Diary Of A Student Teacher, Episode 1: Myths Debunked
Classes |  Source: asu.edu (edited)

Diary Of A Student Teacher, Episode 1: Myths Debunked

Plan ALL the lessons!

Congratulations to you all. You survived finals week (mostly) unscathed, and you're most likely at home with family, free food, free laundry, and zero academic obligations until well into the New Year. You can sit back and relax until the spring semester, knowing that you're not avoiding any responsibilities like you normally do.

I, on the other hand, am giving myself until after Christmas to relax, and then it's back to the books. I'm a senior education major, which means as I enter my final semester of school, I have to prepare for my student teaching placement.

I'm taking over a freshman high school English class in the spring, which means I have to re-read and prepare to teach Of Mice And Men and Romeo and Juliet, as well as plan out units on argumentative writing and literature circles.

Student teachers don't get much of a break, especially if they're planning to teach in the spring semester, because that time is used for planning. I'm not complaining, however; I've been looking forward to this for months. As a way to kick off my journey into the teaching world, I thought I'd clear up a few common misconceptions regarding student teaching.

Myth #1: We get paid to student teach.
FALSE! This isn't like an engineering co-op; I will not get paid a dime. In fact, I'll have to pay to take two different standardized tests to qualify for student teaching, as well as pay a hefty fee for this lovely aptitude portfolio that will be scored and used to judge whether or not I can receive my teaching license.

Myth #2: Student teachers are just classroom aides.
No, not really. For the first month or so, I will be observing my supervising teacher and getting to know the class. After those first few weeks, though, I slowly get to take control of the class until I'm basically the real teacher. Then it's all on me to teach the entire class, for all five periods.

Myth #3: The students will be totally cooperative because you're their new teacher.
HA! NO. If you ever had a substitute teacher in high school, you'll know that they're basically the universal indicator to goof off for the entire period. That's essentially going to be me for the first few weeks until the students get used to me and I start to earn their respect. Until then... I'm that sub you took advantage of in second period American Lit. Thanks.

Myth #4: Student teaching is easy because you don't have to take any "real" classes.
AGAIN, false. I actually have a colloquium class outside student teaching, which will meet for three hours every Monday night. All the student teachers must take this in concurrence with their student teaching.

I also have ton of outside planning, grading, and reading to do to in order to keep my class running smoothly. Remember that aptitude portfolio I talked about earlier? That involves me submitting a ton of work, lesson plans, and even videos of myself teaching lessons... so... yeah. Not necessarily a walk in the park.

Myth #5: The school will supply me with all the materials I need to teach and be successful.
Not necessarily true. I'm lucky, because my placement has access to a full library, carts of iPads, a big classroom, projectors, and the like. Not all placements are like this. Some won't have access to computers. Some students won't have books, paper, even pencils. So, while I might be fortunate to have access to technology, not all student teachers will.

Myth #6: I'll get a job right away after I finish student teaching.
No. Student teaching does NOT guarantee you a job at the school where you student teach. This experience is pretty much just a warmup that allows you to apply for and obtain a teaching license. I'll certainly be able to use the administrators at my student teaching school as references when I'm looking for a job. After I'm done student teaching, the real job search begins.

There you have it. Stay tuned for future episodes of my student teacher diary coming in the spring!

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Finals Week as Told by Hamilton

WORK!

It's that time of the year again....I'm not referring to the holiday season (I wish I was...), but rather to the not-nearly-as-merry finals season. Students across the nation are preparing themselves for never-ending biology cram sessions, for 10 page APA essays, and for breaking the world record for most consecutive hours without sleep, caffeinated or uncaffeinated.

As a fun little study break, which in my mind is crucial in order to remain sane during exams, I've compiled a list of finals week moments that you'll undoubtedly experience or witness in the coming weeks....told exclusively through Hamilton gifs.

You stayed up until 4 a.m. studying for your 9 a.m. Bio exam, you're in need of caffeine in order to begin functioning, and the Starbucks line is out the door, down the street...

When you finally realize the extent to which you procrastinated on literally everything leading up to the end of the semester.

When there's that one freshman in your Advanced Stats lecture that somehow has the highest grade in the class and you ask them how on earth they've been doing so well, when you understand exactly nothing.

When you thought you were being proactive by starting your American Lit final essay early, but the professor changes the requirements after you've finished writing half of it.

That feeling when the professor says, "We won't be having a final during exam week."

When Einstein's in the library is closed and you feel personally betrayed by the one place that has always faithfully carbed up your study sessions.

When you're tutoring a failing student for their upcoming history exam, they STILL don't understand anything you've taught them, and you're slowly losing your patience and your mind.

When your Stats grade is posted and you see that your hard work actually paid off for once. #WORK

When everyone else is done with their finals and you have a test on the last possible time slot the Friday of finals week.

And when it's finally all over, you're going home, and you have no academic obligations for a whole month...



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To The Professor Who Believed In Me

Thank you.

When you attend a big college, it can be easy to get lost in those 400-person lecture halls run by one tired professor and maybe a TA or two. To this professor, you don't have an identity. In fact, you probably aren't anything more than a seven-digit ID number, if even that.

It doesn't matter if you're one of the students who comes to class every day and does well on the four exams that make up all of your grade. You could be the ghost student who only shows up to the final. You could be the student enjoying a Netflix marathon during the lecture. He might recognize you as the student with the Macbook sitting in the front, sporting her team's athletic gear, but he'll never know you.

Then there are professors who break down barriers. They remember your name and your major. They remember that you're an athlete, so they ask you how practices are going. They remember that you like Harry Potter, and they'll enthusiastically discuss it with you. I was lucky to have professors like this, but one in particular showed me that he cared about me, not just from an academic standpoint.

His class was an editing class, one from the communications department that fulfilled a requirement for my education degree's emphasis on language arts. I had never taken a journalism class before.

For the first few weeks, I was lost in the pages of my AP Stylebook, searching frantically to find whether the number "seven" should be written as a word or as a figure. Do I capitalize this title? Is the word "fireman" stylistically acceptable? Is "October" abbreviated? HELP!?

Not only did this professor see that I was struggling, he talked to me individually and allowed me to take home these AP Style assignments. He answered every single one of my panicked questions with a smile, and after a few months, turned me into a passable editor.

One day, he came up to me while we were writing headlines and told me about an editing position on the university's newspaper. He strongly encouraged me to apply, but I told him that my athletics commitment would interfere with the position's hours. I could see that he was visibly disappointed, but I didn't want to take the position from someone who could commit to it fully.

The following semester, I took another of his classes, a newswriting class. We had been practicing writing full stories, and upon returning an assignment, he asked me with a huge smile if I wanted to switch majors and become a journalist.

I had rarely come across a professor who not only commended my work, but also told me that it meant something, and was worth pursuing. I'd had professors tell me that I was a good writer, but he did more.

He saw promise in me, taught me, guided me, and showed me that he wanted me to succeed and pursue something. He believed in me. He is the reason I began to consider writing as more than just a hobby or requirement for school.

To the professors who do more than just lecture, assess, and repeat, you leave more of an impact than you know. Thank you. You make me proud to know that someday I'll stand at the front of my own classroom.

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75 Thoughts English Students Have When Writing Papers

What was my thesis again?

1. Should I start with a title or a thesis?

2. Title.

3. But how can I title my paper without a focused thesis?

4. Thesis.

5. How has it already been a half hour? I have exactly zero words written.

6. Thesis please present yourself from the depths of my brain, I beg of you.

7. What if I write about some tragic aspect of the human condition?

8. Yeah genius, cuz that's not clich? at all.

9. It's been forty-five minutes and the most productive thing I've done is finish a bag of chocolate pretzels.

10. OK BRAIN GO TIME, THESIS PLEASE

11. *one hour later* That's a kick-ass thesis right there.

12. How many pages does this have to be?

13. Five to seven for undergrad and six to eight for grad?

14. What if I write six?

15. Am I a grad student? Undergrad?

16. The prof would never even know.

17. I'd be shrouded in mystery.

18. Wow that was beautiful why can't I actually write like something like that?

19. OK body paragraphs.

20. What was my thesis again?

21. Right. Tragic flaws in Shakespeare's characters.

22. Tragic is a funny word.

23. LOL.

24. Well I've written three sentences, snack break.

25. I'm two hours in and four sentences down.

26. Crap.

27. But my header is done, so that's something.

28. I'm never gonna finish this by Wednesday.

29. AT LEAST NOT ONCE I SHIFT INTO MAXIMUM OVERDRIVE.

30. Do I start with my strongest body paragraph or my weakest?

31. Start strong or finish strong?

32. Who cares this essay is gonna be fabulous anyway.

33. Oh Hamlet, you're so silly.

34. TO BEEEEEE OR NOT TO BEEEEEE, THAT IS THE QUESTION.

35. Dang that really is the question.

36. Hamlet getting deep.

37. How do I cite lines from a play?

38. Line number, act, scene?

39. No, line number, scene, act...

40. Dangit, Easybib, help me...

41. MLA Style you're a frenemy....I need you but I hate you.

42. How many pages is this again?

43. I need a synonym for "tragic."

44. This paper is pretty tragic...

45. OK four paragraphs done, how long have I been working?

46. Three hours. Awesome. Great.

47. Well I'm halfway done, that's a good stopping point right?

48. Famous words of a procrastinator....

49. I'll write two more sentences so I'm technically more than halfway done.

50. I ain't no slacker.

51. Oh but I could totally take this one idea in a completely different direction...

52. No. No. That would change the whole paper.

53. The paper you've already spent multiple hours on.

54. ABORT ABORT ABORT.

55. Well I guess I don't really have evidence for that anyway...

56. But what if....

57. NO ABORT.

58. FINE I'll keep writing. Geez...

59. Shakespeare, your language makes no sense.

60. No offense.

61. I could talk about Macbeth and make this a comparison essay.

62. That would give me more to write about.

63. Gotta fill those five to seven pages.

64. I wonder what the other students are writing about.

65. That one kid is probably done already.

66. DANG that was a good analysis of Macbeth's slow descent into madness. Self-five.

67. Whoa I'm like... 70 percent done.

68. And it's only been like five hours.

69. I have until Wednesday to finish. I can totally call it quits for tonight.

70. SAVE SAVE SAVE SAVE SAVE SAVE.

71. Sweet. *starts to fall asleep*

72. HOLY CRAP WAIT I could do a whole in-depth analyses of how Hamlet and Macbeth are visited by ghosts.

73. I have to get up and write that down I'll forget it in the morning.

74. Why do I do this to myself? Why?

75. Because I'm a writer. I love this.

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Student-Athlete Myths Debunked

Allow me to set the record straight.

"Must be nice to not have to worry about school."
"You don't actually have to go to class, do you?"
"How much free stuff do you get?"
"Do athletes' grades even matter?"
"They must pay you a ton."

Over the course of my college athletics career, I've heard all of these statements and more. I've found that many misconceptions exist regarding the life of a collegiate student-athlete. I've honestly been surprised that so many myths are out there, and that so many myths are widely accepted. Allow me to set the record straight and shed some light on the real reality of student-athlete life.

Myth #1: We don't have to go to class.
Truth: Simply put, yes we do. Sickness and emergency are exceptions, of course, but if one of my teammates were to cut class and get caught, my whole team would face a punishment. At Akron, the athletic department even runs random "class-checks," sending the grad assistants out to certain classes to ensure that student-athletes are present. Class attendance is mandatory, and enforced.

Myth #2: Coaches can get us out of class.
Truth: This one is partly true. Athletes miss class for travel and for games, so yes, our athletics commitment does sometimes get us out of class. This doesn't mean that we can just skip class all the time using our sports as an excuse. My coach schedules practice around our class schedules and if we have a conflict, class comes first. (Hence student-athlete.)

Myth #3: We rake in the free stuff.
Truth: This one also has merit. I can't just go up to my coach and ask if I can hook up my entire family and group of friends with free stuff. But I get practice uniforms, shoes, sweats, and equipment provided to me, in exchange for my athletics commitment. I am paying for it, in a way, by attending daily three-hour practices and sacrificing a CRAP LOAD of time to the sport. We also don't get to keep everything; we have to return our gameday gear.

Myth #4: Our grades don't matter as long as we're playing our sport.
Truth: WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG. You have to maintain a certain GPA and pass (not just take) a certain number of credit hours to remain athletically eligible. Failing classes puts you at risk of not being able to compete. My athletic department also has a team GPA award every year, encouraging the athletes to perform well in the classroom. They give academic honors to athletes, including All-Conference Academic and Distinguished Scholar Athletes (both of which I and many of my teammates have received). Basically...yeah, SCHOOL MATTERS.

Myth #5: They pay us a ton of money to play sports.
Truth: True and false. I am not given a salary to play collegiate athletics. I am on scholarship, however, and I'm given what is called a "living allowance" every month. Half of this goes to my rent, and half of what remains usually goes towards food. Whatever I have left, I save. This isn't just free money that I get for playing sports. I worked to earn a volleyball scholarship and this is one of the perks of the hard work paying off. It allows me to get by with my living expenses, and that's pretty much it.

Being a college-athlete is a full-time job. We have to go to work every single day, and while we are rewarded, it is certainly a difficult lifestyle especially considering we have to balance it with our full academic loads. Here's one more truth: no matter how taxing it is, we wouldn't trade our lives as athletes for anything.


source: media.collegetimes.com

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That One Time James Franco was my Teacher

He was a lot like my normal film professors.

A few months after graduating college, I was accepted into a studio class taught by James Franco. Yes, Harry Osborn from Spiderman/Sal from Pineapple Express/Seth Rogen's buddy. You can imagine my family and friends' reactions: James Franco?! No way! Can I go with you to class?! Don't be like that 17 year old from New York.

That last one was low, but it was no surprise. James is consistently in the limelight.

The class, the purpose of which was to tell stories of the different stages of a relationship, whether a one-night stand or a new or a fizzling romance, was also documented for James' behind-the-scenes web series. Students were paired into 10 different groups, consisting of two actors, one writer, and one director. I was one of the 10 writers.

So, what was James Franco like in person? Sometimes, I didn't even know if he was stoned or not because he rambled on and on. He would make these over-the-top facial gestures prior to giving us creative feedback. It was like even he was unsure of what to say to us. But it was understandable that he was busy and tired; teaching three classes back-to-back (a total of nine hours of school) would take a toll on anyone. Also, this was around the time when The Interview got axed from theaters and James was supposedly sick from the stress.

He usually stumbled into class on the dot and went straight to his seat, looking like he was disrupted from an overnight, insomniac painting session. His usual attire was a t-shirt, rolled-up pants, and black Keds slip ons with paint splatter on them. This one time, he even fell asleep during one of the student film screenings.

That was the thing with James--you never knew what the hell he was thinking about or how he would react.

I was a bit starstruck upon meeting him. I had always respected his work and dedication, especially when he had branched out into different areas of art and filmmaking. The guy is always working. He even worked during the Halloween party that he had invited the class to, having us as background extras for Zeroville, which he shaved his head for.

James was sort of like my college film professors. I ran ideas by him, which he was always in sync with. Yet, discussions were not as "normal". But he did always have feedback on our group's film, Black Mantis, a story about a trauma survivor who seeks justice from her attacker.

The most interesting feedback that he gave our group was his elaboration to my pitch of character A burning character B with a cigarette. (Originally, our film was an S&M storyline.) "She should call him, 'My little leopard,' while pushing the cigarette into his skin," he said.

We loved it, but I think it scared the class. You could tell that James dug it because of his grin, the one where you're unsure if he wants to laugh or not.

James referred us as, "porn horror", due to creative differences within our group, where half of us wanted more sex and violence in the film, while others did not. Supposedly, he had sympathy for us, especially when a team member quit reshoots.

Everyone relaxed when our films premiered at the Downtown Independent a few months later. Plus, a lot of us were drunk. James was jetlagged and kept to himself, until the after party died down. He congratulated us and even told me that he loved our film. I was tipsy and said something like, "Thanks, man."

The class was an interesting experience. It pushed me out of my comfort zone and taught me to compromise when there are creative differences, which is common with filmmaking. James kept to his word of giving back to up-and-coming filmmakers and I thank him for that.