Author: kcladner

The Pressure of Perfection

I found this article to be extremely insightful and, unfortunately, somewhat familiar. Although I did not go to an elite high school or university, I noticed many of these same behaviors in the students at my schools. Notably, I noticed these behaviors in myself. I am a perfectionist, riddled with anxiety. I have gotten three B’s as final grades, and I felt like a failure each time. In my AP classes, many of my peers exhibited the same types of behaviors. A close friend of mine, our high school valedictorian, ended up attending the same university as me. I always measured my success based on I stacked-up next to her, until I realized that by junior year of college, I was still making A’s, and she was now making C’s and D’s. Before this, she had never even made a single B. The stress of her “failure’ continued to gnaw at her, until she failed a class and had a mental breakdown. As a result, she withdrew from college and went back home, to parents who were not very forgiving. At the time, I was shocked, but I should not have been because we all saw it coming. I did not necessarily know that it would be her, but I knew that one of us, those group of top students from high school, would end up succumbing to the pressure.

I do not want this for my students. I understand that as I teacher, I will be an important force in my students’ lives, particularly in their academic lives. The grades that I assign will, in a large part, shape my students’ view of themselves. It is my job not to let this happen. I must work to reassure my students that they are so much more than just their GPA, their ACT score, their class rank, their average in my class. While I believe that school is important, I know that it is not everything. It is my job to indicate this to my students, particularly those students who do not receive this same type of reinforcement at home. In addition to this, it is imperative that I recognize these behaviors in my students and get them the help that they need before it’s too late.

Classroom Observation

One of my mentor teachers has two ninth-grade classes, one during first period and one during third period. I have benefited from this arrangement because I am able to observe during her first period and then teach during her third period. As I teach third period, I try to incorporate the strategies I saw her use that I thought worked rather well.

An effective technique which she uses while opening lessons is to have students complete a warm-up activity almost every day. This is a grammar practice in which the students take turns going to the board and correcting one of three sentences. This is an effective technique because it ensures that the students practice grammar each day, it gives them the opportunity to get out of their seats and practice talking in front of the class, and, classroom management-wise, it ensures that the students begin working, learning, and thinking as soon as they enter the classroom.

During lessons, one of her most effective classroom management strategies is to constantly walk around the room as students work. This helps to keep the students on-task, and it makes it more likely that the students will ask for help when they need it. At the end of lessons, she demands that students stay in their seats. This is an effective classroom management strategy because it keeps the students from lining up at the door and, eventually, wandering into the hallway before the bell has rung.

Three of the most common transitions are those between the warm-up activity and the overall lesson, notes and individual work, and individual work and whole-class review of that work. She manages each of these transitions by simply announcing the activity that the students will be completing next and telling them how much time they have before the next activity starts. This is effective because it prevents the students from constantly asking how much time they have left or “what’s next?”, and it reminds the students of their time constraints so that they work diligently. In addition to this, she has students copy down the agenda for the day at the beginning of each class. This allows transitions to go more seamlessly because the students already know what to expect next and how many activities they are expected to complete each day.

Out of all of the classroom management strategies that I have observed, the one which I am most excited to use in my classroom is a cellphone organizer at the front of the room. At the beginning of each class, my mentor teacher has students place their cellphones in the organizer (each student is assigned a specific slot), and she awards bonus points to students who have placed their cellphones in the organizer. I plan to use this in my classroom but to revamp it a bit. Many of these students do not seem to be motivated by bonus points, and they still use their phones during class even though they are not allowed to, so I would like to use the cellphone organizer as a means of taking attendance. If the student has not placed their cellphone in the organizer, then I will assume that they are absent. Another change that I will make is in regards to when the students can retrieve their cellphones. My mentor does not allow the students to get their phones even when they have finished all of their work for the day. Instead of following this example, I will use cellphone usage as an award and give students two-three minutes to use their phone at the end of class if they have finished all of their work and worked hard.

The Language of Caring

I found both articles to be rather interesting and particularly relevant to my current situation. The past two weeks, I have been struggling with two of the students in my first period class. Both of these students repeatedly avoid doing work in class and leave their seats to go and sit by their friends. Last week, my mentor teacher was absent, so I was in charge of this class for two days. During this time, one of these students called me “annoying’ when I told him to return to his group, and the other student blatantly refused to do his classwork by saying, “I am not going to do this today. I’ll do it at home’. I elected not to send either of these students to the office because they are both already struggling significantly in this class, and I did not want to make them dislike English/Language Arts more than they already do. Also, I realize that their anger likely has more to do with their feelings towards the subject and their ability to do well in the class more than it has to do with their feelings about me. Despite knowing all of this, I still went home that day feeling quite dejected.

These articles helped alleviate some of the negative feelings that I have been having towards these students, myself, and the teaching profession as a whole since these events occurred. The article “Let Care Shine Through’ helped me to further understand the disconnect that I have been having with those students. I know that I care about these two boys, their wellbeing, and their overall success in the class, but that does not mean that they know. What seems like caring to me, likely seems like nagging/controlling behavior to them. This article has encouraged me to keep trying and keep caring but to try to show that I care in a way that makes sense to them. Likely, this will involve some one-on-one discussions with those students in which I can let them know that I expect them to do their work because I know that they are capable of doing this work, and I genuinely want them to reach the potential that I see in them.

The second article, “What I Wish my Professor Had Told Me’, helped me to release some of my negative feelings about the situation. This article reminded me of the reason I decided to become a teacher in the first place, and it helped me to remember that every teacher has tough days. After all, these were only two bad days. I still have the rest of the year to connect with those students and create positive relationships with both of them. I should not allow two bad days to completely discourage me from caring about those students and caring about my role as a classroom teacher.


Personalized Learning

I was intrigued with this week’s subject because I had not previously researched personalized learning in-depth. I believe that there are many advantages and disadvantages to this learning strategy. The major advantage is quite obvious: students are able to work at their own pace. However, this is also a major disadvantage. There is no real system of accountability in place for personalized learning. This means that students may not progress through as much material as they would with traditional learning. In addition to this, not all personalized learning programs adhere to a set curriculum. When these programs do adhere to a certain curriculum, I think that they could be a great asset to schools. Unfortunately, some programs aim to allow students to design their own curriculum. I do not agree with this strategy because, again, I feel that it lacks accountability. Also, I believe that there are certain subjects and skills which all students should be exposed to. If students are not working with a set curriculum, then there is no guarantee that they will “choose’ to learn about important subjects and skills.

In the article “So-called Personalized Learning Doesn’t Add Up’, Paul Katula raises another interesting disadvantage of personalized learning. According to Katula, personalized learning is not necessarily “personalized’. Because personalized learning programs can be setup so that they track students’ internet history in order to determine their interests and cater their learning to those interests, these programs attempt to characterize students based solely on their internet behaviors rather than their offline behaviors. Katula argues that the issue with this is that many people, like himself, participate in online activities which do not necessarily match their interests. For example, Katula follows political figures from different sides of the political spectrum so that he can be more informed on all viewpoints. Despite this, he has his own strong political views and would not necessarily be interested in a personalized learning program which constantly brings up ideas and people across the political spectrum. Because of this, Katula says that traditional learning can be more personalized than can personalized learning. The reason for this is that teachers interact with their students daily and are able to learn things about their actual, ever-changing personalities which a computer may not pickup on.


I am embarrassed to admit that I am often confused by political issues and try not to pay too much attention to them. I know that I should try to work on this and become more aware. Therefore, I am glad that this assignment required me to learn more about a topic that I have been hearing a lot about, but about which I know very little. Before today, I thought that it was completely wrong to end DACA; however, I now realize that there are important arguments which claim that DACA is unconstitutional. With this in mind, I do understand the need to reform the program and put other measures into place.

As of right now, I believe that the best option would be to enact the Dream Act. Although, after more research, I may change my mind about this as well. My current understanding of the situation and of the provisions of the Dream Act lead me to believe that it is a viable solution to this issue. I feel that it is wrong to completely end DACA and abandon and/or deport its recipients.

I feel so blessed to have been born into a country that is overflowing with so much freedom and so many opportunities that others are willing to risk everything to come here both legally and illegally. I wish that more people could see it as a compliment that so many people from other countries would like to call our country home. In addition to this, I do not believe that I should have more opportunities than other people simply because I was lucky enough to have been born in the “right place’. I think that it is unfair that people who are truly willing to work for the opportunities that so many of us take for granted are not allowed to. Finally, I feel that it is wrong to abandon people who have been active members of this country since their early childhood. As I am only 21, there are numerous DACA recipients who have technically lived in this country longer than I have. I do not see how I have earned the title of “citizen’, but they have not.


Hi, all! I am a bit confused as to where I am supposed to post this, so I will just leave it here for now. My name is Katelyn Ladner, and I am from South Mississippi. I just moved to Alaska in May, and I am currently living in Anchorage. I am taking this class because it is required, but that does not make me any less excited to be here!

I hope to graduate at the end of this school year with my Alaska teaching certification. At that point, I would like to teach high school English somewhere in Alaska for at least a year. After that, I do not really have a planned. I never imagined that I would be living in Alaska while working towards my teaching degree, so who knows what else life has in store for me after I finish this adventure!

As any English major would likely say, my hobbies include reading and writing. I also thoroughly enjoy traveling and spending time with my friends. My true passions are napping and eating, but I’m not sure if those are technically considered to be hobbies.

I will spend this school year finishing up all of my degree requirements for my teaching certification. This year, I will be student teaching at South High School in Anchorage. I will be working mostly with freshmen, but also with some sophomores and juniors.