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TW: fast moving images
Well folks, it's that time of year. . .a new school year is upon us!
And you know what that means: new courses, experiences, and opportunities! And I am going to share all of those plans with you.
Before we dive into everything, let me reintroduce myself to any new education enthusiasts joining us.
A little about me. . .
My name is Meghan, I use she/her pronouns, and I am going to be a junior in college this fall (it is still hard for me to believe that I will be an upperclass-person). I am majoring in early childhood education and special education and minoring in Spanish studies.
My undergrad program is structured in blocks, and I will be going into my second block this semester. My first block focused on development of children 0-5 years of age, professional development, family partnership, and infant-toddler special education. I refer to last semester as the "early years" block.
About the image
I like to say "I drink coffee like a Gilmore," since Gilmore Girls is one of my favorite TV shows. One of my summer activities was scouting small business coffee shops in the Twin Cities. This picture was taken in a local St. Paul coffee shop.
For more information on the blocks program, watch my recorded Facebook livestream on the topic.
To learn more about me and the blog, explore the About page.
Now that we are re-acquainted, let's dive into my plans for this coming year!
My courses and classroom experience
This semester, I will be entering the second block of my program. Each block, or semester, has a specific focus of content that is reflected in course material and classroom experience.
Block 2 is referred to the "special education" block. This means most of my courses will focus on content and skills applied in an early childhood special education (ECSE) setting. Additionally, my classroom experience, or practicum, will be based in a ECSE classroom.
My course load is pretty heavy this semester: I am taking six courses for a total of eighteen credits. See a list of my courses below:
I enter each semester with an excitement to learn. As a proud education enthusiast, I am eager to shape my knowledge on education to be more inclusive, intersectional, honest, and practical. That being said, I will apply my knowledge from several of these course in my practicum classroom.
I will not receive my specific school placement until the second or third week of the semester. However, I do know I will be placed in an ECSE classroom. I also understand that I will be required to complete 100 hours in the classroom. And I have a lot of feelings about this. Mostly, I am both thrilled and nervous about my placement.
As a teacher, you are always gaining new experience and practice. I have so much space to grow in my experience working with disabled children or those with special needs. I am eager to learn how to meet individual children's needs and how to apply the techniques I use in my courses.
My leadership roles and responsibilities
Just like last year, I will have a lot on my plate in terms of clubs and activities. I will be continuing some of my past roles while taking on some new ones.
1. University Honors Program
I will continue my involvement and participation in the University Honors (UH) program.
I am not sure what the honors requirements will look like this coming year. However, I will plan on attending perspective events, capstone meetings, and capstone presentations. I look forward to reconnecting with my honors faculty and friends in the lounge and in passing.
For those of you who followed my journey last year, you may remember that I took on the role of "University Honors Member," in which I led and supported a group of freshman honors students through their first year of college. As much as I miss being a mentor, I did not want to put too many responsibilities on my plate. So this year, I am a general UH student.
I am continuing my involvement with S.E.R.V.E., or Students Engaged in Rewarding Volunteer Experiences: my university's volunteer organization. This year, I will be president of the club.
Last year, I was the Event Coordinator, so I coordinated and scheduled S.E.R.V.E.'s annual event, which raised donations to a local shelter. This year, I am responsible for scheduling and leading both general member and E-board meetings; connecting with off-campus organizations; and being the face of the organization.
To be honest, I am nervous for this role. However, growth only happens when I put myself in new, uncomfortable situations. I also have the privilege with working with a strong E-board team. I am excited for what S.E.R.V.E. will plan this year and how we will grow as an organization.
3. Antiracist Literacy Advisory Board (A-LAB)
I am thrilled to announce that I will be a member of my university's first Antiracist Literacy Advisory Board (A-LAB)!
Below is a description of A-LAB taken from personal Facebook page:
"A-LAB is a part of UMD's initiative towards antiracism and antiracist education. In this position, I will be a part of a group of teacher candidates that will work together to interrupt systemic racism at UMD.
In the 2021-2022 academic year, A-LAB will review the Children's Literature Collection in the on-campus library and make recommendations to move the library's collection towards social justice.
A-LAB provides a supportive space for American Indian/Indigenous teacher candidates, teacher candidates of color, and white teacher candidates to come together to develop our own antiracist practices.
I am so grateful to be a part of this initiative and new community at UMD! I am looking forward to educating myself and developing antiracist practices I can apply in my future classroom and everyday life."
In the next section, I will focus more on my independent capstone research. So hang in there!
My research projects
Technically, I will be conducting or participating in two research projects during the 2021-2022 school year. First, I will be researching as a member of A-LAB (as I described above). Second, I will conduct research for my UH capstone project with a research advisor.
If you are not familiar with this project, I will give a brief breakdown.
This fall, I will study two preschool teachers' children's book collections and how they use books to approach discussions on race and racism. The ideas of this research are based in the goals of A-LAB.
I will lead this project under the supervision of my faculty mentor: an established researcher in the field of early childhood education and a board member of A-LAB. Over the past few months, we partnered to draft and submit proposals. By the end of this month, we hope to receive approval from an ethics board, so we can begin to conduct research.
For more explanation on this project, read my blog post titled "My 2021 Summer Plans"
To receive more frequent updates on my research, courses, and life as a education major, subscribe to my email list or follow me on Instagram!
. . .
By sharing my school-year plans, I hope to give you all a glimpse into my journey as a future teacher. On social media, I observe platforms focused on student teaching, first-year teaching, and beyond; however, the content and experiences before student teaching are almost never addressed.
It is important for families, education majors, students, and the public to know what goes into becoming a teacher. Although every major and university approaches education differently, I hope this platform provides one authentic example of the path to becoming a teacher.
Resources mentioned in this post
Click on the links below to view the resources mentioned in this post!
The Blocks Facebook Livestream
"My 2021 Summer Plans"
Leave me a comment!
What does your upcoming school year look like? Fellow teachers or education majors, how did your experience compare? Leave me a comment with your thoughts!
If you are new to this page, feel free to tell me a little about yourself! What brought you to the blog? Are you a student, teacher, or someone simply interested in learning more about education?
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.