Tuesday, August 21, 2012

How Grad School is Like Preschool

Yesterday, as I was driving home from the second meeting of one of my graduate classes, I was thinking about how grad school can be a lot like preschool, especially on the first day.  Here are some examples:

1: The "Here's what you need to know" packet
  • Preschool = Welcome packet that includes everything parents need to know for the time being 
  • Grad school = Syllabus, schedule, due dates, and assignments
2: Seating assignments
  • Preschool =Assigned seats on the carpet (using previous teachers' opinions about who to separate)
  • Grad school = Assigned seating groups for the semester
3: Set the tone
  • Preschool = Here are our rules, routines, and expectations for the class
  • Grad school = Here's how the class operates, so follow that code of conduct
4:  Discovery as opposed to "preaching"
  • Preschool = Set up activities so that the students discover different concepts on their own
  • Grad school = Provide hands-on activities so that the teachers can learn the same way their students do
That being said, I am really enjoying the one graduate class I have been to (I'll go to the other one on Thursday for the first time). It's nice being on the Griffin campus, because it's small and intimate. Student Affairs met me and one other student at my class an hour early to take our photo, order our Campus I.D.s, and do a quick orientation for us since we're both new. How wonderful is that? As much as I love The University of Alabama, I can't say that they would have gone out of their way to set up a special orientation time for just two new students.

As always, Roll Tide!
And now, Go Dogs! (Go Dawgs?) Hrm, have to check on that one...

Friday, August 17, 2012

3 Weeks with 3 Year Olds (Almost)

We are 2.5 weeks into school, and it has gone incredibly well! I am super pleased with my students, and I have great parents!

Here are some of the awesome things my 3 year olds can do already (most of the time):
Open their own milk carton
Walk in a quiet line
Remember to wash their hands before using the sensory table
Line up to go inside when they hear the bell
Clean up after centers

Okay, so these are things you would expect students to be able to do, but keep in mind that they’re 3, and we’re less than 3 weeks into school.

Zeke (instructional coach) has already observed me teaching 3 times, and that has gone very well. I've done something to impress him, so the goal is to continue doing so. It's reassuring to me that even after a year as a Para, I can still create lessons and teach :)

Last night was curriculum night, and I had 4 parents come (representing 3 different students). We got started just after 6:30 and didn’t leave until 7:50. The school was dark, and everything was shut down by then. I’m pretty sure we were the last cars in the parking lot. However, I actually enjoyed having that time to talk with these parents (being the nerd that I am). What really blew me away is that they asked me what I needed from them. How amazing is that?! One of the Dads is a tech person for another school that has just switched from PC to Macs, so he’s got a lot of supplies he’s looking to donate. We’re getting 5 netbooks with mice, and couple digital cameras, and maybe more. I’m SOO excited to be getting some technology in the classroom. So many blessings in the past 3 weeks!

Well, I'm going to lay on the couch and do nothing in an attempt to cure this gunky cold the children gave me over a week ago (hello back-to-school germs!). In my next post, I'm hoping to have some pictures of my classroom!