It is sobering to read articles like this one. It puts me in an introspective mood, less on my own mental state, but one born out of concern for those I love. Suicide is a dismal reality, and the factors involved in the process can be unlimited. As educators, or future educators, knowing that suicide is a real, active thing is important. We have to be aware of the signs and the concerns. It is encouraging to hear that many of the elite colleges like Yale are possibly taking steps to lessen the affect they have on students trying to make difficult academic decisions.
For those who are going into an educational setting prior to college, such as a middle or high school, there is a great responsibility toward students. Students in K-12 are still under the dependency on their parents. They have yet to make big decisions independently that could change the course of their life. It is at this time, before the students leave their nests, that secondary education teachers have the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of their students. Recognizing the signs of depression or anxiety is important. Know resources that can be provided to help and assist troubled students. A teacher is in a great positions to become an example of humility and perseverance for students that are struggling, showing them that the current situation is changeable and won’t determine the outcome of their life if they don’t allow it.
I wish that there were more students like Ms. DeWitt, who faced her problems, got help, and overcame suicidal ideation. I believe that every student can respond in a positive way if they are struggling, and that is why it is important to build a strong base during a young person’s early life.
I admire the passion of Jennifer Collins. She makes it obvious that few things in her job will cause her to quit, even if she ponders the thought on the daily. Her insight into the impact of being a teacher is powerful. She is right to say that teaching goes beyond the classroom. It is something that has lingering effects for the rest of a student’s life. The ending section was especially important. Her reminders about how easy it would be to quit, but never letting the big picture fade, is great advice.
As I press further into the educational field, I can only begin to wonder what stumbling blocks I may come upon, and thereafter overcome, on my walk through this career field. In the article “Let Care Shine Through,” much is given to the importance of caring. Caring is not surface level; it is a deep, intricate, multifaceted set of actions and beliefs that strives to seek out the best for a student. Teaching should not be treated as just a job, because it would be an injustice to the students being taught. The teacher-student relationships requires compassion and genuine interest.
A safe learning environment includes monitoring my own attitude. If I cannot act in a respectable way, how can my students? Show the students that teacher’s care, not just through words, but by actions day after day.
I found an article on the “teacher voice” and a real life example of how speaking guides classroom behavior:
Personalized learning has been something I have considered for a long time. It seems to be a great idea, focusing on the needs of students in a particular way. I believe that that the real problem lies in it’s implementation, as Carol Ann Tomlinson purveyed. Personalization of learning can allow students to focus on particular needs or desires. This can greatly help them on their way to college and the career field thereafter. But what must be demanded? Tomlinson spent a healthy portion of her essay asking questions, and many of these asked the question how will it fit?
More specifically, how will personalization fit in the educational world we live in, that is tailored toward broad, level learning for all? Tomlinson’s concerns about teacher and volunteer involvement is valid. We have no solid way of preparing for the potential demand in particular subjects. If most people feel that English or language arts is what they want to personalize in, will there be enough teachers or volunteers to teach the subject? I have a feeling the answer is no. Of course, once demand for the field of english/language arts teacher rises, there will be an attempt to meet the need. But how long until then? With the many factors involved, I don’t think personalized learning will prove to the educational community that it will last.
I do believe that a more personalized learning is a noble tool on the journey to educate the rising generations. The potential for specialization is profound, through projects or group work that is catered to the students specific needs. Of course, I take the road of caution in this. Making a change like this will require everyone to be fully on-board, and it will demand a massive shift in manpower and structure. Here is a link to an article I found relevant: https://www.understood.org/en/school-learning/partnering-with-childs-school/instructional-strategies/personalized-learning-what-you-need-to-know
It seems to be difficult to keep up with the amount of change happening under the Trump administration. Before reading the prompt for this weeks blog entry, I had no idea that DACA was being pushed for removal. That being said, I have formed an opinion on it, in the little research I have sought out on the subject. My feelings go back to the roots of American culture, when the first European arrivals stepped foot on North American soil. The fact is, most of us had family that were once immigrants to this continent. I think the offensive against immigration, particularly against those born after their parents arrived illegally, is unfounded and may even be born from a sense of paranoia. I believe that DACA should stay in place, where it can be a safeguard for those under its protection to find a way to obtain citizenship.
We need to be find a way to integrate the immigrants into American society. Offer them a program toward citizenship, instead of wagging the threat of deportation over their heads. America is, after all, a place founded by immigrants, with an offer for anyone else to be welcomed into this land.
My name is Matt Stahl. I was born in Palmer, Alaska, and have lived in this state for most of my life (with a few years of my childhood in Washington.) Prior to coming to Fairbanks to pursue my degree in English, I lived for almost a decade in Talkeetna, Alaska. I love Alaska for the mountains and the people, and I think those are the reasons that would make me stay here for the rest of my life!
I enjoy getting creative, especially with my writing. I have taken a few creative writing classes that allowed me to experiment with story and character. I have been trying to finish writing a novel for several years now, but I always jumping to new projects that keep me from reaching my goal. One of these days I will commit and finish a book before starting a new one!
I want to become a missionary when I leave university, but that won’t be for another few years (after I pay off my loans, of course!) I visited Thailand in May for my first missions trip, and my first time overseas. It was amazing! I think it would be incredible to teach English overseas while serving God as a missionary. Hopefully I can use my minor in secondary education to help me along the way. Below is a picture of me and my friends along with a few of the local Thai people that we met (I’m the one taking the picture)!