Degree: Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education
Educational discipline or field: Early Childhood Education from Indiana University
By: Megan Riordan, 2nd Grade, Soccer Elementary
The place of visual art in the standard classroom curriculum is becoming a national debate. Historically visual art is not one of the core pillars of school instruction, which includes reading, writing, math, science, and social studies. However, new research suggests that we should reconsider visual art’s place in the standard curriculum, and in the classroom. A report by the Rand Corporation in 2005 notes that the intrinsic value of arts act to create social bonds and community cohesion within specific groups, such as classrooms (Brooks, 2005).Read more
Teaching is hard. Our days are a whirlwind of explanations, reminders, meetings, to-do lists, and the solving of a thousand and one problems that deviate between the tragic and the absurd. It can be a lot. Like, A LOT a lot. If you tell me you've never felt overwhelmed, you're lying. It comes with the turf, we've learned to accept that constant need to DO, or FIX, or HELP. It's the mentality that got us here in the first place- the drive to make things better. We knew it'd be an uphill battle- but turns out it's a really really steep and muddy hill, with snakes, and someone shooting flaming arrows at you from the top. We've all heard the statistics on teacher burn-out. We've all had those days. You know, the one's where you catch a glimpse of the parking lot from your classroom window and think, "What if I just walk out there, get in the car , drive away and never look back...." But the moment passes and we stay. We stay because teaching is in our souls. We stay because we are masters of our craft, we stay because if we don't, who will?
So how do we do it? How do we keep ourselves from going Thelma and Louise every time things start to be too much? Well, by learning to be selfish. Yes, you read that correctly. By allowing ourselves to come first. By taking a small part of each day, or a couple hours a week, to give yourself and your needs the attention you deserve. Yes, it's allowed!Read more
In Mexico, April 30th is traditionally marked as Children’s Day, a celebration filled with activities, gifts, treats, and fun. This year, schools in the UCSN network kept with Mexican tradition and dedicated a day to the most important component of our schools: the children. Family is supremely important in Mexico. Celebrations of the family are marked by Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Grandparent’s Day in August, Family Day in March, a day for brothers and sisters, and even days dedicated to people important to the family, like the Day of the Doctor, Day of the Teacher and Day of the Secretary. Children’s Day, however, is special.
In a collaborative effort between parents, teachers, master teachers, directors, and community members, students attended classes like never before on April 30th. At Soccer Academy Elementary, Master Teacher Sandra Medina exhaustively planned, set up, and realized a full-fledged celebration of children. Focusing around the rights of children set forth by the United Nations in the 1959 Declaration of the Rights of the Child, UCSN believes children should know, understand, and celebrate their rights. For those unfamiliar, the beliefs are:Read more
On April 23rd and 24th teachers from across the network joined together to show their support of UNO JAMs. Our coworkers, some of whom have been working in our schools for 10-15 years have been in negotiations with SEIU Local 1 to form a union, win fair wages and benefits, protect safe working conditions, and demand the respect of being treated as professionals. UEU members Rob Heise and Jorge Cisneros saw an opportunity to join forces with JAMs and reached out to SEIU Local 1 to develop an action demonstrating teacher support of the janitors. On a tighttimeline, stickers were distributed and teachers, PSRPs, and even directors across the network sported I Support the Janitors stickers leading up to the big ratification vote on Saturday. The proposal did not pass, but the sticker action was an important demonstration of solidarity between two intricately linked professions.
USCN’s network-wide talent show was held April 23rd at UCSN Rufino Tamayo Elementary School. After a resounding Pledge of Allegiance by a Tamayo kindergartener, the packed gymnasium was treated to 24 competitive performances and a couple superlative songs from Mr. Jose Ozuna and his Mariachi de Soccer Academy. Student performances were universally excellent, kicking off with a band from Casas performing Rolling in the Deep, a pint-sized five year old magician, classical and modern singers, break and dub stepping dancers, a rapper, and instrumentalists on piano, guitar, and violin.
Students ranged from Kindergarten through 11th grade and every single performance brought genuine cheers and applause from the crowd; one performer even drove on stage in a powerwheel before breaking into a modern dance to Uptown Funk. The program concluded with Soccer Academy’s 30-member mariachi band performing Siempre Hace Frio and El Rey to the crowd’s obvious delight. By the time the final note fell, audience members were singing along, cheering, whistling, and dancing in the aisles. Prizes were awarded for 1st-5th place with an 8th grade dancer from Torres taking home the top prize for a modern ballet-inspired interpretive dance to Glory. Impressive for her fluidity and control, she develop all of her own choreography and delivered a flawless performance.
Not only does the talent show give students the chance to perform for their families and friends, but it gives all UCSN students, families, and teachers a chance to marvel at the unbelievable talent our students possess. Highly recommended, can’t wait for next year!
Laura Carr is the subject of our April Teacher Feature! She teaches math and science for 3rd and 4th grade at Rufino Tamayo Elementary School. Last year, her math scores were the highest in the school, leading Tamayo in the rise from “Academic Watch List” to a 1+ rating! She is known throughout the building as a dedicated early bird, often hosting students as early as 6:45. She is also a key member in staff versus students sporting events, including basketball and volleyball.Read more