Posts Tagged 'students'

  We Better Listen to the Kids

Dreamer of Dreams, by Joe Brusky/Overpass Light Brigade. Retrieved from Flickr for Creative Commons use.

As part of Dr. Melissa Gibson’s class Teaching Middle Secondary Social Science, students are asked to think about social studies in a new light — and throughout the course, their perceptions do shift. Through their blogging during the semester, we can see these changes in the students’ own words. Read on to learn along with our students!By Cynthia Zuñiga

The goal for any teacher is to not only educate their students, but to make sure students are able to use the knowledge we share and apply it to their daily lives. Personally, I strive towards this goal, but I also hope what I teach my students will help them become great citizens and create a stronger society than the one I grew up in. I have only recently learned that the version of history I was taught when I was in elementary and high school was based on half-truths. A lot of the important information in social studies classrooms is sugar coated or swept completely under the rug. This is something that I do not want for my classroom. I want my students to know the real society that they live in, so that they may not be as shocked as I was once they get older.

Thankfully, some teachers are already striving for this social change. They are igniting a flame in their students to take action and create change. A great example of this is the Milwaukee organization called Y.E.S. (Youth Empowered in the Struggle) that was founded through Voces De La Frontera (Voices of the Border). This is an organization that has been connecting with various high schools around the Milwaukee area to create “chapters.” Students learn about the social issues that are occurring within their area and nationwide. They create plans to get the community together in order to help them face these issues that are effecting their families, neighbors, teachers, etc.

As many students realize over time, the society that they live in is not perfect. Through a variety of social studies lessons, they learn the message that nothing in society will change if effort isn’t given. One helpful lesson would be studying the Civil Rights Movement and how the marches on the streets ensured people that their voices were heard. Another example is when Cesar Chavez began a boycott to help the United Farmworkers to make sure that others would realize the difficulties society would have without farmers. History can never changed by just watching on the sidelines; this is what is being taught to the students that are involved in the Y.E.S. program. You can watch this video of the annual May Day march held in Milwaukee. On this day, May 1st, all Latinx, immigrants, and refugees are encouraged to not attend their school, job, or any other responsibility. It is a day to demonstrate what life would be like without these people. It is a day to bring awareness while also gathering the community together.

When students organize and actually “do” social studies, they are able to use their freedom of speech to stand up for their beliefs and make a change. It allows them to apply historical knowledge of how others before them were able to stand their ground and make an impact. In addition, by organizing and attending these marches, the students become aware of social issue events that are happening within their immediate community and nationwide. Their perspectives on different cultures also change because they become more aware that oppression is not only placed on the Latinx and Black communities, but on other groups as well.

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Another example of students engaging in social studies on a national level is the National Walkout, when individual expressed their perspectives on gun laws and human rights. These students, like the Y.E.S. members, studied history and realized it had been repeated over and over, but that there had been little positive change. By participating in the National Walkout, these students took matters into their own hands to make sure that the government knew they were ready to fight for change. One quote that I heard repeatedly during the time of the walkout was “I think we better listen to the kids”; this quote is one hundred percent correct. Our students can change the world, and they are the ones who often have a clearer perspective than most adults.

The students, like those who participated in the walkout, are hungry for change, and they will not be satisfied until justice and reform have been accomplished. By participating activities such as the National Walkout, students are able to “do” social studies; by using their freedom of speech and applying their knowledge of human rights, they are able to learn and connect more about how the government works — specifically on the topic of guns. When students become politically active, they gain a variety of perspectives and then have the ability to branch out and stand up for many human rights issues.

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It is clear that more students are standing up for their rights and using their voice to be heard by those in power. Examples such as these are needed in the classroom when teachers discuss civic and informed action. Students will come to realize that when they see something with which they do not agree, they have the opportunity to educate themselves and fight back. Once students are equipped with that knowledge, teachers can then focus on the Amendments and other laws that protect them when they decide to speak their mind.

Proactive teachers can also use these examples to teach students the reasons why, historically, these groups of people have fought back and demanded change. Engaging in modern day movements can help students reflect back to the civil rights movement, and it can help them understand how minorities are still being neglected and treated poorly. Ultimately, as educators, we must focus our students’ attention on the differences in the lives of those who are privileged and those who are not. We must help them realize that not everyone has the same social, economic and educational opportunities. When they have such understandings, they will be better equipped to enter the real word and make big things occur. The children are our future, and I am ready to listen to what they have to say.

Getting to Know Our Students: Meet Dan Kim

This fall, we’re spending time getting to know our students a little better. This week, read on to meet Daniel Kim, a freshmen here in the College of Education. And, check out our other posts to catch up now!

daniel kimHi, I’m Dan Kim, a freshman studying in the College of Education. I am currently majoring in Secondary Education and Biological Sciences. I graduated from Adlai E. Stevenson High School just last May of this year. I honestly don’t think the idea that I’m a freshman in college has even fully hit me yet, as at no time during my senior year did it hit me that my time in high school was running out–not even during my graduation. I spent my time as a senior enjoying the little moments and relishing in the impactful ones. I’m definitely looking forward to my time at Marquette, making sure to make just as many memories as I did in high school!

I’ve actually lived in two different states before coming to Marquette. For the first five years of my life, I lived in the city of Chicago, constantly moving around from the city and its suburbs. I spent my childhood in Iowa City, Iowa, living there from age five to ten. When I entered middle school, my parents decided to move back to Chicago, so I spent four more years there. Right before I entered high school, my parents had caught wind of a phenomenal school located in the northwest suburbs of Chicago, so they decided it would be best for us to move into that area. Currently, I am living in the suburbs of Chicago, but technically you could say that I’m living in Milwaukee since I am attending Marquette. I have lived in Milwaukee since the official move-in day for freshman students, so for about a month and a half.

Both of my parents work in the medical field; my dad works as an internal medicine doctor, and my mom is a registered nurse. I do have a sister who is currently a sophomore in high school, and I have to admit, she is much smarter than me. My family as a whole is not too different from any other Korean family in America. Of course, most people who come over to my house for the first time notice all the things that are a part of my culture than the typical American culture; for instance, most Korean families have an extra fridge called a “kimchi fridge,” and my family is no exception.

In high school, I was a part of many different clubs as an upperclassman. One particular club that I loved was an organization called Operation Snowball. The way I had always described Operation Snowball in high school to attract new participants was by explaining that it was like a summer camp held in the winter within just two days. In Operation Snowball, students can either be a staff member, or apply for a director position, and plan a two-day retreat. It is almost completely student-run; teachers who sponsor the club are mainly there to make sure everything runs along smoothly and to supervise without interacting all that much. My favorite part for planning an Operation Snowball retreat was deciding the different topics we would talk about and games we would play in our small groups. Every staff member, with a co-staff member, was in charge of a small group consisting of five to eight participants, planning different activities to become more comfortable with one another. The end goal was to be feel like a family by the time we left the camp.

One upcoming opportunity I am very excited for is studying abroad! I want to learn more about my culture and my language, and I feel that the best way for me to that is to study abroad in South Korea. I’ve been to Korea many times already, but I’ve never lived there. I was born in Chicago and never really felt too interested in my cultural heritage until high school. I definitely cannot way to make new experiences in Korea, especially the student life there, as I know it is much different from life here in the states.

After graduation, my goal is to become an Environmental Biologist. But I am not entirely sure what I want to do when I want to settle down and have a family, as Environmental Biologists travel constantly to different countries around the world. I had always had an interest in education, as I find myself enjoying teaching others subjects they might not know or fully understand, so I thought that I should become a teacher after being a biologist for twenty or thirty years. I knew I wanted to double major in biology and education, and I had heard that Marquette has a really good education program when I was applying for colleges my senior of high school.

During my free time, I usually find a place where I can sing, as it is one of my passions. In high school, I was a part of my school’s most advanced choir, as well as an all-guys acapella group called “Just the Guys.” I’ve taken voice lessons for two years as during my sophomore year I lost interest in playing the drums and picked up singing.

Singing to me is something I can do almost anywhere, as most musicians need to carry their instrument around if they want to play it. For us vocalists, we always have our instruments on us: our voice! Of course, your singing voice is going to be different from your normal talking voice, but your “instrument” will always be with you no matter where you are. I find singing relaxing, so I usually sing when I feel frustrated or stressed out from school work to let it out.

Practice whenever you can, and if you feel like you need more help, ask other musicians to hear you sing and give you constructive feedback on what you need to work on. Singing can be learned by anyone, as with any instrument out there. You just need to put in the time and effort if you want to become a respectable vocalist. Honestly, I don’t have a musician or a singer I really look up to. My favorite band is Imagine Dragons, mainly because I find their music very enjoyable, and I always look at the message any song portrays. Imagine Dragons does this particularly well, as most of their songs have some kind of deeper meaning. However, I wouldn’t say I look up to them as an inspirational figure.

I’m definitely looking forward to the next four years here at Marquette. Even though I’m only a freshman, I’ve already had quite a few great experiences with the great people I’ve met. I can’t wait for what Marquette has in store for me next!

Tuning in to Your Inner Student

TwilightBy Sabrina Bong — When I was mentoring with Big Brothers Big Sisters during my last year of undergrad, my little sister excitedly told me that she was reading the Twilight series.

After telling me about all the characters and how much she enjoyed the books, she suggested that we have our own little book club. As a result, I found myself heading over to the local library to check out the first two Twilight books. Emily was delighted that I was reading the same thing that she was, and she proudly told all of her friends that her “big sister” knew all about the Bella and Edward and Jacob.

I must say this about Twilight: I didn’t particularly like it. At all. But I was happy that Emily was reading. It gave her a chance to ask someone questions about the book, such as whether high school was really how Stephanie Meyer portrayed it, or whether vampires really existed.  We talked about the main character, Bella, quite a bit as well. Emily asked a lot of questions about her, especially in terms of Bella’s role in a relationship. This allowed us to talk about relationships, even though Emily said she “never” wanted to date.

As a counselor, I now see how incredibly important it is to be “in tune” with the latest fads and what is important to students. You can relate to students in a number of different ways, which can lead to multiple ways to “break the ice.” I’m sure that I never would’ve had that conversation with Emily had Twilight not afforded us the opportunity. Even though I got a lot of grief from my friends for reading about sparkly vampires, it made my relationship with Emily much stronger.

This is why, as a future school counselor, I have promised myself to stay in touch with the latest technology and what students are excited about. If the middle school students love Justin Bieber, I may listen to a few of his songs. During my internship, a lot of the elementary school students loved movies like Despicable Me. Maybe I should be sure to watch some of the new movies that are coming out. My high school students were always abuzz about television shows like The Voice and Jersey Shore; I might spend a few minutes getting acquainted with the characters. It may not always be easy, or what I like, but it is what will connect with them the most.

People may laugh and joke about my vast array of interests (I think one of my supervisors teased me about being able to talk about football with the boys, and then turn around and talk about the latest fashion trends with the girls!) but it has really helped me. Students find me more approachable as a result, since I can relate to them on a wide range of things. From music, to books, to hobbies, I am able to relate to each and every one of my students on a personal level.

So, this summer, get acquainted with what students know: Read a Percy Jackson book, watch the latest Pixar movie, or spend a minute watching Duck Dynasty. Whatever it is, I’m sure your students will appreciate this attempt to get to know them better.

Teachers: Do your kids pass the flossing test?

DentistBy Matthew Olinski — I just finished my trip to the dentist.

I go to a really good dentist, and I enjoy going there… well, as much as one can enjoy going to the dentist knowing what inevitable procedures are about to be performed.

If this were a report card based upon my performance, I would get a C.  If my dentist were paid based upon my performance, he would not be so happy. In this case, I haven’t done my homework, and I’m ill prepared for the tests set before me.  The hygienist has to perform extra remediation based upon my poor performance.

My homework is flossing.

I know I have to do it, and on occasion I do this, but, as every dentist tells me, it must be done every day, preferably multiple times a day.  I use what I would consider the cliff notes version of flossing, which is mouthwash of some sort, (Listerine, etc.) but it does not have the same effectiveness.   So, when test day comes, my biannual trip to the dentist, it is probably obvious that I have not been keeping up with my homework.

Why am I bringing up my trip to the dentist?

Well, I have seen the comparison floating around the internet about what if certain people were paid based upon the performance of their clientele.  I was thinking of this as I was having my teeth cleaned by the hygienist.  My dentist would be graded fairly harshly, and I do take relatively decent care of my teeth, despite my tribulations and concerns as I walk into the dentist office. The dentist really has no control over how much soda I drink, whether I brush once or twice day, or any number of other factors.   So, how do we get people to care about their dental health?

So, how is this different from education?  How do we get students to buy into their education and begin to care about their learning?

This is the most relevant question in education.  Just as there are varying levels of dental care taken by different people, and whether or not they actually go to a dentist, students come from different backgrounds. They complete homework with different levels of success.  As educators, we are responsible for ensuring that each student “has clean teeth” when they walk out the door, no matter how well or ill prepared they were when they came in to the room to begin with.

How much would the world of education change if more people understood some of the challenges educators face each day.  I’m sure that my dentist has a concern over my dental health, but in reality, if I don’t take care of my teeth, he will for me, and he’ll charge quite a bit to do it. In addition, there is more pain for me as I sit in that dental chair.

As teachers, we can’t just let students walk out our doors ill prepared and just wait for the next patient to arrive. That’s not the way the education world works.

Nice to Meet You, Finally: Getting to Know Your Students

By Molly Malone — When I came to Guatemala, I had one goal: to teach English. And that’s what I did, my classes plowed through grammar and vocabulary. Although they did know English, I realized that I didn’t know my students. Sure, I knew how many brothers and sisters they had, what their favorite food was, and what they did on the weekends. But I didn’t REALLY KNOW them.

I have since taken off my horse blinders and really tried to get to know the girls and boys that I share time with every day.  I have been challenging myself to give my students creative outlets so they can express who they really are.

  • I asked students to write poems to describe a significant part of their lives. They wrote about God, love, sadness, their friends and their family.
  • I encouraged my class to write about what they want to accomplish in the next years.  They want to live abroad, have families, and have professional careers.  
  • I required my students to give speeches as presidential candidates and make promises to the people of Guatemala. They want to stop violence, improve education, and help the poor.

My classes are filled with poets, artists, and social activists; adults who have serious hopes, concerns, and plans for their futures. My students are no longer “the troublemaker” or “the quiet one”, but rather “the future architect” or “the one who puts family first.”

And so the process continues, but it feels refreshing to know a little bit about who my students are. Finally.

Braking for Spring Break

By Ashley Fahey — When the bell rang last Friday at 2:45pm, my teacher friends came to my room and said, “Hey! Congrats! You made it to spring break!” while giving me the thumbs up or a hug. I can tell you, for certain, that when the bell rang last Friday at 2:45pm, I thought to myself, “Hey! I made it to spring break!” and gave myself a heart-felt, imaginary pat on the back.

Student teaching is only for one semester and I completed my practicum in the fall. I remember having ten days off for winter break just before the final three week push to the end of it. I counted down the days until I was finished and could call myself a “real” teacher. Now that I am a “real” teacher, coming into work for a second semester was a strange feeling.

Since then, I’ve begun feeling less like an imposter in the classroom. It’s finally hit me that I’m their “real teacher,” and that there’s no one else in the room watching me since I no longer require a cooperating teacher (as I did during student teaching). I have definitely become more confident in my teaching, but I was definitely glad to have this week off to recuperate, make up for some sleepless nights, and be a real person again.

Throughout many of my previous posts, I have written about finding myself in an overwhelming cycle of attempting to be a well-rounded adult. Spring break, as I have discovered, has become a great way to re-initiate some of my hobbies. I am currently in Illinois on a self-mandated break from work until I return to Iowa later this week. Since Saturday, I’ve…
· Slept in everyday until 8am (so late!)
· Ran in a 5K race (25:46!)
· Bought two books
· Caught up on The Office

To be honest, I don’t foresee the list of accomplishments growing very much while I’m still in Illinois. And you know what? That’s totally fine.

I’m allowed to take a break from my 60+ hour workweeks. I’ve gotten some great ideas for what to do when I get back to Iowa (and I can start working again), but I’m not stressing about it until I am fully rested. I’ve heard that a happy teacher makes for happy students, and having everything come to a complete stop for Spring Break is allowing me to be completely (mentally) rested.

Happy Spring Break everyone!

Teachers Have Lives Too

Book storeBy Ashley Fahey — A few weeks ago, my fiancé and I decided that, as a Friday night date, we would go to the nearest Barnes and Noble to look at books and grab a drink at Starbucks. Our Barnes and Noble is one of the anchor stores at our local mall and we ended up parking on the opposite side of where we needed to be, so we walked through the mall corridor to get to the bookstore.

Now, I live 20-30 minutes away from school and all of my students. So, imagine my surprise when I saw not one, but TWO of them walking in the mall by my apartment at 8:00pm on a Friday night.

My head immediately went down and I started to speed walk in the direction that I was heading. Once Chris caught up with me, he asked what had just happened. To which I stuttered, “Uhh…I saw one of my homeroom kids.” Continue reading ‘Teachers Have Lives Too’


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