Mentorship Comments

In the past few days I have received some great comments from the students I did my mentorship with Ms. Ionno in ECMP 355.  I’m going to post them below..

  • “Thanks for the question Kyle!! isn’t it fun when you can relate math to something you enjoy doing?”
  • “hey kyle its m** from ms.ionnos 4th period class just wanted to say hi and how cool these activities are and how much i have learned from the aspecially the academic green one i think u will make a great teacher”
  • “Hey Kyle I heard you are leaving us. That sucks, but thanks for everything.”
  • “Kyle, It has been a great experience working with you and i have learned so much!
  • It makes me sad that you aren’t going to be out mentor anymore! Best wishes for the rest of college!!!!”
  • “Hey Kyle, I have had so much fun with this mentoring program and I am glad that the class and I were able to do fun-filled activities with you. Thank you so much for teaching us so much.
  • Suprisingly, it is kind of cold in Florida. I went to a lake for camping and it was freezing. I had to sleep in my car because the tent was way too cold. It must be like that all the time in Canada right?
  • The activity for the academic green was fun. I didn’t know until that activity that circumfrence and area of a circle could be so difficult! It took a lot of thinking and I had to use all my brain power to get the answer.Although it nearly killed my brain (wink wink!), I had a lot of fun with it.
  • I can’t believe the mentoring program is almost over with you. It was so much fun it went by like a bullet! It was so cool acually chatting with someone all the way from Canada. I don’t even want to know how many miles away it is! But it would be a cool fact to learn.
  • I just wanted to ask a question and wanted to know if you could answer it when the class gets to see you next week: why did you want to be a teacher? What was your reason to be a teacher? Just wanted to know.
  • Well it was a really great experience working with you online. It shows that, maybe, one day, we could acually have classes over the internet like you do but in school. It’s amazing how technology grows and how we use it. I really like technology because then we get to do stuff like this. Communicating in a way people didn’t even think was possible in the 1900s or even farther in the past.
  • Thanks again for the great experience! I hope you do good on your final exam! Once again, it was really fun working with you.”
  • “I liked the cicumfrance/area activity better than this ratios activity.”
  • “KYLE,
  • “Kyle it was great working with you. The syombls that each hockey tean had looked very cool. My favorite was the Harford Whalers. Thanks for the time you spent working with us theis few weeks. We hope to do more work with you very soom. I think i speak for the whole class when i say that this has beed a great expiernce and that we hope to keep in contact woth you. Good luck on your exams and all the projects you have dew. DO GOOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
  • ” I really enjoyed having you as a mentor for my class. Your activites were creative and fun! “
  • “first this activity was sort of confusing but when i really figured out how to do it it was easyer.”
  • “hi kyle this was really fun are these teams and records real? see you next time by”
  • “Dear Kyle, I really liked the fact that we get to do real live chats with you and it is so much fun, and I hope we get to do another one soon!”
  • ” I think you will like this activity alot because Hockey is one of your favorite sports. In this activity we had to find the ratio of the teams, the winning percentages of the teams, rank the teams from 1st place to 6th place, and find the average of the two 1st place teams and the average of the two last place teams. The teams were the Colorado Rockies, the Quebec Nordiques, the California Golden Seals, the Hartford Whalers, the Kansas City Scouts, and the Winnipeg Jets.”
  • “Dear Kyle, Thank you for mentoring ur class. We just finished the results of your retro hockey team activity. I’ve learned a lot.”
  • “Thanks kyle it was well not fun but not boring in the middle there some where”
  • “It is kind of cool. Like when I play basket ball sometimes I can compare math to that and math becomes fun because it’s involved in something I love.”
  • ” Dear kyle,. As you know i am in mrs.ionno’s 4th period class. This was a very fun activity, thank you for spending time with our class to work with us. p.s. GOOD LUCK!!!!!! “

These comments have made my day and have really inspired me as a prospective teacher. I just wanted to share them!

Becoming the Best Teacher Possible

Just over a year ago I decided that I wanted to become a teacher.  I decided that I wanted to make an impact in the world.  I never really considered teaching as my career until this point, largely because my teachers weren’t very exciting and I had no desire to be like them.  I then realized that I could be better than they were.  Since I chose education as my desired career path and started education specific school, my ideas regarding teaching have changed immensely.  I have now started to establish my own thoughts and beliefs about how schools should appear and how I would like to teach in the future.  In this paper, I will discuss my current thoughts about education and how I plan to become a teaching professional by the time I graduate from the Faculty of Education.

My concept of an ideal school has is the product of many experiences, both good and bad, as a student.   My ideal school system incorporates technology in such a way that enhances every student’s learning.  Most importantly, the school trains students how to use technology in their everyday life.  This does not end with technology; students will be prepared to handle real world problems.  Math and biology do not necessarily provide students with the ability to perform as functioning people in today’s society.  I believe that students need to learn skills that will get them through their everyday life.  Skills like CRP, healthy cooking, changing car tires, budgeting, and many others are essential for students to lead positive lives.  I am willing to bet that the majority of students who currently graduate from high school, even with exceptional grades, do not know how to do all of these tasks.  By providing students with these practical life skills, we are promoting them to lead a healthy lifestyle in the future.  Additionally, in order to complete this promotion of healthy lifestyles for students, physical activity time for students must also be increased immensely.  It is no secret that the cases of obesity are increasing, especially in the younger population.  Students need to be shown that physical activity can be fun and they need to be shown how to do it properly.  If we can make physical activity a habit for students by the time they graduate, I think that they will continue to be active for the duration of their lives.  I am a strong believer that a healthy body leads to a healthy mind.  furthermore, I think that school’s need to make a better effort with regards to inclusive education and I think that it will be up to teachers to ensure that this happens.   Teachers need to do more than simply go through the motions of inclusive education.  They need to make sure they are being truly inclusive and differentiating their teaching for all students.  If teachers can succeed at this difficult task, every student, disabled or not, will benefit.

The concept of an ideal school that I have developed is quite different than the school I attended.   My teachers did not seem to have a desire to be there most days.  In turn, this gave me very little motivation to be there myself.  When I teach, I will do everything I can to be enthusiastic and excited that I am at the school.  I do not think this will be very hard because I am already anxious to begin teaching.  The school I went to attempted to be inclusive, but in my opinion, did not put forth a strong effort.  My younger brother, Kent, is profoundly deaf and his experience of high school has been a polar opposite when compared to mine.  Kent participates in the regular classroom for some classes, however, he is unwillingly sent to a separate room to work with a teaching assistant on a regular basis.  I do not think they are doing a very good job at inclusive education, for Kent or for any of the other students.  This needs to change in all schools and I feel that is it unacceptable for schools to not be as inclusive as they can be.

I did not grow up in a diverse community.  My town has a population of approximately 250 people and my school had just over 120 students who came from three surrounding communities.  When I moved to a larger city, I suffered from culture shock at the university because I had never been around anyone who was not white and Canadian.  I was not prepared for this and I am quite disappointed that I did not learn more about other cultures and how different the world was outside of my hometown.   My teachers and my school did not prepare me to live anywhere besides the small town I grew up in.  Also, when I graduated from high school, I was completely computer illiterate.  Since I have moved away, I have had to dedicate a large amount of time and effort to get myself to the point where I can efficiently use technology.  I wish that they would have understood the need for technology literacy skills when I was a student so I could have learned how to use them while I was still in school. I must do a better job than my teachers did to prepare my students to live in the world of today.

When students are completed with their education in my ideal school system they will be prepared for world they live in.  They will have the knowledge and skills to allow them to live long, healthy lives and be productive members of society.  Not only will they be proficient in their core subjects, like Math, Science and English, but also in hands on, real life skills.  When I graduated from high school, I was not prepared to live in the real world.  I feel that the current education system mostly teaches students subject matter and ignores how it relates to the real world.   When I teach, I will put forth every effort possible to ensure students understand the big picture about what their learning and how it relates to everyday life.

Since I decided that I wanted to become a teacher, many things in my life have changed.  I have started observing children more than ever before and I have begun looking at the tools I use on a daily basis and have started to consider how they could be used in a classroom.  I have become much more critical of my university professors and dissect their lectures in my mind and try to learn from them.  I make mental notes of both the good and the bad aspects and am slowly beginning to develop an idea of how I am going to teach in the future.  Now, I look for any chance I can to share my knowledge with others and I jump at any opportunity to learn something that I feel will benefit me or my students in the future.  The decision to become a teacher has already changed my life and how I plan to live my life in the future.

I have come to the realization that I do not know everything, like I had always thought when I was a student.  I always felt I knew more than my teachers.  I am not exactly sure why I did, but perhaps I was just disappointed with how they presented the content.  I have learned many things about math and the sciences through university, most of which I am sure I will never use as a teacher.  However, I think that the biggest thing that I have learned from these university classes is how to study and learn on my own.  From what I have heard from other teachers, I will likely have to do this often while trying to prepare my lessons.  I have also learned how to be a critical thinker.  This new skill has completely changed how I approach everything I encounter.  Now, I am no longer afraid to challenge what I am being told and dig deeper into topics that I do not completely understand.  This is one skill that I think is essential to share with my students.

Perhaps the most important thing that I have learned so far has been through my field experiences in ECS 100 and my mentorships in ECMP 355. I have learned that I have the power to make a difference in a student’s life.  Until this year, I had no idea that I could impact anyone’s learning.  Through these experiences, I was able to connect with students and further their learning and that was a powerful experience.  I taught students how to spell, to find the circumference of circles, and how to play dodge ball.  I had no idea that I could teach anyone anything and this has really inspired me to be the best that I can.  I want to continue making these differences in students’ lives for the entirety of my career.

I have also come to realize that being an effective teacher will not depend so much what I know, but rather how effectively I can share information with students.  I have had teachers who were absolutely brilliant in the subjects that they taught, however, they could not relate the material to the students.   I think that good teachers have the ability to make learning fun, exciting, and interesting for their students.  This is the skill that I am looking to improve most upon over the next two and a half years as a university student and before I graduate and become a teacher.  Once I graduate, I will always be striving to improve upon this.  I want to provide the best experience possible for my students and this, in my opinion, will be the most effective way to accomplish this goal.

I also believe that I need to further my skills with technology and the use of resources.  If I were to being teaching today, I do not feel confident that I would know how to use a SMART Board effectively or how to teach my students how to use technology productively.  Luckily, ECMP 355 has pushed me to realize how important technology has become in our society and that there is plenty of room to incorporate it into the classroom.  By the time I graduate, I hope to have mastered using SMART Boards, use social networking tools like Facebook and Twitter to further connect with my students and other teachers around the world, and to be capable of showing my students how to safely and effectively use technology outside of a school setting.  I will give my students the assets and skills they need to succeed with technology outside of their school.

I will always strive to develop myself further as a teaching professional. I know that I have a long way to go before I step into a classroom as the teacher.  One way I have already begun to develop myself professionally is by creating and maintaining a weblog.  I had initially created it for ECMP 355 but will continue it in the future for personal professional development.  It has challenged me to observe everything I see and reflect upon it.  For example, during our lecture about writing and academic honesty for ECS 100, I noticed that our presenter did not cite his sources on the handouts he had provided us with.  I found this very frustrating being a student who would get expelled for doing the same thing.  I made a post on my weblog about this and had some very deep, insightful responses to my post.  These responses furthered my understanding of the situation and gave me the confidence to address my professors about the issue.  Additionally, when have I posted some work that I had created, I get incredible feedback from other teachers and professionals who want to help me get better in the future.  In ECMP 355, I created a math problem in the form of a video and a teacher who develops curriculum for Google found it and reviewed it, providing me with comments and suggestions that I will take with me for the rest of my life. These responses are directed entirely towards me, and help me, as an individual, strive to improve my work for the next time I publish it.  I plan to continue blogging for my entire career in an effort to improve upon the quality of work I produce.

I think that the best way for me to become the teacher I want to become will be to teach.  It sounds very simple, but I think that firsthand experience will provide me with the skills to be a great teacher.  I will take advantage of every opportunity I have to go into a school.  In my future field experiences, I will not just sit in the corner and observe.  I plan to interact with the students and the staff and expand my knowledge of how the school and its classrooms function.  By doing this, I will unquestionably begin to learn how to act as a teacher and how to interact appropriately and effectively with my students and future colleagues.

In the upcoming years, prior to me graduating from the Faculty of Education, I plan to absorb as much information pertaining to teaching as possible.  If I want to be the best at what I do, I need to give myself the resources and knowledge to do so.  I will no longer simply sit in class doodling on a piece of paper because that will not help me develop into a professional.  I need to be attentive and continue to think critically about everything I learn.  While I learn as much as possible, I will also share my new knowledge and my thoughts with others.  I think that this will help me develop my thoughts even further and consider other aspects of things that I learn.  Over the next few years, leading into my graduation, I plan to learn and teach with every opportunity I have.  If I can do this successfully, I believe that I will set myself up to be the best teacher possible for my students.

I understand that I have many things to learn and skills to acquire before I can become an effective teacher.  I hope that one day I can provide my students with the education I described in my ideal school system.  Until I do, I will constantly strive to develop myself as a professional so I can have the ability to provide my students with this ideal education.  I will develop myself by constantly reflecting through my blog and continue to critically analyze everything I encounter in my life.  I will give my students the knowledge and tools to perform in their everyday life, not just final exams.  I will continue to develop myself into a lifelong learner and teacher and share my newly found thirst for knowledge with my students.  I have two and a half years to do this before I become a teacher and start having the opportunity to change my students’ lives. If I can do all of these things, I will be the best teacher possible.

The Update

As this class is winding down, I have quite a bit on the go.

Right now my final project is slowly coming along.  I spent some time creating a nice looking header image for my Math + iPods wiki, which you can view here.  I used the trial version of Paint Shop Pro.  I probably shouldn’t have spent so much time playing around with it and actually got some content created.  However, I’m slowly, but surely adding to the application reviews.  I still need to find some resources about podcasting and all my other topics.  I will be devoting some serious time to the wiki today and this weekend.  And it is a wiki, so feel free to add anything you might find useful.

My mentorships have really slowed down in the past week or two.  My classes have been working on my Retro Hockey League Math Problem.  Mr. Kaechele’s class had two groups answer the question, one through a screen cast and the other through a podcast.   You can see both if you scroll to near the bottom of this page.  Ms. Ionno’s class is answering the problem individually using Google forms.  I am hoping to be able to Skype/Adobe Connect into all three of my classrooms again before the end of the semester, and possibly even after if it works.