My First Day

Today was my first day of school at SFSU, getting my teaching credential. In the spirit of documenting everything, I’m going to try to blog the entire process.

I think it will be particularly interesting to flush out my own feelings and perspectives on the process, to observe how my own views on teachers and teaching change, as I go through the year.

When I first began the process of applying for school, I was curious about the actual courseload and if it was truly a full time program. The education department at SFSU insisted that the credential program is is a full time, intensive program. But, I will be honest that I have had some doubts about that claim.

Sometimes I feel that with only minor preparation, I could begin teaching right now. But that confidence alone will not make me a good teacher. I have no doubt that the things I will learn in the next year will contribute to the quality of my teaching, but to be honest I have no idea how.

First off, my schedule: I signed up for the standard set of classes as required by the credential program.

In addition, I am brushing up on some of my math by re-taking Linear Algebra. I had 3 extra units available when I was signing up for classes, but I didn’t realize this until recently, and by then it was too late to sign up for other courses that I wanted, including Spanish, Drawing, or Ethics.

I had just one class today, Reading in the Secondary School with Dr. Jamal Cooks. I have to admit that I am a little surprised at just how impressed I am with the class. Dr. Cooks has an impressive background which covers everything from being a middle school teacher through starting supplemental literacy programs. He seems to “get it” at many levels – beyond just being a teacher in a classroom he understands the importance of education at a macro and micro level, and he knows it. I took particular note of his take on theory and practice, and how to tie them together. He discussed both applying theory to practice, but also using practical experience to develop theory.

From the syllabus, it looks like the class is going to cover a very broad range of topics. To be honest right now it seems to cover so much that I can’t imagine what my other courses will focus on.

In this first class we’ll be reading about 100+ pages a week of research about literacy, with topics ranging from oral communication (such as Ebonics) to theory, to standards, to evaluation of materials. Each week, one or two students will be presenting the reading material with both a lecture and an activity. In addition, we have one group project due in the first half of the semester, and an individual project due in the second half of the semester. Both projects cover the above topics in the context of planning a series of lessons within your own subject matter. Finally we’ll have some sort of online final which will cover the entire semester.

Overall, this first class appears to be fairly intense! The reading material is fairly weighty and the parallel preparation of presentations looks like a fair amount of work. It amazes and worries me a bit that I have so many classes tomorrow, but it will be interesting to see what I’ll be learning there!

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