Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Dress to Impress!

Dress the way you want to feel! Dress the way you want to be perceived! While we all pass around the phrase "don't judge a book by its cover", it's not a secret that we do so anyway, especially in a professional setting. So, when you step into an interview, walk through the door looking like a book the panel will want to read!
I've done some research on the do's and dont's of professional attire and have compiled all the information into a simple list. Enjoy!
Do spend a little extra on the basics i.e. a suit that fits you properly. Go cheap on blouses to wear underneath.
Do tuck it in (directed more towards men). When you walk into an interview with your shirt hanging out, you might come off as a little rushed or indifferent.
Do iron your clothes. This is an indication of preparedness for your interview. 
Do pick a piece to show your personality. This could be a small piece of jewelry or maybe a little color. As long as you don't overdo it, putting a little personality in your outfit is a good thing!
Do a dress rehearsal. Make sure you can comfortably sit, there aren't any parts of your outfit you nervously play with, etc.

Don't feel tied to black. People immediately associate professional with all black. You're not in mourning so feel free to throw in a little, tasteful splash of color!
Don't wear bright-colored, fake nails. This is distracting. It's better to go with a more natural look.
Don't pile up on labels. Don't choose clothes with obvious "big designer" names. Wearing nice pieces is great if you can afford it, but flaunting this might send the wrong message.
Don't wear flashy ties. Men, try to stick to a small pin or other accessories. Save your Sesame Street tie for the classroom. The kids will love it!
Don't pull a Napoleon Dynamite guys! Make sure the socks you're wearing under your suit match the suit as well. It is more distracting than you think.

I encourage you to visit websites such as Pinterest or Stumble Upon to explore different wardrobe possibilities. Polyvore even has a section, "Teachers Outfits on a Teacher's Budget." 

Best of luck!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Share the Road


It has come to my attention that there has recently been a significant spike in the number of accidents involving bicyclists and motor vehicles. In fact, so many that I felt it would be worthwhile to inform students of the Liberal Studies community about bicycle safety. A little over a month ago I was casually riding my bike home from campus after a PALS meeting. I was on a two-way street in the Avenues as a car entered onto the street coming from the opposite direction. As typical two-way traffic occurs, we were facing one another for a good ten seconds or so before passing directions; naturally, I assumed the driver was aware of my presence. I quickly realized that assuming was quite possibly my biggest mistake. As soon as we crossed paths I heard the tires of the car whip around and before I could even look to move I was hit. The last thing I saw was the front right corner of the car hitting my bike as I was knocked onto the concrete. Oh, and let me add the lovely detail of smacking my head on a parked car as I went down…just awesome. I’ll wrap it up by letting you know that my bicycle and I were okay; just some bruises and the need for a new kickstand.

I went to class the following morning and couldn't help but over hear a classmate of mine talking about how she was hit by a car near campus on her route to school. The following Monday I went to a different class to hear what you ask? YES, another friend of mine had been hit by a car and it had damaged her bike severely; luckily both girls were fine. This was blowing my mind, I had to look deeper. It turns out that in the month of February there were at least 8 similar accidents that were reported to the University Police Department ; and since neither I nor my two other classmates reported our incidents the numbers were definitely higher. There was even an accident between a vehicle and bicyclist on Legion Ave during the campus bike safety event - how ironic right? The point I want to make is that we are all certainly aware of how many distractions can take place while driving a vehicle (music, texting, conversation, road rage, squirrels, etc.). Therefore, as a bicyclist we have to assume the worst from the driver in order to protect ourselves from harm – because trust me, you are not going to win.  As a driver, please be aware of the laws involved in sharing the road and avoid such distractions as much as possible. There’s no need to be a show off as a bicyclist or a driver when it comes to the safety of a human life. 

I have provided a link from the California DMV website about the laws and regulations revolved around bicyclists.

The website states: 

"Each year in California, more than 100 people are killed and hundreds of thousands more are injured in bicycle collisions. Some bicycle related crashes are connected to the bicyclist’s behavior, while others are due to the motorist’s lack of attention.

Here are the four main tips to follow as a bicyclist:
  • Maintain control of your bicycle.
  • Protect yourself–reduce the risk of head injury by always wearing a helmet.
  • Be visible, alert, and communicate your intentions.
  • Ride with traffic.
Chico is a beautiful community to enjoy bike riding as either a commute or leisure activity! We as students of the university should feel fortunate to know that the city clearly cares about making an effort to constantly improve safety measures for bicyclists. Many of you returning students may have noticed the new green bike lanes painted in the main areas of downtown – another simple indication to drivers to share the road. It is very unlikely that such additions will be used in residential areas anytime soon; which is where a lot of accidents tend to take place due to lack of road space. 

So remember! Maintain control, protect yourself, be visible in communicating your intentions, and ride with traffic. 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Teaching Abroad


Ever have the urge to travel? Ever want to travel abroad but your hectic academic and social calendar never permitted it? Well the Department of Defense can offer you both of these opportunities and more.

The Department of Defense is continuously hiring on a need-base for school staff-positions on American Army bases within the U.S. and around the world. Listings for some of these locations include but are not limited to; Fort Jackson, South Carolina, Tongduchon, South Korea, Wiesban, Germany, Okinawa Island, Japan, and many more. These jobs vary within the field of Education, from Substitute Teacher, to Educational Aid, Guidance Counselor to Child and Youth Program Assistant. The job types and descriptions vary depending on the location and specific need, so you never know what you may find! Job profiles are all located online, as well as the application requirements (most applications are available electronically), as well as the steps required prior and post applying. Travel, relocation, and key requirements of the job are listed, as well at the explicit job qualifications and duties. These qualifications and duties are usually very specific, so that you can get a sense of the exact requirements, as well as age group or interactions you will be working with.

To search more of these job listings, visit either of these two websites:

When working for the Department of Defense Education Activity you have the potential to receive the equivalent benefits of a Federal employee, or in short- a Military Personnel. This includes and offers a comprehensive benefits package that includes, in part, paid vacation, sick leave, holidays, life insurance, health benefits, and participation in the Federal Employees Retirement System. To find out more about the major benefits offered to most Federal employees, visit .

As Department of Defense Dependent Schools (DoDDS) Educators are stationed outside of the U.S., they may be eligible for certain other benefits such as allowances, differentials, and transportation agreements. These are all determined by the types of (job) appointment and location of residence at the time of appointment. Each appointment also has a different time requirement, or tour of duty, depending on the location and position obtained.

This opportunity is one that has the potential for both personal and professional growth. It presents the opportunity to travel; possibly far across the globe to a part of the world you have never visited. Here you can apply what you have learned through your education in a foreign country, but on an American base where the people and children you will be working/interacting with will also speak English. You may pick up new skills and proficiencies from your experiences that you can then apply upon your return home to the United States. Teaching abroad is an aspect of your career that is sure to wow future employers and coworkers as well! This is also a perfect opportunity to give back to those men and women who have dedicated their life to the service, by teaching and nurturing their children, helping them grow and develop. 

Friday, February 28, 2014

5 Things


A teacher is someone who is held to the highest of expectations whilst molding the minds of our future. This responsibility is a great one and so, naturally, admittance into the teaching profession requires some very specific qualities and abilities. As future teachers, we spend a lot of time trying to anticipate what these qualities and abilities are that catch the attention of interview panels.  What are they looking for? Through online research as well as a conversation with someone who has sat on many panels interviewing for teaching positions, I have come up with five things for a future teacher to consider and pay special attention to. Each one has an example of a question or scenario that could be given by the interview panel. These examples were given by a school principal who has participated on many interview panels. 

1. Passion for Student Growth

What is your purpose for wanting to be a teacher? 

An employer wants to know that you are passionate about the growth of students, not simply that you have "always pictured yourself in front of a classroom". They want to hear about your dreams and plans and how those ideas will lead to positive change in the growth of the students at their school site. Think about what ideas you have, how you want to implement those ideas, and why you were inspired to make such changes. 

2. Ability to Collaborate/Communicate 

Why is collaboration important? What would be strategies in enhancing collaboration opportunities with teachers? 

Part of being an effective teacher is being able to function as part of a team. Think about the ways collaboration with other more or less-seasoned teachers could improve the quality of education at the school. It is not a secret that teachers are extremely busy and that collaboration takes extra time and effort. Think about ways to collaborate effectively and efficiently. Monthly dinners or lunches with staff? An idea board in the staff room perhaps? 

How would you keep a communication with parents of students?

New teachers spend a lot of time considering their interaction with students, but they sometimes fail to think about the communication they have with parents. Think about the strategies you could use to keep parents "in the loop" and make sure that their questions and concerns are heard and answered. Letters home are nice, but does that allow communication to flow both ways? Think in-depth about how to create an open, two-way line of communication.  

3. Flexibility 

Scenario: What if you just taught a lesson and five students don't seem to understand? 

Teachers are expected to move through a lot of material in a relatively short amount of time. From these expectations often stems a rigid schedule. Because students learn at different rates and in different ways, there will be certain concepts which some students will find more challenging than others. Think about how you can give more specialized instruction to certain students while still allowing the rest of the class to improve their own abilities. Maybe you have a period of activity stations which allows students to be self-sufficient while you work with those who require extra help. Brainstorm these types of scenarios before an interview, employers want to see that you have given this some thought. 

4. Strong Work Ethic and Compassion  

Scenario: How would you respond to a child if they tell you one of their parents was just incarcerated?

Unfortunately, this type of situation is a reality in the lives of many of our students. This child's parent could have committed a seemingly unforgivable crime, but your responsibility is to the student who is living the nightmare of having their parent taken from them. Employers want to see that you have the ability to look beyond your own opinions and beliefs and meet a child's woes with compassionate care. Each student, despite their situation outside of school, deserves to be met with love and understanding. 

How do you feel about unfinished tasks? 

How often have you had a disorganized teacher who seems to have a thousand unfinished thoughts, plans and projects? This type of attitude results in a chaotic environment that makes it difficult for students to thrive. An employer wants to see if you have the ability to come up with, organize and carry out your plans. The education of children in a very limited time frame requires an ability to carefully plan. 

5. Ability to Analyze and Adjust 

Scenario:  What if you find there is a standard where your students are having difficulty, what do you do? 

This is related to flexibility. Here,employers want to see that you have the ability to not just notice that students aren't understanding a standard, but to analyze and decipher where exactly students went wrong. Maybe your students seem to be having a difficult time in long division. You dig deeper and discover that they seem to make mistakes in the dividing process when required to multiply by sevens. Using this information, you prepare a worksheet reminding students of their sevens multiplication facts. A teacher with less analytic skills might have wasted a couple of days re-teaching the entire concept of long division. 

I hope that you have found some of this information to be new and useful. I encourage you to spend time talking to others who have either been interviewed or have sat on an interviewing panel. This is the best way to gain insight into what an employer is looking for. Good luck to you! 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

More then just a teacher


Have you ever stopped to think about how much our previous and present teachers/professors have helped us in our lives? Teachers have played a huge role in shaping who we are today. Teachers are part of how we think and where our concepts of thinking come from.  From kindergarten up to high school, I feel like they give us all the tools to go into college and face it head on. When we get into college, professors not only give you the material you need to receive your degree, but they give you their knowledge to become a better person in life. Some professors go out of their way to make you understand why it is important to pursue what you've always wanted to do in your life. I feel as if teachers have helped us become the successful students we are today. They spend everyday of their lives helping and molding students to be the best they can. So why are teachers aren't credited more for what they do?

Teachers are what make our future. Teachers are essential to us in becoming successful. We weren’t born smart. We didn't come out of the womb knowing how to do calculus or how to read a book and write an essay, it was taught to us. How does a president become a president? Sure they need an amazing resume with great things they have accomplished, but there is always one thing that every president usually has and that’s an education. Education is taught to us from educators! Behind every great mind there was a teacher. Someone who taught them everything they know. I one day want to become a counselor. Do you think that I even know where to begin on how to counsel people? No, I have to learn from someone. Teachers encourage us to be something. Our parents and peers have something to do with it as well, but teachers capitalize on it and push us because they want to see us grow and be successful. is a leading education technology website that posts blogs and articles on the success of teachers and the affects they have on children. A recent article called, How Teachers Make a Difference, “had a study of 103 U.S. students between 7 to 15 years old found that most rated their teachers as very socially/emotionally/supportive.” There was a given statistic on 88% of American adults reported that a teacher in their past education had a significant impact on their success today. Of the adults, 83% of them said, “that a teacher had helped boost their self-esteem and confidence.” Teachers push and encourage us and give us hope. Teachers are a big resource in our life. They are here to help us succeed and become something great. Educators should be valued and appreciated not just because they are our mentors but because they are our friends.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

No More Ramen! Healthy Food on a Budget

The phrase “starving college student” is often thrown around as a joke, but with the cost of living these days being a starving college student has become a reality for many.  It’s easy to use a limited budget as an excuse to eat unhealthy foods because they are cheaper, but there are many alternatives and avenues one can take in order to eat healthy food on a budget.  Here are some tips!

Buy one or two extra canned or dry food items every time you shop.  This will help to build your pantry, and will prove to be helpful when money becomes extra tight.  It’s a safe way to plan for the future, and will allow you slightly more freedom to buy quality foods when your pantry is stocked.

Be aware of the dirty dozen.  Buying organic fruits and vegetables can be a huge drain on your wallet, but should be balanced with the understanding that the pesticides that reside on fruits and vegetables we eat can be harmful!  Here is a link to a website that lets you know which fruits and vegetables to only buy organic (the dirty dozen), and which ones don’t matter as much.

Grow some of your own. Seeds are cheap and easy to buy, and growing lettuce or basil on a windowsill takes little skill and a lot of patience.  It’s worth it to save the few extra dollars that you will once your small garden takes root.  In addition to this, check out the local farmers markets.  There is the student led Organic Vegetable Project that has a station on the Chico State campus every Wednesday afternoon, and the Chico farmer’s market is every Saturday morning. 

Pack a lunch!  Carrying snacks around with you all day helps to keep you accountable to buying meals, drinks, or snacks while on the go.  Plan on having at least one smaller meal per day, as this will help save you money as well.

Bad health is more expensive than good food in the long run.  Do what you can with the resources you have, and stick with it!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Get Involved this Holiday Season

The arrival of the holiday season is the perfect opportunity to give back to your community and the people you are surrounded by daily.  There are many opportunities that are available, from donating food to local food drives to supporting the organization of Toys for Tots.  To help you get started, I've listed some sites below to make it easy to get involved!

Opportunities at Chico State:
The Annual Giving Tree Program has kicked off for 2013!  The Giving Tree program has been a part of the Chico community for more than 20 years and is designed to promote the spirit of giving, community service and gratitude at CSU Chico during the winter season and throughout the year.  Everyone in the campus community is encouraged to participate!  And it's easy!

1)  Simply take a Gift Tag with a Child's Name and Age off of one of the Giving Trees located on campus.

2)  Purchase an appropriate gift for that child*

3)  Return the gift, UNwrapped with the original Gift Tag attached to it to one of the Drop boxes located on campus or to the CADEC office in SSC 180.

*The Giving Tree (CADEC) will donate your gift to the child at Stepping Stones or Northern Valley Teen Parent Program that you selected!
*Trees are Located:  BMU Lobby, SSC Lobby, CCLC, Sutter Dining, Student Health Center and CADEC
*Gift Drop Boxes Located:  BMU Lobby, SSC Lobby and Sutter Dining

Donate clothes, food, or toiletries to The Jesus Center:

Donate food to The Esplanade House:

Donate food to North State Food Bank:

Donate blood through Blood Source:

Donate toys through Toys for Tots:

The holiday season is a time of joy and giving, but it’s easy to get caught up in the materialistic aspect of this season.  I challenge you to get out and give back, and I know you will be glad you did.