Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy Independence Day!

I have to say that July 4th is one of my favorite holidays even though it's not one where we do a whole lot like Christmas or even a birthday. I enjoy seeing the fireworks and the displays of patriotism and the American flag, though I just wish I saw them more than just around the 4th of July, though Americans generally show more patriotism than other countries, particularly in the display of the flag. It seems, though, we're going through another one of those periods where it's not OK to be happy to be an American like we need to be ashamed or something because of this or that. Is life perfect? Hardly, but we have a lot going for us here and a lot of opportunities and freedoms that aren't enjoyed by most people in the world. That doesn't mean we don't have problems or difficulties or that everything is better here, but it does mean we have plenty to be grateful for. Do people who complain ever stop to think that in many places in the world they don't even have that right to complain?? I'm not talking about someone who just complains here and there-- everyone complains sometime-- I'm talking about the people who are never happy or satisfied; always critical and full of complaints but short on solutions; the grass is always greener somewhere else. You know who I'm talking about! I, for one, am VERY glad I was born and raised in the United States and count my blessings that I live here and am an American citizen! Hurray for the USA!

Now, onto other things! For starters I am in the midst of the final push for my first 3 summer classes as the Summer I term comes to an end next week. In Foundations of Educational Psychology we are doing projects on an area that interests us, so I chose applying curriculum to the real world. We can write a paper about what we learned or do an "original" creation. I'm no fan of writing long papers where I have to worry about a specific citation style (APA 5th in this case), but I've had the hardest time thinking about how else I could put it all together. I know I like to blog and do things online, I can do things on Photoshop, and I can put together decent slideshows. I'd really like to make a short video, but am short on one critical piece of equipment: a video camera! I could write a song, but honestly, what kind of song could be worth listening to or singing about applying curriculum to the real world! Can you say BORING?!? Hopefully as I finish my research this weekend I can get some inspiration. Who knows, maybe I'll just put a quick website together!

As part of this project I met up with a former teacher to get his insight on my topic. I met up with my former history teacher Bruce Dzeda on Wednesday in downtown Kent at the Wild Goats Cafe (never been there before...loved it!). I had Mr. Dzeda as a freshman for Western Civilization and again as a junior for Advanced Placement (AP) U.S. History. There are many experiences and quotes that I will always remember from his classes and of course actual content as well. It was good to meet with him and catch up (we agree on a lot of issues, particularly local), but also to get his insights and opinions on the matter, particularly in convincing students why we need to cover certain subject matters in a curriculum (establishing relativity). I really liked how Mr. Dzeda said that they need to understand that the different subjects do work together to help us understand things better and that students need to know things like that "because that's what educated people know." That doesn't mean they will necessarily use that information all the time or even that often, but you never know when it's going to be needed.

My Kent State diploma finally came this week...nearly 2 months after I actually graduated. It's nice to have to say the least! It was kind of anti-climactic though. It was just on my desk when I got home the other day; something I felt so many times like I'd never get and there it was. All it is is a piece of paper and really, without the completion of my masters program, it won't be worth much more than a piece of paper. For now it's going to sit on my other desk with my high school diploma until I figure out what to do with it and things settle here.

I don't think I mentioned that I have started teaching piano lessons. Today was the third week I have been doing them with three students I know from church. I was hesitant to take them, not because of them, but because they are my first venture into this realm of teaching piano so I'm learning as much as them! Thankfully I have a wonderful sister-in-law who has mucho experience in that area and gave me some valuable pointers plus I have students with supportive and patient parents. I had been asked a few times if I did teach piano and I never felt ready or even qualified before. I'm no pianist by any stretch of the imagination, but I do know the basics and I have a lot more training since I was first asked back in 2000 and 2001! My biggest worry is that I'm not too boring for my students and that they enjoy it overall even when it seems tedious. I know I'd be a better piano player if my first teacher had been nicer and more enjoyable to be around. Going to piano lessons with that old woman was something I dreaded every week because she did not inspire me in any way; she worked more through fear and intimidation than anything. Thankfully I had a really good piano teacher when I started again as a high school senior in the fall of 1999 who helped repair that damage and really get me on track as a better piano player! Now I just need to make sure I don't destroy my students' desire to play the piano either!

1 comment:

Becky said...

Who are you teaching piano to?