NEA, GLE, SPI, CATs, HOTs...and these are just a few. I've spent a good amount of time Googling things these past two semesters because my professors don't care to explain anything.

I'm crossing my fingers that I turn out okay after all this.