Sunday, August 17, 2008

To blog or not to blog?

Blogging as an educator can be both positive and negative. It can get one in trouble because tone is not accounted for through typed message, also it could appear as though you are becoming too close to your students. One a positive note, most students spend time one the net, and may be more interested in some assignments that require them to search from their homes.

Technology in Choir!!

I have had the hardest time figuring out what types of technology I could realistically use in a choir setting. After looking through this site I was able to find a lot of information about several programs that are available to further help students with rhythm (Tap it)/pitch issues (Macgamut), composition programs like sibelius, and several instructions on how to create a DVD of a concert, or create practice Cd's, or MP3's. This gives me a greater idea of ways I can incorporate technology into my subject area.

101 ways to cope wih teaching stress

When I become stressed out I almost always end up burnt out. I usually cannot find a way to get out of it. This link lists 101 ways to deal with stress as a teacher. We know that teaching is very time consuming, stressful, and complicated at times. Having little reminders to help alleviate those stressful times will be useful. I am actually going to try a couple of things I haven't thought about doing before.

Planning to move for a job??

I am trying to face reality, as a secondary music teacher I may have a difficult time finding a job in Oregon. I am trying to prepare myself far in advance for the possibility of having to move out of state for a teaching position. I have never had to move by myself before, and have only lived in 2 towns in Oregon. I found this link which gives a thorough list of things to do when preparing to move--starting about a month before you plan to move. Talking with some of the faculty before you move will be helpful in finding a place to live that is close, and safe.

The best education in the world.

When I made a prediction about where the best schools in the world would be, I thought of China, or maybe Russia. I was kind of suprised to find that it is Finland. Their schools sound so incredible that I wish I could have grown up there. They have shorter school days, free hot meals, lots of music, art, and sports, and a more home-like environment. Upon arriving to class they remove their shoes at the door, which is customary to do at their home. Finland has more graduates than anywhere in the world. 60% people in Finland are university educated. Relating Finland's educational system to that of America's, I see a prominent difference regarding what types of societies we are living in. I suspect that Finland is not as competitive as USA. Finland's outlook on how to care of their students is also interesting. A teacher was asked what it was that made them so successful, they replied that teaching is highly respected, and they have a lot of control with how they teach. I was comparing NCLB with Finland's take on how to help struggling students, and this is what was said,'Our poor students do extremely well, so the gap between them and the high performers is small compared to that in other countries. But we know you have to work extremely hard with those students. If you stress competition, they will be the losers and the gap will widen.'

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Oregon ranked 49th in the nation!

As someone who is somewhat interested in teaching in the state of Oregon, this ranking makes me a little nervous about doing so. Oregon was 1 in 5 states to receive a "D" for their education system. Elementary level teaching seems to be struggling the most. It was stated that Oregon does not have early-learning standards, which could be where the later problems in 4th grade reading and math stem from. There also appears to be little help for beginning teachers, most other states have mentoring programs for first year instructors. I wonder if the people ranking these states place any responsibility on the parents...If I didn't have my mom drilling me in elementary school, I wouldn't have progressed to where I ended up. I wouldn't have been motivated to do much of anything in school. I'm curious if that is the case with these elementary school students who aren't up to par in math and reading. Lack of parental involvement??

Thursday, August 14, 2008

NCLB statistics

In a study of 271,000 students in public schools throughout Texas, researchers from Rice university made an alarming discovery. The effects of NCLB were resulting in amazing the drop-out rates, especially among minority students. The stats were as following;

60 percent of African American students, 75 percent of Latino students, and 80 percent of ESL students did not graduate within 5 years. ---An overall graduation rate of 33 percent.

These statistics made me feel sick to my stomach. Are we testing students, or educating them?
It seems like the more we single out scores by ethnicity, the more those students struggle, have lower self-esteem, and give up hope. These statistics show that very thing occurring.