Friday, August 31, 2012

First Week of Class

Really original title, right? Hey, it's what this post is about, so I figured I may as well get straight to the point! Though this week was only three days, it was exhausting, and I am very thankful for this three-day weekend. However, I am also very excited about my classes this semester, challenging and demanding as they may prove to be.

Let's start with my English classes: Literature of Islamophobia and Major Writers of the 18th Century. Okay, I am not thrilled about the topics, but the professors are excellent and I am really hoping that they will make these topics come alive for me, because so far, the reading has been pretty tough for me to get through. That also might be because I am not quite back into "school mode" yet, and I was under the impression that this week was going to be syllabus week, and I would be getting out of class after about 20 minutes. Not the case. But I guess I understand, we have to start sometime, so why not just dive right on into it?
This is what I have to look forward to this semester
Now on to my UTeach classes, classes that are moving me closer to earning my teacher certification next spring. I am taking a Rhetoric and Writing for Teachers of English, Adolescent Literacy, and Intro to Teaching Middle School. My 8am Rhetoric class seems like it is going to be one of my most challenging classes, yet most helpful and rewarding classes. On the first day of having that class, the professor talked about how, as potential future teachers, we are called to make students better citizens of the world. This class is going to challenge our traditional views on teaching, and I can't wait for what this class has in store.
Education-related books
My adolescent literacy class - a three-hour, once-a-week class - is going to be a lot of fun. My professor is just incredible, and we spent the class talking about the class, obviously, and creating a timeline of literacy, in which we pinpointed moments in our lives that helped guide us toward a love of reading. I absolutely loved that, and I realized that my grandmother taking me to the library almost every day during the summers, and my parents always rewarding me with trips to the book store had a huge part in the reader that I am today. We also formed book clubs, and we are going to work within that group to create a project to present to the class. We got to choose virtually any young adult book, and my group chose Catcher in the Rye - a book that I have been dying to read (remember, I bought it at Shakespeare and Company in Paris?), and I am ecstatic to finally have an excuse to read it. I started it today during my break between classes and am already more than 100 pages in. I'm hooked!
So official!
Last but not least, my Intro to Teaching Middle School class. Last year I took the elementary school version of this class and I just loved it. I had the best time with those eight- and nine-year-old nuggets, and it was a great way to familiarize myself with the teaching profession. However, that class definitely walked me through virtually everything step-by-step, and this class is not going to be like that at all. The professor basically told us that he is not going to hold our hands and that we are on our own journeys to decide whether or not we want to stick with the profession. I will be assigned a school sometime next week - I can't wait! - and I will be in the school around two hours a week, with the responsibility of teaching six lessons throughout the course of the semester. I am very excited about this class, but I am also a little intimidated. This intimidating is a result of the professor's opening words, some of the horror stories that I have heard in the past, and just the fact that I am going to be responsible for teaching middle-school aged students: probably the most awkward age-group there is. Come on, who wasn't awkward during their middle school years?
Seventh-grade hat day
Dress fun at the galleria
My schedule is all over the place this year - only one class on Wednesdays, six hours of class on Thursdays, and a dreaded 8am. Now, I don't mind waking up early, but I do live about eight blocks off-campus this year, meaning I have to leave pretty darn early to make sure I get to my class on-time. And on-time to me is a little bit early. I hate feeling as though I am going to be late, and there is nothing worse than arriving to class sweaty, out-of-breath, and flustered. I will be spending quite a bit of time on-campus during my breaks between classes, but I am hoping that will allow me to get some good work done before returning home for the day.

Whew! That was a long post, and I am exhausted just thinking about those classes. My Friday has been a good one, starting with this 25-minute incline treadmill walk,

followed by a little ab work and a 20-minute climb on the stair master. My legs were tired this morning, and since I am taking a strength class tomorrow morning, I decided that a light cardio day was just what I needed. After a delicious breakfast, a refreshing shower, and my two classes of the day, I came home to enjoy a filling snack before doing a bit of reading and taking a short nap. The first week just wore me out!
Breakfast, with a side of frozen fruit that went undocumented 
What can be better than the peanut butter and banana combo?
I sauteed some vegetables around 6:30pm with the intentions of eating them alongside some pork loin. Well, guess who forgot to thaw said pork loin? Yep. So I made myself half a sandwich, ate a bit of baked oatmeal and rounded out the meal with one of my last few pumpkin-walnut muffins. It may have been a random dinner, but it was a tasty one!
My own personal vegetable medley
The rest of this evening will be comprised of a bit more reading, organizing, and waiting on updates on the big football game between my alma mater - Stratford, and their rival, Memorial. Hey, y'all should know by now that I love that high school of mine! Spank the 'stangs!

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