Wednesday, August 20, 2008

A New School Year

Hello to all! It has been awhile since my last post and I have been busy with summer activities and events as I'm sure most of you have. Between graduate course work, traveling, and of course keeping up with the baseball season, I have been able to gain some experiences I hope to prove valuable for the upcoming school year. Here is a little sampling of what I have been doing.

Following the school year I taught a module (M.A.R.S.) and was Assistant Camp Director for Camp Invention which took place at Mann School. The camp was a great "hands-on" approach to problem based learning. Many of you may have heard some details of the camp and might want to get your child involved next summer. It's a great atmosphere for learning.
After Camp Invention wrapped up I finished finals for my first two graduate courses at Loyola University Chicago. After four years of undergraduate work and my first semester of teaching I still have the mindset of a student. I couldn't wait any longer and felt the need to continue my professional growth as to stay on the edge of educational research, theories, and methods. One of the greatest assets of my early graduate career is the network of people and experiences they have to share. It has been amazing to hear about the various ways educators work and the diverse kinds of education available to the youth of today.
That brings me to the end of June and my departure to Washington D.C. to represent Region 46, specifically the Oak Park Teachers' Association as a representative of Illinois at the National Education Association's Representative Assembly. (You might have to read that twice to piece it together, its ok.) As a member of my local teachers' union I felt this opportunity to be invaluable. As a rep at the "RA" I was able to hear first-hand some of the most pressing concerns for today's teachers. Not only was I able to witness debate and converse with educators from around the country, but I was encouraged to deliberate on tough matters and personally express my thoughts through a few different methods of voting. It truly was an experience that helped me understand how a democratic system operates through its largest body in the world. Yes, the NEA-RA is the largest democratic body in the world possessing around 9,000 reps from a union of just over 3.2 million members! It also gave me a deeper understanding of the educational system from a national point of view. The NEA strives for a GREAT public education for EVERY child. Teaching really is about harvesting the greatest potential from each individual learner.
The convention afforded me the opportunity to be in our nation's capitol for the fourth of July and never have I celebrated our country's birthday like that. I was sitting on the front lawn of the Capitol building watching "A Capitol Fourth," which was broadcasted on PBS. Another great place I found littered amongst the seemingly endless museums and exhibits was a new museum called the NEWSEUM. This place is dedicated to the history of "News" such as current events and general media. Take a look at the website if you are interested, it's quite fascinating.
Following my D.C. trip it was time to head back to Minnesota and spend time with my family. My parents still live in my hometown of Crookston, MN and it is a great place to get away from the busy city life and enjoy the northern part of the state with all its lakes and wilderness. While in Minnesota I was able to see my entire family which includes a younger brother and older sister. Some things I did with them were spend a weekend on Leech Lake fishing, eat at Zorbaz Pizza in the summer time hot spot of Detroit Lakes, MN and of course see my hometown team, the Minnesota Twins, defeat division rival the Cleveland Indians at the Metrodome. There is something about going home and spending time with family that creates a feeling unlike anything else.

As I said this is just a sampling of my activity this summer. I hope you were able to enjoy your summer break as much as I did. But as with all summer breaks, there comes an end and the beginning of another school year. Hopefully you are rejuvinated and excited to engage yourself in more learning experiences. For some pics from my summer check out the slideshow on the right hand side of my blog and for more info on some of the places just click on the highlighted hyperlinks throughout this post. Hopefully I will see you at Mann School soon!