Graduate School and Student Loans…Oh MY!

December 10, 2010 at 9:05 pm (Uncategorized)

Right now, my wobbly plan is to go to Tech Graduate school for the Technical Communications program. I’m not exactly sure when, it will just depend on how my student teaching goes and how the job market is after graduation. If it’s not good, I’ll take a temporary position somewhere and apply for graduate school.

The Technical Communication program is offered all online, which is a huge bonus for me. As I’ll be a working mother, I wouldn’t really have time to drive to campus for classes.

For 1 or 2 classes, tuition runs between $1232 and $2361. While it’s a step back from a full load of undergraduate classes, I would still need to qualify for student loans. Ideally I would like to pay on my loans after I graduate in May no matter what happens, but I may have to have help for a while.

With this Master’s, I could teach at a community college or be more marketable in a related industry, like as an editor for a publication or a business that regularly releases print items (a law firm, PR firm, etc).

For my undergraduate loans, my parents had made a deal with both my brother and me that they will make initial payments while we get on our feet in a new job. After we’re settled, however, the responsibility goes on us. This is a great arrangement to me, and I feel I should pay for my loans since it was for my education.

I do plan on going ahead with the GRE sometime in the near future (within this next year), but I have no general time frame for when I would apply for graduate school.

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Digital Media and My Career

December 10, 2010 at 8:45 pm (Uncategorized)

I’ve never been a huge fan of publicizing myself on the Internet. That feeling has only gotten stronger since I’ve become a parent and want to keep my child’s image out of the hands of inappropriate people.

So the thought of using the Internet to network on a professional level, and to have a complete identity available for potential employers to see and scrutinize available online before they even meet me is a little unnerving.

For now, I’m not worried about my non-presence on the Internet. For now I’m just a measly little public school teacher (hopefully) and I think that most schools are of the mindset “Less is More” when it comes to their teachers being online.

If in the future I leave teaching to pursue a more competitive career/industry, I will reconsider my online profile. And by then, I might have more to show on it than just “College graduate”. Because now my profile would be pretty sad and empty (unless I lied…) and I don’t think it would really help me in getting a competitive spot at a company.

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Life-Long Learning Plan (LLLP)

December 10, 2010 at 7:49 pm (Uncategorized)

If I continue with a career in teaching, my professional learning will be continued through staff development, teaching workshops and district trainings.

I will, of course, supplement this with keeping up to date on events through magazines, newspapers, and other media. I will also keep up with outside reading covering a variety of topics that I can introduce to students if I think they might have an interest in one.

If I end up doing something else, I’m sure whatever I end up doing will have professional development in some form, and I’ll keep up with publications in that industry, no matter what my position.

No matter what I end up doing for a career, I will always do my best to learn in my interest areas, pleasure reading, current events and professional reading.

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My Trip to the Career Center

December 10, 2010 at 7:24 pm (Uncategorized)

I learned a lot from the class at the Career Center. While personally I find PowerPoints redundant, the paperwork and information given out was very informative.

I had planned on going to some of the seminars they offered during the semester, but my schedule never would let me. I think that the list of services provided at the Career Center would be beneficial to most students, especially those who don’t have strong writing or speaking skills.

Though I didn’t utilize many of the services offered by the Center, it was nice to find out just how many of them were available to me if I chose to invest the time in going.

While it was nice to know if I needed last minute help with job-finding issues halfway into my senior year, I feel they could have  greater success if they had a Senior Orientation that goes over all the services at the Career Center and any other departments that aim at graduating Seniors.

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Speech Markers

December 10, 2010 at 7:13 pm (Uncategorized)

I took a “linguistic quiz” about dialect and was deemed “76% Dixie”. After reviewing the scoring of the questions, my score was this high not due to an extreme Texan accent and dialect, but mainly because of two or three very distinct words that are used only in the area I grew up in and live in currently. These included “frosting” vs. “icing” and “cart” vs. “carriage” (or something similar).

Here is the link to the quiz: http://www.alphadictionary.com/articles/yankeetest.html

I would like to hear about other people’s scores.

I don’t feel I have very many geographic or economic factors in my speech. I’ve had just as much opportunity to become a doctor as someone from the top tax bracket, but I didn’t want to (I would make a terrible doctor!) I do realize there might be slight shifts that I just don’t notice, but overall, I feel like if I went to a different part of the country, no one would be able to outright say after a simple introduction that I was from Texas or the south.

I do think part of that is from my environment growing up and partly due to location. No one in my family ever really had an accent or used horrible slang. So I didn’t grow up around it, and my speech developed neutrally. Also West Texas is sort of a mix of people. Some do have noticeable southern accents, but most people don’t. I was never really exposed to an extreme accent in my social surroundings.

I also know this because anytime I speak with the tiniest hint of a Dixie accent, anyone and everyone around me is quick to jump on it. So I watch myself fairly closely.

 

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Language Presentations

December 10, 2010 at 5:32 pm (Uncategorized)

I enjoyed the language presentations. It was a nice refresher for some of the more obscure or harder parts of grammar, and a great reference gathering for when I’m trying to teach grammar to high school students.

The only thing that bothered me about the presentations (and this is really a general statement) is the heavy reliance on PowerPoint. I don’t mind slides to show main points, but when the screen is full of text from side to side and top to bottom, there’s a problem. It’s too much information for someone with above average reading skills to get all at once, so it would be completely useless to show to anyone who doesn’t care about grammar.

That coupled with the ever-shrinking attention span of humans, I’m sure most people gave up finishing the slide about 5 lines in (I did). No more than 6 lines of text is the (almost) universal standard for PowerPoint slides. This way, the audience has to pay attention to what you say when you elaborate verbally on each main point.

I try really hard to stay away from PowerPoints so that I don’t fall into these traps and habits.

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Professional Development

December 10, 2010 at 5:21 pm (Uncategorized)

This semester has been and interesting one. I’ve learned so much about how to be an effective teacher from all of my classes. Entering a new profession is sort of like becoming a parent though, no matter how much you think you are ready, you won’t ever really be prepared because part of it is always unknown until you actually dive in. I’m ok with this, because part of this semester was about learning to deal with the unexpected, and having some tools ready to take control of the situation.

While my future education is still a little unclear as to when, where and what, there will definitely be more education. But for now, teaching English to students who love it, don’t mind it, or downright hate it is my next challenge. And I think it’s a good one. People are infinitely different, and as a teacher, I get a chance to bring a group of students to completely common ground through a story or a poem, and that’s a pretty exciting prospect.

All in all, my professional life isn’t completely laid out yet. Do I want to teach secondary English until I retire? Maybe, maybe not. I don’t know. If I don’t, I’ll go on to graduate school sooner rather than later and move on to something else. If I do, I’ll still go to graduate school.

I don’t have any definite plans except to live. Whatever I decide now might not be what I want in three years, and that way there’s less stress and disappointment to deal with. I’m open to many options, and that makes me very relaxed.

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Critical Theory

December 10, 2010 at 5:13 pm (Uncategorized)

Classic Critical theory suggested that one should use historical, linguistic and literature knowledge to help “average readers” understand a text.

In the 1930’s the “New Critics” pulled a 180 and said that anyone can could use a close reading of the text to get a critical understanding. The text was only the text: it wasn’t connected to history, or even the author. It was its own, independent “self”.

There are many theories of literary criticism, some directly contradict one another, and others are less extreme, but all aim at understanding the underlying meaning of a text. Here is a list of the most common theories used, with links to comprehensive explanations:

Archetypal

Psychoanalytic

Feminist

Marxist

Reader-Response

Deconstruction

New Historic

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Original & Revised Paper

December 9, 2010 at 6:01 pm (Uncategorized)

Below is the link to a PDF version of a Recommendation Proposal for a Technical Communications class. This version includes professor changes to the text before a final draft was submitted. 

Green Queens Report with Comments

The following link is the PDF version of the final copy with revisions. As much revision was done before the above copy was submitted, there are not many changes aside from a few technical mistakes. The amount of time in class and availability from the professor made the compilation of the final draft very easy.

Green Queens Final Copy

As of now, I am planning to get my Master’s in Technical Communication, so this would be a very useful report to have available to submit as a writing sample to the department.

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Literature presentations

December 1, 2010 at 3:23 pm (Uncategorized)

I enjoyed listening to everyone’s literature presentations. Most of the books I hadn’t read before, so it was a little confusing when the presentation was based on the assumption that everyone was familiar with the story. But they were mostly all  books that I do want to read and just haven’t had the time to yet, and now they have been bumped up higher on my list.

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