The following was originally published May 29, 2012 at http://ststeven8.edublogs.org/2012/05/29/another-day-in-the-life/
I haven’t posted in a while, mainly because I have been consumed with other things. As the end of another school year approaches, I am again reminded of why I became a teacher. It isn’t for the great pay (wink, wink), it isn’t for the health insurance (I still don’t have any), and it isn’t for the nights, weekends, and summers off (I still don’t get those). I became a teacher because I am one. I have said it before, and I still stand by this conviction, I LOVE the A-HA moment! I was given one of the best compliments that I could have ever gotten from a student that I work with the other day. You see, I am currently an AmeriCorps volunteer and not teaching full time. I spend my days in the Special Education/Resource Rooms at a local high school. Because of my training and certifications, I am capable of tutoring students one-on-one in a variety of subjects including Algebra, Geometry, Chemistry, Biology, Civics, US History, World History, and many others. Anyway, the student that I was working with, let’s call her Jane, is one that has taken some of her courses over because she did not pass them in previous years and I work with her on Geometry (her second time around) and Chemistry most of the time. Two weeks ago, as I was helping another student with Algebra, Jane turned to the student and said, “You should really listen to Mrs. Stevens, she really knows how to make all of that math stuff make sense.” Then Jane turned to me and said, “Mrs. Stevens, I really hated Geometry before you started tutoring me, now I love it!” That was such a glowing compliment that I didn’t know what to say. She went on to tell the other student how I helped her to understand Chemistry and that I am really good with History too. That is why I became a teacher, to instill a love of learning and the help students to reach their goals. Jane is a junior this year and is finally excited about school. I would like to think that my presence in the Resource Room made a difference, and for her, I think it did.

The following was originally published April 6, 2009 at http://ststeven8.edublogs.org/2009/04/05/a-beautiful-day-in-the-neighborhood/
external image rogers-300x299.jpgSo I had the opportunity to sub at home again this week. There were a few things that came up that made me stop and think. First of all, I tried to go online to check my mail and I found it was blocked. I could see if certain social network sites were blocked, but I couldn’t even get to my NMU webmail. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I am addicted to my email. I like to check it several times a day. Not that I think I’m that important that someone would feel compelled to email me often, but it is one of the ways that people do know how to get a hold of me. I feel it is very important to be connected for my kids. If something were to come up, I want to be available to them. So it was frustrating to have my email blocked. Not only my email, but virtually any connection I make with the outside world. I could cruise the internet, but I couldn’t interact with it.
Another interesting thing that happened that day was when an administrator for the school asked me how many computers were in the classroom. There was a classroom desktop computer and the teacher’s laptop, which was in an “office” and inaccessible to the students. I was surprised that there was only one computer available.
Since this was a science class, wouldn’t it have been nice to have more access than just one computer for the students to use? I can’t imagine what it is like in that classroom during science fair time when students need to do research and to work on their projects. Last year I spent my spring break at a school in Sault Ste. Marie. To give a comparison, both of these schools are small with class sizes ranging from 10-20 students. One is a parochial school and the other was a charter school. At the charter school, there was a laptop computer available for every student in the middle school. What a shame that there were not some of the same resources available at a private school. I guess it just goes to show that private schools are not always in better shape than public or charter schools.

Authored by ststeven8. Hosted by Edublogs.

The following was originally published March 30, 2009 at http://ststeven8.edublogs.org/2009/03/30/ted-talks/
So, I had a chance to download three of the videos from the TED Talks and I spent some time watching them at “home” (my sister-in-laws) last night and this morning. I was impressed with the reasons for why Twitter was created when I watched Evan Williams. I recall bulletin boards that used to exist on college campuses–like one hundred years ago, the first time I went to college–and that is what Twitter reminds me of. I know when I have tried to describe it to people who are somewhat “technologically out-of-touch,” that is the analogy that I give.
I remember seeing Sir Ken Robinson’s talk one other time before. It is absolutely true! We are killing our children’s creativity in the name of education. The more information we can cram into their heads the smarter they are supposed to be! And aren’t we so smart because we did all the cramming! (Note the sarcasm in my “voice.”)
Now as far as the Bill Gates talk goes, as I understand it, he is claiming that educating the people will prevent the spread of malaria? Maybe I just missed the point of his talk. And as for how to judge a teacher’s performance…what qualifies him to make blanket statements?

Authored by ststeven8. Hosted by Edublogs.

The following was originally published March 30, 2009 at http://ststeven8.edublogs.org/2009/03/30/ted-talks/
So, I had a chance to download three of the videos from the TED Talks and I spent some time watching them at “home” (my sister-in-laws) last night and this morning. I was impressed with the reasons for why Twitter was created when I watched Evan Williams. I recall bulletin boards that used to exist on college campuses–like one hundred years ago, the first time I went to college–and that is what Twitter reminds me of. I know when I have tried to describe it to people who are somewhat “technologically out-of-touch,” that is the analogy that I give.
I remember seeing Sir Ken Robinson’s talk one other time before. It is absolutely true! We are killing our children’s creativity in the name of education. The more information we can cram into their heads the smarter they are supposed to be! And aren’t we so smart because we did all the cramming! (Note the sarcasm in my “voice.”)
Now as far as the Bill Gates talk goes, as I understand it, he is claiming that educating the people will prevent the spread of malaria? Maybe I just missed the point of his talk. And as for how to judge a teacher’s performance…what qualifies him to make blanket statements?

Authored by ststeven8. Hosted by Edublogs.

The following was originally published March 1, 2009 at http://ststeven8.edublogs.org/2009/03/01/wowthis-still-amazes-me-when-i-see-it/
I absolutely love this video. Besides the fact that the little girl is cute as a bug, she exemplifies what technology is to the future. When a four-year-old can manipulate a photo on the computer and do all that she does, with such ease, it makes me think that children even younger than her will be doing even more in the very near future!
I'm a PC and I'm 4 and a half




Authored by ststeven8. Hosted by Edublogs.

The following was originally published February 24, 2009 at http://ststeven8.edublogs.org/2009/02/24/late-assignments/
So I’m sitting here trying to catch up on long overdue assignments for this class and it occurs to me that I have been behind in just about everything! Talk about frustrating. It never fails that as soon as I get one task completed, six more get assigned. I have three projects to work on, two lesson plan reflections to write, three chapters of my online class to catch up on and blogs up the wa-zoo to read! I know that there is value to doing the readings for all my classes, but short of never sleeping, it’s just not going to happen.
I am learning a lot about time management and just how bad I am at it.
Here is a couple of links…
Twitter
NMU School of Education
My Wikispace

Authored by ststeven8. Hosted by Edublogs.

The following was originally published January 24, 2009 at http://ststeven8.edublogs.org/2009/01/24/subbing-experience/
Well, yesterday I got called to sub in a fifth grade class in Kingsford. The teacher hadn’t planned on being gone so there was not a “list” or plan for the day written out. It was definitely harder to step into the classroom and teach. My past experience has been that when a teacher is out, usually they have their lesson plans and activities for the day ready to go. This teacher had her lesson plan, but I wasn’t sure where to find everything. She called a fellow teacher and asked him to go into her room and find some of the materials for me, but he could only find one of the three things that were not readily avaiable. It was a good but frustrating day. I know that if I get a call to sub for this teacher again, I will have a better idea of how her classroom runs.

Authored by ststeven8. Hosted by Edublogs.

The following was originally published February 10, 2009 at http://ststeven8.edublogs.org/2009/02/10/techonology-and-all-its-benefits/
Okay, so enough with the sarcasm. I have spent the last two weeks fighting with a piece of technology that has ensnared me into its web…..my laptop. In my enamoured state, I have gotten tp the place where I can’t stand to go more than three days without at least checking my email, to say nothing of my growing Facebook addiction. So needless to say, when my computer started “acting funny” the week before last, I started to get worried. It would do funny things like turn itself off and go REALLY slow when opening files. It was like when you first start dating someone and everything is great (for a while) and then eventually roses and romantic dinners at a restaurant turns into a dandilion from the front yard and TV dinners while Monday Night Football is on. BUT, I was trying to do homework! This was not the weekend to be 90 miles away from the Helpdesk! So I dutifully came to school on Monday and went promptly to Helpdesk where they ran a scan and said that there wasn’t really anything wrong with my laptop. Silly me, I believed them. By Tuesday morning I knew that something was REALLY, REALLY wrong and that I was going to have to do something about it. I made the decision to go to Office Max and purchase an external harddrive (just in case) as soon as I could; the only problem with that is that “as soon as I could” was Thursday evening. I could only hope and pray that my laptop would hold out until then. SO, I went through the rest of the week and by Thursday evening, I was rock solid in my decision to get an external harddrive. Am I glad I made that decision. I got home Thursday (remember it’s 90 miles away) and tried to install the harddrive. I got halfway through it before the “Blue Screen of Death” showed up. I eventually got most of my files transferred over, but anything on my Outlook, or that wasn’t in a folder on my desktop was toast. I couldn’t even start up my computer in “safe mode”. VERY DEPRESSING. I had lesson plans to write this weekend, let me tell you, my hand cramped up! So now it’s yesterday, I went to Helpdesk and I told them, “Fix it!” I figured that after being there three times last week, they would know me by then. The kind Helpdesk worker promptly reimaged my computer, rebooted it, and within two minutes…..(wait for it)…..THE BLUE SCREEN OF DEATH SHOWED UP!!!!! I realize that technology is great and can accomplish many wonderful things, but COME ON! I guess it just goes to show that the more you rely on something, the more caution you should have.

Authored by ststeven8. Hosted by Edublogs.

The following was originally published February 11, 2009 at http://ststeven8.edublogs.org/2009/02/10/wordle/
http://www.wordle.net/gallery/wrdl/529103/Steph%27s_Wordle
Wordle: Steph's Wordle
Wordle: Steph's Wordle


Authored by ststeven8. Hosted by Edublogs.

The following was originally published February 11, 2009 at http://ststeven8.edublogs.org/2009/02/11/another-wordlemy-who-am-i-poem/
http://www.wordle.net/gallery/wrdl/532595/Who_Am_I%3F
Wordle: Who Am I?
Wordle: Who Am I?


Authored by ststeven8. Hosted by Edublogs.

The following was originally published February 22, 2009 at http://ststeven8.edublogs.org/2009/02/22/25-random-thoughts-on-education/
  1. Education NEVER ends!
  2. Being 36 and going to school isn’t as bad as it could be
  3. Kids definitely know more than we give them credit for and really do want to learn
  4. When I was 18, I thought I knew what I wanted to be when I “grew up”. WRONG!! Most 18 year olds don’t have a clue about what they want to do, they know what their parents and teachers tell them.
  5. Just because you went to school doesn’t mean you are educated.
  6. Why are high school teachers so unabashedly biased?
  7. How come the way we teach math is so different than the way I learned it?
  8. Since when did teachers adopt so many roles–teacher, parent, social worker, cook, maid, counselor….
  9. Street wisdom has value.
  10. Book wisdom doesn’t have more value than street smarts.
  11. Budget cuts hurt the kids as much as the teachers. 30 students to one teacher is really not conducive to a productive learning environment.
  12. Mainstreaming students with disabilities has merit…with the right number of aides.
  13. Nepotism is really inappropriate. Teachers should be hired on their experience and merit, NOT by who they know in the administration.
  14. Why are schools getting new curriculum when there is nothing wrong with the current materials?
  15. Is there anything wrong with a teacher teaching without a book?
  16. Should Lifeskills (balancing a checkbook, paying bills, folding laundry, cleaning a bathroom, etc.) be taught to all kids? or just the ones who act/look like they need it?
  17. There needs to be MANY MORE hours in the day.
  18. Teachers work more than 8 hours a day, five days a week….it’s more like 12 hours a day, six days a week!
  19. Why are teachers who have been teaching in a district for ten years at the bottom of the list and closest to the chopping block? “Tenure” is supposed to have some kind of permanence. It’s scary to think that after ten years and tenure, you would still be up for pink slips.
  20. If the state lottery system profits are supposed to go to schools, why there is a shortage of funds in the school budgets?
  21. My son says, “boring!” when I ask him about education. What can we as educators do about engaging our middle schoolers?
  22. Is every student college bound? If not, why are we trying to educate them as though they were? (the world needs garbage men!)
  23. Don’t take more than you can handle in school. Sometimes then minimum is the maximum you can do.
  24. Seek help whenever you feel overwhelmed. Chances are there is someone just like you who is feeling the same way. Partner with them and you can keep each other afloat.
  25. 25 Random thoughts about education are a lot harder to come up with when put on the spot!