Friday, March 23, 2007

Breathe out....

Spring Break is here just in time.
I don't think my body could handle another week of stress. It's definitely break time. As soon as my last class was done today, my body started reacting physically. My nose suddenly started to drip, my throat hurt, and I felt achey all over.

This week I accomplished my goal of FINISHING MY WORK SAMPLE! If you don't know what that means, it's a huge notebook full of an entire unit of lessons that I taught, written in very thorough detail, including assessments, pre-tests, post-tests, analysis of everything (with bright colored graphs and pie charts to go along with them), adaptations, summaries, reflections, school/class demographics, and on and on. We are required to turn in two of these during the course of the MAT program. I turned in my first one last November, a unit on US Geography, and then turned in my second one TODAY!!! (This one was on the Civil Rights Era).

This is definitely cause for celebration. That and the fact that the week after Spring Break is the half way point for the semester! (And it means 1 1/2 months until graduation!)

The other focus I had this week was job applications. The job hunt in the world of teachers has begun a little earlier than usual this year (which means NOW), and I was up until past midnight for the first time in months finishing an application.

To give you a glimpse into the teacher application world, and in case you want to empathize with me over the next several weeks and months,here are some sample essay questions taken directly off three school district applications I'm applying to:

1) Please elaborate on teaching strategies or techniques that have worked for you in the classroom. Specifically address strategies for special needs students and English language learners.

2) Describe ways in which you meet the definition of "culturally competent". Include any diversity training in which you have participated and how it changed your thinking.

3) What teaching techniques do you prefer?

4) Provide examples of success in improving student achievement.

5) What classroom management strategies do you use to effectively focus on instruction?

6) What led you into the teaching profession?

7) What challenges do you see facing public education in the immediate future?

8) What are your professional goals?

9) There are a number of contemporary issues in education. Please describe one, your understanding of how it applies to your area of teaching or work, and your beliefs about the importance of the issue.

Unlike writing essays for college applications, I can't reuse my answers to these questions (well, maybe parts), because these questions are all looking for different answers.

My plan is to take a few days off from school-related "stuff."

(Disclaimer: Paula H., if you read this, I'd like to apologize for the number of ex!cla!!mat!ions!! I used in this blog, and the NUMBER of words that I CAPITALIZED! I'M NOT REALLY SHOUTING, I'm just EXCITED!!!)

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