Friday, August 31, 2007

Educated Musings...

I'm to keep a daily professional journal during my time of student teaching so I will reflect on happenings that occurred through the day. This is designed to help me write down what went well and what went poorly so I can improve on the craft of teaching. It's actually a good exercise, and I just thought I would share a sneak peek into my teaching by posting one of my entries:

(Un)Free Thinkers

16 September 2007
In reflecting over some activities over the past week, I have come to realize a surprising paradox. In my Bible Doctrines class on Thursday, I gave the students an assignment to illustrate with pictures the concepts and history that we learned about in Daniel 2. There were some basic guidelines for the assignment, but there was a great deal of latitude for students to choose how to create their illustrations. Along the same vein, another time, I gave them a free-writing assignment where they read a story in the Bible and chose a character in the story and wrote down their thoughts/feelings as though they were in that/those characters’ shoes. It was remarkable how difficult the students found those assignments. What were intended t0 be assignments that allowed students the freedom to think on their own and to be creative turned into frustrated attempts on many students’ part to know just EXACTLY “what the teacher wanted.” I was surprised that though teenagers often clamor for freedom of thought, expression, and behavior my students were suddenly adamant (some were downright upset!) that the teacher would not tell them just exactly what to do! Now that they were allowed to think, they didn’t want to! How ironic it really is. (I hasten to add that I’m certain that I am of the same nature as those students, and that this tendency exists with me just the same.) I am just reminded of one of my favorite quotes (one of my many ;-) from Education page 17, “It is the work of true education to develop this power, to train the youth to be thinkers, and not mere reflectors of other men's thought.”

Life @ Laurelbrook

I am beginning a year-long stint at Laurelbook Academy as a student teacher. This is part of my requirements for my Secondary Education degree from Ouachita Hills College. Unfortunately, Verizon cellphone coverage here is close to nil so my major source of contact with the "outside world" has been cut off. I realize that I need to put more effort into keeping my blog updated to keep those you interested abreast of my latest rompings... problem is that Internet access is hard to come by over here too (it's only in the school computer lab) and it's quite slow. Anyway...on to my life.

I am teaching Physical Science to the Freshmen and Bible Doctrines to the Juniors. I feel a totally inadequate and unprepared for this task even though I've been trained by some of the best back at OHC. The following are a few statements that contribute to my feeling ineptness.

Nothing is of greater importance than the education of our children and young people. {CT 165.1}
To train the young to become true soldiers of the Lord Jesus Christ is the most noble work ever given to man. {CT 166.3}
In the highest sense the work of education and the work of redemption are one... {Ed 30.2}
(Ellen White was always one for superlatives...)

In addition to preparing for, teaching, and grading papers from my classes, I will also be working in the school's vocational program, and will also be taking a college class from Bryan College in Dayton, TN (from which I am posting this blog). Of course, my responsibilities in GYC still remains also. It's going to be an intensely busy semester, that's for sure (it already has been!). I think that it will be over before I know it, though. If you don't see this blog updated very often, despite my sincere intentions to do so, I think you'll know why. :-) Pray for my students and me when you get a chance; we're going to need it!

Here are a few pictures for those of you who wouldn't read this blog unless there were pictures ;-):

The classic Laurelbrook sign.

This is the 3 bedroom house that I get to stay in all by myself! It's GLORIOUS having a bedroom where I sleep and an office where I study/work. I don't recall ever having such an arrangement in my living quarters before in my entire life.

A view from the Laurelbrook Lodge that overlooks this beautiful Tennessee valley. The Lodge is the only place I've found on campus where I can get a consistent cellphone signal...and it's exactly 1.5 miles from my house on dirt roads. Remember this, it will be on your next quiz. ;-)

Oh yes, the weekend before I came to Laurelbrook, I was in Michigan for the wedding of Norman and Joelle McNulty. This is a picture of Norman the night before the wedding. He got a little out of control when Pieter reminded him that he was getting married the next day. (Actually, this was a victory celebration for his second of three hole-in-one's in a row at the close of his 18 holes.)

Here's a picture of the bridal party looking purdy. (Courtesy of TKA Photography) If you're interested in more N&J wedding photos and commentary, please visit: Joelle's Blog.

I'm through with two entire weeks of school...phew! (Only 34 more to go!) Teaching is a LOT of work! Happy Labor Day! (Yes, and I will be laboring...)