I work here for the view…

As a student, I fell in love with the GCC experience. The first day I stepped on campus in 2007, I felt like GCC wrapped its arms around me. I sensed tremendous positive energy here. Everyone at GCC wanted me to succeed. The mission of this organization was crystal clear. Student success. I remember walking around campus, gazing up at the picturesque palm trees set against the blue Arizona sky. Walking from one class to another, I was in heaven. What a view…

I was a first generation college student who came to GCC full of hopes and dreams. I was new to Arizona and eager to make things happen as I began a new chapter in my life. During my first week of classes, I made 2 important purchases: a rolling book bag and bifocals. Being a 42 year old college freshman presented a few challenges. I quickly discovered that my books were too heavy and the print was too small…

With my new glasses and book bag, I began to understand the meaning of “life-long learning.” GCC was my dream come true…I was hooked. No book was too heavy…no print too small…

Fast forward to January 2017. Today, I’m honored to be part of the GCC Library staff. I work here now! I’ll never forget the success I felt as a student. My education at GCC was mind-expanding and life-changing. As an employee, I want to contribute to student success and help others live their best lives.

As a new employee, I’m still walking around campus at lunchtime, gazing at the palms against the blue sky and continuing to feel the joy of GCC. I guess you could say I work here for the view…

 

Whoops, I Did it Again!

NAU Lumberjill

I am a lifelong learner but have to confess, it’s been many years since I took a credit class for an actual grade or credit. Oh, I’ve noodled around and taken credit classes like Hiking, Body Sculpting, even Accounting, but that was for sh*ts and giggles, not for reals. I have long felt an emptiness and a yearning to go back to school for something concrete and real, not simply for fun. Don’t get me wrong, the fun classes were mostly health-related and that is a very good thing, but I felt a need to work on my mental muscles.

SO, to make a long story short, I found the program I have been searching for – I am enrolled in NAU’s Master’s in English, Professional Writing program. It is scary and exhilarating at the same time. I had to dig up an old transcript when applying for the program and realized I haven’t taken classes towards a degree since 2003! Whoa, times have changed and that is a long time to not have homework, exams, or for time spent on study. I have had 13 years of playing video games, goofing off, and relaxing with a boatload of free time. That is gone, long gone.

I completed two classes in fall and just started one this spring. I have gotten over the panic of navigating my first online course and am now digging in and getting into this whole new learning gig. My plan for 6×6 is to document the journey and path I just stepped foot on.

Wish me well, good peeps!

 

 

 

Greetings!

Greetings! Not as in “Greetings, Earthlings!”, but as in “Good Morning, Students!”  I am teaching a late-start ENG101 class, so it is the beginning of the semester for me. I know we were all taught to stand in the doorway of the classroom, greeting each student, and shaking their hands as the semester begins. I do that the first day.  I also try to individually welcome them every day, though often I am welcoming them as a group. I always write on the board, before any information, “Welcome Back!” What prompted me to write this post, though, was that I recently read that it is a spiritual act to initiate greetings and smile at as many people as you can, every day. The initiation, rather the passive reaction, is considered very important, as it is a signal to the other that you see him/her as a unique person deserving respect and honor. Since I read this, I am increasing my initiation of greetings on campus, smiling at people I don’t know instead of shyly narrowing my focus to where I am going, and the response has been so positive. As I believe most of us do, I try hard to pronounce the student’s name correctly, not settling for “however you want to say it”, but working hard to say it correctly. (I do this not only to show respect, but also to re-enforce the importance of words. )Even if the student smiles at my bumbling attempts, it seems to be appreciated. Though most students respond positively to a hello and their names, I always have a few students who look right past me and do not respond; as a result, I sometimes stop addressing them in this way. However, today I was determined to keep up the practice, even if ignored! And the student who had been ignoring me actually gave me eye contact and a slight smile! So hello to you, my fellow posters! Please send me any other tips you have for starting to build community and trust at the beginning of the semester.
 

Why I’m excited to teach here!

I recently was asked why I wanted to focus more of my teaching time on literacy.  This is an excerpt of my response:

Although our course catalog separates English from reading, I have always seen myself as a literacy instructor.  My master’s degree and professional studies focus on reading and writing across the curriculum.  I teach children’s literature and ESL strategies using integrated literacy activities.  My CRE101 students write college-level essays in APA format using elements from the rubrics from ENG101.  My ENG081 students write clear paragraphs after reading quality text written at an appropriately challenging Lexile level.  My greatest joy is seeing an ENG071 or RDG071 student master college-level material in CRE101.  My ESL students tell me that the active learning strategies we use in our classes help them acquire vocabulary and feel successful.

I have become a better teacher at Glendale because of the rich resources we have within our department and across our campus.  I love the support of the CTLE as I revise and improve my face-to-face, hybrid, and online course offerings using Google tools and open educational resources.  I enjoy learning from others to provide meaningful activities such as the ESL peer tutoring experiences with Betsey Wheeler and Larissa Hill.

I currently have a terrific teaching assignment as a reading, education, and English instructor; however, I find that I want to do more in literacy.  My goal in becoming a full-time member of our department is to be able to say yes to opportunities to create new learning communities that integrate reading and writing.  I’m excited about the possibility of accelerated models and creative scheduling to help all of our students attain their academic goals more quickly.

 

Elementary to College…What is the pedagogy?

No matter to which particular age group one is teaching, it is important to assess, take genuine interest in, and purposefully infuse the students’ likes and strengths into one’s content-based lessons. The classroom affect, whether face-to-face, or sometimes even more difficult to assess, virtual; should be the driving force behind lesson planning. In addition to the brain seeking patterns of which to attach the newly acquired schema, but once one taps into the emotional memory brain through novel and relevant events, the probability of subject retention escalates exponentionally. I am basing the aforementioned professional observational, reflective, and researched upon more than twenty-five years of teaching ages three through sixty-five. Mostly, one has to be excited about what one is instructing because if the students sense excitement within the teacher’s instructional design and delivery, many times, the students will be more receptive towards receiving the instructional input.


Haiku To You, Too

I have been having fun reading some of the posts and comments from days gone by here at the Write 6×6. Thank you all for the fun and inspiration. I was especially influenced by The STEAM Hub’s work with Haiku poetry. I thought I’d give it a try. I’ve always been comfortable with syllables, almost effortlessly babbling my way through the day one syllable at a time. At a recent education conference, a colleague from Japan reported that if we’d only pay attention, we’d learn. At first I felt a chuckle at the obviousness of this, but in time I began to see the profoundness of it. How much of our lives is spent without attention? This semester, I began on day one by asking my students to “pay attention.” No matter how frighteningly complex,  drearily mundane, or fabulously fresh our educational task, learn. Our successes and our failures, our laughter and our tears, they provide teachable moments. Pay attention, and one moment at a time, we find our way to all that we desire, for that way is paved with learning.  Here’s the set of sobering syllables:

Night skies ask of us
Mindful participation
Toward sun-filled mornings
 

Why I Work Here.

As I look back on my life, I see that I have always enjoyed helping people. When I was growing up on the family farm I would often go over to the neighbors when I was done with jobs at our farm looking for things to do to help them. In school I always found myself helping my friends with their math. In fact, during my senior year in high school when we lost our math teacher (calculus class) and we got a permanent substitute, whose major was English, my dad, who taught math at PC, would teach me the math the night before and then in class I’d teach the students. At MCC I was a tutor. I found that I really enjoyed doing that. In fact, I had an experience there where a student tackled me one morning while going to class because she had just gotten her first A on a math test ever. That was the exact moment I decided, I need to teach 🙂

There is no better feeling than to see someone “get it” and you know that you were instrumental in their increase in understanding. That is why I do what I do.