Reflections 99 : LUSENET : M.Ed./International Falls : One Thread

Kim McDonald End of the Year Reflections May 1999

Reflections 99

Reminiscing over the past years activities I discovered a few things about myself. I learned to go with the flow rather than getting extremely worked up about situations that were and are out of my control (which in the not so distant past I would have allowed problems to consume me!) The biggest and most challenging problem I encountered was the crashing of my hard drive this year and losing all my course work for the year because I had nothing backed up! Boy did I learn a big lesson! I did manage to salvage a few items via my Yahoo E-mail account thanks to Dr. McCArthy teaching us how to E-mail our assignments home. I couldn't access them though until I purchased Office 97. I calmly began redoing my work for 5413 and putting my computer back together. I have attempted not to dwell on this crisis because emotionally I think I would fall apart. The process to get my system up and running and re-do my course-work took two months. I was completely devastated because those two months turned out to be my last two months on childcare leave with my daughter. It really hurts me to that think of the time I lost with my daughter because I had computer problems! Anyway I tried not to dwell on it and repeated the saying to myself "When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Lemonade!" I t did help my attitude.

I also began attempting to try experiencing things in a new way. The best example I have of this is working in a cooperative group instead of independently. I typically prefer to do everything myself. I struggled with the decision to be a part of a group project or to work alone. I forced myself to join a group that had very similar educational interests. I felt learning to work with other people, meet deadlines as a team, and schedule time together and the delegation of responsibility were definitely areas that I rarely practice. I generally prefer to do everything myself and become anxious when expected to "be" or "do" something according to other people's schedules.

Timing for this program for me was not very good. It may seem like a good time to work on a Masters program is when you are on an extended child-care leave. But that is not the case. I felt like I was constantly failing as a mother when I sat at this computer instead of going to play and Learn or the park or reading another story or doing an art project. My most common utterance was "just a minuteI'm almost done!" I wanted to get my Masters in Education but I would have preferred to do it when my children were in their teen years and less interested in spending time with me. I made the choice because I knew there would be no travel time. Which saves lots of time. I empathize with Mary Jean and her frequent trips to the Falls away from her small children. It is hard!



Initially I thought the UTNE Reader appeared to be a very unique and enlightening choice for reading and broadening my perspective. I was displeased with the advertising section because it was definitely not something that I would have laying about in a classroom or on my coffee table for children to "explore". I did read all of the magazines and most of the writings, I found it very difficult to write a reading reaction paper on most articles. Either I did not want to share my opinion about certain issues or I couldn't make sense of the article or it just didn't appeal to me. Some of the articles even angered me! Mean People Suck placed directly after My Grandmother's Peonies was a terrible editorial choice in my mind! I had never heard of the journal until the class began. I did find that the coffee shop downtown has several years of back issues lying about.

Quality Schools

I read Quality School in college as an undergraduate and also when I became employed again at a treatment center as a teacher for severely disturbed children. I believe in most of what William Glasser writes and find that many of my teaching methods attempt to take on his philosophies.


I was overwhelmed with this book. I think the theories were great but implementing them into my life personally or professionally would be such an insurmountable task that I would never even start to try. Maybe if I was young, single and childless I might have been able to try some of these theories out! They just did not seem realistic to me at this point in my life.

Mother Tongue I found this love story to be quite sad and disturbing. I could visualize many women I know who begin to live their lives around their partner and lose themselves in the process. I believe her portrayal of the main character and her lover was presented quite well, they were believable, full characters. I would not consider this the best book I have ever read. I had a hard time staying interested in the book. I spent a great deal of time going back and rereading because I would drift into thought about something else.

Alternative Journals I would like to see more emphasis on a variety of alternative professional journals. I was introduced to a new magazine called Presentation by Dr. McCarthy. I found some techniques for the computer that were applicable to projects that I am currently working on. I would like to find other journals that might help me in my area professionally instead of just broadening my perspective on life.

Wednesday Evening Classes

My recollections of the Wednesday night classes are mostly of the "green book', which we spent so much time covering the second half of the year. I enjoyed the course on laughing in the classroom with Paulina Nuring. I found the information presented by Doug Blumhardt and Mary Beth Tuohy to be pertinent, Television has overtaken our lives in so many ways; we have become a sedentary and coveting society. Television promotes both enormously.

Computer Technology Courses 5412, 5413, 5414

I have learned the most in these courses. I feel like many of the gaps I had in technology are actually beginning to fill in. My knowledge of the computer was very little when I began taking the courses. I was self-taught and so much of what I knew I had no idea why it worked that way or how I actually did what I did. I rarely could repeat things I would stumble across when experimenting with my computer. I feel my knowledge of Microsoft Office, Windows, e-mail, Internet, software, peripherals and free downloads will definitely enhance my teaching. That is if I have access to the necessary equipment and have no technical difficulties. I will finish the series this summer and hope to have some refreshing during the program next year. I would also like to stay abreast of any new technological advances in education. I hope we can have some more computer time with an expert in our Wednesday night classes.

Building with Ladd

What a wonderful experience! I really enjoyed the chance to work on the construction site. When I looked back on my high school years after graduation one of the experiences I missed because I was on the "college track" was working in the shop! I loved driving the cat, using the skill-saw and actually being a small part of a building. It is great to work as a team.

I have always felt that Building Trades was a very valuable experience for our students in the Falls (both male and female - regardless of what some may say about the girls just trying to hang with the boys!). I even feel stronger about this after watching Ladd in action! He is a fabulous example of a truly caring professional educator. His patience with us was amazing! Ladd naturally leads the students in collaborative learning experiences while teaching them skills that they can carry with them for the rest of their lives. I hope this program continues for many years!!

My children thought it was cool that I worked inside that "big" house and drove the cat, too!


I found ITV a bit difficult to focus on. I prefer having the instructor present. It is difficult to stare at a television while being presented with statistical information, even when the presenter is good. I would prefer to have presenters on site whenever possible.

Computer Training with Tina & Tim

Tina and Tim really deserve a big thank you for all the extra time they put in answering questions and teaching us how to use the computer. The time they spent helping could have been spent completing their own work so they could have more time with their own families! I truly appreciated how they scrambled to quickly get their work done so that they could help others. They often dropped everything and helped other cohort members who were extremely frustrated. I am sure they were bombarded daily from those of us who struggled to grasp much of what was taught in computers. Thank you!

Research Project

I really have enjoyed working with my partners on our research project this second half of the year. As I stated earlier, I was a bit nervous about committing to working with a group, but now I am glad that I made that choice!! We have come a long way on our project and have a long way to gobut I am confident that together we will have success!

A Compliment Sandwich

Learned Flexibility and consideration are the key to success!

Wondered Will I be able to keep up next year? What I was supposed to be doing and when a great deal of the time!

Liked The chance to know my colleagues better!

-- Anonymous, June 26, 1999

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