Why this blog?

"... Have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves ... Do not search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. The point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer." - Letters to a Young Artist, R. M. Rilke

Rooted in the promise and challenge of growth ...

these are letters from a young teacher.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Miss Avery goes to school, too!

Apologies for the hiatus. I was a bit perplexed at how to keep this blog going, but after composing the following statement for a scholarship application, I realized that, though student teaching has ended, the learning continues! Enjoy the next chapter. You know I'll be having a grand old time ...
In front of my new "school": The College of Education at the University of Washington. Yeah, Seattle!

A friend of mine asked me once, “When did you know you wanted to be a teacher?” I was perplexed by this question. The more I thought about it, the more I knew: there was no moment when I “just knew”; I have always known that education is the profession, to which I have been called. My training has not been a journey of becoming an educator, but of understanding the educator that I am and want to be.

"The Quad": Surrounded by students, it's amazing how anonymous you can feel.

Before enrolling at UW, I was a Fulbright Language Teaching Assistant abroad in German public schools, worked and studied as an environmental educator at IslandWood on Bainbridge Island, and completed my student teaching for licensure. Amidst each of these experiences, I volunteered in local Kindergarten programs, participated in professional development opportunities that related to each position, and independently educated myself further on issues pertinent to my reflection on these practices. These valuable opportunities to build my practice as an educator inspired me to reflect deeply on the phenomenon that all educational institutions represent: the experience of learning intentionally. Now that I have enrolled in the College of Education, I have shifted my focus to more theoretical reflection on the meaning of such educational institutions for both students and the communities, to which they already and will continue to contribute as citizens.

It is here, at the College of Education, that I have met professors, fellow students, and scholars of all sorts that have all contributed to a significant realization in my journey as an educator. Having originally thought I would have to decide between being an education practitioner and an education scholar, I have since learned here that I can be both. Indeed, I am both and it will be an integral element of my career to balance both sides of the coin. Building on the insights I have gained from my prior experiences, I will devote my career in education to understanding the power of educational experiences, as they occur in both formal institutions and the plethora of alternatives utilized by schools and families. I want to know how educational experiences presently contribute to students’ attitudes toward learning and how these attitudes align with trends in student motivation and investment in life-long learning. Ultimately, my question is: What do children learn from their early learning experiences about learning and how do these experiences influence the attitudes they develop toward academic achievement, life-long learning, and their individual ownership of the learning they desire to pursue?

There is much to learn, both as scholar and practitioner, as I continue to tackle this area of interest. It is too early to say where I would like to go with it, but I am confident that my enthusiasm, commitment, and pure passion for reflecting and advancing on this topic will lead me in the right direction.

The C.o.E. is housed in Miller Hall. I'm beginning to move in, too.

My goal is always to achieve a deeper self-realization of who I am as an educator, and how I am serving both my students and my immediate and greater communities. However, this is not a goal that I can work toward independently. Therefore, as I continue my studies at the College of Education, it is my objective to contribute to the greater public discourse on the meaning of education as an experience, bringing with me serious reflections on and a deep desire to expand upon my growing scholarship and emerging repertoire of practice.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Miss Avery's portfolio is accepted!

After submitting my portfolio for review by my Teacher Education professors, I recently received the exciting news that it has been accepted! This means that I may now go ahead with the certification process, which entails a few more steps.

In the interim, I have taken the Praxis exam (think SAT for incoming teachers), and am waiting for those results. Let's just say I'm not expecting any disappointments on that end.

The decision I'm faced with now is where - in what state - I will pursue my certification. I completed my student teaching program in Vermont ... and am now in a graduate program in Washington State ... without any clear feeling as to where I will go from here.

Luckily, I'm not under any pressure to decide immediately. As I finish my studies, I can hone in gradually on my future, and make the move to apply for certification once I'm more confident as to where that will be.

As for now, though, I can add to the resume: CERTIFIABLE !!