Practicum Starts Soon

So, the semester has definitely been going much better than how it started out, although I do really miss Waterbury. At Mackin, though, I have a really awesome roommate with whom I am getting along great. I really feel like the whole situation has worked out for the better, and I am happy. I am busy, as always, very, very busy, but I do have downtime, thankfully. Every week, I have to read a literature selection (it’s called that, but it’s really the professor’s selection) for my Adolescence Education course, which obviously eats up a great deal of time. I also have a lot of reading and writing to do for my other classes, and it’s very time-consuming, but I’d much rather be where I am today over where I was during my freshman year for so many reasons, and most importantly, I feel a lot more motivated now. I only have one Gen Ed Requirement left, which I am probably going to have to take either over Winter Break or over Summer Break (which is an upper-level Exploration in the Natural Sciences Course, which I think is utterly ridiculous; when am I ever going to use such a thing?), but other than that, I am completely working on my Major Requirements, and so, I feel like every chapter of a textbook I read, every paper I write, every book I read, etc. is one step that I am taking, one step closer to becoming a teacher.

Friday is my first day of Practicum this semester, so like last semester, I plan to write a weekly blog entry regarding my experience. This semester, I am at Henninger High School, but unlike last semester when I only had to complete one half-day each week, this semester, I have to complete either two half-days or one whole day. I am doing one whole day, so on Fridays, from 7:55 to 2:00, I will need to be in Syracuse at Henninger High, and I have very mixed feelings. Last semester, I was at Corcoran High School, and it was pretty rough, the students coming from pretty rough backgrounds, many focused on promiscuity and violence. I have heard that Henninger is, likewise, a rough school. I recall having a bad experience at Corcoran last semester. I went to the bathroom, and a student in that bathroom threatened me, saying that if I didn’t show my face to him, he would use physical force, and when I did, he laughed at me. It was obviously disheartening to me, someone who wants to be a teacher. I don’t mean to prejudge; I would just really like to be in a school where I can observe students who are a bit more eager to learn. Plus, I am not looking forward to getting up that early, wink wink.

The only real problem that this semester is presenting to me at this point is that my room has no internet service. I really feel like CTS has not treated the problem like it’s a real problem, and it has been incredibly frustrating. My roommate contacted CTS when he first got here at the very beginning of the semester, and someone came to the room to see what was wrong. They told him that within a week, he would have internet in the room, and there is still no internet in the room. I have repeatedly contacted them. Friday, they came here again and said that it would seem as if an entirely new line needed to be set up and that they would be contacting us very soon. A couple of days went by, and there was no word, so I contacted them. Apparently, someone is coming to the room tomorrow morning (as in the 15th; I can’t post this until the 15th due to not having internet access) at around 9 AM to take care of the issue, and I’m just hoping that it will finally be taken care of, because, needless to say, it has been incredibly inconvenient. Both my schoolwork and my job on campus make readily available internet access a crucial necessity. Anyway, I have to get some work done. I am sure that I’ll be writing again very soon, most likely after Friday to write about my Practicum experience.

Crazy Week, but All Will Be Good

So, the first week of the semester has been pretty crazy, to say the least. Although I don’t want to get into it on here for multiple reasons, my roommate did something on Monday night that made me incredibly uncomfortable, and it was, in fact, so bad that I gave three different reports, one to an R.A., one to the Waterbury Hall Director, and one to a pair of UP Officers, and I moved out of Waterbury. It was very sad, because I loved Waterbury, and I will miss it very, very much. It was a comfortable home for me for my entire sophomore year, a place where I shared a great deal of good times with friends, and I hated having to leave it. I can’t, however, live where he is going to be, so I am living in Mackin now.

So far, I really like Mackin now. My new roommate is really nice, and I like him. I definitely think that this year is going to be pretty good, and I’m looking forward to it, more or less, despite the fact that I am clearly going to be bombarded with work. There is, as always, so much reading, so much writing that has to be done this semester, and looking at all of my syllabi makes me feel so overwhelmed. However, I know that I can do it, and I’m going to do it with flying colors. Last semester, I managed a very good GPA, and I want to do even better this semester. I benefit greatly from taking all Education and English courses, though, because I feel very motivated. I will definitely be writing frequently throughout the semester, updating everyone on how the semester is going.

A New Day in the Old Town

Well, this semester is going to be so different from last semester; that’s for sure. Last year was great. I mean, sure, there were a couple of bumps in the road, but for the most part, most of my college memories (the good ones) are going to come from my sophomore year. This year, I’m not so sure. I came in early for Welcoming Crew, and now, I am so tired because I worked from 9 AM to 4 PM helping freshmen and transfers move in to Waterbury. I have to do it again on Sunday, and while taking part in a team effort and putting a smile on people’s faces is great and very rewarding, it is a very demanding job for a volunteer position, and there isn’t exactly justice in it, either. Most of us did the lifting, while a few worked at the tables and handed out mattress pads and cable whips, and I don’t mean to complain about that, but seven hours of manual labor is a big deal, and like I said, I have to do this again on Sunday.

Then, to top it all off, my roommate moved in today, and his mother was a monstrous mess. She came in to the room and yelled at me for having arranged the room the way that I did, claiming that the way that my bed was positioned took up part of his side of the room, which I don’t think it did. It was right about halfway, and if it was taking up his side of the room, it was by an inch or two. Anyway, she was having a fit, telling me that I had no right to do that, that I had no permission, that she was told that I couldn’t do anything with the room until I had talked to my roommate and signed paperwork with him. Last year, my roommate and I set up the room the way that I had it set up (the idea behind it being that it allowed more space in the room), and we didn’t have to sign anything, but she claimed that nothing in the room was allowed to be moved without signed permission.

Then, what I found funny was that when my roommate came back from his car, he couldn’t care less. He didn’t care how the room was set up, but she was on the verge of tears in relation to something that was fixable by my rearranging the room, a relatively simple task. The worst part is that he is twenty-two years old, so she was treating him like a five-year old and treating me like vermin who was bent on eating him. It was just a very upsetting experience that did not have to be that way at all, but what’s done is done. I am seriously considering moving into Riggs, though, not just because of that but because I feel like most of my friends aren’t even in Waterbury, anymore.

Anyway, I had a fantastic summer, and I was very, very sad when it was over; I still am. I’m pretty sure I blogged about my trip to West Virginia, but just in case I didn’t or you didn’t read it, I went to the West Virginia State Penitentiary (no longer in use) to ghost-hunt with my boyfriend, Ray, and it was so much fun. It was adventurous and a good opportunity for me to explore something that fascinates me (I know that we’re going somewhere in Ohio the first week of October). Then, for about the last three weeks of the summer, I lived with Ray, so needless to say, I did not want the summer to end, but I am hoping for a great semester. I just say that I have my doubts because everything seems so different. I miss last year’s roommate and some of the people that used to live in Waterbury but don’t anymore. It all seems like such a big change, but I’m going to do my best to cope if I can’t get into Riggs, which is where most of my friends are.

Home Again

It’s still really difficult for me to believe that this past semester is over. I went home last Thursday, since I didn’t have any finals, so I’ve been home for over a week now. Usually, near the end of the summer, I start having dreams that I am in school, in class or whatever else, but what’s weird is that I had one last night. I was in school, but it definitely wasn’t Oswego. I remember being outside, and I remember a waterfall. It was a big, colorful, beautiful city. I have strange dreams quite often, and most of the time, I can’t even begin to imagine what they mean.
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Sixth Day of Practicum

What I first did when I arrived at Corcoran High School today was go to the library. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a great deal of time to browse, but I have to say that I am very impressed by the library. There are plenty of books, and it is a very warm and inviting atmosphere. Student artwork is on display on top of bookshelves, and I am very impressed with that, too.

I observed two different classes today. The first was Gear-Up. If I haven’t mentioned Gear-Up before, it is sort of like a Study Hall, except that it is a time for students to take advantage of tutors from Syracuse University. Unfortunately, a lot of students who could use the extra help don’t take advantage of it, though, and that is sad. Secondly, I observed Ms. Patapow’s English class.

Ms. Patapow, before I observed either, was incredibly helpful. I needed a copy of the school’s Code of Conduct, so she gave me that. She also gave me a copy of the new ELA specifications. Although the latter said document is not required for my EDU 301 class, it is still a good resource to have to have. I recall taking the ELA in eleventh grade, and it was two days long with two exams. Now, it is only one day long with only one essay. It is interesting to see such a striking difference. Ms. Patapow is not happy with the change, saying that the more useful of the two essays is the one that was scrapped, and she is also not happy with the fact that teachers were just recently notified of this change, which does not give them very much time to review with their students using the new specifications.

A student during Study Hall was rapping, which Ms. Patapow thought was funny for a little while. However, she eventually grew tired of it, especially when he began to swear. He used the F-word and also used the word “gay” as an insult. Ms. Patapow was not happy about this, which I appreciated.

The English class was, as usual, difficult to get quiet. It started out doing a quiz, and then it reviewed vocabulary. Throughout this entire time, most of the class talked while doing its work as Ms. Patapow waited for it to finish. When it finally did, they went over the vocabulary that they had just reviewed, and then they read the first twelve pages of the final chapter of John Steinbeck’s The Pearl.

The Summer Is… Almost Here

I know that I recently talked about this in a blog entry, but I just can’t believe how close to the end of the semester that this is. A week from Friday is my first day of the Summer, and it is a major relief. I mean, at the same time, it is overwhelming, because between now and then, I have seven major assignments that I need to complete, including a 2,000 word paper for my English class. You see, I don’t have any final exams; everything that is due is either a final paper or a final project. I am pretty sure that I talked about all of that in my last blog entry, though, so I won’t bore you.

I made a list last week of everything that I needed to do between then and the end of the semester. There were then thirteen assignments on that list, and it’s now down to seven, as I said, so I am making progress. There is a lot due this week, which is something for which I am actually thankful. With so much being due this week, time will be left this weekend to work on my final paper for English, and that is the really big thing; once that is finished, a lot of stress will be alleviated.

I am really looking forward to this summer. Of course, for a couple of weeks, from late May to mid June, I am doing a couple of summer courses, one of them a Science course, but hopefully, it won’t be too bad. I am taking Safe Schools and an Exploration in Natural Sciences course. I am a little nervous about the Science course, but I need it, so I figured that I would much rather take it for a couple of weeks in the summer than take it for an entire semester during the school year. Besides, I am trying to graduate a semester early, so taking courses over the summer will help me do that. Other than that, though, my life has been pretty uneventful. I haven’t been able to do much that is interesting or fun because of all of this work, but I am looking forward to an eventful summer.

Nearing the End

May 6th is my last day of the semester, which is next to impossible to believe. Where has this semester gone? It doesn’t seem like all that long ago that I was at home during Christmas Break, and this semester hadn’t even started yet. Now, it’s almost over, and as happy as I am that summer is almost here, it’s a little overwhelming, because I have a lot of work to do between now and then, with only a little over two weeks to do it. I’m really shooting for all As this semester. Unfortunately, I don’t think that it’s going to happen, because I am pretty sure that I am going to get a B in my English class, but hey, I’ll even take that. It’s better than the Cs and Ds that I usually get in math and science courses.

Speaking of such, shortly after I get out of school for the summer, I begin two online summer courses, a science course and Safe Schools Healthy Students, the latter of which I need to be a teacher. The science course, however, is one of my last Gen Ed requirements, a 300-level science course that deals with Exploration into the Natural Sciences, if I have that title correct. It’s not something that I am looking forward to, but I figured that since I hate science so much, I would get it over with now so that I don’t have to deal with it for an entire semester.

On top of that, my birthday is on May 4th, which is only two weeks from tomorrow. It’s not like I’m a little kid and make a big deal about my birthday, but I mention it because I am going to be twenty years old. I can’t believe that I am no longer going to be a teenager. Where have the years gone? I remember turning thirteen and being excited that I was now a teenager (I was stupid). The funny thing is, though, is that even at twenty, I won’t feel any different. You never do. Anyway, I guess that’s it; I’ll be checking back in soon, I’m sure.

Fifth Day of Practicum

I did not observe an English class today since I did that last week. Shortly after arriving, Ms. Patapow asked me to grade quizzes for her, which I did. I then filed the graded papers for her. At around 1:30, I went to a meeting with her and an English teacher named Cara Greene, if I remember correctly. At the meeting, the two of them were evaluated based on their lesson plans made since the last time that they met. Ms. Patapow said that she and Mrs. Greene do this instead of having an administrator come into the room to evaluate them. It was an interesting experience for me, as it gave me an opportunity to see how I might be evaluated as a teacher.

I made an attempt to visit the library today, since that is something that I’m supposed to do for my EDU 301 class, but the library was not open. I don’t know if or when I’m going to be able to do that. I will have to try to do it the next time that I am there on a day that I only have to observe a Study Hall, as long as it is not closed again. Anyway, it’s difficult to believe, but I only have two more days of Practicum. Next week is Spring Break for Syracuse City Schools (and for most schools, I think), so I have the 28th of April and the 5th of May, and then, I’m done. Granted, I started my Practicum very late, because it took a long time to get placed, but even so, this semester has gone by very quickly.

My Friend from Cali

So, as I promised, I am following up on the adventures of my Californian friend and I. It’s kind of funny, because I did end up talking to my Hall Director, and much to my delight, she said that it was fine if he stayed with me for that long as long as my roommate was okay with it, so I figured that I was back to not having anything to worry about. I was wrong. When I mentioned it to my roommate, he kind of freaked out and said that it was unacceptable, that he was not going to allow someone that he doesn’t know to stay in the room for eleven days. He was right, really. I didn’t give him enough notice.

Therefore, last week quickly became disastrous disarray. I was stressed to the max, because my friend was coming in a couple of days, and I had nowhere for him to stay. He wasn’t bringing enough money in order for us to stay at a motel, my roommate simply wouldn’t allow him to stay with me for the entire eleven days, and my mom would not allow us to come home and stay there, because she said that she didn’t know Fady, so I was in a bind. I did the best that I could to compromise, but as long as the condition was that Fady was staying with me for eleven days, he remained unwilling.

Oddly enough, though, everything worked to our advantage. Fady’s father gave him more money, so he therefore could have afforded to stay in a motel for two weekends, to which Allain agreed. So, when he got here, that’s what we planned. However, my mom came to visit me Friday, and when she saw Fady, she decided that he was a good kid and that it would be fine if we went home. To make a long story short, she paid for our motel stay that weekend and then allowed us to come home this weekend.

Everything pretty much turned out to be a blessing in disguise, which, considering the fact that only last week, I was freaking out, is kind of ironic. It has been pretty obvious that in the past few days, though, that there has been tension between Fady and my roommate, but we have managed. Now, we are waiting at the Regional Transportation Center in Syracuse for the bus to take us to Utica so that my mom can pick us up in Utica, and this weekend is going to be amazing.

I feel kind of blessed. Something that started out looking like it was going to be a major disaster ended up being an amazing experience. Of course, we have not spent very much time together these past few days because of classes and homework, but we have tried making up for it at night by hanging together. This weekend, I am going to have some homework, but that’s all right. I think that we will be able to find a balance. Anyway, I have to run; I just wanted to update everyone on the situation.

Fourth Day of Practicum

The school is just about as out of control as usual. When I got there, a class that I am assuming was a Study Hall was lined up at the door ready to leave, and a student asked me, “You a student?” I am used to this. Despite my attempts to dress professionally and behave in a professional manner, there is still the occasional student who feels the need to ask me whether or not I am a student.

For my EDU 301 class, I have to conduct an interview between myself and my Practicum teacher, Ms. Patapow, and I mentioned it to her today, saying that I would need to be conducting it very soon. I figured that it would be most convenient for her if I sent her what I needed to ask her via email, but she insisted that she wanted to get it out of the way today, so that’s what we did. I prepared the questions, and we took care of the interview today. It feels great to have one more part of the Final Project done.

During Study Hall, a man came in and administered surveys. The man, who I’m assuming was a counselor, said that they are meant to help assess what each student might want to do after graduation and said that the surveys are “too damn long.” He, too, assumed that I was a student and asked me if I had already taken the survey. I found it funny that so many people made the assumption today, since last week, a student thought that I was thirty. The Study Hall was surprisingly pretty well-behaved, and some of them who are also in Ms. Patapow’s English class did some required reading of John Steinbeck’s The Pearl.

Also during Study Hall, a student complained that she was having trouble reading The Pearl, and Ms. Patapow read it to her. I thought about how during my first day of Practicum, Ms. Patapow told me about how a lot of her students are reading at a third grade level. It therefore did not really surprise me that this student was having trouble reading The Pearl, a book that I read with ease on my own time during my tenth grade year.

It made no sense to me, but after Study Hall, I observed an English class like I did last week. I brought this up to Mrs. Patapow, but she said that it must have been the week before last. I know that it wasn’t, though. I definitely observed an English class last week and have the journal entry to prove it. I remember the class reading about John Steinbeck.

One student walked in late to English, and when Ms. Patapow told her that they were going to be reading The Pearl, the student bluntly stated, “I don’t read, miss.” Then, when the student was asked a couple of minutes later to remove her earbuds, she said, “I can’t read this. It’s boring.” Some of them are very honest, at least. Some of them certainly don’t even pretend to be interested. Some of them, however, do seem to actually be interested, though, which was obvious when the class read chapter two of The Pearl out loud. The class then concluded with a ten-question quiz. Overall, the class went well.