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

Self-Assessment - Jill Herzig

When I started college after high school, I had no clear area of interest. I attended the University of Minnesota - Minneapolis for three years. I began my foray into academia with a business concentration that evolved into an interest in advertising, and finally came together as a major in psychology. Being from a small town, I had no idea what life in a large city would be like. I neglected to take my education seriously, being more interested in life in the world around me. As I continued to take a variety of classes, I came to realize that I enjoyed the psychology of children and seemed to excel in this type of study. I discussed this possible major with a counselor and he suggested I become a school psychologist by first pursuing a degree in education. I followed his advice and transferred to the College of St. Catherine's in St. Paul. After two years, I received a degree in elementary education and coaching with an emphasis in psychology.

During this time, I was fortunate enough to get married and make a move to Duluth, Minnesota. Here I arranged with the College of St. Scholastica to do my student teaching in a third grade classroom. At this time, I realized that my new career had found me. I loved teaching and everything it had to offer. I found that my love for psychology came into use every day. Each student brings with them a complex situation that has to be analyzed and nurtured to the best of a teacher's ability. They need encouragement and reinforcement to get them motivated to be the best they can be. As a teacher, I use this as my goal. I try to decipher what motivates a child and take advantage of this to make them successful students and citizens of the community.

On completion of my student teaching, I began to substitute teach in the Duluth area for two years. I was fortunate enough to receive a long-term substitute teaching job in my second year in Hermantown Public Schools, teaching fifth grade. I was lucky enough to work with a kind and efficient staff that taught me a great deal about teamwork and colleague support. I had a child shortly after the completion of this job, and my family moved to International Falls, Minnesota.

Upon arrival in my hometown, I was hired as a sixth grade teacher in a parochial school were I have worked for the past six years. I began my teaching experience at St. Thomas School teaching a self-contained sixth- grade class. In the last two years, seventh and eighth grade mathematics have been added to my list of daily subjects. Coaching has also become a part of my routine. I am at present time the assistant girls swimming coach at our local high school. Along with two children and one due on Valentine's Day this makes for a busy but rewarding schedule.

The professional issues that most interest me are centered on the areas of child psychology and motivation. Students appear to be harder to reach in today's society. They seem to have so many outside interests ranging from television to computer games that they appear harder to motivate and get excited by the fundamental subject matter they must be exposed to everyday.

Computer technology is another vital component in any educator's curriculum. A goal I have set for myself, during my pursuit of a master's degree, is to become more competent in using this medium as a tool to enhance learning as well as for a source of teaching strategies. At this time, I do not feel I utilize my computer or the Internet to its fullest potential. The investigation of new techniques and software is one of the areas I would like to strengthen.

The area I have chosen to explore for my thesis project is still undecided. A group of fellow educators and I are in the process of narrowing down our topic. At this time, I know I would like to investigate something in the area of child psychology. We have had discussions on brain development and how it affects children in a learning environment. We will delve into this line of thinking and arrive at a concise topic in the near future.

-- Anonymous, January 08, 1999

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