Monthly Archives: February 2013

Bank Street at 5 College Consortium Event

If you are interested in learning more about graduate schools of education, Mt. Holyoke College will be hosting an event that is open to students at Amherst College, Hampshire College, Smith College, UMass Amherst, and Mt. HolyokeBank Street’s Assistant Director  of Graduate Admissions, Jesse Nguyen, will be in attendance to answer questions!

Here are details of the event:

Graduate Schools of Education: Information Evening
February 27, 2013
6:00pm- panel presentations begin
Morrison Room, Willits-Hallowell Center
50 College Street
South Hadley, MA 01075

Are You Linked In?

I have been a member of LinkedIn since July of 2011. I have to admit, when I first started an account I was skeptical, as I tend to be whenever there is hype over a social media tool (I was an early convert to Facebook, but that’s only because my trusted tech guru friend was raving about it).

Since then, I have been happy to see more people in my realm creating professional profiles on the site, and a lot more buzz about the usefulness of this site in the media. I have found that it is a great tool for keeping in touch with former employers, colleagues, and professors. Not only that, but it is a great way to keep your resume organized and simultaneously available to employers.

One of my favorite features is how people you have worked with can recommend you on the site and leave comments about your skills. You can also follow specific groups and organizations relevant to your field. I follow the American Alliance of Museums, Emerging Museum Professionals, and New York City Museum Educators Roundtable. Though I also subscribe to their emails, the additional connection through LinkedIn helps in building relationships with individuals, and it gives prospective employers a chance to peruse your resume at their leisure.

While I still highly value actual physical interaction when networking, I do think that tools such as LinkedIn are very practical today. I know that with my schedule it is impossible to attend every networking event I wish to, or spend time catching up with former colleagues in person. However, I still like to keep informed about all events – even those I have to miss, and LinkedIn helps with that.

As I forge closer to my graduation from Bank Street I anticipate that I will be spending more time using LinkedIn as I search for a job. There is a specific alumni group that I plan on joining to maintain connections. For now, of course, there is a Bank Street page that anyone can follow, where there are discussion boards for jobs and other topics.

DECENTER

As part of my fieldwork, I began a placement at the Abrons Art Center on the Lower East Side in January. Thus far, I have visited one classroom in a partnering school where a visiting artist from our StudioLab program works with high school students, and I have assisted in the progress of several in-house projects. This weekend will offer another different and very exciting time to be involved with this center, as a new exhibit, DECENTER, is opening on Sunday.

This is a very special exhibit coinciding with the 100thanniversary of the pivotal 1913 Armory Show that introduced Cubism to the American landscape. Particularly special for Abrons is that this will also mark the 50th anniversary of the relationship between Henry Street Settlement and the Art Center. In 1963 the Armory Show served as the occasion for the announcement of the Settlement’s plan to build the Abrons Art Center.

The focus of DECENTER is contemporary artwork and it’s relationship to digital media, which offers a close parallel to many themes in Cubism, including spontaneity, fragmentation, and of course, decenteredness.

I am super excited to see the work of all of the 27 artists who are attending, but particularly the artist and writer Douglas Coupland, whose work I have read since I was in high school. A few years ago, I even scoured the bookshops of France for one of his French language books!

The opening day will feature two panel discussions about the legacy of the 1913 Armory show and about the perception of art in the digital age, with working artists, curators and other academics. Attending such events not only informs my practice as a burgeoning educator and museum professional, but also allows me to recharge. Any chance I have to absorb the output of other creative minds is a chance I relish.

Balance, Perspective, Growth

For all of the ways in which my cooperative teachers have inspired me, one of the immediate influences has been on the presence of movement in my life. For so long I have pushed back a desire to commit to yoga, citing my packed schedule as an excuse, and my very active lifestyle as enough exercise. Well not anymore! If I am to be an educator who not only talks the talk but also walks the walk, I need to act.

Seeing the teachers in my fifth and second grade student teaching placements incorporate movement and relaxation techniques throughout the day set a light bulb off over my head. The fifth grade teacher was very transparent in her method, telling the students that she thought they could all use a moment to move around – and she did everything with them. One activity involved having a conversation with a partner, while maintaining eye contact, and here’s the kicker: while maintaining a squat. Sure, some kids gave up quickly, but most were determined to outlast their partner, or another pair. This activity encouraged socializing and incited giggles. Laughter helps to break stress, too!

The second grade teacher was very creative in incorporating different activities and games that the students adored. On one occasion she combined musical chairs with “Have You Ever.” With one chair fewer than the number of us playing, we all began seated, except for the teacher who posed a question like, “Have you ever been in the Atlantic ocean?” Those who had been to the Atlantic Ocean got up and moved to another seat, while the others remained seated. The last person standing had to ask the next question. I thought this game was brilliant, not only for its movement, but also for pulling in student’s experiences from life outside of school.

This teacher also had one boy teach the rest of the class some dance moves between lessons one day. This not only was a much needed opportunity to get the whole class moving, but it also tremendously helped the boy teaching, who had great difficulty focusing in class, but was clearly a talented dancer.

From second grade, to fifth grade, to graduate school and beyond, I think we have to try to remember that we all need to dedicate time to movement and stress relief. A demographic that falls to the wayside in this area is teens, according to a recent Associated Press article From Pets to ‘Recess’ : High School Stress Relief.

If you don’t have a teenager in your life currently, think back to your days in seventh to twelfth grade. Stress comes not only from academics, and extracurricular activities, but also pressures from college, social life, family issues, and these days from issues of safety in schools.

When is enough, enough? Many school administrators are trying new approaches to helping students minimize and manage their stress. Principal of Chanhassen High School in Minnesota, Timothy Dorway has instituted homework-free nights and plugged breaks into daily schedules, where students can socialize, have a snack, or work on assignments. Now, the school even has the motto: “Balance, Perspective, Growth.”

Often such free time is completely absent from student schedules, but really ‘recess’ is just as crucial for everyone – young and not so young. Think of how recharging yourself benefits your work.

Of course, it may be a while for most schools to implement these practices, but individual teachers can make a difference. It may take a little creativity and logistical finesse with tight schedules, but it is possible to address the whole person! If we make the effort to incorporate movement and stress relief in the school day, we are showing students that we value it. Who knows, teaching youth how to manage stress may turn out to be one of the most valuable lingering lessons you can provide.