Thursday, October 1, 2009

Class Blog

Well, I've begun my journey (finally) toward getting my Teaching Certification and while I'm at it...I'm getting a Master in Education (MA/T). The journey to get to this point has been long and full of twists and turns. I've experienced so very many adventures in my near 45 years but none so exhausting as this current journey.

If you've read my previous posts, you know a bit about me but for this class assignment I'm supposed to include the following:

1. a bit about myself
2. why I want to be a teacher
3. my tech proficiency/comfort level
4. my expectations for the course

So, sit back...this might take a bit.

I am currently the Library Aide in an elementary school. I really like my job but it isn't my first choice of placements. For the past six years I was the Technology Facilitator in a middle school. I trained staff and students on everything from how to plug in and turn on a computer to how to integrate Web2.0 in the classroom. I held professional development after school twice a week for the staff and I went into classrooms with the students. I also was the 'break/fix' person for the 300+ computers running three different operating systems in my building. How fun it was to know how something worked and then teach how to use the front end, too! I loved my job and worked many extra unpaid hours developing ideas to help integrate technology into my staff's curriculum.

The district I work for decided to restructure the technology department and RIFd (Reduced in Force) the Technology Facilitator position. In its place they created five Tech Coach positions which could only be held by Certified staff (one reason I'm in school). The district also created three positions to replace the 'break/fix' part of the old position. Although I am an Apple Certified Professional (required for the position), I was not selected in the hiring process (I was 4th...or so I like to think).

When I'm not going to school to work or to school to learn I am a Single mom of an almost 10-year-old boy. If I blink again he might just turn 13 and 16 and 20 YIKES! It just goes by way too fast! I try very hard not to blink. I, like most parents, think my son is amazing and wonderful! Since it is just the two of us in our tiny apartment, we tend to occasionally get on each other's nerves. For this reason, I make every effort I can to spend quality time with him eating an ice cream dinner, going to the park, watching TV or movies which he is interested in, taking him and his friends on adventures of having them sleep over. I am also the Popcorn Kernel of his Cub Scout Troop (anyone want some popcorn?) which is only time consuming during late September, October, and November. Of course, this year those months are already quite busy with course work! PHEW!

Back in the late 80s and early 90s, while living in Wisconsin, after I was a caterer and before I owned my own coffee house, I taught pre-school. My first class was a group of 4 and 5 year-olds. I can still remember most of their names. They were amazing kids and it was an amazing experience for me but it ended when I began working 80+ hours a week running my own business. I just couldn't give enough of myself to the kids. They needed and deserved more then that. For a while I helped out in the baby room in the mornings before I went to work but even that became draining and I ceased to continue working there.

When I did have my classroom, we did so many amazing things. When we had our Apple unit I took the kids to a friend's parent's hobby farm with an orchard. We picked tons of apples, played games, fed cows apples, and ate apple crisp. We went to the Planetarium on the University campus and used milk jugs as space helmets while we pretended our classroom was the moon. We took the city bus to the local pizza parlor and made our own pizzas. We went all kinds of places on the city bus for 25¢. Times were much different than they are now.

I have two distinct memories related to this group of kids. First happened in 1999 when I was pregnant with my son. I ran into one of the dad's at KMart and he smiled and said "WOW, that is one lucky kid your going to have!" I asked what he meant and he replied, "Because it'll have YOU as a mom! You were great with my son!" Needless to say I was humbled and honored. The second experience happened in 2007 at a hot dog place while I was visiting my old stomping grounds in Wisconsin (I moved back to IL in 2003). I was sitting with my son and a young lady said, "May I ask you a strange question?" "Sure" I replied. "Are you Miss Wendy?" after a second to realize that this 17-year-old before me was no longer 5 years-old. I said, "Why yes, Alyssa, I am Miss Wendy". We talked for quite a while catching up on the many years which had passed.

I can honestly say my life has been blessed with many experiences and lots of loving children, my own included.

When my son was 2-years-old, I decided to go to the Tech College and get an Associates Degree in Computer Programming and Systems Analysis. It was a great experience and I had a V8 moment where I realized that my brain processed just like C++, a programming language. I LOVE technology and am connected almost 24/7. I always look forward to learning more and hearing different viewpoints. Many times I figure something out because my mind is open to any possibility and I don't believe in reinventing the wheel. Collaboration is necessary in order to be successful in this new age of Technology in ... well... everywhere, not just school.

WOW! THAT was a LONG post!



  1. Wow! I'm impressed. You have done a lot and have lots of wonderful experiences. I think you are modeling for your son that it is important to try different things, take some risks, and continue to learn. Great post!

  2. You are the perfect model of a 21st century citizen - alway learning, always a work in progress. Thanks for sharing a bit of your life with us.

  3. Thanks for sharing. You are a life-long learner and a fun person to know!

  4. THANKS! I guess I never really thought of myself as a model of a 21st century or life-long learner but in reading my own post - I really am.

    What a breath of fresh and positive thought!

    I've always looked at it from the point of view that I can't decide what I want to do. Mostly because not knowing and constantly learning has not allowed me to have a stable financial footing in the world. I've always seen debt/finances to be the marking of the fact I haven't worked anywhere long enough to make a 'proper' living. This might just need to be a reflective post in its own.


  5. Go, Wendy, Go! You are finally well on your way on the path that we discussed that day at the pond a couple of years ago. I am so proud of you! You have so much more to offer and so much more worth than you are currently being compensated for. I can't wait until you begin to reap the benefits of this current leg of the journey!

  6. Hey Sister. I do not know how I found this blog. Some how it came to me and how happy I am to read it. I am so proud of you. And all this pink on my monitor is going to make me cry. I join the cheer...Go Wendy, Go!

  7. Thanks for sharing. You really seem to be on the right track. Best of luck to you as you continue to grow, learn and strive for you goals.