This semester has been quite an interesting and trying experience; it's my final semester at this school and my final semester of student teaching. Would I do things the same way again? Probably not. Having to take college courses while going through student teaching (four periods) at a middle school is not something I would recommend to anyone. Honestly, if I had to do it again, I would finish my courses before taking student teaching. If I had that luxury that is....Ha ha. I really enjoyed this course, which solidified the importance of including varying modalities in the teaching process, in particular the use of technology in instruction. I enjoyed exploring the projects we did, including the two essays, the two presentations, and the poetry writing assignment. At the beginning of the semester, I was a little nervous about the poetry writing assignment, because it was a creative writing project. I honestly do not remember the last time I ever wrote anything creatively. The last few years, as an English literature major and student teacher candidate, I only wrote response to literature and synthesis essays. Honestly, I went into the process with apprehension, but I came out stronger for it.
The collaborative group presentations, the mythology and the media literacy projects, were fun, interactive projects. I felt comfortable with the project because I was so used to making lesson plans all year long. The most challenging aspect of any collaborative project, in my opinion, is the collaboration aspect of it. The reason being that it is really hard to gather a group of people together to work on anything. Communication and easy schedules are key! The teaching aspect of the presentations was a little challenging too because you really had to think about understanding and mastering the material in order to teach it to anyone. I think I enjoyed the World Myth project a little more than the Media Literacy presentation, because, as I have mentioned before, I am a huge fan of Greek and Norse mythology. The moment I realized we were doing a Myth project, I immediately zeroed in on Tricksters and my favorite, Loki. I have to admit that I did enjoy reading the Native American myths of Coyote and all his mischievous deeds.
The world text analysis paper was the most challenging assignment of this semester. Connecting Lost in Translation to the provided sources was not a simple task, because of two reasons. One, I'm not sure I even enjoyed Lost in Translation. This was my second time watching the film, but I never fully grasped the reason why it was so critically acclaimed. I didn't find any of the characters likeable or relateable. The whole time I was watching the film, I couldn't help thinking “OH MY GOD FIRST WORLD PROBLEMS.” In other words, I felt the characters Bob and Charlotte to be self-absorbed and miserable for no significant reason. Second, the film didn't lend itself to be easily connected to my favorite of the sources, Martin's Risk Management Theories. It did, however, lend itself to the theories on Cultural and Urban Space, which I did find extremely interesting. I'm always fascinated by the American/Asian cultural divide that I see on screen as well as experience in my own life. As a Korean-American, I do find myself expected to fill a different role depending on the company I keeps. With other Koreans, especially older generation Koreans, I am expected to act a certain way due to my gender and age. The first questions I'm usually asked is when I am expected to marry. I think there's definitely a different expectation in America. It's much more accepted if I decide to put career first. Actually, rather than the actual decision, my own decision making process is accepted.
I also really enjoyed keeping a personal blog. I think having a blog to publish my own essays and reflections really helped focus me during the semester. I also enjoyed finding cute pictures to post with those reflections or essays. I would definitely consider introducing the same thing to my own group of future students. I think the blog is a great choice because it keeps all assignments in one place and has a low chance of getting lost. (One of the things that I was surprised about during my semester at middle school was how easily students lose their papers!) The blog could also create a place for students to collaborate easily and give feedback. Individual blogs could also give students opportunity to be creative and express themselves through web design and blog content.
Overall, English 495 ESM was a fun and interactive course. I genuinely enjoyed Dr. Wexler's taste in texts and presentations, and found them all relevant; I would utilize many of what I have learned in my own classes, such as the individual blogs and media in education. I wish everyone good luck on their finals and a Happy Holidays !