Posts Tagged 'Aubrey Murtha'

Seven Tips on How to Conduct Yourself at Your Field Placement

teachingBy Aubrey Murtha – I am nearly finished with my first semester of field work.  I realize that, comparatively speaking, I am still a novice when it comes to field work, but I think I’ve learned a few important things this semester that I’d like to share with all of my younger peers in the College of Ed.  Keep these helpful tips in mind if you start your field placements next semester.  They really came in handy for me.

  1. Always communicate professionally with your cooperating teacher.
    Make sure that you ask him or her how he or she would like to be in touch with you throughout the semester.  Some teachers prefer that you communicate with them strictly using their professional e-mail addresses.  Others may give you their cell phone numbers and tell you to call or text with questions.  Be polite, and make use of greetings and closing statements.  Always reread your e-mails or texts before you send them to check for typos.  Ask your coop teacher right away how he or she would like you to address him or her (i.e. Mr. __, Ms. ___, Kathy, etc).  Make sure you use their formal title in the classroom when students are present.
  1. Dress appropriately.
    Treat this experience like a job.  No jeans, leggings or sweats.  Appropriate tops and modest dresses or skirts are a must for female Ed students.  I’ve noticed that this is particularly important in the secondary school setting.  You do not want to be dressed even remotely inappropriately around male middle or high school students as it can take away from your credibility in the classroom.  In the case of male Ed students, it is always better to be over dressed than underdressed.  Invest in a few collared shirts and ties.
  1. Manners!
    Be polite and courteous to everyone at all times.  Obviously, this applies to your coop teacher and your students, but also be sure to interact with other school staff members kindly and respectfully.  School secretaries or the maintenance crew are invaluable resources—they know everything there is to know about the school—so please, be courteous.
  1. Be a meaningful force in the classroom.
    Don’t just sit quietly in the back of the classroom.  Get involved.  Your coop teacher is not going to beg for you to participate in his or her classroom.  It is up to you to make yourself a presence by asking how you can be of assistance or offering to lead activities with your students.  Remember, you are a teacher.  Act like one.
  1. Create an authoritative image for yourself; demand respect appropriately.
    Make sure that you are firm with your students when it is necessary, that you use an authoritative voice when you are teaching something or when a situation merits a serious tone, and that you at least give off the appearance of confidence, even if you are nervous inside.  Your students will respect you if you can do those things.  Remember, you are their teacher, not necessarily their friend and definitely not their peer.
  1. Show Up!
    This may be obvious, but you need to make sure that you are showing up to your field site.  Not only is your attendance a mandatory part of your grade for your education class, but it also proves to your students that you are dedicated to them and their success.  Also, you want to model good behaviors for your kids, and if you do not honor your commitment to them, you are teaching them inadvertently that it is okay for them to ignore their commitments to others.
  1. Learn the names of your kids.
    This is the most basic way that you can show that you care about your kids.  For all of us, our names are an important part of our identity.  Let your kids know that you want to know who they are and that you are trying to get to know them by learning their names.  It’s that easy.

I hope these tips help you experience success in your field placement classroom.  Good luck!

A Thanksgiving Prayer

Rosary01By Aubrey Murtha – I found this stellar prayer of Thanksgiving for all teachers while I was surfing the web.  Check it out this holiday season!

“A Teacher’s Prayer of Thanksgiving” by Linda Starr

Thank you, God, for I am a teacher. As a teacher, I have the power to educate, to inspire, to challenge, to comfort, to reassure, to ennoble. The scope of my influence is incalculable; each of my students leaves my classroom changed in some way by what I did and said. Through those students, I have the power to change the world.

Thank you for entrusting me with that responsibility. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to do what I love. Thank you, too, for providing those things that enabled me to love what I do. Thank you for

  • the administrator who trusted my judgment and supported my decisions — no matter who questioned them.
  • the parents who faithfully showed up for parent-teacher conferences — to listen, to communicate, to cooperate.
  • the surprise assembly that held my students’ interest — and got me off my feet.
  • the substitute who, without complaint, turned sometimes sketchy plans into exciting lessons.
  • the student who struggled but refused to give up.
  • the creative teammate who freely shared her best ideas.
  • the party at which no self-described wit expounded on my “high pay and short hours.”
  • the student who suddenly “got it.”
  • the days with no surprises.
  • the student who knew more about technology than I did.
  • the unexpected absence of my most disruptive student.
  • the specials who provided activities that supported my curriculum.
  • the colleague who covered my class for five minutes so I could run to the restroom.
  • the practical in-service session that held my interest.
  • the competent aide who gave me time to teach.
  • the volunteers who baked cupcakes, chaperoned field trips, and provided enrichment activities.
  • the colleague who swapped recess duty — or cafeteria duty or bus duty — when I absolutely, positively had to have a few minutes to myself.
  • the unexpected holiday.
  • anyone who — at any time, for any reason — remembered to say “Thank you for being a good teacher!”

Find the poem here:


Teacher: An Acrostic Poem for Studying

204073798_14109a55b3By Aubrey Murtha – I’ve been learning a crazy amount of material in my Literacy in the Content Areas and Exceptional Needs classes this semester at Marquette, and as a way for me to review the major concepts I’ve come across thus far, I am writing you a poem.

That’s right. Grab your Kleenex because you’re about to be swept away by my inspirational poetic genius. Ha!

So, are acrostic poems considered the highest form of poetry? Yes? Alright, then that is what I will compose. Buckle your seat belts, kids, because this is about to be profound:


“T.E.A.C.H.E.R.: An Acrostic Poem”

T: Teaches students to make real-life connections. After all, what is the use of writing a proof or analyzing Hamlet if students are unable to see how such exercises will benefit them in the long run.

E: Engages students using differentiated instruction.

A: Assesses fairly.

C: Chooses challenging texts for students to read in order to A.) promote literacy through the development of active reading strategies and  B.) help students to better understand the nuances of the content area lesson.

H: Has heart. A teacher is passionate about what he or she does. If you are not demonstrating enthusiasm for your job, you should reconsider your profession.

E: Encourages students to be responsible for their own education by creating a classroom environment in which the students can be teachers, too

R: Reassures students, praises them appropriately when they demonstrate progress or insight, recognizes their potential, and assures them that they can reach that potential.

Why I Love the College of Ed

616517482f8b4b61bb5191a369a52166By Aubrey Murtha – My decision to become a teacher has been, without a doubt, one of the single best decisions I have ever made.  I wholeheartedly believe that teachers are the reason that we are students here at Marquette University; sometime during our youth, some teacher encouraged us to reach for the stars, to recognize our full academic potential, and to explore avenues of intellectual and personal discovery that ultimately propelled us to excel in ways we never imagined possible.  One of our teachers told us we could, and so we did.  And now, we are here studying at this amazing academic institution.

I want to that be that person in a young adult’s life.  So, three years ago, I decided to pursue degrees in secondary education and writing intensive English here at Marquette University.  My main home on campus is the College of Education, located over in good old Schroeder.  Since my first class in the College of Ed, Introduction to Education in Diverse Society with Professor Miller, I have felt the profound connection that my professors have with their subjects.  It takes a very passionate human being to teach young people how to be successful, motivated and effective teachers for Milwaukee’s inner-city youth, and the faculty and staff in the College of Ed have been nothing short of fully invested in our growth and development as blooming new teachers.

In conjunction with these meaningful classroom experiences at Marquette, each one of us teachers-in-training gets several opportunities to complete semester-long service learning experiences, field placements, and eventually, a semester-long student-teaching assignment.  For me, these professional experiences outside of the Marquette community have been invaluable.  Not only have I had the chance to learn from teachers who are effectively teaching groups of students in Milwaukee schools, but I have also been able to develop skills that will enable me to be successful at my student-teaching placement senior year and in the work force following my time here at Marquette.  I am very grateful for the relationships I have made with my students and cooperating teachers and the opportunities I have had to experience different learning environments throughout the city of Milwaukee.

So, I guess this is a thank you.  A thank you to the College of Education at Marquette, to my intelligent professors, to my talented and enthusiastic classmates, to the interesting and dynamic cooperating teachers with whom I have had the privilege of working, and to the sassy 17-year-old reason that I am doing this job–my current crop of students.   I cannot wait to see where this goes, and I am so confident that the College of Education will make sure that I am ready to mold young minds and change young lives.

I am a Marquette Education major.  I am Marquette.

A Prayer for Good Luck on Mid-Terms


Dear readers,

Well, midterms are coming up, and I am a sucker for a good “before exam” prayer session. I found these two prayers, and I thought some others might like to see them. I always try to remember to pray before a big test because it calms me down. If you are able to, share these with your students. Otherwise, try them out before your big exam.

Much Love,


Prayer Before a Test
Lord, thank you that you are with me right now
Your love surpasses all fear
I give you the anxiety I feel
I surrender all my worries to you
Clear my mind
Calm my heart
Still my Spirit
Relax my being
That I may always glorify you
In everything I write, speak and do

(A modern prayer for exam nerves from

Philippians 4:6

“Don’t worry about anything,

but pray about everything.

With thankful hearts offer up your prayers

and requests to God.”

You Know You’re in Love with Your Field Placement When…

6276586123_7bfaf2c318_bBy Aubrey Murtha – You know you’re in love with your field placement when…

  1. You are bright-eyed when your alarm wakes you up at 6am for your morning placement. It’s 6am! Finally!
  2. You find yourself rehearsing your students’ names in your free time. Juanita, Paula, Rebecca, Julio, Inez, Ricardo…
  3. Everything you see, think, hear, touch, taste and smell gives you a brilliant idea for a lesson plan. How can I write a lesson plan about this cup of coffee?
  4. You actually ask your coop teacher what you can do to be more involved in the classroom. Can I teach the next ACT grammar lesson?
  5. You research things that you hear your students discussing in class in order to stay hip with the lingo of younger generations. Okay, I’ll remember to that mysterious term later.
  6. You work on learning another language and culture in order to better identify with your students. İHablo español!
  7. When you’re at the mall, you look longingly at the pantsuits and reading glasses at your mom’s favorite store. Mom, how do you like this charcoal gray against my skin tone?
  8. The title Ms. ____ or Mr. ____ excites you. You mean you’re actually referring to me as Ms. Murtha?  A seventeen year old is calling me Ms.? Did I just become an adult?
  9. You downloaded the Common Core app and typed a list of the Wisconsin Teaching Standards in the “Notes” tab on your phone. Hold on one second, let me just reference this app.
  10. You think of fun ways you can surprise your kids. Hmm…would they like cupcakes today?  Or is it more of a candy day?
  11. Come to think of it, you just realized you are now referring to your students as “my kids.” “Wait, Aubrey, since when do you have kids?”
  12. It’s fascinating to watch your professors teach. Oh, what an innovative way to address that learning objective.
  13. In fact, sometimes you want to teach your class because you think you could do a better job. I mean this in the nicest way possible, but maybe you can let me do your job today?
  14. If one of your kids is upset, you feel off. I wonder why she is acting out. Is she frustrated? Confused?  Is something going on at home? 
  15. The thought of graduating college becomes a lot less scary. You mean I graduate, and then I get to do this for the rest of my life? How’d I get so lucky?

When It Happened


By Aubrey Murtha –  I remember when it happened.

American Airlines (AA) pilot Captain (CAPT) James C. Condes, shows his son Christopher, the inscribed pilot's name of the ill fated flight 77, CAPT Charles Burlingame, prior to a memorial service at Arlington National Cemetery for the 184 victims of the September 11th, 2001, terrorist attack on the Pentagon.

American Airlines (AA) pilot Captain (CAPT) James C. Condes, shows his son Christopher, the inscribed pilot’s name of the ill fated flight 77, CAPT Charles Burlingame, prior to a memorial service at Arlington National Cemetery for the 184 victims of the September 11th, 2001, terrorist attack on the Pentagon.


I was in the first grade. My teacher knew that my dad was an airline pilot for United—one of the airlines involved in the incident—so we did not discuss it in class. Instead, I heard the older kids talking in hushed tones in the hallway, and I was left confused and unaware.

I walked home after school, and I found my mom sitting on the couch, tears in her eyes as she nervously watched the media coverage on T.V. and awaited a phone call from my dad, a call to assure us that his aircraft was not one of the hijacked planes. He called, thank God, and as she sobbed, I watched the footage of a plane crashing into a very tall building. I saw lots of people on the T.V. crying and lots of pictures of the American flag and lots of brave looking men and women in uniforms heading toward the flames.

I remember it all like it took place this morning. School children are impressionable. It is wild how some things can stay so fresh in your mind, memories as clear and crisp as that morning in early autumn 14 years ago.

Never forget.

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