Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Summer Challenge

Coming out of an intense finals week is considered a relief. No more papers, no more deadlines and so on. Surprisingly, it is the disappearance of all these tasks and obligations that prevents many students from fully enjoying their summer vacation. When structure in our lives disappears and we are left with open schedules and empty planners, it actually results in a whole lot of nothing, Netflix and Nutterbutters. How many times have you reached the end of a summer and thought "I didn't do a THING!" I am challenging you to do some brainstorming and have a fun, meaningful summer...one worth remembering! 
Here are some ideas to consider...

1) Help Someone Who Needs You
Every town/city is full of people in need. You might help serve meals at a homeless shelter or become a volunteer visitor at an assisted living facility. You can find these opportunities through your city's website or often through local religious organizations.

2. Set A Health Goal
If you are like me, by the end of finals week you probably haven't seen the gym in a while. Now that you have this extra time, set a personal health goal! Look for fitness or sports clubs in your area. Many offer student discounts. If running interests you, Fleet Feet offers wonderful, affordable running groups for all ability levels.  FF is located in most towns. Finally, if you don't feel like joining a group or club, visit Pinterest--->health, for some great ideas.

3. Learn a New Skill
We might think of summer as a time to shut off our brains, and we should all take a little time to do that, but this break is also an opportunity to explore interests outside of school. For example, if painting is something you've always wanted to try, Michael's craft store offers weekly painting lessons for a very affordable price. Most communities also have opportunities such as foreign language groups or meditation/discussion groups (e.g. Chico Dharma Center). 

4. Go to New Place 
Traveling makes us better, more open individuals. You don't need to travel to an expensive, tropical resort to get the benefits. Along the coast of California are beautiful little towns and beaches as well as many, many clean, highly-rated hostels. You can stay at these hostels for $25-30 each night. I personally recommend Pigeon Point Lighthouse Hostel which is located near Point Reyes. The hostel is on the edge of cliff and has a great hot tub that overlooks the ocean. Many travelers come through here and in a single night I had the opportunity to meet people from both Holland and Germany. Treat yourself to an enriching experience for a low cost.

These are just a few ideas for your summer! Make it fun and make it meaningful to yourself and to others!


-Kaitlin 

Friday, May 16, 2014

Closing Thoughts as an Undergrad




Wow where has the time gone!

It seems like only yesterday I was watching my mom and grandma pull away after dropping me off at the dorms, my stomach slowly sinking as the feeling of impending doom crept upon me. I hated change and loved home, so living four hours away at college was one of the scariest things I had ever done. I felt that there was no way I was going to fit in here, no way I was going to find friend as great as the ones I had left at home, and no way I was going to succeed. Boy was I wrong.

Graduating in 3 years was something I used to just tell people I was going to do because that’s what my program entitled me to do. But low and behold, here I am a soon to be (sane) college graduate entering the credential program, who has had just about the best three years I could ever ask for. I would definitely have to attribute a heavy bulk of that to the Liberal Studies program and the ITEC program, for allowing me such amazing opportunities both in school and in the community. If anything, these past three years have reaffirmed that I am in the exact right major/career path for me.


This past year as a Peer Advisor in Liberal Studies has blessed me with many amazing opportunities to branch out and connect with other in my major. It also allowed me to meet other majors throughout the school and see what they have to offer, as well as show what we’re all about. I have been able to see the extent to which our major really excels and helps set people up for their future. My pride in Liberal Studies has grown exponentially, and I’ve loved taking the time to spread the word to not only other majors, but administrators, incoming freshman, and high schoolers as well. When I look back on my time here as an undergrad, my memories from my year as a PALS will definitely stand out from all the rest. 

~Lisa

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Parents and Commuting…the struggle




Commuting is not an easy thing. It puts a burden on you and how you can spend your time wisely. It can also affect your family. There can be some commuters out there who may have families who stress about you coming home and not staying in Chico too long. Maybe not all students who commute have parents like these, but I know I did. My parents would worry too much if I was going to come home or stay in Chico for the day. Sometimes I had to stay in Chico to get some extra studying in or go to group meetings. Having them stress would stress me out and make me leave and never really attend my study sessions or group meetings because I always tried to make my family happy. 

Sometimes you have to realize that your education is more important then always giving your parents what they want. Family is a huge part of our lives and they are the people in our lives who will always be there for us, but we have to realize that school comes first at times. Students who commute know that it is a hassle to get up and drive to school everyday. Sometimes you just want to leave school for the day and relax, but no, we have to drive home for about 30 minutes or more. 

One solution would be moving to Chico, but again there can be some parents who aren't very fond of the idea. Again, we have to do what is best for us and our education. We can get a lot more done if we just lived in Chico. We are able to take more classes and dedicate more time to our studies. Sure some people may not have trouble commuting and finding the time to study, but for some people it can be hard. I am not going to say move out! What I am trying to say is, find ways to make your life a lot easier. Sometimes we have to put our foot down and do what’s best for us. 

Monday, April 28, 2014

Is Technology Taking Over?



Technology is something that has grown so much over the past few years. Have you noticed the difference from when we were in middle or elementary school? It was rare to see someone with a cell phone or an iPod/iPhone.  We lived in an era where we had to communicate face to face and over the phone. Kids today are exposed to so much technology. You see students today in 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade that have cell phones, that have Facebook, that are constantly texting, and always on their video games. I remember when I was in 5th grade all I had was my soccer ball to play with and my Gameboy advanced. Kids today are being exposed to too much technology. Is this a problem? We have come to an understanding that the world is growing and we need to catch up and get use to it. What I’m trying to say is that, as future teachers do we think that technology will play a huge role in education these next 10 years? Will it play a positive role or negative role to our future students?

Students will most likely have access to a computer at all times. Technology is our future and our students will be living and breathing it. Mrs. Sandberg is a 3rd grade teacher at Wilson Elementary School in Gridley, California and she talks about how this year she was required to have her 3rd grade students take a standardized test on a computer. She said it was a whole new experience for her, since she has been teaching for over 20 years. She was personally frustrated, but she said her students were fine with it and worked it out pretty well. International Council ofCommunication Design is an educational website that gives news on our future schools and what to expect. In one particular article they talk about how everything will be developed at a digital level. There is no need for paper and in the next few years we may expect devices to become thinner and faster, to have higher definition images and videos, to support 3D features and holographic capabilities that simulate tangible objects. This means there will be more competition when it comes to job seeking. Everyone will be so advanced in technology that the work force will be seeking for only the best. Students will be expected to know and do a lot when in the work force.

Overall our country is growing and we have to catch up. Technology is taking over and we can't argue with that. Technology will change the education system and making our knowledge obsolete and quicker. As future teachers we have to start preparing now.

~Erick Garcia


Friday, April 25, 2014

“Those Who Can’t Do, Teach."



Most people are familiar with the saying, “Those who can’t do, teach.” Or as the famous Woody Allen once wrote; “Those who can’t do, teach. And those who can’t teach, teach gym”. This statement suggests that people who have failed or would be failures in the world outside of academia end up as teachers. This same statement is enough to make any future, current or retired teacher’s blood boil.

It is unclear to me where the origin of this saying has come from, but I did find some interesting facts that may have led to the discrediting of teachers over time.
In the Middle Ages, knowledge was viewed as God’s gift. Since it was God’s gift, it was seen as wrong to charge for it. Due to this view, teachers at many institutions were not paid at all for their work. They had to rely on the gifts and charity of appreciative students. Sometimes, a teacher was lucky to receive an apple so he’d have something to eat. As a result, it became difficult to develop a mindset that this profession was pursued by people of high capability if the services they were offering were free of charge.

I personally do not see the logic behind this statement. Teaching takes more than a bachelor’s degree, it takes the ability to implement an immense and broad amount of information and communicate it to a diverse group of young students. Teachers are the first step towards an occupation, towards any occupation that is deemed “superior” to that of an educator. One must (typically) complete both primary and secondary education before they can even continue on to the collegiate level, where they begin to mold their career path. And who guides them through all of these levels of schooling, through all of these confusing, information-loaded, hormone-driven years? Educators.

I recently asked a cooperating teacher I have been volunteering with her view on the matter. I asked her what her reaction would be to someone who truly believed “Those who can’t do, teach”. Her reply was simple and straightforward; “work one day in my classroom”. She works in a high school moderate/severe special education class, so some of the scenarios she deals with are on the extreme, but the message is still the same. Those who think handling a classroom of 25-30 children for 6 hours a day 5 days a week addressing the academic, social, and emotional needs of a highly diverse population should spend one day in our shoes. Teachers pursue their career because we are passionate about what we do, and we want to do it right. But doing it right also means doing it legally, and we must accommodate and please the never ending state and federal demands that are placed on education, mainly through the form of tests. So if you think you can easily motivate a child to take a lengthy test when they don’t see the point, nonetheless want to be in your classroom, please, be my guest.

-Lisa Schill


Male teachers, are you out there?



Is it just me or have you noticed that when you go to a school campus the majority of people who work there are women? It almost seems like a stereotype to say that you always see a woman as the teacher. As a student I’ve noticed myself that males in the teaching profession are the minority. It’s always been something that has interested me and why there are fewer male teachers in grades K-6.  Edudemic: connecting education and technology is a website that helps teachers, administrators, and students be informed about schools and what can help within your classroom. According to one of their latest articles, Where Are All the Male Teachers? , male teachers account for 25% of teachers in the U.S. The article talks about how many male teachers don’t feel comfortable working with children from K-6, only because they feel as if they can easily be accused of abuse. There are about 18% of male teachers that teach middle school. Male teachers feel more comfortable around this group age because they can be a little tougher, but know that the students will be able to handle it.
           
I was able to interview two male teachers at a local high school on their experiences and beliefs about male teachers. Mr. Tull was the first male teacher I interviewed. He teaches at Gridley High and has been teaching for over 10 years. I asked him why he decided to teach at a high school level. He responded by saying that he wanted to work with older students. He felt like working with younger kids would be more of a hassle. He loves working with kids, but he just feels more comfortable working with older kids. The second teacher I interviewed was Mr. Bailey. Mr. Bailey has been a teacher at Gridley High School for 2 years and recently transferred to Lindhurst High School. He also feels that teaching at a higher level is best for him. He said that working with younger children is made more for female teachers. He isn’t trying to sound sexist, but he feels that personally he can’t baby children. He wants to be hard on his students, but in a way where they appreciate it. He lets his students know that it isn’t personal it’s just business. Mr. Bailey works hard to make his student’s successful, but when it comes to outside of the classroom he is one of the coolest people you’ll ever meet.
           
Male teachers are something you don’t see everyday. It’s not because it isn’t meant for them, it’s just that they choose to take a different pathway. Education is valuable in our culture and it shouldn’t matter who teaches it.  Share your thoughts in the comments.

-Erick Garcia

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!
DOs
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.










DONTS
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!