Author: mswagerty

Classroom Observations

I am currently a student intern at Ryan Middle School where I work with 7th grade English students.   My mentor teacher has been teaching at this school for about twenty years, so I’ve had a chance to see several different practiced management strategies in action.   My mentor teacher has a vocab word on the board each day for the students to copy down into their notebooks.   The students enter the classroom, hand out their notebooks, and begin copying down the vocab word.   This helps to give the students time to transition into the classroom and begin getting on task for the day.   Once the class actually begins my mentor teacher walks around the classroom during independent work time, making sure to walk around the entire classroom.   By doing this she is always aware of what most if not every student is doing, and is able to stop classroom disruptions before they begin.   My mentor teacher normally keeps class going until about a minute or a minute and a half before the bell rings.   She does this to keep students from congregating at the door for the classroom.

The three most common transitions I see are putting away writer’s notebooks, handing out the work for the day, and putting away computers at the end of a class period that uses computers.   My mentor teacher collects the writer’s notebooks every morning after the students do the vocab word or free write they are assigned.   She does this by having the students pass the notebooks forward and then having one student collect all the notebooks.   By doing this, she ensures there isn’t a mass rush of students trying to put away their notebooks all at once.   When handing out the work for the day, whether the work is the reading we are going to be doing, or the computers the kids will need, my mentor teacher tries to make sure to keep a discussion or lecture going.   This way the students have something to pay attention to.   If the students are picking up computers she dismisses them one row at a time to make sure there aren’t too many students crowded around the computer cart.   She does the same thing when students need to put computers away, allowing one row at a time to go.

I think the best strategy I saw that I would want to use in my own classroom is walking around the class keeping an eye on every student.   In most of my classes growing up the teacher stayed at the front of the class leading discussions or giving lectures.   I like seeing teachers walking up and down the rows interacting with each student, and I want to make sure I incorporate this into my own classroom in the future.

Personalized learning: the shiny new wheel

In reading different articles as well as the other discussion posts, I think the core issue at hand is no one seems to know what personalized learning even is.   There is disagreement over whether personalized learning means every student is on a computer learning from a playlist, or if just giving students several different options to choose from is personalized learning.   I think that it is this inability to define personalized learning perfectly is the reason for the hesitation teachers have towards adopting this educational style.

The blog post I found discussed some the issues with full adoption of personalized learning.   It seems to me that many schools want to jump head first into the new and shiny educational technique, but this article promoted a little more caution.   One of the things mentioned was that personalized learning is still really new, and because of this teachers, admin, and students need to be prepared for adjustments and improvisation in the class room.   Since many of these new techniques haven’t been fully studied, it is important to remember tried and tested methods that can fit in the new structure of personalized learning.

I think that this idea speaks to me the most, because I have heard too many teachers talking about abandoning the old methods of teaching in favor of this new method.   As teachers, an important part of our job is not re-creating the wheel, but instead be constantly modifying and growing the wheel, if you will forgive the mangled metaphor.   It seems to me that the main issue with this movement towards personalized learning is the amount of people wanting to start over fresh and forget all the things previously learned.


Here is what I found:


I found an article from USA today written by a Dreamer (an undocumented child working towards citizenship), which showed the influence the removal of DACA would have on her life.   This helped me to see the limbo that Dreamers have been put in thanks to this situation.   Currently they are unsure if they will even be allowed to work in a few months as their rights under DACA may be revoked.

While I do personally believe that DACA should continue, if the government insists on cancelling it, I think that people currently protected by it should be grandfathered in and ensured continued protection.   By taking away these rights given to people since childhood we are dehumanizing them, and ignoring all the good they have done their entire lives.


Hi all!


My name is Malachi Swagerty and I am in the master’s of education program working towards receiving my teacher’s certificate.   I am taking this class as a requirement to receive both my certificate and master’s, though after being a student teacher intern for the past few weeks I have realized I do need some help with my classroom management skills.   I am currently interning at Ryan Middle School in Fairbanks, teaching 7th grade English.   I’m hoping to graduate mid summer of 2019 and start teaching the following semester.   I’m still unsure if I want to teach middle school or high school, I had originally wanted to teach at the high school level, but I am enjoying the middle school students.


I moved up to Fairbanks from Anchorage at the beginning of the summer.   This move was two fold, I wanted to be a part of this program, but my wife and I also had our daughter in January of this year, and with my parents living in Fairbanks, child care is much easier to receive here.   As for hobbies, I like reading and playing video games.   I’m trying to include my daughter in both of my hobbies, but she’s still a little too young to really understand either.


I’m looking forward to an awesome semester with everyone!