Apple Pin Project

I am a life-long learner, always looking for the next challenge.  I have taught all ages a variety of subjects, and find that I simply love teaching best.  I am interested in improving teaching practices, using technology in teaching and learning along the way.

In a jewelry class I had a project with the requirement to create something that represented ourselves – a self-portrait.  I had recently left my college position to help open a new charter school.  I have fought the cliché symbols and images of teaching, feeling that they did not represent me.  (I have this constant desire to be unique – whatever that means.)  This semester had brought with it a realization that no matter what I did, what position I held or how much I was being paid – I was and always will be a teacher.

On the apple background there is an embossed outline of my profile, which is difficult to see in person let alone on the scanned image above.  The flower or star is an actual outline of the cross section of an apple. An apple has five sections of seeds, with two seeds in each section. You will see in each section one “seed” representing one of my former students and a seed in the background – hopefully my future students.  As I thought about the students I had the privilege of teaching, three of the four represented here are from my first teaching gig.  Here are their stories, starting with the seed at about 1 o’clock and moving clockwise…

The outline in blue is my marine.  Of all my students, he made the biggest impact on me.  I can still remember the feeling when he stopped by my classroom in his marine dress blues.  He was thanking me but it is I that learned one of my most important lessons about teaching from him.  Three years earlier he sat in a chair at the back of my classroom.  I do not recall what he had done to make me ask him to stay after class, but it wasn’t good.  He sat there in a shirt a tie – dressed up for a spiritual morningside he had attended earlier.  But instead of yelling at him, I paused and asked him what he wanted to do with his life.  This was French class, not Math, Science or English.  Most of my students were college bound or at least thought they were.  What followed was the struggles of school, lack of sleep, a family coming apart and this young man trying desperately to hold it all together.  French did not matter anymore, nor did his behavior in class.  I can honestly say that I love my students, thanks to this young man.  I teach people first, the subject is secondary.

The orange squiggle…Who would have ever thought you would need to tell a 16 year old to not color the carpet with his crayons?  He tried my patience day after day.  Pushed me to my limits.  The one student I ever swore at.  Not my best moment – I don’t even swear in general.  I tried to call his mom.  She refused to come in to talk to any teacher or administrator.  Towards the end of the school year there was an article in the local newspaper – they had caught the group that had been stealing computers from the schools.  This student’s brother was in the lot.  I had him for two years.  After his second year, I left the school and sometimes wondered what became of him.  It was several years later when I received an email…He had pulled his life together, became active in his church and had just been called to serve a mission – French speaking.

The next “seed” represents a young woman’s art project.  I didn’t teach art, but the school had a focus on art and it was incorporated and encouraged throughout the curriculum.  Her self portrait was an outline of her leg – yes, a leg covered with all these tiny broken pieces of mirror.  She was in my advisory group – I met with her each morning along with the rest of my advisory group.  I do not know if there is anything I did, but I did get to watch her grow and change.  She did not want to do a self-portrait, the mirrors were much like her own sense of self – tiny, broken pieces.  However, as she worked through this project I watched her grow and change and emerge the beautiful butterfly she truly was.  I have been able to watch so many students grow, change and become.  I feel it a privilege to watch and sometimes be a part of that process.

The little black square represents a missionary’s name tag.  I had several students from my French teaching gig email me years later to let me know that they were serving missions in French speaking countries.  I love French, but during my first year of teaching I realized that very few, if any of my students would ever actually use the French.  I came to what I call my implicit curriculum – time management, organization, moral conduct – things that can be taught regardless of the subject of the class.  But there were a few that went on to serve and use the French and I loved hearing from each one.

My last green seed represents those whose futures I don’t know.  I am an optimist when it comes to my students.  I believe in them.  I believe in the ability to pull ourselves out of predicaments and overcome the obstacles that are place before us.

The center of my “flower” is the earth systems model.  During one of my teaching gigs this systems model was taught to me by Edward T. Clark, Jr. in the context of an integrated curriculum.  I went on to teach this model in three different schools.  This model became central in the curriculum and is still influencing the way I teach, think and learn. (See Ecology and Systems – Exploring Personal Learning Ecology)

I am a teacher.  I love teaching and will always be teaching.


One Response to About

  1. Hi Lisa

    I was just doing some research around theories of learning, and found your blog. I loved your post https://lkidder.wordpress.com/2010/10/15/why-we-need-learning-theories/. It is open, honest, and illustrates really clearly, I feel, your process of building and constructing your own knowledge, which in turn influences your practice. I hope you don’t mind, I have featured your post here: http://bit.ly/Q52F7q

    I wonder if I might extend two invitations on behalf of the Ethos online community. The first is an invitation to join the community – it would be awesome to have your contributions and ideas, especially as there is such a keen interest in all things eLearning. The community is eclectic with members from all over the world, across all education sectors, as well as from business and ITOs. If you would like to accept the invitation please follow this link: http://bit.ly/Q04JwZ. There are a few simple questions – partly for community building, but also as a spam filter 🙂

    You will see that the Ethos Online community has an invited blogger of the month and I was wondering if I might also invite you to be the blogger for December 2012 or maybe January 2013 (it’s a bit in the future, but it gives you plenty of time to have a think about it 🙂 )? The invitation is: – to write a blog post (it can be a cross-post of a blog you have written elsewhere with links back to the original / other spaces you’d like to share :-))

    – you can choose the topic (with a link back to your own blog / other site)
    – please include at least 2 images / links to CC images – please include a short bio (approx 150-200 words) and image of yourself or something that is meaningful to you
    – please post directly to the the Ethos space

    Absolutely no pressure though… 🙂
    It would be great to hear your response to the invitations, and please let me know if you have any questions.
    Best regards Hazel

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