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I cannot believe that I am saying this. . .but I just completed my sophomore year of college.
Looking back on the past year, I reflect on all of the opportunities, accomplishments, and experiences that I am so proud of.
However, it is also important to recognize the low points, the weeks of little to no motivation and burnout along with the highlights. So, as much as I will miss my professors, practicum experience, internship, etc., I am very excited and ready for the summer!
And, there is so much that I am looking forward to over the next few months!
1. Resume my summer jobs
The majority of my schedule will be centered around my summer jobs. This summer, I am planning to resume my jobs as a barista and a paraprofessional. I may also babysit every once in a while.
As a future teacher, I am trying to gain as much experience and practice in the field as I can. I am grateful for the opportunity to work back in a school over the summer and reconnect with the head teachers I have worked with over the years.
As a paraprofessional, I will be working in a preschool classroom targeted towards three- and four-year-olds. Although this position will last only a month, I am excited to build connections with my head teacher and apply my course knowledge in a paid position.
2. Post more blog posts and social media content
Last week, we celebrated celebrate Journal of a Future Teacher's anniversary! The blog has evolved a lot over the past year, and I am anxious to see what future opportunities and content lay ahead.
That being said, I plan to resume a semi-regular posting schedule. Expect to see a new blog post about every other week. As much as I would like to post every week and share as many ideas as possible, I am human and have other responsibilities I want to attend to along with the blog.
Here are a few ideas of future blog posts that I have (subject to change):
Do you have any other ideas for future blog posts? Leave me a comment below or message me on social media (via the blog's Facebook, Instagram, or email)!
In terms of social media content, I honestly don't have any set plans. At the moment, I want to dedicate my summer to connecting with friends and family. So, updating new reels, livestreams, or posts is not my top priority. That being said, I will do my best to upload something to my story everyday and update social media on new blog posts! You may see some random social media posts or reels every now and then!
I am still new to social media and am trying to adopt a posting schedule. However, with my work schedule, research deadlines, and other activities, I don't want to hold myself to a set schedule at the moment. Like most college students, I also want to relax and enjoy my summer break!
3. Work on a research proposal
* For the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP) and my University Honors (UH) capstone project
This summer, I will begin work on my research proposal for a simple case study I will conduct during the 2021-2022 school year. As a part of my role in my university's honors program, we are required to complete a "capstone" research project. This involves partnering with a faculty mentor and researching a topic I will present on next Spring.
As an education student, I have very little flexibility on when I could conduct my research. Usually, the capstone project is completed in students' senior year of their undergraduate program. However, I will be student teaching my senior year and will be abroad for a portion of it, so I will not be able to conduct research during that time.
So, what am I planning on researching?
I will be analyzing two preschool teachers' children's book collections and how they use books to approach discussions on race and racism. The idea of this project stemmed from my research with my university's Anti-Racist Literacy Advisory Board (A-LAB).
I will be conducting this project under the supervision of my faculty mentor. My mentor -- who is also one of my professors and my faculty advisor -- is an established researcher in the field of early childhood education and is on the board of A-LAB.
For some background on this topic, here is an excerpt from my research proposal:
Although I will not officially begin my research until the start of fall semester, I will be working on the "set up" work for my research project.
Mostly, this "set up" work involves drafting research proposals for the my university's Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP), the honors program, and the International Review Board (IRS).
My UROP proposal is an application to receive funding for a research project overseen by a faculty member. This funding supports expenses for research tools and any other necessary costs to conduct a successful research project. The proposal will include the following elements:
âMy honors program proposal is very similar to UROP but is drafted as an outline for the entire project. This will be submitted to the leaders of the honors program and will hold me accountable for my research.
My IRB proposal is focused on gaining permission to collect research from preschool teachers. The Institutional Review Board is concerned with the ethics of potential research studies. Whenever a research study involves the study of people, the ethics of the project must be considered. To learn more about IRB, click here.
I am still very new to the research field, so I will bring you all along with me as I learn more about the research process!
4. Share my published research on adverse childhood experiences
For those of you who are new to the blog, I recently received an approval to submit my research to the Aisthesis Journal!
To clarify, this research submission is different than my research on anti-racist practices. Last Spring, I wrote a research paper that analyzed the effects of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) on children's long-term brain development and health.
After I completed the paper, I decided I wanted to submit it to an academic journal. So, this fall, I submitted my paper to the Aisthesis Journal, an interdisciplinary honors journal connected with my university's honors program. And a few weeks ago, I received an email expressing the approval of my submission!
I cannot believe that I am going to be a published researcher! I am beyond thrilled to contribute to my field in this way. I will create a post dedicated to my research once it has been formatted and officially submitted to the journal.
To learn more about ACEs, check out my past blog posts on the topic below:
To learn more about the Aisthesis Journal, click here.
5. Spend time with friends and family
Finally, I look forward to connecting with my friends and family. Since it is summer, I want to take the opportunity to catch up with friends and family I haven't seen all of Spring semester. Overall, I want to be more present with the people I care about.
This past school year made it extremely difficult to connect with people in person due to COVID-19 restrictions and a completely virtual format. Now that regulations have opened up, vaccines have become more readily available, and I have no course or practicum responsibilities, I am able to see more friends and family in person!
Overall, I am very excited for this summer! I will have some more time to sleep in, relax, and enjoy the outdoors. I will continue to research and educate myself on topics I am passionate about. I will share my published research and upload more blog content. I will explore the outdoors, disconnect from online devices, and catch up with friends and family. Let the adventures begin!
What are you looking forward to this summer? Leave me a comment below!
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Resources in this post
Click on the links below to explore the sources mentioned in this post!
â"A Pandemic within a Pandemic"
"An Introduction to ACEs"
âInternational Review Board (IRB)
Leave me a comment!
If you like this post, have any questions, or have ideas on how I can improve my blog, leave me a comment below! Your input is always appreciated. As always, thank you for your support.
Previous Post: Teacher Appreciation Week
Usually, teacher appreciation week involves schools handing out coffee gift cards, hanging up a sign that says, "Thank you, teachers!" and giving them a brief pat on the back. However, these gestures are not what teachers need during this week of recognition.
Take action. Start the conversation. Be the change.
Meghan Hesterman (she/her) is a child advocate and education blogger. While a student at the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD), she created Journal of a Future Teacher to share her journey in becoming an early childhood teacher.