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Sue A. Lalama Cohort 3 June, 1999 Reflection Paper
The 1998-99 Cohort 3 experience has been important to me. I have put off continuing my education for too long. The Cohort model has made getting back to classes accessible to me. The components that have been most important to me are gaining knew knowledge about educational issues and issues which affect teens, sharing ideas with other educators, technology training, and exploring the Ojibwe history and culture. One of the major benefits of the program has been exploring varied perspectives on educational issues with the other group members. Reading and discussing Glasser, attending the toxic child series and discussing the topics raised there as well as reading and reflecting on the Utne articles has led me to explore issues from different perspectives and to look at alternative viewpoints. My social work training was in the 1970s. I especially appreciated the updated information about depression, abuse, addictions and sexuality as they relate to children and adolescents. I know that many of my students are directly effected by these issues. Another major benefit to the program has been the emphasis on improving technology skills. The technology classes that I took for transfer credits last summer, the use of our discussion web page and the presentations about using the computer for research have increased my technology skills ten-fold. I am now checking my email regularly and using it as the sole communication tool to some people. I taught 9th graders how to use Power Point to present their career projects for their state standards requirement. I am also in the process of using the computer to gather information for my field project and as part of that project, will develop lessons about conducting on-line research for the senior level state standard requirement. While I still feel like such a novice, I expect my research skills to keep imfproving as I work on my project this summer. I am already answering questions for colleagues about this. Nobody ever came to me with questions about computer use before! With the option for grade contracts and presentations from Cohort members, I have had the opportunity to explore the Ojibwe culture. I read the book, Collected Wisdom by Linda Cleary and Thomas Peacock. I also participated in the tour of the area which was conducted by Mr. Peacock and read his book A Forever Story: The People and Community of the Fond du Lac Reservation. Since our school has a significant Ojibwe population and since Ive always been interested in the stories of the places where Ive lived, I was happy to have the opportunity to do this. I plan to incorporate this knowledge into the curriculum Im developing and, overall, strive to help my Ojibwe students be more successful with their school experience. While I rate this years experience with Cohort 3 as positive, Ive experience one major disappointment. For some reason I was expecting to get more information about actual teaching techniques and strategies which have been proven to be effective. Karen Keenan has presented a couple and while I am grateful for those, I guess I am also greedy. I want more! My bag of tricks needs to be replenished and I dont feel lilke it has been yet. Maybe Ill find some more this summer. In conclusion, I have grown professionally this year, and Im very happy with my Cohort experience. With working full time, being a mom, a home owner, and a yearbook advisor, I never would have been able to participate in a traditional masters program. The Cohort model has motivated me and supported me at the same time. Yahoo...one year down!
-- Anonymous, June 17, 1999
Hello Sue: I just read your reflection and want to offer a few thoughts and seek your response. You have some neat observations that show the impact this year has had on you which are real clear, but based on some reflections I have read those observations need more development. Could you please e-mail me? Have you submitted a hard copy paper? Hope you are enjoying the summer! Best Wishes- John
-- Anonymous, July 06, 1999