It's been a good while since I've posted, and I'd like to think it's in part due to the fact that I'm now a full time student. I'm in the accelerated Masters Ed program at Hunter, and with that is a pre-determined roster of classes for each term. Currently I'm taking Childhood Development, Diversity in the Classroom, Developmental Reading and Math Curriculum & Method. The big surprise so far – Math is my favorite of the four. Several reasons. The professor is very sharp, charismatic and confident in his balance of covering both theory and practice in the classroom. Most of all I'm learning elementary math again, but instead of learning it by rote, this professor has me understanding why I'm taking each step in a problem's solution. This is mostly through visual models - pieces or props representing the numbers we're throwing around, and boy do I understand things better that way. Apparently, lots of people do because we're being encouraged to use these methods in our [future]classrooms. Sweet!
Part of the curriculum this first semester is 25 hours of elementary school observation. My first of these was at a private school here in Park Slope, and when I sat down to watch a 4th grade reading discussion, my first thought was, "oh my goodness this is how little fourth graders are?" They were fidgety, spacey, goofy, fairly unselfconscious, and then as they started discussing the book, really bright! And that was really cool: these squirming little kids throwing out incredibly perceptive suggestions on the novel they'd just read. Whew. I was relieved. I tried to remember what I was doing back in fourth grade. I can remember my teacher, my best friend, the girl I had a crush on, the girl my best friend had a crush on, the lousy cello/violin "duet" I attempted in music class with this kid Adam, but for the life of me I can't remember what the hell we learned academically in the fourth grade. And that's where this grad program comes in. I'm actually getting two educations for the price of one - as a teacher and as a 33 year old elementary school student. I'm going to totally nail the state capitals test.