Prayer: The Great Equalizer?

As many of you know by now, I am hoping to start graduate school in the fall, in educational psychology.

After several weeks of waiting, I have heard from the school that I applied to.  I have been selected for an interview, and this will happen in a couple of days (Wednesday at 2:30 PM, to be exact).

Several of you know about this, and have offered prayers and well-wishes for this occasion.  For this I am extremely grateful.

Prayer is one of the great equalizers in the body of Christ.  No matter who we are, what our station in life, our level of spiritual maturity, our theological or political persuasion, or even our branch of the Christian tradition, we all face situations in life which are out of our control.  In such situations the only possible response is to trust God and to submit yourself to seek the prayers of your fellow brothers or sisters in Christ.

Some of these may be richer or poorer than you.  Some of these may be more or less spiritually mature than you.  Some of these may disagree with you theologically or politically.  Some may hail from a completely different stream of Christianity than yourself.  No matter.  Through prayer, we all affirm our common humanity, our common sinfulness, our common vulnerability before God.

There is definitely something to be said for seeking out the prayers of those who may disagree with you theologically or politically, those with whom you may have significant differences of belief–but you share Christ, you share the same Holy Spirit, you share the same broken humanity.

Regardless of how things turn out this week, it is a blessing to know that so many of you are willing to pray for me during this time.  And even those of you who are unable to affirm what I believe with respect to God and Jesus Christ, but are nevertheless willing to offer me your well-wishes during this time.

Norma the Night Owl Teaches Night and Day

During the course of my final semester, I completed a project that involved developing an integrated unit to teach at any grade level.  I chose to do a kindergarten lesson on night and day.  It begins with an activity where students are asked to draw a picture of what the sky would look like if the sun were not in it.  The next activity is a simple science experiment which is designed to show that it is warmer in the afternoon (after the sun has been up all day) than in the morning (when the sun has just come up), and thus that the sun gives heat to the earth.  Along the way students are introduced to the thermometer and learn how to use it to measure temperature.  The final activity is a creative writing activity in which students are asked to write a story about a day when the sun did not come up.

Norma the Night Owl Teaches Night and Day

Continue reading “Norma the Night Owl Teaches Night and Day”

My First Bulletin Board!

Take a look at this, people.  I can design a bulletin board!!!

bulletinboard.JPG

(You know the drill.  If you want to see a larger version, just click on the picture.)

I am taking a class in preschool curriculum this semester.  As part of that class, I had to spend 35 hours observing and helping out in a real live pre-K classroom, and teach a real live lesson along the way.  The theme during the time I was there was apples, and my lesson dealt with foods which come from apples and the stages of growth of an apple tree.  The bulletin board was part of the lesson, and it dealt with foods that are made from apples.

My Proposed Plan of Remediation for Georgia Football

I am now less than one semester away from TOSS, which is the last thing I do prior to student teaching.

Now don’t get the wrong idea. TOSS is not something that we do to children, or to anyone else for that matter. Although, judging by what I’ve heard from friends who are currently in TOSS, it sounds like something they do to us, and those who survive go on to student teaching.

No, TOSS is none of these. TOSS is an acronym; the education world abounds with acronyms and I’m sure I will be running more by you before it’s all said and done. This particular acronym stands for Teaching Of Specific Subjects.

TOSS is a very intensive field experience which lasts for the duration of the semester. For the first ten weeks of the semester I will be taking classes for two days a week and spending one day a week working and helping out with a real live teacher (and doing some real live teaching along the way) in a real live classroom in a real live school somewhere. After the first ten weeks is up, I will spend the remainder of the semester working in this school for five days a week.

As the time for TOSS approaches, I am thinking about it a lot. I have been hearing horror stories about certain aspects of TOSS that make me nervous. One of these is the Plan of Remediation.

During the TOSS semester, teacher candidates, or candidates for short (that’s a fancy name for students in the education program at my school), are assessed frequently on several areas of their performance in the classroom. Level 1 is the lowest rating that you can receive in any area. Any candidate who receives three or more Level 1’s in any area at any time is brought before a faculty panel consisting of his/her advisor and a couple of other professors. They will try to work out a plan of remediation (the key word here is “try”, because remediation is not possible in all situations). If remediation is possible, then the candidate is allowed to continue in TOSS provided that the conditions of the Plan of Remediation are upheld.

There are lots of possible plans of remediation. Some can be as simple as requiring a candidate who is habitually late to the school where he/she has been placed to go to bed earlier. If the candidate continues to be late, then it is clear that the provisions of this plan of remediation are not being upheld, and the candidate can be dealt with accordingly. (I am presuming that this would mean removal from TOSS.)

After watching the Tennessee game this weekend, it has become dreadfully clear to me that Georgia’s football program is in dire need of remediation. Continue reading “My Proposed Plan of Remediation for Georgia Football”

The Road Trip: A Positively Indispensible Part of the College Experience

This summer I had the opportunity to engage in an activity which is an absolutely, positively indispensible part of the college experience.  No, I’m not talking about Spring Break.  I’m not talking about having gobs of people over to my place for wild parties where everyone gets wasted and the cops get called.

I’m talking about the road trip.

It has been a while since I’ve gone anywhere outside of the southeastern U. S.  And this summer I wanted to do something that at least had some resemblance to a road trip.  So on my most recent visit to Louisiana I traveled the full length of the Natchez Trace Parkway on my way home. Continue reading “The Road Trip: A Positively Indispensible Part of the College Experience”

I’m in a Weird Place

Well, I am now over a year into re-embracing the role of college student after having been out in the working world for several years, and I thought I might reflect a little bit on what it feels like.  I will say this:  it is definitely a weird place to be.

On the one hand, I am not really at home in the world of college students, because I fall outside the traditional college age.  On the other hand, I am not entirely at home in the world of single professional adults either, because my circumstances are so radically different from most of the people I know who fall into that category.

For example, just imagine what it would be like if I were to attempt to pursue a romantic relationship with anyone in my present circle of friends.  I’m not saying that I am considering this; the demands of school and work would leave me with very little time or energy to devote to the pursuit of such a relationship.  Still, college students are among the most resourceful and ingenious people on the face of the earth.  If a college student wants to go to Spring Break and does not have a car, he will build one out of duct tape and dental floss.

So imagine what would happen if I were to attempt to apply that legendary resourcefulness and ingenuity for which college students the world over are known, towards the end of providing a meaningful relationship experience on a limited budget.  Most of the women I know who are at my age and season of life are well established in high-powered careers and would probably not stand for that.  At best, someone out there might find it cute or amusing. Continue reading “I’m in a Weird Place”

Half.com: They Didn’t Have This When I Was in School (the First Time Around)

Today I would like to take a look at another way in which the world has changed since I was in college the first time around.

Half.com is a subsidiary of Ebay where you can buy textbooks online for a fraction of what they would cost new.  I found out about this from the professor in one of my classes this semester.  What you do is this:  Go to your college bookstore and make a note of all the books that will be required in your classes for the next semester.  Be sure to make a note of the ISBN numbers.  Then go to Half.com.  Click on “Textbook Superstore” and it will bring up a window where you can search for your books by ISBN number.  Enter the ISBN numbers of your books, and it will bring up the books.  Then you buy them.  It’s that simple.

But here’s the rub.  It usually takes about a week or two for the books to ship by standard media mail (I am assuming that if you are interested in this you would be using standard media mail, because college students are usually looking to save money in any way they can.)  So you need to be sure to order your books for the upcoming term as close to the end of the present term as you can; that way you will have your books in time for the start of classes.

I ordered all my books for the upcoming fall semester through Half.com.  When it was all said and done, after all the shipping charges and everything, I wound up saving about five dollars over what I would have paid if I had gotten used editions at the bookstore.  Enough to buy one gallon of gas in some parts of the country.  But as a college student, you don’t turn your nose up at any amount of money that you can save.