Grad School Journey

Image courtesy of Dan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Dan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I graduated with my multiple subject teaching credential and Bachelors in Liberal Studies in 2008 from Chico State. I was a part of the Intergraded Teacher Core (ITC), a quick paced program which allowed me to get both my degree and my credential in four years. It was a wonderful program. It started us off in the classroom our first semester as freshmen and I learned a lot. However, since I graduated with both my degree and my credential at the same time, some school districts saw me as having zero units because even though I look plenty upper division classes, they were not ‘post grad’ classes because I had not graduated yet. While thoroughly irritating and even though I am now at a school district that does accept my units, it helped give me the push to enroll in a Masters program.

I started off my journey at SSU with Dr. Perry in 570 and 585. While I could say it the double dose of ‘paper tosses’ what I remember the most from these classes, it was really the introduction to educational theory and the theorist behind it all. I loved my liberal studies program and teacher credential program at Chico State and I really felt that they prepared me for the classroom. However, in my entire undergrad/credential program I did not learn about one theorist and only once did I have to do a research paper/any kind of paper with references. . . and it was on the wood duck for a field biology class. My credential classes were about reflecting like a lot of my classes here have been, but it was just about what I thought, not why or who else as a similar ideology.

One of the biggest changes I have found in myself is the appreciation of educational research and curriculum/educational theorists. As I mentioned,  I didn’t have any of this in my undergrad and teaching credential program. Since then I am the person who posted a picture of all the John Dewey books in the SSU library on Facebook and when I read and new article or book on education I immediately go to the end and check to see who they referenced. When I see familiar names I give them more credit and I give a pat on the back to my SSU professors for introducing me to the major players out there right now. I am reading more educational journal and feel like I have become more critical about the research and theory that I hear about at my school and local professional development.

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Image by Lisa Brown, Sonoma State Library

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Image by Lisa Brown, Sonoma State Library

Media Literacy: The works of Buckingham, Hobbs, Jenkins and boyd.

The big change for me was the focus on Media Literacy. While Media literacy was the focus of EDCT 559, I felt that was the core message of my Educational Technology classes with Dr. Parker and the readings we had dana boyd taught me about the role of social media for student  My immediate feeling about technology has been only as a tool to get another more important task done. I want to have more integration of different subjects and problem based learning lessons in my teaching. Technology is an easy way to get it started and it offers the extra bonus that students get more enthusiastic and seem more engaged whenever you put a screen in front of them.On the flip side, sometimes I think of technology as only a basic task. I want my students to be able to use Word and type with both hands. However that is really not the task, the task would be whatever I need the students to be able to do in Word once they can type fast and use the functions of it. If I understand correctly, technology is the task in digital citizenship and media literacy but in other areas should be more of a tool to get a job done.

Technology Now in My Classroom and My School

It has taken awhile, but now that I have been in this program for two in half years, my principal and coworkers and finally starting to listen to my ideas and ask for help. I have helped organize with the parents club to fund raise and bring 5 iPads into our classrooms. We have had professional development on how to use them and have built in a few minutes in each staff meeting to talk about how we are using them in our classrooms. We are having positive discussions about using them for ’21st century skills’ and project based learning, not just apps to practice math facts.

We have a new computer teacher this year which has its ups and downs. The woman only has her emergency credential and knows very little about computers and standards created by ISTE. I lost the fight to change how we interview and honestly she was hired because school started in three days and was one of two people that applied. However, she is eager to learn! I have shared with her my cognate and she has started to use commonsensemedia.org to create her lessons plans. It is great to have someone that wants to learn more and try new things with our students.

A Thank You

Also, I want to truely thank my professors AND classmates that I have worked with over this journey. Many of my friends from the credential program at Chico State went on to Graduate school but did it online. I’ve learned about online and hybrid education in Dr. Parker’s classes and feel they have an place and soon to be an even larger place in our education system. I thought about doing an online degree becuase it would be easier with my busy life but I am very happy I chose to go to Sonoma State. I may have to travel an hour and need to have a teacher take over my class for the last ten min to make it on time, but the connections I have made are worth it. The professors have pushed me and made themselves available when I have needed their help. My classmates have become my friends and inspired me to do as much as they are to better our eduacion system.

Of course I also need to give a special thank you my committee chair, Dr. Jessica Parker, and committee members Dr. Karen Grady and Felicia Palsson.

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