Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Watch out Japan: Here I come!




It's official. I've been in Korea for six months to the day today.
It's official. I've purchased my one-way ticket to Japan for June 2011.

I'm going there to see a childhood friend get married. But I'm always willing to hear what there is to do there too. What should I plan to see while in Japan?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

I love this

Teenage Dream

Glee is, and always will, rock my world. Which is why I am perpetually 15 years old.

One of the things I like about weekends

Aside from getting out of the city, is catching up on pod casts and generally tuning the world out. And I know this next sentence will make me out to be my parents or a similar middle-aged woman, but I have really enjoyed listening to Terri Gross's Fresh Air podcast. The way she interviews just about anyone is incredible. This weekend I happened across her interview of Jay-Z, the hip hop artist from the ghetto and it blew me away. Never being a true hip fan and to be honest, kinda blowing off the whole genre of music to begin with, this interview totally changed my perspective on the artist, and the music. It's worth a read and a listen.

And the Hard Knocked Life video is worth a watch as well. This is what I do with my weekends in Korea. Does this make me a forty-year-old woman? If it does, who cares? I am who I am. LOL.

 

 
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Friday, November 12, 2010

 
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Sunday, November 7, 2010

UPDATE: I have a lot of thinking to do here.

Here are some of my thoughts so far:

Feel free to chime in if you have something constructive to add.

The idea that the certificate is internationally accepted is the main appeal. As I stated on my blog, the allure of the training is that I would do it in London, at the original Maria Montessori Institute.

Since coming to Korea, I have gotten a bit of the "travel bug." The idea of going back to the US right now with the economy still in the shitter is not alluring, and I am struggling to come up with things to do after my contract is up here.

It's been an interesting six months so far, and I know it will be an interesting six more, but I don't think I can do another year, and I'm starting to stress about what comes next.

The idea of grabbing just "any other teaching job" I can find (IF I CAN EVEN FIND ONE) is not appealing to me any more. I've been there and done that.

But like you said, the idea of shelling out 10K is not appealing especially when I know job opportunities are limited.

I do eventually want to open my own school or learning institute for young children. I was incredibly inspired by my internship at the Children's Museum in Charleston, SC and would like to eventually be doing something similar in the future, but the reality is unless you own a business like that or have shelled out 1000s for training that life is JUST NOT SUSTAINABLE (unless you are independently wealthy already) and let's face it, none of us really are.

I know Montessori attracts a certain audience, I don't know also if I'm willing to work with that audience.

So bottom line is, I guess I still have a lot of thinking to do on the subject.

I know I want to spend a few more years (at least) abroad.

I don't want to go back to the states just yet. I just don't want to spend another year in Korea. The idea of London or Australia is appealing because of the language non-barrier. Many of my stresses and struggles this year have been with the language.

I have thought about the peace corps and have started an application there.

I have applied to several independent private schools for children with developmental disabilities back home, in the US.

I'm just so confused, all over again. I should have all of this figured out after 29 years of age. LOL.

I know from experience (as this is my primary field since undergrad) that any private school, as wordsmith said, is going to have their own set of requirements for what they want their teachers to have and to know.

I also know that I vary greatly about what I believe and like to pick and choose from a host of philosophies based on the children in any given classroom. I know I don't agree with the traditional public school approach and was miserable teaching in that setting for the four years I did it. Montessori is the closest set of beliefs that match my own about educating children, but I know they are not the only ones and I don't really subscribe to "total free choice" in learning either. I also don't really like the idea of being at a parents' beck and call which is what private school essentially turns into, or that's what I'm finding out this year. I know any job is just a job and that I'm eventually going to just have to suck it up and get a job somewhere and deal with it, but I would like to settle in someplace I can remotely live with for more than a year.

I have done a fair amount of research, and all of the alternative methods seem to be in schools with severely developmentally disabled children. While I love helping people and enjoy teaching, I don't think that's the population I would choose to work with for a career. Props to those who do it. I have friends and family members who do and love it. I just don't think it's for me. I've worked with a few children with autism and it just didn't feel right for me at the time.

I would like to apply the Montessori method and teachings with upper elementary students. Supposedly, Ms. Montessori's research spans children ages birth through 14. But it's only ever used (at least in the states) from what I've observed and researched, with preschool and kindergarten aged students. I know from experience that I connect the best with and am most comfortable teaching the upper elementary grades. I loved my fourth and fifth grade reading groups and such and hate the traditional read and answer comprehension question classroom models that are so widely used.

But I just haven't come across any schools that implement this with relatively on track, developmentally typical, nine and ten year old children.

It just doesn't happen. Or those jobs are taken and the teachers don't leave until they retire and then are replaced by their nieces and nephews. It's always something.

Sorry for the ranting. I will figure this whole thing out. I swear, this teaching thing has been the core of my QLC for at least ten years now. ARG.

I just want to have SOME DIRECTION IN LIFE. You know? Who here agrees with me?

Again, feed back would be greatly appreciated.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

If Dreams Had Voices

I've been thinking about this for a while now, but only recently has it come back and hit me full force. Maybe it's the writer's neurosis and maybe it's just a passion calling again and again, but I can't shake it, so I'll blog it. Now more than ever, I feel it is my calling to study the Montessori method of educating young children. It's already a part of who I am as a teacher and already a part of my general teaching philosophy. Part of me wanted to get up and do this after finishing my undergrad degree and student teaching. I don't know why I didn't. Back then, a huge part of me said just go out and get more experience before making a decision like this.

Montessori training for a teacher is expensive in the United States, it will run about $10,000 for a one-year diploma certification. But, it's well worth it in the end, I think. The career opportunities for Montessori-certified teachers aren't numerous, but they are optimal. You have your pick of a school and working environment when all said and done. And after six plus years of less than optimal teaching gigs, I think I deserve a better break for myself. This year, while in Korea and learning lots, has taught me more than ever than I am not a traditional teacher. I'm not a worksheet teacher. And Korea is a worksheet country. So is the United States for the most part. It's dawned on me in the past five months of teaching that I loathe front of the room, call and response teaching. It doesn't work for me, and it doesn't work for the average six year old child.

I've been doing some research. Turns out, I've always wanted to go to London, UK. Turns out, the original Maria Montessori Institute just north of London offers a one year comprehensive diploma certification for Montessori teachers. 7,525 British pounds for the year's tuition. It's a full time program, complete with schooling on theory and philosophy, history, and student teaching and practicum hours in a Montessori classroom. I did the conversion and it comes to about $12,000 US dollars. That's all I have so far, but it's worth it for a career I can definitely stick with in the end.

An added perk: This certificate is recognized internationally, so I could go any where in the world and have a teaching gig at the end of the year. Average salary for a certified Montessori teacher with a four year Bachelor's degree and experience is somewhere in the range of $45,000/year, according to some quick internet research. That's definitely enough to pay back the loans in a year from the money I took out to pay for this thing. That's in the southeastern US.

Not sure of all the details, but the program for next year starts September 2011. If all goes well, I could be in London by that time. A true dream come true.

Mom: If you are reading this, don't freak out. Give me a Skype chat and we'll talk through it. Don't share with you know who just yet. Details have to be worked out.