I cannot stress enough how instrumental this program was in preparing me to achieve my goal of becoming a social studies teacher. I wanted to become a history teacher so that I could go back to my home in L.A. and foster socially conscious individuals. In this past year I was given the opportunity to learn management skills, curriculum planning, community building activities, and numerous higher level thinking activities to help educate my students. My three teaching placements at various junior and senior high schools really helped put in practice what I learned at the university. These experiences, combined with tthe grand reputation that the Teacher Education Program has in the educational system, made it easy for me to stand out in the sea of new applicants at the Los Angeles Unified School District.
My experiences in the program prepared me well for going into the school system and I am happy to report that I have just finished my first week of teaching. I am currently working for LAUSD at Middle College High School. Here I teach all the United States History, Government, and Economic classes. My school is a magnet school for Los Angeles South West College. This public school is unique because students are dual enrolled at the high school and adjacent community college from the beginning of their high school tenure. By the end of their tenure our students have the opportunity to obtain both a high school diploma and their Associates Degree. I chose this school because of its intimate setting; the student body is roughly 340. I was also intrigued by the partnership to the college. What I am most proud of however is that the school is aimed at helping minority students achieve higher education.
When I recall the first day of Teacher Education Program at the University of California Santa Barbara, two very important thoughts come to mind. First, I remember the faculty truly embracing the idea that they saw the graduate students as colleagues and informed us not to feel threatened or inferior to our professors, because we were all there to learn from one another and embark on a learning journey as one. This idea resonated with me throughout my studies in the Teacher Education Program, because the faculty understood that the learning was going to be a cooperative process. They continually modeled the concept by not only assessing their students, but their own teaching practices. They frequently solicited feedbaack from the students in order to strengthen their lessons and focus on the needs of the students. It is this concept of learning together that I am grateful to have experienced the Teacher Education Program at UCSB. The program provided an infinite amount of support to their graduate students, not only as educators, but as human beings that could understand the possible hardships that many of us may encounter throughout our studies. I can now utilize the concept in my own teaching practice by being an observer and studying my audience in order to help me createt effective learning experiences in the classroom. The program has helped me realize that I may not be the only teacher in the classroomand that I may also encounter many learning experiences of my own from my students.
The second thought that comes to mind after recalling the first day of Teacher Education Program was when a student panel from the previous year stated that the coming year was going to be the hardest and most exciting year of our lives. They understood that the words hardest and exciting were not regularly utilized in the same sentence, but they explained that we would understand and agree with their description at the end of our journey. Similar to all the other new students in the room, I was a little confused and did not completely understand their description. Now, that I have completed the Teacher Education Program and have had some time to reflect on the previous year, I can safely say that their description was 100% accurate. There were moments in which I was unsure if I could cope with the workload, stress, and lack of sleep that I was experiencing, but because I knew that I was not the only one going through the process, it helped create a strong bonds with the other students in the program. The rigorous workload brought the students together by inadvertently creating a support group that helped everyone form friendships that would last a lifetime. I believe that it was the comradary that made the year exciting because we all spent so much time together and did many activities outside of the program. Some of the people I befriended in the program have become very close friends that I respect and admire. I possess many great memories that I do not wish to exchange because they brought great insight to my life and teaching career.
I am currently teaching Art at Castro Valley High School which is situated in the San Francisco Bay Area and I am having the time of my life. I am in the fourth week of the school year and feel that the Teacher Education Program at UCSB has adequately prepared me for teaching. I wake up every morning excited to teach and find myself saying that I am going to school rather than "going to work". I consider teaching as a learning experience that is not a duty or a chore, but a journey in which I will teach and learn at the same time. I credit the Teacher Education Program at UCSB for my philosophy on teaching because it is what the staff and professors modeled and consistently reinforced throughout the program. I am grateful to have been a partt of the Teacher Education Program at UCSB and chosen a profession that I truly enjoy.
I am proud to say that I have graduated from UCSB's Teacher Education Program and now am in my third week of school teaching 6th grade at a low income, socioeconomically diverse K-6 elementary school in the Evergreen District of San Jose, California. Equipped with my multiple-subject teaching credential and Masters in Education from UCSB, I have been able to step into this 6th grade classroom, set up a safe learning environment, and deliver effective instruction to my 30 students representing a wide variety of learning levels. The student body is very diverse. Sixty percent of he 760 students at this school are Hispanic or Latino, twenty-six percent are Asian, and eight percent are Filipino. Sixty-seven percent of the student body receives free lunch and fifty-four percent are English Language Learners. Two of my students speak very little English, having moved within the past three months from Vietnam and China. Thankfully, the Teacher Education Program has prepared me to differentiate my teaching so that my new English Language Learners and more experienced high performing students are being challenged and have learning goals representing their current needs. As mentioned, I feel like this program has prepared me very well. There are other first year teachers at this school and I feel like I have a great edge on them. I am definitely feeling the pressure of the enormous task before me but I also know that I can do it. I have been trained to think critically about my practices and help students understand content.
My year in TEP was the fullest year of my life: fun, challenging, rewarding, exhausting, enlightening, encouraging. The faculty are truly exceptional and practice what they preach when it comes to their instructional strategies. In twelve months, I built relationships with faculty, colleagues, and my own students that I know will last a lifetime. To me, TEP stands above and beyond other teacher education programs because of its hands-on approach and cohort system. We were at our school sites from the first day of school to the last day of school, seeing the process from beginning to end. The cohort system provided much needed support: everyone in the program is taking the same course load and doing "classroom takeovers" at the same time; and we met in our small professional seminars every week to share triumphs and defeats. I'm convinced that TEP has given me the strategies, experiences, and passion to help me make the world a better place for kids for many years to come.
The TEP program fosters a supportive community where it's safe to make mistakes and grow together. Not only do their student teachers receive tremendous one-on-one faculty support, the program inserts a philosophical compass that guides their graduates professionally for decades. I've worked in rural communities and the most urban of areas. Years later, TEP is still guiding my everyday practices. They gave me the tools needed to make a difference in chlldren's lives.
I had entertained the idea of being a teacher long before I had the dream. I thought maybe I could teach, or maybe pursue my photography interest further, perhaps work with the elderly. When I decided I needed to devote my energy to something solid, like a stable career, I looked online at the UCSB TEP program and found that the deadline for applications was within a week. That evening I had the dream. In it, the program had extended their application deadline. When I called TEP the next day for information, I found the program actually had extended their deadline. This is when I stopped questioning what it was that I had to pursue and worked hard to get a thorough, well done application in on time.
This hustling for something I wanted to do and wanted to do well had only just begun with the application. I heard that the program would require a 7:30am to 7:30pm schedule and then we'd come home to lesson plans and homework. The panel of TEP graduates told us we wouldn't see our friends for a year, we wouldn't have time to exercise, that we'd practically live with our cohort and luxuries like sleeping in and recreating were things of the past. What I didn't realize is that I would be challenged emotionally and physically beyond anything that I had experienced. I hadn't realized how teaching tells us so much about ourselves. I didnt know how much it would challenge me to be the best person I can be. I didn't know that such a schedule would challenge me to find a new relationship to caring for my emotional and physical well being. I hadn't realized that such a program would cause me to know myself and my loved ones in a whole new light. I had no idea how much confidence I would gain in this year of student teaching and university study.
My first placement was in a third grade classroom of 20 students. We had children of Latin, Hmong, African American and American cultural backgrounds. Soon after being placed in the classroom I began designing lessons. I realized I could combine some of my interests to make lessons applicable to the students. I care about knowing our community, I love to listen to people's stories and I love photography. Their first assignment was to interview someone who works at the school (besides a teacher) and photograph them. The students enjoyed the creativity of creating questions, learning about their community members and the responsibility of conducting and recording an interview. I also care about the way we understand and relate to the environment in which we live; I have strong interest in sustainable living. My second placement was in a kindergarten classroom and among the lessons I designed, a few were based on the creation of a worm jar. The students could bring in their lunch scraps for our new "classroom pet" who then turn the lunch 'waste' into rich soil for the garden. These are only a couple of examples of ways I learned I could make learning meaningful.
The staff of the TEP program and my school site were extremely supportive. At UCSB, questions or concerns about classes and coursework were heard and addressed. Professors worked hard to meet our needs and our coursework was applicable to our fieldwork in the classroom. My site supervisor was extremely supportive, offering years of experience and materials to make our teaching learning richer. Both of my cooperating teachers (the teachers in whose classrooms I was student teaching) were enthusiastic and knowledgeable. Questions were always well received and answered. Materials were shared and constructive feedback was profuse throughout the program. I am currently working part time in an elementary school as a certifcated teacher. My job is to offer support in math and language arts for students whose scores on state testing fall below state grade level standards. I have small groups of students from 2nd - 8th grades and with the teachers and principal, I design a course of study for them that will help them improve in the areas they need the most help. We use a computer-based program for both language arts and math. We also use a program called Read Naturally designed to improve student's fluency (their ability to read quickly and with expression). The program I offer is only just beginning and I am feeling excited about my new role as a teacher. I have not yet begun working with the students but i am excited about the prospects of what we will all be learning. My experiences in the program helped me to know that I can meet challenges by seeking support and having confidence in my abilities. It also helped me to know that learning is a process that never stops and opens up so much new territory for exploration. I hope in my teaching I can help students realize these things as well.
I am currently a full time biology teacher at Ventura High School in Ventura, CA. I teach 3 periods of College Prep. Biology and 2 periods of Agricultural Biology for a total of nearly 170 students. While both classes are approved by the admissions departments of the Universities of California, the Agricultural Biology class tends to be aimed at students who are less proficient academically. These students are given the opportunity to create and maintain an organic garden as we study the standards- based curriculum. Both classes are involved with scientific investigation and research and I am aiming to consistently include inquiry-based units.
The responsibility of being a first year teacher with low performing students and large classes is challenging. However, feedback from other science teachers and my administration has been positive, in part because of my training at UCSB. Whlie enrolled I was fortunate enough to have several key mentors that helped to shape my philosophy of education and provide me with practical tools and insights into science education. The Teacher Education Program is widely acknowledged to be the best program in the area for good reason: it provides not only a perfect balance between theory and practice but also an environment in which students are encouraged to learn from leading educators as they find their own teaching voice.
The TEP at UC Santa Barbara provided me a great foundation to begin my first year of teaching on August 25th. At UCSB we had the opportunity to experience the classroom from the frist day to the last. We not only were placed in 2-3 different schools but were fortunate enough to experience middle and high school classes. The reason I chose the program at UCSB was because of its unique combination of receiving your teaching credential and Masters all in one year. Many programs my friends have gone through enter student teaching in their second year. For me, being able to practice the theories, activities, and strategies we were reading, researching, and discussing at UCSB in the classroom made all the difference. Also, being given an entire class for observations, teaching, and classroom experience provided a more cohesive perspective on the classroom experience.
The way the classes are structured in the program allows time for students to not only collaborate with colleagues in their own field, but also to have important pedagogical conversations with those in other fields. This mingling of contents brings together many different perspectives and experiences which resulted in lots of really good discussions about what was really important.
My experience at UCSB led me to find a school where I could combine my passion for math and physics into one class. I am currently in my fourth week at High Tech High Media Arts in San Diego, CA teaching "Mysics" (Math + Physics) to 9th graders. I teach two sections of Mysics that are each about 2.5 hours long with 26 students in each section. I also teach Hula as an elective on Tuesdays and Thursdays and meet with my advisory that consists of 9th - 12th graders on Friday.
I am absolutely in love with my school and my students. Not only does my school combine math and physics but they do not track students and they are focused on project based learning. This means that everything in class has a direct purpose or product. We're currently studying electricity and reviewing math concepts so that the students can constuct electric board games to study physics concepts and apply their knowledge of circuitry. For further information about my class, please feel free to take a look at my digital portfolio.
I chose this program because I knew that I would gain a lot of student teaching experience. While student teaching was a challenge, I learned a lot from it and had a constant support system with my small group, composed of 3 other student teachers and 1 supervisor for our school site. Every Friday, we would meet to discuss our week in the classroom and learn skills or strategies for issues such as classroom management.
Two of the most challenging and rewarding projects that I completed in the program were the literacy assessment for the language arts course and the Performance for Californita Teachers (PACT) event. For the literacy assessment, I chose one student from my first teaching placement to focus on and I conducted a series of multiple assessments in order to create a language arts program specific to this student. This project allowed me to see the importance of using multiple forms of assessment in all content areas. I also learned that every student learns differently and may be at different levels so it is important to take these differences into account when planning lessons.
The PACT event required that I extensively plan 3 consecutive math lessons and teach them to my students. I videotaped the lessons, as I would be assessed on my teaching ability. Through this event, I demonstrated my competency in planning and implementing instruction, designing and analyzing assessment as well as my ability to refect on my practice. I feel that the PACT event truly prepared me for the tasks of teaching and allowed me to see how important daily reflection of my practice is.
The Teacher Education Program was an amazing experience. I have always wanted to be a teacher and little did I know how much I had to learn in order to become a great teacher. From the coursework at the university to the hands-on experience through student teaching, I feel equipped with the necessary knowledge, skills and experience to be a strong teacher. The scholarship and fellowship opportunities were abundant and truly helped me in alleviating the financial burden of graduate school. Currently I am substitute teaching in El Monte City School District, hopeful that a long-term substitute position will open up.
During the chaotic but extremely memorable year of being a graduate student in the Teacher Education Program, I realized the most important thing: who I was, but also who I could become as a professional educator. The opportunities for me to learn through application and practice were endless, and even though at the time it was stressful, I look back on it and now aprecciate even more he continued support I had from my colleagues and professors. Not a day went by that I did not think about my mistakes, my first instincts, but more importantly, my successes as a beginning teacher. Those thoughts, feelings, and random ponderings about my students and their possible social backgrounds became something I cherished. I knew I was becoming a great teacher when all I thought about were the extension lessons that could be taught the next day as well as the hands-on and real world experiences I could give to my students with joy and pride. I will never forget my students. I never knew that learning from young children on a daily basis could make me a stronger individual and in the end, a more empowered teacher.
I am currently getting ready to travel the 7,000 miles to Madrid, Spain where I will be teaching English to Spanish children at a bilingual elementary school in a small rural town called Arroyomolinos - the land of windmills! For nine months, not only will I be sharing with young children the culture of the United States of America, but I also will be given the opportunity to teach Art, Music, Drama, and Physical Education at this particular school. I have always dreamed to travel and teach in a country other than my own, to learn about a new, exciting culture where challenges in sharing my own language will further my experiences as a professional educator.
Upon my return to the states, I plan to teach at a Title 1 - Program Improvement school in the bay area. Aside from teaching general education, I also have high aspirations to work with children while becoming part of an art therapy organization. The personal experiences that I have had with the fine arts since the age of five as well as performance and theater during high school and college have had a positive effect on the levels of creative thinking I hope to bring into my classroom.
The credential program was such an experience! Although I was so busy and at times felt like I was going to lose my mind, it went by so fast and I learned so much. Not only was it a great experience, I feel as though I am overly prepared to start my career in teaching and feel confident of being able to teach students at their fullest. As for my career, I fortunately got hired on at Peabody Charter School in Santa Barbara. I student taught there, so I felt very comfortable in accepting the job. Although I am starting the first chapter in a new career, I'm very familiar with the school, their philosophy, and the faculty and staff, which makes me feel at ease abouot starting a new job where I will be the only teacher in the room! I am actually taking over my old cooperating teacher's job teaching kindergarten. I learned so much from her and we also developed a very good friendship. I feel very blessed to be able to take over her classroom and her job and hope to do as well as she did teaching this grade. (I think that the program prepared me to do so well!)
As a student teacher in a fifth grade classroom at Isla Vista, CA, I continued working to use Language Arts as a time to build community in my classroom. The literature circles were an avenue through which two girls, one Latina and one Caucasian, became close friends by the end of the year. They fell in love with Jerry Spinelli's "Stargirl," and they continued to read and discuss other Spinelli literature outside of school. It was heartwarming to watch literature build friendships and crush ethnic/linguistic divides.
Since August, I have been teaching first grade in Corning, CA - a northern California Olive farming town. Twelve of the seventeen young boys and girls in my class are ELs. Because of the toolbox of teaching strategies, resources, and philosophies I acquired through the courses developed by Dr. Tuyay, I know those twelve students are in the right place. I am confident that I am providing a balanced literacy program, Specially Designed Academic Instruction in English (SDAIE), and English Language Development (ELD). I have been able to take on an expert role at my school site as the other staff are just beginning to learn the applications of SDAIE and ELD. The administration is confident that such applications will increase our school's test scores and help us work towards exiting Program Improvement under No Child Left Behind. I am optimistic.