Sunday, August 16, 2009

Introduction Post- Welcome to Our Community

In your introduction post please include your name, teaching experience and choose ONE of the three questions to respond to in your own blog response:

(1) What is the most interesting trip that you have taken thus far?  Why?

(2) We interviewed the person in your life who knows you the best. What do you believe they listed as your top three attributes as a human being?  What evidence did they provide?

(3) What is a tradition from your own childhood that you believe should be passed on to the next generation?


  1. I'm Christine Kane and I currently teach 4th grade at Nubia Leadership Academy. I've actually taught 1st grade for the past decade and this is only my first full year in 4th grade. I also teach at SDSU and USD in the graduate literacy programs and work with a team of teachers at UCSD to run a leadership institute each summer for teachers via the San Diego Area Writing Project.

    Question #3: One tradition that my father instilled from my own childhood was going to the bookstore every Saturday morning to purchase one book. Coming from a poor family in the Bay Area funding was pretty scarce and buying books was a luxury (I was an avid borrower of books from the library). My father would save a portion of the lunch money that my mother provided him for his work everyday and take me to used bookstores or thrift stores to buy a book (or two if they were on sale). This fueled my love of reading and as an adult I am determined to continue on this tradition from my father.

  2. Hi, my name is KyungAh Chang and I'm not currently teaching but I taught English at secondary school for about 6 years in Seoul, Korea. This is my second year in majoring MA in Litercy, Culture and TESOL at USD.

    Question #1 : The most interesting trip I have ever taken was in Italy and France several years ago. Since my identity is a Catholic nun and our Congreation is international, we make our perpetual commitment(Vows) in Rome, Italy. Our group was pretty international; we were 9 of us and represented 7 countries:Korea, India, Mexico, England, Australia, Uganda and the U.S.
    The time we had together was almost 6 months, and it was just hilarious moment and gave us multicultural richnesss. We named our group as a "mini UN" because we were well represented a continent where we were from. We learned a lot from each one of us and shared a spirituality from our own counyry. It was a really precious experience that I will never forget.

  3. Hi, my name is Aimee Glotz and I'm not currently teaching, but I did my practicums at USD in a first grade and then a fifth grade and I did my student teaching last semester in a fifth grade GATE at Chesterton Elementary.

    The family tradition that's most important to me that I would like to carry on to the next generation is the annual houseboating trip that my family goes on. You would think that growing up (especially in your teen years) being trapped on a 30 foot boat with your whole family for a week would be a horrific experience, but I think that it was these trips that really helped me stay connected to my family and to understand them as people apart from my understanding of our relationships. And now that I rarely get to see my family during the school year, I treasure these vacations that much more.

  4. The most interesting trip I have taken thus far was the first international excursion I took last March/April. A good friend of mine was living in Singapore for a year, and so I took advantage of the situation and went to visit her. We stayed in Singapore for a few days, flew to Bali for another few, and then took a speed boat to a tiny Indonesian island called Gili Trawangen. She is very into discovering culture and experiencing a country and culture for what is truly is and not simply visiting the tourist attractions and staying at the resorts. Since she had been travelling around Southeast Asia for the past year, she had become accustomed to the discomfort that can accompany certain situations and gotten over a lot of the fears that come with being in a very different environment. Therefore, I took chances and experienced adventures I would have never normally done independently. The trip was so great because it was so incredibly different from anything I had ever seen. Bali is an island with rich culture, and since it is mostly Hindu, their traditions were all new to me. Also, the trip was so amazing because I got to experience a very modernized Asian culture (Singapore) in contrast to a more traditional culture in Bali and Gili. It was definitely a trip I'll never forget and has inspired me to continue travelling whenever I can.

  5. Hey all, I'm Trevor LaFauci and I'm originally from New Hampshire. I went to school in NC where I majored in secondary social studies and I spent the last two years teaching middle school social studies in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. This is my first year in the master's program.

    The most interesting trip I took was my freshman year of college during fall break. By fall break, what they really mean is a three-day weekend in October. I decided to take a Greyhound bus to visit my friend at George Washington University in D.C. At the bus station there was a single teen mother who had to decide how to fit her entire life into the two alloted bags that go under the bus. This event was my introduction to the Greyhound experience that is nothing like the commercials.

    This trip enlightened me by being my first real experience on my own and getting outside my confort zone. When I got to D.C. I took the subway for the very first time. Some of you are probably laughing at me, but I come from a little suburban New Hampshire town that is 97% White. Diversity is not our strong point. This trip to D.C. not only showed me a glimpse of what is out there, but also gave me confidence that I could travel and be on my own. As college progressed I eventually spent a semester abroad and now I have lived on my own in both North Carolina and San Diego. All thanks to a little 8 hour Greyhound trek.

  6. Hi everyone, my name is Whitney Currier and this is my first year in the program. I currently teach ESL to adults at a private language school in San Diego. I've been doing this for a little over two years. Prior to this, I was a teaching assistant and substitute teacher at a private high school in San Diego for four years.

    The most interesting trip I've taken was to Costa Rica in the summer of 2004. I was a volunteer teaching English (for the first time) to elementary and middle school students in a school in a small town. Because it was a small town and because I was working directly with the community, I felt a greater connection to the place than others I have visited. And Costa Rica's not a bad looking place either. I saw some beautiful things, met some great people, and had probably the best time of my life.

  7. Hi everyone! My name is Brianne Martinez and I am currently in the MSTE program. I currently work at Hilltop High School as a cluster sub and at Otay Ranch High School as the head field hockey coach. I also have prior teaching experience in math and science. My hopes are to become an administrator in education.

    The most interest trip I have ever taken started in New Hampshire. I had been visiting my father and was very worried about flying home. I fly quite frequently but I am absolutely terrified of it! So when it was time to go home I told my dad I wanted to take a bus home all the way to California! He said that it was silly but he wanted to see how far I would actually go with it. So I started my trip in Boston and made it all the way to San Diego in 3 days! I have since realized that I would rather fly any day despite my fear. But I sure did see a lot of interesting things that included New York City, strange people, football stadiums and Kansas. I would not trade that trip for the world. It was definitely a ONCE in a lifetime experience.

  8. My name is Elizabeth Bills. This is my first semester in the Literacy Language and Culture Masters Program. In addition to the Masters Degree, I plan to obtain my Literacy Certificate. I have been teaching in the French Immersion Program at the Language Academy since 2000, this will be my ninth year teaching kindergarten.

    We seem to be a group of travelers! I also chose to write about a significant trip. Six years ago, I spent ten glorious days alone in Paris. I left my three children at home with friends and took off on my own for the first time in seventeen years of motherhood. Although I am fluent in French and teach at a French school, this was my first trip to France. The combination of being completely on my own, and finally being in a place that I knew so well, made this a significant experience. Also, the invasion of Iraq was occurring at this time. I was able to learn about it and discuss events with people whom I met. I read in the French newspapers about the toppling of Hussein's statue in Bagdad and about the injuries and damage being sustained by the Iraqi people. I had the opportunity to learn about these events from a different perspective. As I was traveling home, and had my first encounter with the American media coverage on an airport television, it was apparent to me just how radically different the perspectives were.

    Although I was in a foreign country, I felt entirely at home. I love the French culture and the people. Knowing the language was a big factor in my sense of comfort. Someday I will go back, but in the meantime, "I'll always have Paris."

  9. My name is Katherine Shafer. I am not currently teaching and this is my second semester in the M.Ed. Curriculum and Teaching and multiple-subject credential program. I did a language arts practicum in a 1st grade classroom at La Costa Heights Elementary last semester and also did CSL at Bayside's afterschool program at Kit Carson Elementary last semester. I will be doing another practicum and CSL this semester.

    The most intersting trip I've taken is probably the road trip that four of my friends and I took during our sophomore year of college at USD. In ten days we went from San Diego to Napa CA, Euguene OR, Vancouver BC, Seattle WA, Sun Valley ID, Jackson Hole WY, and Las Vegas NV. Two girls and three guys stuffed into a VW Passat for 10 days was certainly an adventure. We slept on friends floors and couches along the way and got to see a lot of the country. It was crazy and I would probably never do it again but I'm glad that I did! The best thing that we did was keep a little book of all of the funny quotes and memories along the way. Lots of good laughter and memories came out of this trip!

  10. Hello, everyone! My name is Hyun Jung Joo. Hyun means wise and Jung means pure as crystal. Yes, I am a wise crystal ball. Be aware! Don't worry about my full name, just call me Hyun. First, I was born and raised in Korea, then I worked as a flight attendant in Hong Kong about 9 years. I travelled with the airline about 70 cities in 35 countries all over the world. The funny thing is the more I visit different places the simpler fact I learned. The fact is that people love their family and country, therefore, they all want to love and be loved. Even though they live in different cultures speaking other languages, they talk about families and love for them all the time. I guess I am doing the same thing talking about my daring husband and my cute miniature poodle, Tokie (Tokie means a bunny the rabbit in Korean). They are my rocks!
    Hoevever, they will tell you that I am totally a human being because I am making mistakes constantly, and dicouraged by those faulty moves. Fortunately, they can cheer me up all the time with their great tricks. Here I am encouraged by two greatest love of my life, forgetten about everything and go out and do my best to move forward. In other words, I am ready to share love I got from my family with anybody need to get through the tough time and happy time. It is my pleasure to meet you all. Have a great weekend!

  11. I teach at Chula Vista Hills Elementary School. Love, love, love it. This year I am teaching kindergarten, but I have taught third, fifth and sixth. I have the most experience in fifth grade.

    Elizabeth's post reminded me of a really fun summer. I travelled through Greece and Italy with a friend and spent the summer in London taking classes. On the weekends I would travel to different places with friends, but I couldn’t find anyone to go to France with me. I decided to go alone. My boyfriend had studied at a cooking school, Le Cordon Bleu, in Paris the previous summer, so he emailed me where to stay and what to do. I found a hostel in the arrondissement he suggested. If you haven’t stayed in a hostel before, it is a unique experience. They are different than hotels. You typically share a room with other travelers and often sleep in a room with multiple sets of bunk beds. One morning after I had taken a shower down the hall, I returned to my top bunk to find a completely naked stranger in my bed. That was interesting.

    Really the question I was going to answer was #3. The family tradition I will continue is Marshall Family Game Night (my maiden name is Marshall). I loved playing games with my family growing up. We spent a lot of time around the coffee table playing different games. So much fun.

  12. Hello, my name is Gretchen Nielsen. I am teaching 2nd grade at Feaster Charter School in Chula Vista. This is my first official year with my own's going to be quite an adventure :)

    One family tradition that I will pass on is getting pajamas on Christmas Eve. I don't really know why this one sticks out so much in my mind! Every year, my mom lets us open ONE present on Christmas Eve. She gives us pajamas EVERY time! We always hope for something better...but nope!!! Now that we are getting older, it is kind of a joke and she tries to make the five of us match! I wish I had an interesting travel story...but I am going to Kenya this summer--so stay tuned!!

  13. First, let me start by saying thanks to everyone for sharing all of your great travel stories... I have so many new ideas now that I won't have to think as hard when I sit down to plan my next trip!

    My name is Pamela Flagg, but I usually ask most people to call me “Pam” since “Pamela” has always sounded very formal to me… but I promise I will answer to either! I’m in my second year of the Literacy, Culture, and TESOL program here at USD. I grew up in a small town in Massachusetts, and finished my undergrad degrees in math and secondary education from Boston College in May 2008.

    My teaching experience is limited to the student teaching that I did in math classrooms in Boston Public Schools. Being in classrooms in these schools helped me quickly learn that teaching is about much more than transmission of content knowledge. English learners have always held a special place in my heart, and I knew probably by my sophomore year of college that I felt pulled to become a teacher in a school system where many students grow up speaking a language other than English at home. I thought long and hard about going right into teaching, but decided that my undergrad hadn’t adequately prepared me to teach math content to this particular student population. I was eager to learn, but more of a blank slate than a prepared professional with respect to teaching content to ELLs. I researched graduate programs, decided to take the exciting leap of moving to California (a state I had never visited!), and moved out to San Diego last fall to begin the TESOL program in SOLES.

    Responding to the main question in prompt #2, my friend Connor would be the person you would be speaking to in this particular interview. Though we have only been friends since junior year of high school, he knows me inside and out… sometimes better than I feel I know myself! I am assuming that he, after joking around for a long while, would list off these as my top three attributes as a human being:

    (1) I give good advice. He is always telling me that I listen to what people have to say when they have a problem and are looking for advice, and engage in a conversation about what they might do so that it feels like they come to their own conclusion about the best route to take.

    (2) I put others and their needs first, almost to fault. He will often remind me to make sure I also take care to put myself near the top of my own priority list. To take care of others, we need to also make sure we take care of ourselves! I feel that this is very true, especially for those of us entering the teaching profession.

    (3) I live passionately. Whether it comes to travel, watching sports, learning Spanish, learning to cook new foods, or staying in touch with friends, I have a gusto for life that is most certainly not passive. I definitely embrace the "We only get one shot at it, right?" philosophy. That being said, I'm no daredevil! You will likely never see me bungee jumping or sky diving.... as I said before, "We only get one shot at it, right?"

  14. Hi:I am Peng Peng, you guys can call me Pong Pong (sounds like making popcorn).
    I have no experiences about teaching and learning. That's why i am here to study how teaching and learning can be improved.
    This summer, i traveled to west and south of China. It took 22days to finish this trip. The most interesting part is I went to Mao Zedong's hometown.(I think this dude is famous, or you can google it.)
    In utter contrast, Stalin was born in a chilly place named Gori where close to black sea, Mao's hometown was humid and totally inland. No wonder they had fought with each other all the time. Mao's hometown are good at growing red pepper and making spicy food. Thus the most people who are living there have bad temper. Nevertheless,before I went there, what I had expected for is that Mao's hometown could have been a peaceful place. However, the tour guide told us that Mao's hometown(Hu Nan province) weree very poor. I think it is not only because the weather is not nice to plants, but also because more corrupt morals is spreading in that place. Meanwhile,I found out the soil in the province is red. Several red old roads and fortifications still stood there,and the colour looked like fadeless blood. At the end of trip, the tour guide told us that peasants are quite used to hard work. It was said that most of people joined the army to be soldiers of fortune, or became a master of deadbodies to take them home(if you think it is more attractive, come and ask me).

  15. Hi! My name is Aysha Alissa. I am not currently teaching at a school in San Diego, but I did get some experience in the classroom while I was getting my Bachelor’s degree in Arizona. I worked in an after-school program where I tutored at-risk elementary students in Phoenix. I also interned in three different classrooms: a second grade classroom where most of the students were from different ethnicities and some were refugees, a special education Kindergarten classroom, and a fifth grade classroom comprised of students who are originally from Mexico. Last semester, I did my student teaching in a 1st/2nd grade combination classroom. It was one of the best experiences I have ever had!

    Question 3: One tradition from my own childhood that I believe should be passed on to the next generation is our daily family lunch. In Kuwait, we have lunch pretty late (around 3 – 4 PM) and dinner even later (9-10 PM). This makes it more convenient for all of the members of the family to meet to have lunch together. This includes members of the immediate family and the extended family. This tradition brings us closer as a family because we get to spend time with each other discussing our days and what we encountered. I think that this tradition should be passed on because many families nowadays barely have time to spend with each other and they don’t really know what is going on in each other’s lives. By spending time together everyday we became a more tight-knit family that gets along very well.

  16. Hi everyone!

    My name is Julianna Tovar, but almost everyone calls me Julie. Unlike Pam, I hardly ever respond to Julianna (unless it's my mother and she is upset at me). Anyways, this is my first semester in the Master's Language Literacy and Culture program. My teaching experience comes from my semester of student teaching at Hilltop Middle School in the FLAGS program. This program is the Foreign Language and Global Studies magnet program on campus. I loved it, and loved my master's teachers.

    The family tradition that I would like to pass on would be FAMILY FUN SUNDAYS. I am the youngest in a family of five siblings. This makes me the aunt to 12 nieces and nephews! They are all under the age of 13 and fun bundles of joy, most of the time. It is very important for my family to spent time together, so even though we may see each other during the week, everyone must get together on Sundays at my parents house- no excuses. Usually, my sister and I will plan a project for all the kids and families to do. We have all made frames to decorate grandma and grandpa's dining room. All the kids have made christmas tree decorations for grandma and grandpa's tree. When my brothers plan out the events we usually end up going out to some tourist attraction in San Diego. Anyways, I treasure these days, and love seeing my family weekly. I don't know what I would do if I ever moved away and couldn't be around for Family Fun Sundays.

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  18. Hi everyone, this is Allison! I currently teach first grade at Cherokee Point Elementary. Last year I taught a k/1 combo class, which was very challenging and fun!

    My most interesting trip was to Spain when I was 16 years old. I went with about 20 other girls from my high school. The first week we traveled through Salamanca and Madrid. It was exciting to be immersed in such a new and different culture and to practice my spanish. At the beginning of the second week, we went to Cost del Sol. We spent the whole day laying by the beach and relaxing. We were so exhausted from all of the traveling, so everyone went to bed pretty early that night. At around 4 in the morning I was abruptly woken up by a loud "boom", sirens, and the sound of shattering glass. When I opened my eyes the only thing I could see was smoke and glass pieces all over the floor. My roommates and I raced down to the lobby to find the rest of our group. We soon found out that our hotel had been bombed my Basque Terrorists. Two of my friends had to go to the hospital to have glass removed from their arms and legs, but we were lucky that no one was seriously injured. At first my Spanish teacher thought it would be a good idea for us to end our trip early and go home. We agreed as a class that we wanted to continue our trip. As soon as we could, we collected our belongings and left Costal del Sol. We went on to Barcelona and had a wonderful time. This is a trip that I definitely won't forget!