Interview

I had the pleasure to interview Miss Diana Hale, who is a second grade teacher from Santiam Christian School, and I have known her for three years. While I was in high school, I was involved with Cadet Teaching. Miss Hale was my mentor teacher then. My junior year in high school, I was a teaching assistant in first grade. Miss Hale had been a first grade teacher since she worked at Santiam Christian. I truly enjoyed working with her, so I decided to be a cadet teacher for second grade my senior year in high school. For some reasons, Miss Hale got move to teach second grade, so I had a pleasure to work with her again. Those were the time I experienced in the environment of classrooms as an educator, and it was such an amazing experience. I began to realize what teachers have to go through, and how hard teachers have to work. Even though I am a college student now, I still often go back and be an assistant for Miss Hale. When I noticed that I need to interview an educator, I immediately thought that Miss Hale would be the perfect person for me to interview.

While Miss Hale was in college, she did not specifically aim for becoming a teacher. In fact, it just happened naturally from being involved in life guard, youth groups, and a lot of other opportunities to work with children. As she moved further in life, she got an opportunity to become an educational assistant. That was when she really decided that she really wanted to teach elementary, and began to be a substitute teacher. She appreciates how God gives her the abilities of leaderships and encouragement. Miss Hale truly enjoys teaching because she can show the children that all things are possible, and she especially enjoys the Christian school’s environment. She gets to teach truth and to be honest with her children about what she believes. Her goal is to help her kids see Jeremiah 29:11-13. For instance, during Easter, she can not only do Easter egg hunt with the children, but also share the real meaning of Easter. Another reason that she truly enjoys teaching is that she got to see how her children grow overtime. At Santiam Christian School, the grade levels are from preschool through high school. She is often impressed about how fast her children grow, and to watch them use the skills she installed in them. Furthermore, partnerships and the community at Santiam Christian are amazing, she often has high schooler coming back as a cadet teacher, and she got some opportunities to learn at the same time.

There are a lot of teaching strategies that Miss Hale use in her classroom. For instance, she has a set of traffic light in her classroom to help the children determine what time it is. If it is testing time, she will turn on red light. That means there is absolutely no sound. If it is worksheets time, she will turn on yellow light. That means you can talk if you need help. Another strategy is through communication. For example, when Miss Hale says eyes up, the kids will respond listen up. Also, Miss Hale use stickers to encourage her kids. If they get twenty stickers, they will get to be in the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, where the children will get special treats. Mickey Mouse Clubhouse is the theme of Miss Hale’s classroom.

Miss Hale has been at Santiam for ten years, and this is her eleventh years of teaching. Things can really be different if you know you are doing a job that you are really passionate about (Illinois Education Association, 2015). Miss Hale always told me that teaching is a work of heart, and that it is what we need as educators. Although she conceded that sometime is hard to include everyone. She always tries to push and challenge her students. In addition, since she works at a private school, it is hard to get support for special education students. She will have to find support on her own, and she currently has a kid with ADHD, which she finds an assistant that is willing to help out in her classroom for that student. Miss Hale mentioned about her views of reading, and she said that she realized each kid has different reading level. Santiam Christian has a reading system called AR reading, and basically will test to see where each student is in his reading. This system allows the kids to pick the levels that fit him. Miss Hale think it is totally fine if some kids are below second grade reading level, and she believes each kid develop differently.

While reading is important, Miss Hale always tries to balance different subjects. For instance, she will try to combine some subjects together, like writing and history. If the class is talking about George Washington in history, then the students will write about George Washington in writing. Since Miss Hale works at a private school, she is not required to follow the Common Core. She is required to follow Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI), but she keeps track of the Common Core as well. While I interviewed Miss Hale, we were discussing about the Common Core. Let’s take first grade for example, “reasoning about attributes of, and composing and decomposing geometric shapes” (Oregon Department of Education, 1998-2016). We can see how high the standard is from the Common Core, and people expect the first grader to do reasoning. Miss Hale and I are on the same page about the Common Core, and we both believe that the Common Core should not be the standard for education in the United States. It does not help the students in any ways, and that it is not helpful. The experiences I had from high school helped me see that each child is unique, and educators should maintain professionalism for all their students.

Finally, educators really need to put effort into their job, and it is not easy to maintain professionalism. It really need to come from the bottom of your heart and to be passionate about teaching. Miss Hale is truly an excellent example for me, and I am truly blessed to have the opportunities to work with her. She truly taught me a lot in and out the classroom, and it will lead me far for sure. The experiences I had in Miss Hale’s classroom since high school helped me see that the field of education truly involves professionalism.

Self Identity

That was such a painful day, as I waited outside of the emergency room. Thud. Thud. I heard the sound of my heart, and didn’t know what to do. I feared losing someone close to me.

It was a normal day, and I went to school in the morning. During lunch time, I got a note that I was to leave, and went to the hospital with my mom. I was totally shocked about the fact that my grandma was in the emergency room. I felt hopeless, and began to panic. About nine thirty at night, the surgeon told us that my grandma passed away due to apoplexy. As a seven-year-old kid at that time, my tears started to fall like a running faucet, and I couldn’t stop crying.

My grandma was the person that always showed her kindness, and tried to encourage me in everything. After my grandma passed away, I began to feel lonely and could not do anything. I did not know what to do at home or at school, and I felt like everything was foggy. My grandma had such a great impact on my life, and I felt like things just became so difficult without her. From that point on, I started to tell myself that I wanted to be a doctor when I grow up. I did not want others to experience the lost I had, and did not want others to lose the people they love. I want to help save others’ lives, and help others to have a joyful life without any pain in their bodies. The tragedy I experienced in my life helped shape my character from an immature kid to a person who cares about others, and wants others’ life to fill with happiness. “Compassionate” is one of my strong characters, and it makes me want to understand others more. I went to volunteer at a nursing home every Sundays; because I want the elderlies to understand that there will have someone else that care about them. I remembered my mom told me before my grandma was alive, she said she would never send her mom to the nursing home. These words are still in my memory today, and I want others to feel that I’m there for them, and they don’t feel alone.

The plane took off from my homeland, Taiwan, and tears gathered in my eyes as I looked out the window. I arrived in Monmouth, Oregon, in June 2012, where my journey as a high school international student began. While I was in high school, I was involved with Cadet Teaching and Preschool Practicum. Those were the first time I experienced in the environment of classrooms as an educator, and it was such a wonderful experience. I began to realize how I enjoyed interacting with students. In addition, I figured out that I am so passionate about teaching.

Teaching is a work of heart, and you are responsible for the children in the classrooms. Things can really be different if you know you are doing a job that you are really passionate about (Illinois Education Association, 2015). That is what we need as educators. I truly believe that teaching involves professionalism. Educators need to be passionate about their jobs, and care about their children in the classroom. Furthermore, you have to be willing to spend extra time in order to meet the needs of your children. For instance, when I was working in second grade, there was a student that was really struggling with math. During that time, I often stayed after school a lot to discuss with my mentor teacher, and try to figure out a way to help this student. I feel like it is one of the important characteristics as educators that you are willing to spend extra time for the work you have to do or for your children.

I graduated from Santiam Christian last year, and truly enjoyed my experiences there. I decided to come to Western Oregon University, and believe that it is a wonderful place to help me achieve the goal of becoming an educator. The tragedy that I experienced when I was young, helped shaped me into a person that cares about others and becomes a great listener. Additionally, I always seek to learn and grow. I also look for opportunities to help and serve others. Furthermore, I am a hard worker, and always willing to try my best. As Bobby Unser, a professional racer declared, “success is where preparation and opportunity meet.” I am extremely eager to learn more about the field of education, and I am willing to try my best in everything. My goal is to be a successful teacher that helps solve others’ problems, and honor my grandma. Furthermore, I would like to pass on kindness that my grandma showed to others.