18 March 2015

Take a Walk With Me

I took a walk to the Lewis and Clark Graduate School of Education and Counseling the other day for a meeting with my education professor. Even though she works for the graduate school and her office is there, she teaches a couple of undergraduate education courses. One is called Education in a Complex World, which I took last term, and one is Inquiry into Teaching and Learning, which I'm in now. I know that you're probably reading this blog to help you decide on an undergraduate school, but I'm going to start here with the graduate school anyway. I might go there for a M.A. in Teaching after my four years as an undergrad, and it's a good starting point to write about my experiences with studying education at Lewis and Clark.

Most of the students call the graduate school campus "South Campus." On sunny days, people will go there to just chill on the lawn or swing on the wooden swing. I climb trees there when I need a dose of nature. It's quite beautiful.

After walking around for a while, I had a great meeting with my professor. We ate muffins and talked about teaching in elementary vs. high school, place-based and environmental education, the privatization/charter-school movement, and a whole bunch of other stuff. It was very inspiring. I've never felt like I was aiming for a goal before, in terms of career anyway. But for the first time. this year I feel like I might know where I'm going. Things are starting to come together, and I'm really excited about it.

As I've probably also mentioned before, I volunteer in a kindergarten classroom. I've been with the same group of kids the whole year, and it's been so rewarding to watch them grow up. I was so proud the other day when one of the kids spelled a word in front of class correctly for the first time! And today was St. Patrick's Day, so the whole kindergarten class was decked out in green shirts and dresses and suchlike, and one of the kids had even dyed his mohawk! Everyone was very, very excited about the possibility of there being leprechauns hiding in our classroom, so we didn't get a lot of work done. The most exciting moment was when another teacher came bursting into our room claiming to have caught a leprechaun! He was wrestling with this big plastic bag, and saying, "I'VE GOT HIM! I'VE GOT HIM! LOOK!!" and he opened the bag to show us... nothing. There was just a big hole in the bottom of the bag. The kids were in hysterics! My mentor teacher and I couldn't stop laughing at the other teacher's acting skills. Finally, everyone settled down. While my mentor teacher led a spelling exercise, I poured bowls of Lucky Charms. But when we got back from recess for snack, someone had come in and turned the milk bright green! Darn those sneaky leprechauns.

I'm so glad that Lewis and Clark gives me the opportunity to work in a real classroom like this as an undergrad, just to see whether teaching is right for me. But I'm still not sure if I want to become an elementary teacher, a high school English and creative writing teacher, or something else entirely. Good thing I have some more time to decide. I'm just a second-year student here, and I'm planning on taking a break before grad school anyway.

Well, that's all for now. If you have any questions, email me at jessicakostka@lclark.edu.