Embracing the unknown

21 Aug

Journey Book

My Introduction:

Throughout my life, I have always read for entertainment, living vicariously through the characters in each novel—an escape from reality of sorts. I had always enjoyed literature on a surface level, but my appreciation for literature reached new heights my freshman year of college. I happened across the book, Coming of Age in Mississippi by Anne Moody, a biography that changed my life and instantly sparked my interest in American history and its direct correlation with literature over the past three centuries. Moody vividly recollected her experiences as a black child, adolescent, and adult in an extremely racist part of Mississippi. Her dedication, perseverance, and tireless efforts to achieve racial equality during the Civil Rights Movement inspired me to pursue a deeper understanding of the past. Reading about the hardships Moody endured throughout her life, simply because she wasn’t white, ignited a great magnitude of compassion within myself that I had never experienced prior. This book prompted me to pursue a history minor at State and my senior year I took African American History to further my education on the uphill battle to achieve civil rights. This book alone is responsible for my continuously growing love for American history. Furthering my studies in this subject has provided me with a deeper appreciation and understanding of literature itself. I now read to find a  connection between the writing and the cultural/historical aspects that tie in to the literary work as a whole, discovering more profound interpretations of each novel through integrating history of the time period in which it was written.

Professional Self:

I graduated from North Carolina State University in the spring of this year. I have an English degree with a concentration in secondary education, as well as a history minor. This summer I completed the Praxis II and I am now certified to teach middle school language arts. My professional semester as a student teacher allowed me the opportunity to introduce literature to my students in a much different method than it was introduced to me. Through creative learning activities I was able to relate the material to my students and the issues they are encountering at this point in their lives, sparking a connection between what they are reading and their own personal experiences. “Learn by doing!” is the motto I stood, and continue to stand by. By facilitating my classroom in a manner that guided my students, rather than simply instructing them, encouraged critical thinking and prompted a sense of satisfaction in the final product of their work.

I have grown up in a family of educators and I have always known that my passion lies in teaching. I completed an internship in a kindergarten classroom my senior year of high school, which reinforced my love for teaching, yet, I learned that I would be much happier as an educator in high school. This is my first class of my graduate career and I cannot wait to learn and incorporate these tools in this ever-changing world of educational technology.

Literate Self:

As an adolescent, I often borrowed books from my mother’s seemingly infinite collection. On most occasions, these books were not considered young adult literature; rather, they were geared towards a more mature audience. Along with this, I tended to gravitate towards mystery novels. Due to these preferences, I cannot recall a time when I truly connected my own life as a teenager to the characters or situations that arose in these books.

I  read more young adult literature now that I had ever been exposed to in my adolescent years. Through my adolescent literature course at State and my recent interests in such novels, I have realized how relevant and beneficial young adult literature has the potential to be in the lives of high school students.

Virtual Self:

My virtual self, until recently, has been virtually non-existent. I joined Facebook when I entered college in 2006, but that is about the extent of my participation in this particular forum. It isn’t for lack of interest or curiosity that has hindered me; rather, I believe I have allowed myself to become intimidated of the unknown in this technological field.

Goals:

Professional Self:

I look forward to continue learning different methods and technological tools that will provide me infinite opportunities to introduce young adult literature to my students. I am positive that the  educational tools I will learn throughout course will afford me a much more in-depth awareness of differentiated instruction. As my knowledge expands on the diverse ways I can relate literature to my students, their passion and love for literature will expand as well.

Literate Self:

I have grown to love and appreciate young adult literature over the course of my undergraduate career.  I fully intend to implement the various educational tools I will take away from this course. Through these differentiated forms of instruction I aim to root  my passion and enthusiasm for these novels in my students.

Virtual Self:

Becoming digitally literate for the benefit of my students and myself is the number one goal I hope to attain. At this point in my virtual career, there is only one way to go—UP! I feel this course will be a challenge for me because I am in technologically in the stone age. That being said, I cannot wait to meet this challenge head on because the final product of my virtual self will undoubtedly create a more successful educator.

Since beginning this class on Wednesday, I have made leaps and bounds towards integrating myself into this somewhat foreign world of technology. I have joined, twitter, made a voicethread for the first time, registered with Wiki, created a blog on WordPress, and have designed a personal trading card on WallWisher—-all feats that would not have been overcome otherwise (at least not in the near future).

Reflection:

The Journey Book reflection reinforced how much literature has shaped the course of my college career. I began asking myself what would have happened if I hadn’t read Coming of Age in Mississippi my freshman year and I shutter at the thought. Opening that book, in turn, opened a whole new world of interests. The journey book reflection challenges and encourages me to assist my own students in finding their own journey book, because as we have seen, it only takes one.

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21 Aug

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