Showing posts with label Grad School. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Grad School. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

The Ending of an Era

You'll have to excuse me for a second while I scream; Yaaaaaahhhhhooooo! I just finished giving the presentation of my Master's of Arts in Teaching thesis via Skype last night :) The presentation went well and I passed with very minor revisions which I will need to turn in by April 15th. Easy Peasy!

There is such a sense of relief that is flooding over me. I started this program in January of 2008 (a full year before Madison was born!) - yea she's almost 3 1/2 now :) So it's been some time in coming! I remember first starting classes when I was teaching in Chicago. I would finish my day of teaching, get in the car and drive straight to class with a 1.5 hour commute - sometimes 3 in traffic! I would be in class one or two nights a week from 6pm-10pm or and sometimes a weekend class. I chipped away at my homework, and little by little finished one class at a time.

Then I got pregnant with Madison, kept teaching and going to class while pregnant. The cohort I was in(Holla Cohort 10!) became such dear friends that they threw me a surprise baby shower. What sweet memories! Love them. Then I had Madison, took a break. Got back to it for a while, got pregnant with Rose then took a break when Rose was born. Then got back to it again.

Then we moved to Scotland in September and I wasn't sure how hard it would be to finish things up being over seas. But because God is so gracious and the wonderful people in Trinity Graduate School were so helpful, I was able to finish! Well, I do have just one little requirement to actually walk for graduation. I need to study for and test out of a Health class. and THAT is it. It's a little hard to believe the end has come!

I have decided to postpone the actual graduation ceremony until December because we can't make it back to the states before then. But at least I'll get to do it!

Just for fun the other day I was looking at the Looooong list of classes and requirements they give you going into the degree and feeling such  sense of accomplishment knowing I had one by one checked each of those of my list over the past 4 years! Wow. I honestly can't believe I did it. Haha - I know that sounds sad. But there were a lot of times that I thought it would have been a whole lot easier to just turn in the towel. SO glad I didn't.

Here is the list for posterity and fun:
ID5001 Foundations of Integrative Thought
ID5002 Foundations of Cultural Engagement
ED 5210 Educational Technology
ED5551 Teaching in Culturally Diverse Settings I
ED6911 Research Methods and Design I
Ed 5350 Advanced Educational Psychology
Ed 5400 Foundations of Special Education
ED 5552 Teaching in Culturally Diverse Settings II
ED 6260 Reading and Writing Across the Curriculum
Ed 6700 Integrated Methods of teaching in Elementary and Middle School
ED6912 Research Methods and Design II
ED 67450 Clinical Practice for Elementary Certification (ie: Student teach AGAIN)
ED 7460 Advanced Seminar in Education

* Field Experience Practicum
* Basic Skills test
* Content Area Test
* APT test
My final portfolio/presentation
* Action Research poster project/presentation
Video (of my teaching) analysis and presentation
Lesson plan binder, 
* Exit Interview

* Outstanding General Ed Credits ----> This mean I had to take Algebra and Zoology at a local community college in the summers. I Honestly thought I wasn't going to pass that College Algebra class!

I could not have finished this degree without my sweetheart Tim. Seriously, there were so many assignments he stayed up late helping me with, or times he hugged me and told me I could do it while I was in tears on the couch, or watched the girls extra hours so that I could get extra study and writing time in. He's the best partner I could ask for.  But of course the highest praise goes to the Lord who gave me strength each step of the way. He is so good!

Friday, May 06, 2011

Master's of Arts in Teaching

So in January of 2008 (almost a year before Madison was born!) I started my Master's degree at Trinity International University because I could get half off my credits while Tim was going to school and I really wanted to get certified to teach in IL as well as continue my understanding of teaching. Well, here I am 3 years and 2 sweet girls later and I am just now trying to finish up all of the last requirements for state certification and graduation. 

AllI have left is: 
1. College Algebra class (an undergrad class that I never took and need for certification)
2. Health class with a lab (also and undergraduate class that I never took and need for certification)

Once I have those two done - I can send in all of my paper work in to be certified to teach in the public schools in IL.

And then to actually graduate and receive my Master's degree, I have to also write my THESIS! So I am taking it one step at a time. I just registered for a College Algebra (yuck!) course at Harper College. The class will be on Monday and Wednesday nights through June and July. I think I can. I think I can. I think I can.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Praise and Prayer Request

I must stop to thank the Lord for giving me strength to finish 14 out of my sixteen weeks of clinical practice this semester while taking classes still at TGS and doing my best to care for my family. I have only 2 WEEKS LEFT!!! That is the praise!

The prayer request is that I would have strength and focus to finish my last few requirements at the end of this semester. Here are some of my upcoming deadlines:

April 26th - My final portfolio
May 3rd - Action Research poster project
May 3rd -Video (of my teaching) analysis and presentation
May 7th - LAST DAY of clinical practice
May 10th - Lesson plan binder, Exit Interview, Action Research poster presentation, Portfolio presentation

After that I am going to finish my Algebra Correspondence course, try to CLEP out of a Health class, and research for and write my thesis. My goal is to have all of those loose ends tied up in order to graduate and be certified by May 2011. As of now, my plan is to do some tutoring part time over the next year while staying home to take care of Madison and Rose (coming at the end of August). Thank you for your thoughts and prayers. I much appreciate it! I will be so glad to have this all behind me!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Numbers to remember: 5, 18, 15

I actually started this post almost a month ago now, but just never had time to finish it. Yea - you could say it's been pretty busy. But the good news is that I am on Spring break right now in Boston, visiting friends and family and when I return home I will only have 5 more weeks of student teaching! Yes, that is the first important number. I am so thrilled to see the end in sight. After that I just have to study to CLEP out of a Health test, finish my Algebra correspondence course, and write my thesis and I will be finished with my graduate degree in teaching! I am just about 18 weeks pregnant with baby #2 and March 31st we will find out whether we are having a girl or a boy! - Again - soooo excited!

The last important number is that Maddy is 15 months tomorrow! The time has just flown by. Each day seems more exciting than the last. She seems to be learning new things each day!

Here are a few of the highlights:
* 12 teeth now (keep your fingers FAR away from her mouth!)
* toddling faster and more confidently
* Mama, Dada, Sof (Soft), Baby, dup (up), cu (cup), da (done) - she watches our mouths carefully while we are saying words to try to copy us, but usually comes out with one she already knows. She knows signs for all done, and please (gets mixed up with soft for some reason), and she has finally learned how to nod yes in answer to a question - communication is getting a bit easier - although she still does her fair share of high pitched screaming for no apparent reason!
* Brings books for us to read to her (her favorites are: old Mcdonald, her picture word book, and her rainbow food book)
* Likes to put things in our trash can (that has a lid on it). The other day I caught her just before she put the remote control in there. She also likes to take things out - ugh....the trash is a big "no-no".
* she has a pretty strong will and definitely knows what the word "no" means and what the consequences are, but sometimes goes ahead with it anyways. but there are those joyous moments when we say "no no" and she turns away to play with something else.... Tim and I usually clap and cheer for her!
* says "mmmmm" and smiles when she eats something she likes
* says "oooooohhhh!" when she sees something pretty or that she likes!
* Loves being naked - haha
* Still loves her thumb, especially if she is tired, upset, sick or just feeling out of sorts

So there you go: 5 weeks of student teaching left, 18 weeks along with baby #2, and a 15 month old active little girl running around!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Boy Crisis: Is it Real?

Last week, I wrote a controversial issue paper on the question. " Is there a Crisis in the Education of Boys?". I have to admit, I didn't know a lot of the issues going into the paper, but I learned a lot during my research. I am posting my paper, not because I think it is exceptionally good, but I would like to hear your opinions on the matter. So feel free to disagree with me if you want :o)

Imagine that you are a parent of an elementary, middle school, or high school male and you heard that there is a crisis in the education of boys. Wouldn’t you be concerned for the education of your son? Many parents, teachers, administrators, and researchers are concerned as well and have been looking into the situation with great interest. The question is, are boys really in crisis in their education? This paper will discuss the views on the “boy crisis”, the possible problems facing boys in their education, and the proposed responses to these problems.
First, is there a crisis in the education of boys today? There are many scholars, teachers, and researchers who differ in their opinions on this matter. Two major views are prevalent: 1) boys are truly in crisis and need to be educated differently and 2) there is a gap between boys and girls, but it is marginal and therefore should not be of major concern.
Debra Viadero makes the point in her article in Education Week (2006) that boys truly are in educational crisis. Viadero says that this is not a new problem, but that on the National Assessment of Educational Progress test in reading, boys ages 9, 13, and 17 have lagged behind girls since 1971 (Viadero, 2006). Furthermore she asserts that this is a “universal problem”. In 2003 in a reading test given to 15 year olds around the world, females scored higher in all but one of the 41 countries tested (Viadero, 2006). Viadero continues that based on the National Center for Education Statistics, between the years of 1971-2001, men went from the majority of undergraduate population to the minority compared to females (2006).
Leonard Sax also believes that there is a major gender gap in the educational system and therefore, boys and girls should be educated differently. He gave the example in his article called “The Boy Problem” of his experience visiting an all boys elementary classroom in Waterloo, IA. This public school classroom was unique. There was a male teacher, walking about the room reading a book to the students; as he read, the boys in the classroom were moving about the room, twirling, talking, sitting on the floor or just interrupting in response at any time. When asked about how the children were doing not being required to sit still and be quiet, the teacher, Jeff Ferguson, said, “The students are paying attention and thriving under the relaxed atmosphere.” (Sax, 2007). Sax concluded that girls and boys are just different and need to be educated differently. He admits that girls are more likely to read for fun than boys are (NEA 1980-2004), but Sax believes that there are some major factors that have encouraged this trend (2007). He says that video games, medications for ADHD, endocrine disruptors, and the devaluation of masculinity have all contributed to boys not reading for fun (Sax, 2007).
While some like Sax believe that there is a major crisis in the education of boys that requires the restructuring of the classroom, others believe that the gap is marginal and does not warrant reformation. Deborah Perkins–Gough in the article “Do We Really have a Boy Crisis” says that based on recent NAEP scores, girls score higher in some areas, while boys score higher in others (Perkins-Gough, 2006). She believes that there are larger educational gaps of another kind that researchers and teachers should be concerned about - race and class gaps.
Rosalind C. Barnett and Caryl Rivers agree. They state that “ Overall, among non-poor academically elite students, boys are doing well” (Barnet & Rivers, 2006). They go on to say, “More males attend prestigious universities, such as Princeton and Harvard, and they are excelling in Science and Engineering in schools such as Cal Tech and MIT”. Both of these researchers agree that there is not a major gap between genders, but rather that there should be more focus placed on issues such as race and class.
They cite a study by the Urban Institute concerning the graduation rate of high-school students in Florida. Asians had an 81% graduation rate, whites had a 60% graduation rate, while Hispanics were at 48%, and blacks only a 46% graduation rate. Sarah Mead, a senior policy analyst at Education Sector, says, “Focusing on gender gaps, takes attention and resources away from the real and wide gaps of race and poverty” (Mead, 2006).
The major issues of the boy crisis have been discussed and now the important question of why might there be a gender gap must be answered. Debra Viadero (2006) gives three reasons why boys may struggle in school more than girls do. The first reason is that boy’s brains are hard-wired differently. The second reason is that school practices are not boy friendly. The third reason is that the after-effects of the women’s movement created this problem.
Leonard Sax adds one more reason: boys and girls develop at different rates. He believes that most boys are not prepared to read at age five (September 2006). He states that, “Language centers in many five-year-old boys look like the language centers of the average three-and-a-half-year-old girl.” Thirty years ago, kindergarten was a way of socializing children. They worked on finger painting and singing, but today, most kindergarten curriculums are much like the previous first grade curriculums. His conclusion is that most boys are not quite prepared for the rigid structure of the kindergarten program today. This often sets them behind in their reading abilities from the start (September 2006).
How should we respond to these claims that boys are in crisis? Those that believe that boys are truly in crisis, think that the education of boys must change. Kenneth Wallace wrote his dissertation on this trend. He argues that, “Rather than change boys, we need learn to respect and understand who they are.” Barnett and Rivers say that, “The remedy lies in creating a positive culture of learning in the classroom and beyond that will counteract the wider message that it’s a girl thing to do well in school” (2007). Those who hold this view of the boy crisis believe that boys should be either separated from the girls or that they should be treated differently in a coed classroom. They should be allowed to be more relaxed in their learning style. Just as Sax says, “sitting should be optional, and talking allowed” (2006).
On the other hand, those who believe there is only a marginal gap between the education of girls and boys, have a different take on the appropriate response. Deborah Perkins-Gough says that we should not panic. Boys will be just fine. “Rather we as educators and researchers should focus our attention where it is really needed: on closing the gaps of race and class.” She does however, admit that we should still support and fund the research of the boy crisis. But is that a contradiction?
My response to this question: “Is there a crisis in the education of boys?” is very similar to that of Sara Mead, Rosalind Barnett, and Caryl Rivers. There may be a slight gap between the educational progress of boys compared to girls, however, the margin is not wide enough to warrant changing the entire structure of our present schools and classrooms. In light of the widespread educational gaps presently between races and classes, it would be a misuse of resources to chase after the slim gap between genders.


Barnett, Rosalind C., & Rivers, Caryl. (2007). “Gender myths & the education of boys”. Independent School, 66(2), 92-4, 06, 98, 100-3.

Mead, Sara. (2006). “The truth about boys and girls”

Perkins-Gough, Deborah. (2006). “Do we really have a ‘boy crisis’?” Educational Leadership, 93-94.

Sax, Leonard. (2007). “The boy problem.” The School Library Journal, 53(9), 40-3.

Vail, Kathleen. (2006). “Is the boy crisis real?” American School Board Journal, 22-23.

Viadero, Debra. (2006). “Concern over the gener gaps shifting to boys” Education Week, 25(27), 1, 16-17.