Tuesday Trivia: April 28, 2015

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


For the final COED Tuesday Trivia of the 2014-2015 school year, we’re honoring our excellent COED faculty…

Who received the Dean’s Faculty Excellence Award at Mission Recognition last Tuesday?


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.

How the Ball Bounces: Eight Elite Lessons for Educators

resizeBy Peggy Wuenstel – I know UW and MU are rivals on the basketball court, but I suspect most Golden Eagle fans were pulling for the Badgers during March Madness.

I know I am dating myself here, but my freshman year at Marquette was the NCAA championship year. I wasn’t on campus for the 1977 championship game, but I felt the joy as I was one of the students spilling onto Wisconsin Avenue. I remember the campout for basketball tickets, games at the Milwaukee Arena, students walking downtown to watch the annual battle with archrival Notre Dame.

I work with several UW alumni who were justifiably morose on the Tuesday following the Badger’s defeat. But, we were all proud of what had been accomplished, if frustrated by how painfully close the team had come to taking it all. I began to ponder what Wisconsin’s NCAA loss can teach us as educators. My musings about this team started long before the fateful Monday night. Here is my “Elite Eight” of things the basketball Badgers can teach educators.

Interim Goals are Important

The bracket phenomenon has done a great thing beyond engaging the country in predicting the outcome of tournament games. It focuses us on the fact that getting to the tourney, advancing through the eights, the semis, and making it to the finals are all reasons for celebration. Perhaps the Badger’s elimination of Kentucky was the biggest accomplishment of the tourney. Teachers also need to celebrate the intermediate steps, the positives achieved along the way. This is even more crucial in our obsession with summative tests and high stakes scores.

Teamwork Matters

It takes many members beyond the five players on the court to make for a winning team. The skill and stamina of individual players is a key element, but so is the chemistry, training, and personal connection that allows them to work together. While schools tend to measure and focus on individual performance because it is more easily quantified, the soft skills that allow students to succeed are also key components of high-performing schools and classrooms. We have to make time and room to nurture these competencies in our students.

Doing Things Right, Not Making Mistakes or Turnovers Will Lead One to Success

Commentators during the NCAA tournament frequently referred to the Badger’s ability to avoid turnovers, penalties, and to keep their opponents off the free throw line as a piece of their success puzzle. As teachers, our ability to focus our students, to use our time wisely in the completion of assignments, and the mastery of skills can be greatly enhanced by setting the right expectations and emphasizing the paths that make things efficient, effective, and error-free.

On a Team, Joys are Multiplied, Sorrows Shared

Sharing the elation of wins is magnified with teammates or classmates to share it with. It is easier to face disappointment, fear, or defeat with supportive people around you. It is also essential to keep things in perspective. The riots in Kentucky following their tournament defeat were a stark contrast to the consolations on State Street following the Wisconsin loss. Having an intensity rheostat to meter appropriately pitched responses to both wins and losses are key tools that students need to develop.

What Endears You to Others is Not Your Ability to Perform for Them, But the Way You Reach Out to Them

Nigel Hayes’ Word of the Day to the stenographer, including soliloquy, quandary, zephyr, xylophone, added a light tone to press conferences. It also demonstrated how he reached out to those support personnel who make the tournament the event that it has become. Schools similarly rely on a supporting cast, paraprofessionals, clerical and maintenance professionals, lunch servers, and health workers. Our willingness to see them as teammates and our acknowledgment of their contributions are necessary for our school season success.

The Mike Might Be Live

Mr. Hayes provided another nugget in his adorable embarrassment over a kind compliment to an attractive woman during one of these press conferences. What a contrast to the racial slur used by an opponent when referring to a Badger teammate. Moms everywhere hoped to find a young man for their daughters, whose attitude about extolling a woman’s charms and his unwillingness to embarrass her, exemplified the poise of the UW team. For those of us in front of the classroom instead of the press corps: What we say, even in confidence, may come back in unexpected ways. Gossip about the families of our students, complaints about co-workers or administrators, and intensely held political views are all things we are entitled to– just not in the school environment. Curiosity is natural. Discretion is one of those tools we learn as professional educators.

Who We Are is Not Only Where We Finish

There is a stereotype of the student that becomes the “Teacher’s Pet.” What is more surprising is how often the student who we find most special is not the one who tops the list, but the one who needs us the most.  It is how we climb, who we bring along, and what this says about us. We don’t only love the champions, the gold medal winners, the blue ribbon performers. As Duke found out, people love to root for the underdogs, the Cinderellas, the dark horses. These are the folks teachers have always bet on and been invested in.

Where We Will Rise is Not Always Easily Observed at the Beginning

Frank the Tank was overlooked in the recruitment class. His journey to UW was well-documented.  Under the tutelage of skilled coaches, with encouragement and team support, and ongoing support from family, Mr. Kaminsky became the national player of the year. In this outstanding accomplishment, he reminds teachers to watch for the late bloomer, nurture the untapped potential. We may not see the results until long after they leave the classroom, but that doesn’t make the blossom any less beautiful.

Stumbling Upon My Passion at the Ott Memorial Writing Center

By Amanda Szramiak – Blank notepad and pencilI am currently enrolled in ENGL 4230: Writing Center Theory, and I have started my application to become a tutor in the Ott Memorial Writing Center here at Marquette.

I know what you’re thinking: We have a writing center? What does that even mean?

I wondered the same thing when Dr. Rebecca Nowacek told my class (ENGL 3210) about becoming a writing center tutor last semester. I went to an information session where current staff members talked about their jobs, and I was intrigued.

I began to contemplate taking the course. The class was four credits, and it fulfilled one of my writing requirements. I wasn’t sure if I could handle the workload, but I did have Dr. Nowacek before and she was a great teacher. I wasn’t sure if I could manage fifteen hours of interning on top of forty hours of field placement, but ambitious Amanda decided to ask for a permission code to enroll in the class.

Interning in the writing center has become an extreme passion of mine. The class is a lot of work, but I cannot explain how much I have learned over the course of the semester. Tutoring in the writing center is an intensely collaborative process, and it is quite different from teaching. As a tutor, I work with students in all disciplines, and we offer sessions to any writer at any stage of the writing process. Now that I know what the writing center is, I bring my own writing in to have a conversation about it. Whether you are a self-proclaimed writer or you struggle with compiling sentences, the Ott can help.

My tutoring philosophy for the writing center consists of many different values that resemble those I have developed in regards to teaching. One of the most important things for me as a tutor is making the writer feel comfortable. Coming in to the writing center and bringing personal writing can be a daunting task. By acknowledging this, I want to make all writers feel comfortable when sharing their writing.

In addition to making writers feel comfortable in sharing their writing with me, I aspire to make writers comfortable with their writing. I encourage writers by letting them know they are capable of anything they put their mind to, and I reassure them that I will be there every step of the way. As William Faulkner explained, “Get it down. Take chances. It may be bad, but it’s the only way you do anything really good.”

I also value a collaborative and productive environment in the writing center. Doris Lessing said it best, “You only learn to be a better writer by actually writing.” Although I want to make students feel comfortable and confident, I intend to achieve the writer’s goal in a collaborative and efficient way.

Hopefully after reading this, I’ll be seeing you in the writing center!

How to be a Highly Effective Marquette Student: Insights from Sean Covey

9780684856094_p0_v1_s260x420By Aubrey Murtha – When I was in middle school, my parents gave us Murtha kids a book by Sean Covey for Christmas entitled The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens. 

I am a big fan of self-help literature because, hey, if someone knows how to live more fully than I do, I’ll take any advice that I can get. The other day, I was doing homework at my desk in Schroeder Hall, and I was reminded of the infinite wisdom in this book when I spotted it on my shelf. I was inspired to write a post about it because I remembered how helpful these tips where for me during my early teenage years.

All of the steps come directly from Covey’s book, and I’ve incorporated some of my own insights into the explanations. MU students, think about making it a summer goal to adopt some of these pointers.  Teachers, you might share them with your middle and high schoolers.

Be Proactive

You’re the pilot of your own life, the conductor of your own orchestra, the director of your own Broadway show. Don’t sit back, whine, and wallow in self-pity. If something is not happening for you, go out and make it happen. Sure, some social barriers may stand in your way, but give yourself a fighting chance by pursuing your interests and aspirations. Take responsibility for your successes and failures and remember that you are not, nor should you be, a victim.

Begin with the end in mind

Be goal oriented. There’s no need to map out your life—there’s value in spontaneity!—but as Covey would argue, “all things are created twice—first mentally, second physically.” It takes at least a loose plan of action to achieve something meaningful.

Put first things first

                This is often very tricky for Marquette students. It’s tough to admit to yourself that you’re overcommitted or that you party a bit too much or perhaps that it was not the wisest decision to watch that eighth episode of Friends last night. Prioritizing is oh-so-important because it increases your productivity and decreases your stress. By keeping your eye on the prize, you’ll avoid unnecessary distractions and stay both focused and organized. As Covey says, “the main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.”

Think Win-Win

This habit suggests that we seek win-win solutions to our problems: that is, that we avoid selfish (I win, you lose) or martyr (I lose, you win) resolutions to pressing issues. It is important to approach conflict resolution with an “everyone-can-win attitude” since life so often involves cooperative collaboration.

Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood

Listen, process, absorb. Then speak your mind respectfully. This is my favorite of the habits because we SO often struggle to understand. I think so many of our daily conflicts could be remedied if we closed our mouths and opened our ears every now and then (Covey reminds us that we have two ears and one mouth for a reason). No one has all the answers, so sit down, shut up, and listen intently to your neighbor. Then share your opinions because your views are valuable, too!


Work with others to produce a strategy together that is far better than it could have been had you devised it alone. Covey talks about synergism as creating a third alternative or utilizing a combination of individual strengths to develop a plan that is not yours or mine, but ours. Teamwork makes the dream work, am I right? Marquette students, think of how many brilliant and talented peers you have. Unite and do something beautiful.

Sharpen the Saw

Phew. After all of that self-improvement, you probably need a break. Take some time to do what you love and renew yourself physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. You earned it. According to Covey, this is the habit that enables us to live out the other six fully and completely. So, take full advantage of the opportunity to play some pick up ball, take a hot bath, or go on a romantic date with bae. Refuel and reenergize.

Go forth, now, and be effective human beings.

Did you like this post?  Check out Covey’s awesome site at http://www.seancovey.com/teens.html  or give his book a read.  Some information taken from: https://www.iusd.org/chs/Handbook%20Files/HB_Seven_Habits_of_Highly_Efffective_Teens8.pdf

#IWishMyTeacherKnew: Getting New Insight Into Counseling

resizeBy Sabrina (Bong) Bartels — Having spent (almost) two years counseling the same group of students, I would like to think that I have pretty sound knowledge on many of them.

I know that some of my students come to school hungry because they don’t have enough food. I know that some are scared to go home, and some don’t even have a home to go to at the end of the day. However, after reading the inspiring story of Colorado teacher Kyle Schwartz, I am not so confident in my knowledge.

If you haven’t heard this story, it is amazing. Kyle Schwartz teaches at an elementary school in Denver. One day, she asked her students to finish this sentence: “I wish my teacher knew …” She told them that they could put their names on their responses, or they could leave them anonymous. The responses she got were astonishing. To name a few:

“I wish my teacher knew I don’t have friends to play with me.”

“I wish my teacher knew sometimes my reading log is not signed because my mom is not around a lot.”

“I wish my teacher knew how much I miss my dad because he got deported to Mexico when I was 3 years old and I haven’t seen him in six years.”

“I wish my teacher knew my parents.”

“I wish my teacher knew I don’t have pencils at home to do my homework.”

She took to Twitter, starting the hashtag #IWishMyTeacherKnew, and began posting some of her students’ answers. Soon, teachers around the country began posing the same question to their students, and receiving responses. While some responses are funny (for example, “I wish my teacher knew how to do a back flip”), many confess more serious things.

Whenever I look on Twitter and see educators posting what students wish their teachers knew, I am inspired. I think it’s great that teachers, counselors, and administrators are working to get to know their students at a deeper level. Too often, I see students hiding the negative aspects of their life from peers and adults, for fear of judgment. Sometimes it leads to so much anxiety and stress that it begins to manifest in other ways: outbursts in class, mood swings, physical confrontations, and defiance.

I think as educators, it is so important that we build strong relationships with our kids and make them comfortable enough to talk to us. It will not only make us more informed, but also make us better teachers. Once we know more about a child’s background, we will be able to match our teaching styles to fit with that student’s knowledge. I can’t tell you how many times my relationship with a student changed once they told me something about their background. It was as if a lightbulb went off in my head, and I suddenly knew why I was seeing some of the behaviors I had been seeing all year. It doesn’t explain everything or everyone, but more often than not, it does offer a glimpse into the past that has really helped me out.

After seeing this story, I began to wonder: how well do I actually know my students, the students that I have counseled for the past two years of their lives? I thought I had a really good knowledge of them, but maybe not! One of my classes offered to be my “guinea pigs.” Here are a few of their responses:

“I wish Mrs. Bartels knew that the high heels don’t make her taller than us.”

“I wish my counselor knew that she is like my school mom and that I probably tell her more than I tell my real mom.”

“I wish my counselor knew that I never told anyone else about what we talked about yesterday.”

“I wish my counselor knew I don’t try to be a bad kid, I don’t know why I am, and I wish more people would see that”

“I wish Mrs. Bartels knew that there is a lot of pressure to do stuff with boys, and that I’m scared I’m going to do the same thing.”

For more on Kyle Schwartz’s story, you can read the USA Today article here or check out her account on Twitter: @kylemschwartz

Tuesday Trivia: April 21, 2015

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

In honor of Earth Day tomorrow…


Who wrote Silent Spring, a book that documented the harmful effects of pesticides on the environment and on birds?


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.

On Student Loans, Teacher Loan Forgiveness, and Free Teacher Education

Student-Loans-5By Nick McDaniels — If this post comes off as self-interested, that’s because it is.

I, like many American teachers in their twenties and thirties, have student loans to repay.  I, like the same American teachers, hope they are repaid before I must begin paying for my daughter to go to school.

Teachers, in the past and today, including I, have found some relief from student loans through repayment and forgiveness programs specifically designed to reduce the burden of loans on teachers teaching in low-income schools.   However, these programs have become harder and harder to take advantage of as more and more teachers are receiving loans which make them ineligible for forgiveness or repayment programs, or are faced with the prospect of teaching and paying on loans for 120 consecutive monthly payments before a forgiveness opportunity kicks in.

The economics of this for me means I likely gain just as much benefit from paying these loans off as quickly as possible rather than waiting for potential repayment incentives which might even match the interest I’ll pay over the amount of time waiting for the incentives to kick in.

If this is the case for me, as it must be for some others, then our incentive program is not that much of an incentive at all and should be overhauled.  If we are considering an overhaul, we must consider a few things, and we’ll pretend that it is not an option to make college education free to all Americans:

1) Is teaching a career that we want to incentivise with student loan forgiveness programs?

I think when comparing the balance of social importance of teachers with the relative low pay, making teacher training costs less of a long term encumbrance on teachers is likely a good thing.

2) If we want to incentivise teaching as a career choice, then how can we do so through student loan programs?

I think the answer here is simplicity.  If a program is devised that allows 18 year old future teachers to enroll in a program that will guarantee them if they teach in a certain type of school until they are 28 years old or 32 years old and the entirety of their student loan balance will be repaid, no matter how much they have paid, no matter how much they owe, no matter what type of loans they have, then we have created an incentive where the choice is much clearer for the soon to be teachers.  In other words, the closer we can get to a “you agree to teach, you go to school for free” program, the more impact it will have as an incentive.

3) If we want a simplified method of years-of-service/location-of-service oriented teacher loan repayment, how would that system dovetail with the current system we know?

The answer is likely to create a separate class of student loans designed specifically for future teachers.  These loans would then have to be easily transitioned into other types of loans in the event that the person receiving the loans became no longer eligible under term of repayment.   Having a separate, profession-specific track of student loans would give policy makers the freedom to determine the value of having good teachers relative to the value of having those same teachers encumbered with student loans.  This could open the possibility of having more profession-specific tracks of student loans to incentivise the building of certain professions.

In the arena of trying to convince young, bright people to become teachers, creating financial incentives is part of the process and a serious look at the seemingly ineffective teacher incentives provided by the current student loan scheme is necessary.

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