Category: News

What I wish my professor had told me

What a perfect article for a new teacher.   I appreciate very much the advice in this article.   Every point in here is spot on.   1. Loving kids is not enough.   It certainly isn’t.   And sadly, you truly can’t save them all.   2. You will definitely wear many hats as a teacher.   You can fill the role of a counsellor, you may have students you provide food or school supplies to, and etc.   Your duties don’t stop in the classroom.

3.Keep all the bad pictures and everything else.   It will be a cherished thing later in life.   I actually punched a hole in my school ID from last year and hung it on our Christmas tree. I am proud of myself from surviving last year and will keep that forever.

4.We all can attest to the fact that there is not a perfect lesson out there.   It doesn’t exist.   Especially when you are getting evaluated.   That is the time that literally EVERYTHING will go wrong.

5. Putting kids before content is an easy one.   We have to gauge our students.   If you are losing them or they are falling behind you have to sometimes backtrack and refocus.

6.   This one sometimes seems like the hardest one!   It can be discouraging and no doubt teaching is hard work.   The rewards far out weigh the workload.   Buckle down and keep trudging ahead.

Blog 6 Suicide Perfection

This was quite a sobering article that as a millennial I’ve been affected by personally. My parents were quite like the parents in the article praising and pushing for all of their children to achieve a bachelors degree. I remember I didn’t feel totally accomplished with the associates degree, because they’re reactions were less than impressed with the diploma that I didn’t even feel like I deserved to walk across stage to accept it. So I didn’t go, because to my parents it didn’t really count as a degree.

This kind of perfection idea of the American dream is the dream that most parents want for their children, and the fact that not everyone is suited for. I remember where I was when the student was discovered in the UAF library shot. And I remember that suicide in the UAF community is actually a lot more common, and not at all brought to light as it should. The feeling that after a day, the news was swept under the rug as fast as possible.

There needs to be a reckoning that children need to find their independence in their choices and the parents need to be okay with it. As a brand new parent I will always try to remember that forcing someone to impossible standard can be detrimental to that individual!

CM Draft MM

Physics Made Fascinating

MaryKate Martin

Classroom Management Plan

EDSC 458Table of Contents

Introduction ––––––––––––––––––––––––Page 3

Preparation of start of school year


Safety and lab safety

Working with admin and parents

Working with student diversity  

Community resources

Planning instructions




If one asks a student about the possibility of them taking a Physics class, their answer wouldn’t generally surprise a teacher. Most likely if the student has no prior experience with the science they’ll decline. There’s multiple reasons that discourages students: the maths too hard, the concepts are far beyond their believed reach, etc. However, a well managed classroom and curriculum could break down such daunting obstacles in a student’s mind, not to mention having fun demonstrations and labs.

This is a pivotal idea that could lead students in career paths they never knew were possible. There are several ways to have a successful classroom that one has to have intricate plans with their curriculum and the management in their rooms. From the start of the school year, the fate of year is in the hands of the teacher. Quite like Star Wars: New Hope there’s a New Hope for the year, but hopefully not the same outcome as the movie.

When a teacher has to think of everything in their classroom all the way down to where the posters on the walls go. So without saying rules are some of the most important established elements for both the teacher and student safety. Especially with the a Physics lab where the possibilities of injuries are countless, rules are essential. From teacher to teacher there are varying rules that are specific for each teacher and each class, but there’s also school rules where they translate into every classroom not to federal law.

But the teachers have to plan to be able to work with not just with the students, there are multiple people they have to keep up to date with their progress. One such group of people that the teacher has to be able to inform and work with is the students parents. One can imagine the amount of effort a teacher has to put up with not just with the difficult parents. Another group a teacher has to prepare for is working with the school administration. The teacher has to prepare their curriculum in according to the requirements of the students learning goals. There might some wiggle room for the teacher’s curriculum, but they still need to follow state needs.

The teacher main challenge is developing their curriculum, and how to deliver this material to students. The way they deliver to their students could make or break the whole semester and up coming students enrollment. Student diversity has to be though of and how the teacher will overcome background knowledge or even student’s backgrounds. There are strategic ways the teachers could use as well as community resources for their instructions.

All of these features are going to be discussed in this paper in detail with regard to an eleventh grade Physics class in mind. From prepping for the start of the year to the curriculum for the students the teacher has to be efficient and proficient in all of these areas.

Prepping For The New Year:

Suicide Awareness (Blog 6)

This article really hits home for me.

One of the biggest misconceptions people have about depression, anxiety, and suicide is that they think they can tell or “just know” when someone is experiencing it or contemplating suicide.   There is a stereotype about what people with depression or anxiety look like, and how they act.   However, I can tell you, one of my defense mechanisms is to show everyone good things, and keep the negative feelings and thoughts to myself.   For a long time, that is what I did.   However, part of my treatment is opening up to others.   When I open up to others, it helps me heal, and it helps others to know they are not alone.

I have struggled with anxiety and depression for almost my whole life.   The pressure to be perfect and do everything right is overwhelming.   Just in the past month, I have struggled every day to continue to do what I need to do…I have had good days and REALLY REALLY bad days.   On the good days (like today), I can get my homework done, I can take a shower, I can do laundry.   On the bad days, I can barely leave my bed, let alone be functional in the world.   This leads to getting behind on homework, house work, and real work, leading to even more anxiety.   It has a compounding affect.

I already knew, before reading this article, how prevalent depression and suicidal ideation were in academia.   I have met students in my time at Tanana Middle School who have anxiety, depression, and who cut themselves.   My own experiences with mental illness have helped me to connect with students who need someone who understands.   I have also learned compassion, patience, and understanding, which I hope will allow me to better serve my students.   I have learned to see the signs of mental illness in my students, even when they are trying to hide them, because I have such a deep experience with it myself.   I know this does not mean that I will be able to help every child, but I believe that I will be able to help some to find the resources they need.

Classroom observation reflection (Blog 5)

My current mentor teacher begins lessons by getting her students’ attention and then waiting until they have all quieted down before speaking.   This teaches them that she will not try to talk over them, so they need to be quiet.   During the lesson, she takes short breaks in instruction to have the students discuss what they are learning with each other, then she brings them together and asks a student or two to explain what they discussed.   This allows the students time to absorb information, as well as a short period to socialize (they definitely do), so they are less likely to chat during lesson time.   Finally, when closing out a lesson, she reiterates what she has just taught and gives the students clear guidance on how they should be spending the remaining class time.   By clearly stating her goals for the students, they know exactly what they should be doing, and the transition to work time is seamless.

During the class period there are several opportunities for transitions.   At the beginning of class, my mentor teacher has a warm up activity that the students work on for the first 10 minutes.   This gives the students time to mentally transition from the class they just left and into the math class.   It also allows a couple of minutes for students to get some of their initial socializing out of their system, so they are less likely to disengage and socialize during the class period.   Second, she transitions the students into their work time by being clear about her expectations for their use of time, while handing out the assignment.   She does not hand out the assignment before it is work time, because she does not want the students to try and work on it while she is giving her lesson.   Finally, she gives the students a five minute warning that class is almost over, and suggests that they finish up their current problem and ask her any questions they might have before they take their assignment home to finish.   This allows one more opportunity to ask questions and wraps up the class in a smooth manner, rather than having students rushing to pack their stuff and get out the door right as the bell rings.

When students stay on task and complete their work quickly, my mentor teacher gives them a small “treat” to encourage the good behavior.   I think this is a strategy I might use.   Positive reinforcement of the preferred behavior works well to promote good student behavior.

The Pressure of Perfection

One thing I advocate for and try to push on my students is the concept of improvement. Whereas perfection was the goal in this article, I think measured, continual improvement is a much more healthy goal to set for oneself. For example, it is unrealistic to expect a “D student” to transform into an “A student” overnight. However, it is realistic to expect a “D student” to clean up some aspects that cause them to barely hang onto a passing grade. For most of my D students, their biggest problem is simply not turning in all their assignments. For these students, a good goal would be to make sure to turn in all their assignments–regardless of their quality. Even a poorly done assignment that only receives a 50% is significantly better than a zero. This is the next step toward perfection without making perfection the invariably losing goal.

While demand for academic excellence in Alaska is not nearly as high as it is in a place such as Massachusetts  or South Korea, the problem of suicide is high and deserves our attention and sympathy.   I think it is important for us to ask ourselves what kinds of messages do we send to students in our class who might be contemplating suicide? Do you send a message of hope for self-betterment or defeat? Do you send a message of interest in their life, accomplishments, and opinions, or a message of dispassion? Do you send a message of stigma for mental illness? Or do you send the message that the brain can malfunction just like any other organ in the human body and to belittle those with mental illness is not only a rejection of science but also immoral?


Suicides and Universities

Sadly it seems that excessive stress, depression, and other mental health issues are becoming as much a part of the college experience as dorms and parties. Grades provide students with an easy way to compare their academic progress to their peers’, and social media makes it almost impossible not to look at other people’s lives and wonder what you are doing wrong. Luckily as teachers we have the opportunity to influence our students in a positive direction.

The week I observed a teacher tell students if they did not feel they were ready for a test that they didn’t have to take it, that they could take it later. Since I also know that the teacher allows the students to redo any assignment I think that allowing the students to postpone their tests was a bad policy. As teachers I believe that we need to allow students to fail, so long as we give them a way to fix their mistakes. In the article one of the criticisms of college students was that a relatively minor failure frequently feels like a life changing problem.  If students are allowed to fail in a supportive environment they will develop the skills to cope with minor setbacks and eventually rebound. Students who know that mistakes are part of the learning process will be better prepared for future difficulties, and hopefully, us future teachers, can have a hand in reducing the amount of suicides among students of all ages.