This was a weekend of fun and games. To start off the weekend, Voth Hall held a dance on their top floor; the Cowboys and Indians Dance. It was different than most dances because it had 3 different dance floors with different types of music. One was a dub-step, another country and the last hip-hop. The three floors made it fun because you could go from floor to floor and have a different taste of things from each floor.
It was also fun because everyone was able to dress up. I was an Indian and many of my friends were split between cowboys and indians. (The pictures below do not portray this fact but trust me they were there.)
Right as I was just starting to get used to my second semester schedule, a flurry of very important distractions began. There is an opera, The Tender Land, being performed on campus next weekend, the spring sports season has begun, and the KMEA convention is going on right now in Wichita.
KMEA, the Kansas Music Educators Association, is an organization that I don’t really know much about except for the fact that it’s on organization of music teachers and they host a convention every year. The convention has all sorts of exhibits and talks for members to attend, but the most public parts of the convention are the honor groups and the performances by Kansas groups. The honor groups are select groups of high school and middle school orchestra, choir, wind ensemble and jazz band students who spend the day with a clinician and then perform what they learned. There are also performances throughout the day from school groups across Kansas.
Second semester has started off well. I have probably my heaviest academic load so far, but it is exciting at the same time. Sophomore year is the year that your major really kicks off. Up until around your second semester you are all about general education credits.
So this semester I have buckled down and am taking all credits that will go towards my degree. I am taking Gender, Class, Race and Media, Living in Performance, Ethics in Sports, Photography and Yearbook Production. All of which go to my Communication Arts Major or my arts minor.
It is my hardest load because they are all reading and writing. Depending on your major, that is pretty much what it consists of. It’s exciting because it is actually things that I have an interest in. But it also make me busy, busy, busy.
Last Monday was my very first full-class lesson. My supervising teacher thought since Art is a once-a-week lesson it would be a good subject for me to take over. Immediately I thought about the lessons I had planned for my Bethel class (Teaching the Expressive Arts). Unfortunately not one of them fit into a 2nd grade lesson—rats!
Back to square one. What could we do that would be fun, an art concept I know something about, and would look good as I’m observed… I tossed around a couple ideas with my mom, but kept coming back to a t-shirt I had when I was in kindergarten. At church we had put our thumbprints (in paint) on a t-shirt, given them arms, legs, eyes and a smile, and then added text that read, “I’m thumb-body special”. I thought, why not do something with thumbprint art?
I have survived and thrived during my first full week of student teaching. This semester I’m lucky enough to be student teaching in a 2nd grade classroom in my home school district. I moved home so my daily commute is only 9 minutes one way as opposed to 40 minutes from campus. My supervising teacher was actually my older bother’s 3rd grade teaching, so she’s been teaching elementary students for several decades, and she has an awesome way of working with and relating to students.
My first day was Tuesday, January 31. I was glad it was a short week, and I was really nervous starting out. Thankfully I had the opportunity to start the school year with my students back in August so I knew something about the general schedule, and at that time knew most everyone’s names. But here it was five months later and I had only been back in the classroom for one day around Christmas time. How would the students react to having another adult in the classroom full-time? Would they respect me? Would they like me? Would they accept my direction and correction? Will I be able to plan lessons? Will I get along with my supervising teacher? How will the parents react to me at parent/teacher conferences later this week? How will I fit into the 2nd grade team? And mainly, how will I fit into this established classroom and school in general?
Hopefully over the course of the next few months I’ll answer all these questions for you, and let you know what it’s like to prepare to impact children, to love them, and to inspire them to become lifelong learners. Join me in the crazy adventure of student teaching. I know it will be a semester of challenges and great rewards. If you’re interested in teaching someday, or just in learning more about the world of education, I hope my posts will only inspire you to learn more.
Interterm has finished up, the break between Interterm and second semester was, as usual, unsatisfyingly short, and our new classes have been in session for about a week. As previously mentioned, I was in BIFL for Interterm. It was really an enjoyable experience. For Interterm break, I visited by boyfriend Ben in San Francisco, where he is doing Voluntary Service with an organization that houses homeless people. We walked all over San Francisco, up and down hills, across the Golden Gate Bridge, across the Pacific beach, and through many of the distinctive neighborhoods in the city. It was a really wonderful time, and I thoroughly enjoyed myself.
This semester should be pretty easy for me. It’s my last one, so I hope to be able to make the most of it. I’m in Computers in the Sciences, Anatomy and Physiology, three seminar classes, and Mennonite Life, History, and Thought. The Mennonite class looks like it will be the most interesting by far. I grew up in the traditions of the Mennonite faith, but I’m really glad to have the opportunity to explore them more thoroughly in the upcoming weeks. I also plan to present my senior seminar project this semester, which means that I need to start writing it soon! But all in all, it looks like this final stretch will be pretty pleasant and hopefully free of as much stress as possible.
Interterm finished last Thursday. Interterm is the month of January in which we take one class for 2.5 to 3 hours everyday. I took Intro to Biblical Studies which is a required course at Bethel. In this course we went through the bible and studied each book slightly in-depth. We were required to know the order of all the books and went through all of the books during our discussions talking about their main stories, genres and inner lying message. Interterm ended well. The class was slightly demanding but it was enjoyable and helps you find out more about your faith and beliefs. It was really interesting because I noticed things about myself and the bible that I had never really thought about before.
Now that interterm is over, Spring semester started yesterday. I will be a little busy, but am excited for what it is to bring. I am involved in my normal newspaper, basketball and classes. I am taking yearbook this semester which is something new for me. I am also taking photography and a lot of Communication classes.Track season is about to start which is exciting. The weather right now is wonderful. Although we hear that there will be a cold front coming this weekend.
This adventure is drawing to a close and the students are tired but still in good spirits. They continue to work well together, engaging in conversation with each other, exhibiting kindness, putting individual needs aside for the needs of the group. They continue to ask probing questions, engage in conversations with local people, and exhibit flexibility in their sleeping and eating experiences.
It had been my goal to publish this blog on a regular basis, but access to the Internet was sporadic at best. At the mission, Internet was often down for days at a time, while sometimes it was on in the morning, but off in the afternoon. During our last week, our travels led to remote locations that did not have access. In their journals, students commented that they found it freeing to be disconnected from technology.
Something that is exciting when traveling is the idea of being able to experience and try new things, especially food. A memory that I will bring back from Africa was our traditional Zulu dinner. We had sweet potatoes, some type of a root, tripe (cows stomach), chickens feet and gizzard, spinach, cabbage, corn, beans, steamed bread and SOUR MILK…..that was actually good.
No matter if there were things on our plates that did not taste very well, it was fun to eat things that we would never eat back home. And no matter if we did not like the food, people really love’d to see us let our guard down and experience their way of life. If any of you ever travel abroad, just remember to keep and open mind and not to pass judgement before you try new things.
Today we traveled to Maletsunyane Falls arguably the most beautiful place in all of Lesotho. Approaching the falls the landscape seems plain with rolling hills and small mountainous outcrops. Only until we were right on top on it did we see the deep gorge and the water falling 669 ft. It was a beautiful sight to see but we wanted to go down into the gorge and swim in the pool below. The hike down was questionable at best. The only path was a herd boy path that is frequented more by goats than humans, so in places the path narrowed to 6 inches of loose dirt on steep inclines. We all made it safely down and were met by the cold refreshing mist. The water was cold but how often does one get to swim in Africa’s tallest vertical falls? It was magnificent to swim in the pool and look up and see only the water pouring down and the sun and white clouds. On the hike up it was easier to find footing after seeing the terrain once, but hard having to leave. Oh by the way it happened to be my 21st birthday.