Blogs / Life

Where have I been?

Drowning in work, mostly.

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Hey guys, Kayla Ann here with an update on life. Usually I stay away from these kind of blog posts because they seem very focused on myself instead of the community, but I also feel that I owe an explanation. Many of you have read my exhortations to remain a part of community, reading other posts, commenting on other blogs, reciprocating responses with other bloggers, etc. Well, I’ll admit, I have not done a great job of this lately.

As some of you may recall, I started a new job in August as a full time English teacher at a Middle School. It was a job I had prayed and waited for. I love my job, and because I love it so much, I put almost everything I have into it. It has been a hard struggle lately to find the balance between giving enough of myself and not too much of myself. I am having to find boundaries between my work life and my home life for my own mental and emotional health. All that to say, there hasn’t been a ton of time for blogging.

I did have some posts pre-scheduled so that I did not disappear from the blogging sphere, but I haven’t really been able to visit and respond as I would like. I’m still working on finding that balance between work and home and so I ask for patience from my blogging friends. All this to say:

I do not want you to feel as though I have dipped out, I’m here, waving through the window.

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College Writing Tips

Dear Teachers: Welcome Back

Christmas Break is over and you’re somewhat devastated, am I right?

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The break was not long enough and all that grading/curriculum planning you told yourself you were going to get done is still sitting in the back of your car.

You’re not alone, but it is time to get back in the groove of things, so wake up! Here are some of my tips to help get you through this upcoming semester:

  1. Get Up Early and Prep for each day. (I can already hear the communal groan). This tip is especially helpful for college professors. I know it may sound tipping to wing your lecture if you’ve written it before, but get up 20 minutes earlier and refresh yourself on the content. Your students will thank you.
  2. Every Sunday night, make sure you are fully prepped for the upcoming week. While morning refreshers are nice, it is better to be fully prepared in case you do not have the time.
  3. Grade immediately! As soon as those essays (or tests) start coming in, start grading them! Do not, I repeat DO NOT, put off grading. It will severely bite you in the rear end at the end of the semester.
  4. Have a Clear and Concise Rubric that you share with the class. This will not only give them direction on what to aim for in their essays, but it will make grading easier on you. In my opinion, no teacher should grade off a “gut-feeling.” Essays can only be graded evenly when being graded against the same scale.
  5. Plan easier lessons during the semester where there is less assignments. This provides breaks for both your students and yourself. During these times, go have fun! (Or more realistically, catch up on the grading that you keep putting off).

There you have it, my five “Welcome Back” tips for professors and teachers alike!

I wish you all the best!

 

College Writing Tips

College Writing Tip: Go to Class

This might seem a little redundant right?

Well let me tell you a story. When I was substituting at my local high school, one of my senior students told me, “I can’t wait to go to college, it’s gonna be so much better than this place!”

I responded, “You’re right, it will be better, but it is also going to be harder. No one is going to force you to go to class, no one is going to care if you show up or not.”

“Awesome! Then I’ll actually have freedom!”

“That’s true, you will have freedom. You’ll have the freedom to not take your classes seriously, you’ll have the freedom to skip, and you’ll have the freedom to fail subjects that you are more than capable of passing.”

Of course, in true senior fashion, this student shrugged off my warning, but I do hope that they will come to remember it. This semester, I had a student miss over 50% of my class. When it came to the end of the semester and he was failing, he could not understand why regardless of how much I stressed class attendance and participation.

According to CSION PR Newswire (read full article here) students skip class for the following reasons:

This data—consisting of nearly 1.1 million tweets—provided Class120 with an unprecedented look into why students skip class, with five primary reasons becoming clear:

  • Hanging with Friends: 37 percent of the Twitter posts referenced skipping class to spend more time with their friends.

  • Too Tired: 32 percent of students tweeted that they were sleeping or too tired to go to class.

  • Recreation: 17 percent of students indicated a specific recreational event or activity that took precedence over attending class. There were a vast number of specific events mentioned, including sports, watching television and playing video games.

  • Studying: 11 percent of students mentioned being too busy with other school work to attend class.

  • Weather: three percent of students’ posts cited the weather—whether too beautiful or too unpleasant—as the reason they skipped.

As a professor and a teacher, I really do get it. Sometimes going to class sucks, there are days when I would rather be at the beach, or Disneyland, or sleeping, or working on my books, but it is my job to teach and it is the student’s job to attend.

I encourage every student out there to attend classes regularly! You really have no idea what you miss when you miss repeatedly.

Attending is a HUGE part of Succeeding! – KaylaAnn

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Blogs / Life

First Semester of Teaching – Told Through GIFS

Whelp, that is it! After turning in my grades, I have successfully completed teaching my first semester at the college, undergraduate level!

And let me tell you, it was quite the roller coaster ride, filled with ups and downs, twists and turns, and even one startling loop-de-loop! I think the only way I can adequately describe what it was like is through GIFs, so enjoy my journey as told through GIFs.

Week One is filled with excitement for both the teacher and the students. Students are well-behaved and the teacher is ready to go!

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That First Month is really all about finding your groove. Who are you as a teacher and what do your students need from you? Some days you go home thinking “I totally nailed it!” Other days, you kinda feel like this:

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By the time you hit the Second Month, you finally feel like you’ve got it all figured out and things are going pretty well!

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However, it’s about that Third Month where you start to hit bumps in the roller coaster as students just kind of stop showing up.

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Thanking God that there is a Spring Break in the Spring Semester!

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Lastly there’s that Final Fourth Month which is pretty rough, you’ve got students who missed the first half of the semester and they keep asking about material that you covered weeks ago. . .

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Finals Week

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That’s pretty much how the semester goes, but regardless of the hardships I love teaching! My favorite moment this year was when a student came up to me after the last class and said,

I just wanted to let you know that I enjoyed this class a lot better than the one I took last semester. You’re a great teacher and actually made the class interesting.

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Seriously though, I will never forget that.

Oh and just for fun because I also did some substituting at a local high school and really, all I need is one gif to explain how those days go.

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