Dream On

“Imagination is more important than knowledge” Albert Einstein.

In my education psychology class we are reading a novel called A Smile as Big as the Moon by Mike Kersjes. When I began reading, I couldn’t help but smile as I got further and further into the book. Let me give you a little sneak peak of what I’ve read so far. Mike Kersjes is a Special Education teacher and football coach at Forest Hills Northern High School in Michigan.  He works with all different types of students who struggle with various special needs and disorders such as down’s syndrome, dyslexia, tourette’s, anger issues, etc… These kids were often picked on in school, and didn’t feel a sense of belonging or purpose. Mike came up with this crazy idea to organize a week long field trip to a prestigious space camp in Alabama that consists of performing activities and missions similar to the ones that NASA astronauts do in training. This camp is usually geared for gifted and talented students, so when Mike made a pitch to get permission to send his kids, people thought he was out of his mind! I mean, it did sound pretty crazy considering the large amounts of technology equipment, advanced science analogies, and preparation that went into this event.

But mike was determined and felt passionately about his students. He felt that these kids were entitled to go out and experience exciting new things just like everyone else. Not only will they be learning about science, but also valuable life lessons of collaboration, working together, as well as having some fun in the process.  He didn’t let negative opinions get in the way of his vision and willingness of supporting these kids. “To me, teaching was, and is, all about rolling up your sleeves and connecting with your students on a human level, as well as an intellectual level…Sometimes you have to take chances.” (Kersjes 38) He was up for the challenge and ready to prove them wrong. With a lot of preparation and hard work, he finally succeeded in being granted permission to set up this trip.

Once Mike shared the good news to his students, from that day forward, the kids had something to look forward to. They had a better attitude about doing their work and started to come together as a team and working together, rather than putting others down. It was cool to see a transformation in all of the students as the novel progressed. This story is a refreshing read because it is truly inspiring and exciting to see how one can make a difference if you have your mind set on a goal and refuse to stop until that goal is met. I have not finished the book yet and don’t want to spoil major details, but I would definitely recommend this book for any teacher or aspiring teacher out there. I guarantee by the end of it, you too will be smiling as big as the moon.

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Just Do It

Recently the new update for the IPhone came out and was the hot topic of campus at the time. Some people couldn’t rave enough about it and were quick to discuss its latest technological features. The layout got a whole new face lift, colors are different, and some of its use has been altered. From what I’ve heard, the updated software is way better and makes the phone more accessible with its changes.

So I have a confession to make. I too have an IPhone but have yet to update it. Mind you it’s been a few weeks now I have yet to make the switch. I suppose you wonder why, right? Well let me tell you.  It’s not that I’m a skeptic and challenge the technology, but its more along the lines of a comfort issue. Some people are excited to change. If I’m satisfied with something, why not just leave it alone? If something is not broken, there’s no point in messing around and changing it.

I might have spoken too soon because after some time, I noticed my phone starting to act slow and not responding well. It’s almost like my phone is trying to send me a message of telling me to suck it up and update already. It’s not like my phone is going to blow up once I make this adjustment…

When I think about this, it made me sit back and come to terms that change is needed in order to grow and experience life. Like teaching, teachers need to be able to change old habits and not be afraid to try something new, no matter how unknown it may be. It’s not easy to step out and take a risk, but it will be even harder when you’re left out and too far behind to catch up in time. Teachers need to be willing to spice up their curriculum’s from time to time rather than teaching the same exact topic the same exact way each and every year. In today’s age, especially with technology, there are plenty of strategies and modern twists that can come into play within the classroom by using media literacy. Smart boards, twitter, blogs, and many other sites are examples of this. The problem is that since technology is still rather new in some ways, people aren’t taking the initiative and time to learn it and would much rather take the easy way out and stick to what they know. Little do they know, they can be missing out on great experiences and a better way of reaching their students. I have learned a valuable lesson with my phone. I have now upgraded to the new software and can come to terms that it’s not as bad as I thought. After a little while I started to get used to it and will confess that some of its new features is worth taking a look at. So for all you skeptics out there, learn by my experience. It’s okay to go ahead and make a change. It’s not like your phone is going to blow up on you or anything. I promise!