24 August 2009

09-10 school year begins

Here it is another school year and we are almost a week into it. We started class last Thursday at Putnam City High School.

So far things are going well for me. I am teaching an Earth Science Class this year for the first time. Its a slightly different population than what I usually teach in my Physics classes, but not really any different than my Physical Science classes. They are just 2 years older than the Physical Science students. Many of these students have not had success in science in the past so I have to think outside the box to get them engaged.These guys will challenge me, I'm sure! Only time will tell if I am up to that challenge.

My Physics classes seem to be typical except for two things:

  1. I am teaching a section of Physics I which has over 25 students in it.

  2. On the information sheets, many students said they decided to take the class because of me. Talk about pressure. Its like being chosen for a role in a play and asked to perform. This really makes me feel good about being a teacher because it tells me students are talking about me and that those are good things.

I have also started a new educational chapter in my own life as I have begun the Master of Arts in Curriculum and Instruction at SNU. I did some serious study about whether to attend OSU, OU, or SNU. I did give UCO a precursory glance, but never any serious thought. I chose SNU for a few reasons over the other schools. I was a little hesitant to pick them just because I didn't really want both degrees from the same school, but alas, fate had different plans.

The MACI program at SNU is eligible for the teach grant. This was a big one for me. The grant is from the federal government and is available to anyone who is working on a teaching degree, either undergraduate or graduate. It comes with some conditions but they are easy for me. First, you have to be teaching in a school that receives Title I money. Putnam City High School qualifies. You also have to agree to teach in a high need field such as English Language Learning, Special Education, Math, or Science. I teach Physics, so that's taken care of. You also have to agree to teach for four years for each TEACH grant program you participate in. Since I'm not planning on leaving teaching, that seems to be taken care of, as well.

SNU's program also works towards getting their master's candidates certified as National Board Teachers. In Oklahoma that means a yearly stipend of $5000 which will go a long ways towards paying off student loans incurred during my time at SNU. If you don't already know, they are a private university and have some pretty pricey tuition. I'm not saying it's not worth it, I'm just saying its expensive. Concerning that, I do feel like I was very well prepared to get into the classroom and teach.

OSU and OU had some great programs and I felt like all three had options that were suited for an older student like me, but the National Board put me over the edge with SNU. None of the state institutions offer National Board certification and that was a great component of SNU's program. Of course they don't guarantee that you will pass the certification, but then no school guarantees that you will pass ANY certification test once you finish your education. All one can hope for is that the school will prepare you well enough that certification will not be an issue.


I am really beginning to feel at home in my classroom. I was able to have my SmartBoard mounted to the wall, I got a fish tank full of fish, and due to the departure of some of my colleagues, I am an old face around school. These are all good things and just endear my job to me even more than it already is. I am even able to help a new teacher work with the development of a brand new class: Earth Science. He is coming to me for help and guidance and ideas, which is weird since it seems I was JUST finishing school and staring my first year right in the face. Good things are happening in my school and in my classroom and I am excited to be a part of them!

thanks for reading,


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