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Monday, October 17, 2011

The First Days of School

If you come from a family like mine, you learn that school is very important at a young age. It is something to be celebrated and thankful for. To be knowledgeable is to be powerful. My mother jokes about this being the reason I am on the path to becoming a teacher—I want to have all the power, she says. We used to have a tradition celebrating my first day of classes with brownies for breakfast, a tradition which, sad to say, hasn’t continued to my time at Prescott College—not only because I refuse to wake up early enough to make them, but also due to the fact that my baking skills, to be perfectly honest, leave something to be desired. I am, however, greeted in the morning by a phone call, text, or Facebook message (yes, my mother has recently discovered and become obsessed with Facebook) wishing me a happy and safe send off to my first day of classes.
Prescott College classes start in a different way than any classes I had ever taken before, and no two introductory classes lead off the same. My curriculum theory class, following introductions, led off by jumping straight into the material. Being an upper division course with a number of prerequisites, this is common, especially for education students pursuing a teaching certificate. This class, though technically the first of the semester, was not our first interaction with the course materials. Over the summer, we were in touch with our instructor about our up and coming placement for a 5-day teaching practicum outside of our regular class time. We were connected up with cooperating teachers in local schools with whom we would be collaborating on lesson plan development and taking over their classes for a 5-day teach. This class has a sizeable workload but is extremely rewarding. We have only met four times and already I feel my brain expanding with new tidbits of knowledge.
My Tuesday mornings begin with Adolescent Psychology, an upper division, writing intensive course about the social and biological make-up of the modern adolescent. Being a secondary education student, this is a class that is extremely relevant to my desired career path. Working with teenagers has been a long-time passion of mine and this class is putting me on the path towards success. Though the course is only in its early stage, I am confident that I am in the right place and will benefit from the information. Each class begins with a check-in, accessing our individual states of mind and feelings about the course. Following check-ins, we begin absorbing ourselves into thrilling discussions about modern adolescence and reminiscing about our own experiences growing up.
Following Adolescent Psychology and a quick break for lunch, I find myself entering unfamiliar territory within the confines of Men and Masculinity, a class about manhood in America. As a female-identified person, masculinity is something of an unfamiliar subject to me and although it has been touched upon in other gender/sexuality courses I have taken at the college (Sexuality and Sexual Outlaws, History of Gender and Sexuality, The F-Word: Feminism and Social Justice), was never something I devoted a lot of time learning about. Taught by Courtney Osterfelt, an alumna of Prescott College and founder of Women’s Empowerment Breakthrough, this class explores many new topics regarding masculinity, social justice, and gender equity.
No matter the course I am taking, I am always very impressed with the quality of Prescott College classes and the way they motivate me towards excellence. I still get excited about the first day of school and even though they rarely involve brownies, Prescott College is a treat within itself.


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