Self Assessment - Shelby : LUSENET : M.Ed./International Falls : One Thread

January 5, 1999


Shelby Dowty

When I graduated from Bemidji State University with my Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary Education, I didnt think that I would ever return to college for my M.Ed. In fact, I remember laughing in peoples faces when they asked if I would be advancing to get my masters. I was totally exhausted after five years of driving 200 miles round trip, caring for an understanding family, and operating a full-time family day care. As my teaching positions started falling into place, I discovered that I wanted to continue my education. It is always essential for me to challenge myself. I am a very determined person. As we worked towards getting a M.Ed. program in International Falls, and at times, thinking it wasnt going to happen, I had already decided that I would drive to accomplish this mission of a M.Ed.

In my profession, I am the most interested in children and adults treating themselves with respect, others with respect, and their environment with respect. I feel that if a child in my classroom is being mistreated by another student not showing respect, the student being put down will not feel safe in my classroom, in the school, or within the community. How can that student learn if he/she has to be concerned with some other disrespectful student tormenting them. That outrages me!

In the three years that I have been teaching, I have been involved with the Center for Reducing Rural Violence committee within our community. Our main goal on this committee is to work to decrease the verbal and physical violence in the schools and on the playground. At this time, we have an action plan in place and should be totally completed by May 2000.

Along with working on the above committee, I am a SEED (Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity) trainer for ISD #361. I train 17 teacher participants three hours monthly for nine months. As a trainer, I will provide my colleagues with the space and materials to explore their own education, their lives as teachers, and their capacity to work toward creating diverse, inclusive learning classrooms and communities.

I feel through participating on the Center for Reducing Rural Violence Committee and training for SEED, I am working towards the respect issue that I find so important to children and adults.

When it comes to writing my thesis project, Im planning on learning more about my Native American culture and tradition. I am presently enrolled in UMDs Indian Studies Leadership Certification classes. I find these classes most gratifying and also very challenging. I want to be able to define my personal and professional attitudes towards Native American culture and tradition. Even though I still dont have the question for my project, I know I will be doing my thesis project relating to the Native American culture and tradition. We also have a small population of Native American children in our classrooms in International Falls. I want to know how I can better serve these children, as well as their parents, to assist these children to succeed.

I am overjoyed to have UMD traveling to our community to assist in this M.Ed. Program. I realize this has been challenging for them as well as for the International Falls cohort involved. As we sit in class, I look around the room and realize how busy we all are in our daily lives with families, teaching, coaching, and trying to find one little second to put our feet up. Yet, we have all made a demanding commitment to ourselves, our families, and to UMD. We are now halfway through our first year. I think we have all been very supportive of one another but sometimes wonder how much more we can take on ourselves. I am convinced we will accomplish this M.Ed. with the support and understanding of our families, cohort colleagues, and UMD giving us less work.

When I am asked for a brief history of my writing, that is all you will hear about--a brief history. I do love to write and think quickly when using the computer. When I took my SEED training this past summer, I realized how much I enjoyed writing, especially poetry. Through the past years, I keep a daily journal of my personal life, a vocabulary notebook, and enjoy writing letters to friends and family. I really dont mind writing research papers, reflections, or reports; however, time is always a major obstacle. Since I have started this M.Ed. program, I am finding that my papers are taking me longer to write. I thought I was getting better at the process but I think Im becoming more of a perfectionist.

-- Anonymous, January 05, 1999

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