Yay! Yay! SRA!

That was something my middle school language arts teacher forced us to say about the SRA reading labs she required us to do. Awesome woman and great teacher. I’ll talk about her a little ways down.

I haven’t posted on here in quite a while. I have something thats been mellowing in Word for a few months, but I don’t know if I’ll put it up. I don’t even know if I could pick up where I left off with the piece. My train of thought has been (permanently?) derailed.

While I was student teaching I blamed busy-ness for not posting a lot. Now I guess my excuse is that I am currently not teaching so I have nothing to blog about.

Bah.

While cleaning out and attempting to organize my desk today I came across some papers I wrote for one of my final education classes. It was for one of my favorite professors in the College of Education at UC. A lot of times I feel that I am merely a composite of the people I meet. My humor is a mish-mash of my high school and college friends, as are some of my likes, hobbies, clothes, and some mannerisms. I know that isn’t completely true, I have my own identity, but when I do a thing and someone laughs, I think: “I got that from so-and-so.” I guess what I am saying is that I don’t feel as original as I appear to be. I don’t know if that is a good or bad thing. How much of my personality is “Taylor Belcher”?

If that seemed like a tangent, it was.

But I told you that story to tell you this story. (<- I stole that phrase.)

My ideas about education are a conglomeration of my personal educational experience: schools I went to, teachers I had (including my mom for a brief homeschooling stint) and my relationships with those people, and classmates who learned with me. These ideas are also a product of my time at the College of Education at UC. What they taught me, what they didn’t teach me. What I have pulled from blogs and twitter accounts of teachers I have found online. (That is a big one.) My experiences with student teaching and my relationships with the teachers there. And finally my own opinions and meditations on the subject of teaching math.

This professor was a part of that coming-together, the formation of my current educational philosophy. I enjoyed writing assignments for her and I enjoyed reading her responses. While reading those saved papers I was reminded of Marci Nichols. She was my Language Arts teacher for 7th and 8th grade. She had a very large influence on the person I am today. I believe she is part of the reason I gravitated towards teaching.

When we would complain about all the assignments she gave us, she would say, “Some day you will thank me.” We didn’t believe her–or at least, I didn’t. As middle school students we had to read Shakespeare and write lengthy essays defending a position. We were required to keep weekly reading journals, writing about our thoughts and reactions to books (which had to be approved by Dr. Nichols), and countless SRA reading labs. She also made us memorize a large list of prepositions to the tune of our school fight song. I’ll perform it for you if you ask. (It won’t sound good.) No one else has ever made me diagram a sentence in English. I owe a lot of my reasoning, critical thinking, and debate skills to Marci Nichols.

She died of leukemia when I was a freshman in high school. I didn’t get to thank her.

But as a follower of Christ, I know the story doesn’t end there. Dr. Nichols was a woman of faith. I’ll thank her one day.

“But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death.
(1 Corinthians 15:20-26 ESV)

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3 thoughts on “Yay! Yay! SRA!

  1. Stephanie says:

    Hi,

    I came across your blog via David Wees, and as a fellow mathematics educator I thought you might be able to help in spreading the word about an educational TV show for preteens about math that we’re putting together. “The Number Hunter” is a cross between Bill Nye The Science Guy and The Crocodile Hunter — bringing math to children in an innovative, adventurous way. I’d really appreciate your help in getting the word out about the project.

    I studied math education at Jacksonville University and the University of Florida. It became clear to me during my studies why we’re failing at teaching kids math. We’re teaching it all wrong! Bill Nye taught kids that science is FUN. He showed them the EXPLOSIONS first and then the kids went to school to learn WHY things exploded. Kids learn about dinosaurs and amoeba and weird ocean life to make them go “wow”. But what about math? You probably remember the dreaded worksheets. Ugh.

    I’m sure you know math is much more exciting than people think. Fractal Geometry was used to create “Star Wars” backdrops, binary code was invented in Africa, The Great Pyramids and The Mona Lisa, wouldn’t exist without geometry.
    Our concept is to create an exciting, web-based TV show that’s both fun and educational.

    If you could consider posting about the project on your blog, I’d very much appreciate it. Also, if you’d be interested in link exchanging (either on The Number Hunter site, which is in development, or on StatisticsHowTo.com which is a well-established site with 300,000 page views a month) please shoot me an email. We’re also always looking for input and ideas from other math educators!

    Thanks in advance for your help,

    Stephanie
    andalepublishing@gmail.com
    http://www.thenumberhunter.com
    http://www.statisticshowto.com

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