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Social Media for Preservice Teachers

SocialMediaBubblesBy Clare Jorgensen — Like many students here at Marquette, I am very attached to my phone.

I try my best not to run into anyone while walking down Wisconsin Avenue when I’m texting or surfing the Internet, and I usually spend my small breaks from studying on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Buzzfeed, or Twitter.

And, while I admit I’m a bit addicted to technology, I do use some of my time to prepare for my future as a teacher.

On Facebook, Twitter, and Buzzfeed, I follow different teaching pages as well as old friends who became teachers. These pages get me excited as I prepare to become a teacher, and I can also bookmark certain pages or articles I find interesting. Ultimately, it will be important that I put my own personal flare into my teaching, but for now it’s good to see what’s out there and what has worked for others. Through these same outlets, I can also see information from the Marquette College of Education, including news and other important information.

Overall, though, Pinterest is my favorite tool for preparing to be a teacher. I spend some of my time looking up different business outfit ideas that I could wear to Field Experience, and eventually to student teaching. I have a board of places to visit in Europe if I study abroad in Madrid next semester. I have study skills pins, which I intend to utilize during my years here, and I hope to give the information to my future students. Lastly, I have a “Teacher tools” board where I put different ideas for lessons in a high school Spanish, some different book ideas, and also some craft ideas for a classroom. Many of my pins come from the College of Education page, where they have different fun boards for everyone.

I’ll be honest — I don’t spend all of my social media time devoted to preparing to be a teacher, but I think the ways that I do use it to inform my teaching are important.

When I start preparing lesson plans, I can have these tools readily available, so it is important for me to learn as much about them as possible.

Not everyone uses social media as often as I do, if at all; but I would definitely recommend looking into Pinterest so you can see the many ideas for education-related projects and lessons it has.

Wisdom and Wisecracks From my Middle School Students

redheels_bike2By Sabrina Bong – Ever since I started at the middle school, I have been accumulating stories about my kids.

Some are serious, but a good majority of them are funny. I think my favorite one is where my elementary students thought I fell off my bicycle because I was wearing high heels while riding on it! (And for the record, I was not wearing heels; I am just naturally klutzy!)

This year, I am teaching a class for seventh grade students. To start the class, I asked the students to write a “bucket list,” which is a list of things you want to accomplish before you die. Some of the lists were rather entertaining!

After reading through all 29 responses, I compiled a list of the top 10 things my students wrote.  Here are some of the most popular things on their buckets lists (in order!)

  1. Ride an ostrich (Really? An ostrich? And out of 29 students, 15 of them want to ride an ostrich.)
  2. Let go of a floating lantern
  3. Get married
  4. Have kids
  5. Move to California (or another state, but California was mentioned several times.)
  6. Go to college (some students even mentioned specific schools!)
  7. Become a professional athlete
  8. Drive/ride in a fancy car
  9. Get a job
  10. Go skydiving

I asked them the next day to write a piece of advice that they would give a new student at the school. Some of the responses include:

“Don’t just be a star, be a shooting star! Chase your dreams and wish for the best.”

“Don’t date until you are mentally mature enough to date.”

“Be yourself. Don’t worry about what other people think of you. Just do what you want, wear what you want, and don’t listen to what other people think of you.”

“Always try again. When you fail, it’s actually your first attempt at learning.”

“Stay out of the drama. Do it. It will make life better.”

“Get to class on time all the time. Otherwise your teachers get really mad.”

“Don’t laugh when you’re on your iPad, because then your teachers know you aren’t actually doing your work.”

“Don’t get your teacher mad, especially if she’s about to have a baby.”

“Everyone has gone through being a new student at one time or another. Everything will turn out fine.”

I wanted to share these responses for many reasons. The first is that some of them are pretty amusing, and we all need to just laugh once in a while! I know I was giggling quite a bit when I saw that many of my students wanted to ride an ostrich. Apparently, some of them began Googling how to ride an ostrich and found out that there are places where you can actually race while riding an ostrich …

I also wanted to share these responses because while many of them are amusing, some are very deep. As I was reading all of the advice that they would give a new student, I was touched by their responses. Many of the people who mentioned drama were heavily involved in drama last year. It’s as if they are drawing from their personal experiences and rethinking their past decisions. It’s also eerie to see pieces of my own advice crop up in their responses (I can’t tell you how often I tell my middle school students not to date!)

I’ve learned a lot from my kids, just from their responses. I’ve learned that even though my 12 and 13 year old students are still kids, they have also seen quite a bit in life.

Great job, students! I’m so proud of you.

Tuesday Trivia: September 30, 2014

How much do YOU know about Marquette University and the College of Education?
Test your knowledge (and win cool prizes) every Tuesday!

TuesdayTrivia

When was Dr. Fuller, Director and Founder of the Institute for the Transformation of Learning, the superintendent of MPS?

 

Claim your chance to win by leaving the correct answer in the comments section below anytime today between 7am – 11pm. And don’t be afraid to play, even if someone has already posted the right answer! One winner will be randomly selected from ALL correct answers and announced the following day.  The winner will be posted on our Facebook page and notified by email.  Please note that you must have a valid email address listed in your comment or WordPress profile to win.

I Don’t Love My Job Anymore

love-your-jobBy Peggy Wuenstel – I’ve changed the way I talk about my job.

I used to be able to say unequivocally that “I love what I do”. I still eagerly anticipate the start of each school year, relish buying new supplies, and planning how this year will be better than the last one. I look forward to the open faces and minds of my students. The grateful looks from their parents as they now release their darlings to our care after a summer of family togetherness.  I enjoy the collaboration and companionship of my colleagues, catching up on what has happened in their lives while we have been apart.

For the first time that I can remember in my public school career, there are no new hires in my building this year, even though there are almost 25 new staffers district-wide to get to know.  Each of them brings something different to the table and enriches the practice of teaching. What I can continue to say is that I love the people that I do this job for and do this job with throughout the year.

The other way things have changed is how I talk about my job outside the education community I used to be able to say with great pride in any company that “I am a teacher”. Now, sadly, I need to know my audience. Politics, tough economic times, and the increasing polarization of our society have painted a target on my back for some individuals that I encounter. Even those who don’t live in my community, and therefore are not responsible for my salary, often feel it necessary to weigh in on how they believe that I am overcompensated and underworked.  They expound on the failures of the American education system, the horrors of the common core, and the decline of America’s youth with absolutely no accurate information on the subject.  Everyone feels qualified to outline what is wrong with teaching in America even if they cannot offer any ways in which to reverse the decline.

Several outstanding educators that I know were asked to play “WHAT IF?” this summer, to re-imagine the state’s education system if we could start from scratch. Their comments were insightful, sad, but also inspiring. It is difficult to generate corrective measures for things that you are not invested in, that you do not truly hope to see succeed.  These teachers care to their cores. It is next to impossible to keep toiling at something that you do not think has any hope of success.

These educators do not think that the situation is hopeless. This is a lesson classroom teachers learn early. Kids are easily discouraged when the tasks set before them are too difficult. For elementary students, there needs to be about an 80% success rate to maximize learning and internalization of a skill. The child, the teacher, and the system that is consistently confronted with failure will accept that as the inevitable nature of things. It appears that this may be by design in today’s education system.

We have systematically withdrawn funding, public support and respect for the profession of teaching. We have added record-keeping, high stakes assessments, value-added evaluations of teacher performance that hold educators responsible for things outside of their control, and a “customer is always right” model of schools. We have for-profit privateers waiting in the wings to take over the most promising students, receiving government encouragement through voucher funding, tax breaks, lobbyists, and preferential treatment in testing and evaluation procedures. All this has significantly eroded the admiration of the teaching profession.

I, and nearly all of the teachers I have worked with over the years, did not become teachers for the hefty paycheck or the ease of the job. I did want to be respected, and sometimes even loved by the children and families that I serve. I wanted to be valued by my colleagues, sought out as a resource, and remembered as someone who cared. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs was required learning for most of us in the teaching profession. There is a second tier of needs that most human beings need to have filled in their existence, beyond the basic food, water, and shelter. Included in that list is to be of service in the world. I have always felt fortunate that I could fulfill that by going to work every day.

That is one of the main reasons that I continue to look forward to going to work. The rush I get inspires me to be active beyond the classroom in my union, my community, my world. So very often the people I meet there are teachers as well.  Their collective mantra seems reliably to be “How can I help?” I am proud to be in their company.  We have got to find a way to make it possible for the most insightful, compassionate, creative, and hard-working among us to see teaching as a viable option for their futures. We have to insure that the old guard can retire knowing that their replacements on the parapets are up to the task.

We have to believe that they love the job as much as we did and that they will have a world in which they can say it loud and proud, “I love my teaching job!”

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A Toast to President Lovell and the Humanities

LovellFeatureBy Aubrey Murtha – I attended Dr. Lovell’s Inauguration this past Friday, and it was tremendous.

Not only did I leave looking forward to what the future holds for this great academic institution, but I also left with an overwhelming sense of pride in Marquette University, the most fantastic epicenter of intellectual growth and exploration on both sides of the Mississippi (a new phrase I have recently adopted to essentially say that MU is the greatest university in the country, no biases obviously).

For me, one of the highlights of the ceremony was when President Lovell announced the University’s new initiatives—specifically, the Center for Advancement of the Humanities. Thank you to the anonymous Marquette alumna who is making this project possible, and thank you, Dr. Lovell, for expressing your commitment to the humanities:

“Most importantly, I am fully committed to deepening and enriching the study of the humanities in the Jesuit tradition. With the foundation provided by this commitment, we will become a beacon for scholars both nationally and internationally to teach, research and exchange ideas alongside our talented students and highly respected faculty.”   — read more

As a secondary education and English major, I am deeply committed to the humanities.  I am excited by the prospect of research in the humanities occurring right here at Marquette.  I mean, we do tremendous research in science and engineering.  Why not enhance our studies of literature or anthropology?

So here’s to all of you history majors, theologians, word nerds, philosophes, and learned artists out there who contribute valuable work in the various fields of the humanities.  Marquette is finally toasting you!  You deserve it.

Tuesday Trivia: September 23, 2014

How much do YOU know about Marquette University and the College of Education?
Test your knowledge (and win cool prizes) every Tuesday!

TuesdayTrivia

How many years has Dean Henk served as the

dean of the College of Education at Marquette?

Claim your chance to win by leaving the correct answer in the comments section below anytime today between 7am – 11pm. And don’t be afraid to play, even if someone has already posted the right answer! One winner will be randomly selected from ALL correct answers and announced the following day.  The winner will be posted on our Facebook page and notified by email.  Please note that you must have a valid email address listed in your comment or WordPress profile to win.

You’re Invited: Celebrate Teachers & Teaching

logo-highres-wide-031113We all know that teachers do some of the most important work in our society … but perceptions about teachers and teaching are not always so kind.

The central importance of teachers to the success of our youth and our region’s continuing economic and social development is misunderstood or, often, overlooked.

As a result, the Education Deans of Greater Milwaukee (EDGM), a collective comprised of deans from nine area higher education institutions, has instituted a celebration honoring the work of teachers in the Milwaukee area. The event is open to the public and all who support the work of teachers are encouraged to attend.

Join us for an evening of celebration honoring outstanding teachers in the Greater Milwaukee area.

Celebration of Teachers & Teaching
Thursday, October 16
Alverno College Conference Center
3400 S 43rd St
Tickets: $25*

Festivities begin at 6:30 p.m. with heavy appetizers and a raffle-style auction
Brief awards ceremony will take place at 7:30 p.m.
Cash bar will be available

*Each admission includes appetizers and 10 tickets for our Celebration of Teachers & Teaching silent auction, which includes gift cards and items donated by: Afro Fusion Cuisine, Alverno Presents, Becky’s Blissful Bakery, The Chef’s Table, Comet Café, Evolution Gastro Pong, From Milwaukee with Love, Great Lakes Distillery, Harley-Davidson Museum, Indulgence Chocolatiers, Marcus Hotels & Restaurants, The Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee Food & City Tours, Nueske’s, Patricia O’Brien & Co., Present Music, Purple Door Ice Cream, Rishi Tea, The Ruby Tap, Skylight Theater, SURG Restaurants, The National Café, Transfer Pizzeria and Cafe and Wolf Peach Restaurant.

ALL PROCEEDS from this event will help to establish an EDGM fund to promote teacher professional development and advancement of the reputation of the teaching field.


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