A Bit About Me . . .!

Hello, My name is Emily Alford. I am a junior at the University of South Alabama. I am majoring in Secondary Education/English and hope to teach 9th or 10th grade when I graduate! After I start teaching, I plan on getting my Masters Degree. I am very excited to share my ideas and creativity with you all!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Classroom Blog

I will keep up a classroom blog that all students as well as parents/guardians will be given access to. My blog will contain weekly updates, announcements, upcoming birthdays and holidays, and a general discussion about what all we are doing in class at that time. This way parents or students who happen to have been absent during that week can visit my site and and see what classwork or important announcements they may have missed.
My contact information will be provided so parents may contact me via my blog, email, or by telephone to address any issued or concerns they may have. I would have loved to have had a site I could have visited when I was in high school that helped update me on classroom agenda. The proper access information to my site will be mailed to students' parents/guardians at the beginning of the semester.

Preparing For The Future

I intend to provide my students with a class syllabus on the first day of class. The students will be in high school and will be in the process of preparing for their futures in college. In college, instructors provide their students with a class syllabus at the beginning of each semester.
As a college student, I have looked forward to receiving my syllabus on the first day of class, so I could get organized and know exactly what my semester was going to entail in order for me to excel.
I want to teach my students to be organized, mature, and to plan ahead; to not wait until the last minute to a get a major project done. This will also help parents/guardians to plan ahead. For instance: Some families go out of town for holidays and leave early to beat traffic. If they see the student's have a test on the day they plan to leave, they can reschedule their departure time or date ahead of schedule. I think this will be extremely beneficial to everyone involved.

No Bare Walls

One thing that always bothered me in high school was how most of the teacher's did not take the time to decorate their classrooms. Bulletin boards and classroom walls seemed to be cold with solid colored cement blocks and the usual chalkboards. What happened to creativity in our schools? Are high school students not worthy of some color, a little construction paper, and cute decorative border? I can count on one hand the teachers I had in high school that kept their classrooms up and those with all honesty are the classrooms that I actually enjoyed learning in.
Students are there to learn and we, as teachers have the responsibility of making their learning environment as warm and inviting as possible. I personally intend to change my bulletin boards often and exhibit local artist's artwork on my cement walls to inspire the young mind's that spend hours upon hours in my classroom.

Field Trips

What happened to high school students being able to go on a field trip or two? My elementary and middle school years were filled with field trips. We went to zoos, aquariums, learning center's, picnics at the park, and more! We had fun! In 8th grade we even took a class trip to Six Flags in Atlanta, Georgia. During high school, I went on one field trip- a career fair. That was it.
My 1st semester of junior college at Faulkner State Community College, I had an Earth Science professor organize a class field trip that took place on a Saturday and was free of charge (we brought our own lunches). He provided transportation that took us on a tour all the way around Mobile Bay. We met at Fort Conde in Spanish Fort and made our way to Dauphin Island. We took the Ferry across the bay to Fort Morgan and ate our sack lunches while looking out over the beautiful water. Then we made our way back to Spanish Fort stopping along the way in different location to observe and learn on our very own bay. I have lived here my entire life and had never taken the time to go see the things I saw that day.
The trip was completely optional, but the professor did announce that on our Final Exam, there would be a "bonus" question that only the students who went on the trip would know the correct answer to. If you got the answer correct, you made an automatic "A" on the exam! That was beyond the most fun and educational trip I ever went on... and yes I made an A!

No Homework Policy!

This is going to sound crazy and I will probably receive mixed reviews about this, but I do not believe in homework. I do, however, believe in students having a time to rest their minds, play, and spend time with family. Students are at school for nearly eight hours a day. Most schools give their students a 30 minute lunch break. Students spend all day reading, writing, learning, solving, studying, testing, and working their minds. When they go home from school, they should be able to partake in extra curricular activities, exercise, spend time with friends, watch the after school special on television, and eat dinner with their families without worrying about the loads of homework they need to get done before tomorrow. I do think the occasional project, report, or studying for an exam are okay for homework, but I don't want my students overloaded and burnt out on learning. I want them refreshed and ready to learn something!