Session One- American Education: Past and Present/ The Goals of Education: Intro and What I Learned

Hello classmates! My name is Edith McKenzie.  I just completed my teaching certification for Elementary Education with the ARC program.  I have been working with elementary school children as a substitute, extended-day, assistant teacher for six years.  I feel really proud of myself because I was not a successful student in the past, and had to learn school skills as an adult that many have entering a college program.  Teaching is my second career.  I attended culinary arts school, and worked as a cook, server, manager, and wine consultant in California Bay Area restaurants.  I love to garden, cook, and explore the connection between our bodies, food, and sustainability with children.  I completed my internship in a kindergarten/first grade classroom at a progressive independent school in the Central District of Seattle.  I am currently seeking an elementary teaching position in a public school.  I will miss the community I worked with at my mentor school for four years, esp.- the Martin Luther King March.  I am passionate about social justice, art, nutrition, history, meditation and yoga, and I have been fortunate to explore all these things with my students.  I have always been interested in knowing a little bit about everything, and this makes elementary education a perfect fit! I earned my undergrad degree form UCSC in American Studies.  Before that, I didn’t have a direction for career.  I found that relearning American history through the perspectives of minorities lit a fire in my heart.  I decided to teach because I think its one of the best ways to work for social justice.

I have a sweet Newfoundland mix dog named Murfy who is nine years old.  He teaches me a lot about life.  It’s amazing how dogs are so happy in the moment, and going for the same walk everyday.  I love to get out and hike.  My goal for this summer is to do as much of that as possible between reading and writing.  I grew up in Ogden, Utah where I could walk out my back door and hike to a waterfall in half an hour.  I lived in the Bay Area for twenty years, and then decided to move to Seattle five years ago.  I love the combination of art and culture with magnificent natural wonders in the Seattle area.  I recently read a book called Where’d You Go Bernadette, a playful satire of a typical Seattle family.

I learned so much from this weeks pod casts and readings.  It is difficult to narrow the focus of my reflection.  I enjoyed thinking about the three types of knowledge that Dr. Scheuerman discusses in Pod cast D.  I know as a teacher I create the structure, and drive the ship (so to speak).  However, it is invigorating for me to think about all there is left to discover in the world, and how my students will be instrumental in discovering and constructing this evolutionary knowledge.  It is invigorating to think about how my students will illuminate knowledge in ways I never imagined.

Also, the reflective strategies that Ellis and Scheuerman (2010) share are a resource I will carry forth with me in the coming years.  I have used some of these strategies in the past, but this list is a handy one to keep myself accountable to using a balance of reflective strategies with students.  I love the idea of having students teach one person what they have learned.  I love to teach because I internalize knowledge effectively when I teach, so why not have students employ this process.

Finally, I am inspired by the article about place-based literacy learning.  I enjoyed the mythology shared by Gordon Fisher that animates the natural resources of the Columbia Plateau.  This piece inspires me to visit Snake River Canyon and appreciate the land described in Nez Perce tradition. This is the way I hope my students to feel after learning, like they want to go out and see for themselves. I plan to use place-based literacy instruction with my future students.  This article describes how to do reflective practice after sharing a piece of literature that is specific to a local culture by exploring the particular perspective of that culture.  The overarching themes that are discovered through teaching Native American mythology of the Columbia Plateau become a lens for reflecting on the deeper meaning of this literature.

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