Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Applying to Student Teach

In a few days I'll hold it in my hot, little hands...my student teaching application is on its way to me! I'm pretty excited that things are moving in the right direction...towards a teaching career.

Now that my Praxis 1 exam is scheduled, and I have information on my Praxis 2 exams, I can begin to prepare myself for the expense and rigor of taking and passing all my teaching exams. (I'll need to watch "Anne of Avonlea" to psych myself up).

People have told me they can see my teaching elementary or middle school, so I'm preparing for both. Why not make myself more marketable if I can afford it?

Prayer Requests:
Complete student teaching application
Take and pass Praxis exams and earn appropriate teaching certifications on time
Teach in the district God places me into
Student teach with an awesome teacher

Questions in my head:
How long does the student teaching experience take?
How stressful IS the experience going to be?
Tips for preparing for the student teaching experience?
What's it going to be like?
How do I THRIVE and not simply SURVIVE the experience?
How can I be a help to my supervising teacher and not a hindrance?
Any advice?

Monday, February 25, 2008

Get'er Done. Praxis One.

It's officially on the calendar. I have scheduled to take my Praxis I exam on Saturday, March 22nd.
Then I have to schedule the rest of those Praxis tests. One at a time....

Hopefully I'll hear from the lady at Eastern about when/how to apply to student teach.

Tonight I have a Statistics test. Yowser....!

Go to See the Bucket List, and Bring your Best Friend

I hadn't truly enjoyed a movie in a long time. That's why "The Bucket List", starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman, came as such an enjoyable surprise. My friend Heather and I went to see it this past Thursday night. The movie had been in the theatre for awhile and it was a week night, so there weren't that many people in the audience. It was perfect! Stale pretzel bites, over-priced movie theatre sodas and dirty bathroom aside...this was a great movie.

Sharing the same hospital room, two strangers become friends through the process of dying. The portrayal of the stages of grief was fairly concise in nature, but the movie did try and summarize what cancer patients and families of cancer patients experience when they have been handed a death sentence by a busy doctor. The preferential treatment shown to the hospital owner (Nicholson) by the doctor, over the average joe (Freeman) is emphasized, and we get to see some of the bad side effects of going through Chemo (vomiting and diarrhea are alluded to during their hospital stay).

One patient is the rich owner of the hospital, the other, an auto mechanic. They find themselves roommates, each fighting a losing battle with terminal cancer. They become friends, through playing cards, having many conversations, and through their shared experience of slowly succumbing to the same disease.

Morgan Freeman's character "Carter" starts to write a "Bucket List" inspired by a history teacher, listing all the things he wants to do before he dies. He then gets the news that he only has about a year to live, almost right after Nicholson's character "Edward" gets a similar death sentence. Carter throws the list on the floor where Edward later retrieves it. He likes the idea, embellishes on what Carter has written and adds his own items to the list. Edward then convinces Carter to temporarily leave his family and go off with him to accomplish the things on the list before they both die. Of course, Carter's wife objects. Edward has no family to speak of that will miss him.

I won't tell you how it ends, but it is a thought-provoking and somewhat emotional journey. I highly recommend this one. Go see it with your best friend and bring tissues. You might need them.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Taking the Plunge...the other plunge.

I'm already married....I'm referring to taking steps towards applying to student teach and take my Praxis I exams. Allentown...Sylvan Learning Center....4 and 1/2 hours...$130.00 (no small coin there). I have a big study weekend coming up next weekend with my friend Christy. I'm debating on whether to take the exam on a Saturday (would have to schedule at the end of March) or take time off of work and do it during the day, that might be a better option.

Please keep me in your prayers! I have my first Statistics test on Monday, and a take home exam on Tuesday for my "Ed. and Assessment of Exceptional Children" class. Those dates will mark the 1/3-way completion point in the semester.

Prayer requests:
  • Completing my course work for my programs of study
  • Getting A's on my tests (to maintain my GPA)
  • Completing my application to student teach (within the next week) and being assigned to a school of God's leading
  • Scheduling, studying for and completing the Praxis exams in my immediate areas of certification
  • Lot's on my mind and heart as Jeff continues to look for a job (please pray that God will lead him to the right career and draw Jeff closer to Himself).

Thank you for your advice and thoughtfulness!


Monday, February 18, 2008

Teacher Friends, I Need Your Advice

Is it better to get your Masters Degree before acquiring teaching experience or after? Am I more likely to be hired if I have my Masters in Multicultural Educaiton with or without teaching experience? Does it matter? What would your hiring administrator say?

Friday, February 15, 2008

"The Sweetest Girl" by Wyclef Jean

I'm listening to a song about a girl that fell prey to the prostituion and stripping industry. It's a song by artist Wyclef Jean, and very thought provoking. It really has an interesting message about the pressures we can succomb to as a result of the circumstances in which we find ourselves.

There is alot of imagery in his song. The overt story line is about the life of a girl that is drawn into the dark world of prostitution. Alternatively, the music video of this song posted on YouTube is about the dark world of Visa trafficking. See the song lyrics here. If someone has more money or education, they get into the USA above a poorer immigrant who might then turn to illicit ways to do what they need to do. The thought that won't leave my head is that...but for the grace of God, this could be any girl I know...including me.

It's interesting how God, in his sovreignty and omniscience chooses the families we grow up in, and circumstances that shape us...nature, nurture and all that stuff. I know we have a hand in how we turn out, after all, we make the choices that shape our lives. We are ALL born in sin.

We are told in the bible that God holds the heart of the king in his hand and directs where he will go. God can also harden the hearts of people (like he did with Pharoah in the time of Moses and the Israelites). People like me don't always know how to relate to people like the girl from Jean's song. We haven't walked in her shoes, but we have sinned and struggled in sin just like "The Sweetest Girl."

How did I avoid ending up like her? I was born into priveledge.
Why did I choose differently than she? I didn't have to fight the same fight that she did.
Could I have resisted the temptation in her shoes, finding myself in her circumstances?
Did God plan for our lives to turn out so differently?

More about Wyclef Jean.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Valentine's Day

Are you doing anything special for Valentine's Day or is it just another calendar day for you?

I have a suspicion. I suspect that the longer you're married, the less significant it becomes. For some couples, it starts off as a day to celebrate their blissful love but then degenerates over time into a day that gets missed more than celebrated. For other couples it was never a day of bliss. Where does your relationship fall?

For some, this holiday brings strife, disappointment and heartache. I find that if you lower your expectations, (or don't have any to begin with) it's less disappointing when the flowers don't arrive on your desk at work, or your husband assumes you might celebrate another day because the holiday happens to fall on his poker night. Ladies, in his efforts to appease you, he may even try to invite you to tag along.
Secondly, in your effort to avoid disappointment, you can safely assume that the other person may have your best interests at heart, they just didn't take the time to be thoughtful.

If you really prize your paramour, show some effort and plan ahead. Have your significant other save the date to celebrate on their calendar (don't assume they already plan on spending that day with you), find out what the other person likes to do, or eat, or receive and then make your plan. Surprises can be tasteful and private too! A little forethought can go a long way.

If you're finding yourself alone on Valentines Day, don't fret. Rent a good romantic comedy (or an action flick if that's your thing), grab a carton of your favorite ice cream and settle in to your favorite spot on the couch for an entertaining evening. Or you could invite other people over and celebrate together. Whether you go out or stay in, the important thing is to remember you are loved with an everlasting love, by your Heavenly Father and what it all boils down to is that you are His and He can be yours. He'll have your heart, in any condition.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Skype Dot Com

This may not be a newsflash for most people, but...Have you ever tried using Skype.com? It's free (or virtually free) internet telephoney. If you have a high speed internet connection, a microphone and a webcam, you can video conference with your loved ones, anywhere in the world that has a simlar connection.

We can communicate with friends and loved ones overseas or in a different part of the country for free! I used it at my last job to communicate with business colleagues in China. Now I use it at home to talk with my parents in NY or my sister in Dansville. You can even use Skype to locate old classmates or to rekindle old friendships. You can even make yourself available to chat with total strangers, if that's your thing.

You can share files, including pictures and video clips, as well as instant message. My parents recently purchased a new computer from Dell, and I got them connected with Skype. Now my mother can see her "baby" when she wants to call me. She is lovin' it! I am also excited because now I can see my parents between visits to NY. We usually don't get up there too often, so Skype is a real blessing.

You can try it yourself. Just go to http://www.skype.com/ and download the free software. Create a UserID and password and then start searching for friends and add them to your contact list. The website will walk you through the whole process.

I highly recommend it.