September 18, 2006

Alt Cert Interview tomorrow

Posted in teacher certification at 3:34 pm by mrsmauck

Hey all, sorry about the lag in posting. I go tomorrow for my Teacher Competency Review Panel interview. It’s one of the hoops you have to jump through to be alternatively certified in Oklahoma. I’ve heard it lasts all of 15 minutes and you’re asked two questions: “Why is [your subject] important?” and another one, perhaps “What do you think of young people today?”

So here are my answers to those questions:

Why is journalism important? (I want to teach English, but my initial certification is in journalism, because that’s what my undergrad degree is in, and that’s where I have work experience.)

Part of my teaching philosophy is that the goal of education is to mold young people into responsible citizens, critical thinkers, and lifelong learners. Journalism accomplishes all three of those objectives, in my opinion. Students learn to care about what goes on in their communities as they report on them. Writing stories about news that matters to them forces them to ask important questions about why things happen the way they do, and what students can do to make their voices heard in decision-making processes. That’s the critical thinking part. Journalists become lifelong learners in that their curiosity is whetted and their eye for good stories is sharpened. Even though I’m not a full-time journalist, I fully understand and appreciate that my journalism experience as an undergraduate has made me a news reader, a curious, inquiring person who loves finding good stories, and a person who makes judgment calls and forms opinions on what’s happening in the news, who values and takes advantage of free speech, and who recognizes censorship. I hope that a secondary-level journalism class could accomplish the same things in my students, whether they go on to be professional journalists or not.

What do you think about young people today?

I believe young people today are much like young people from all generations: they’re passionate about the things they care about, ambivalent toward things that don’t seem to have a connection to their lives, they’re caught up in “the game of school,” in which grades are the goal, not learning, and they’re nervous and excited about their futures, because most of them don’t know what the future holds for them. Young people today are different, however, in the fact that their attention spans have been shortened by video games, reading on the computer rather than in paper form, music videos, and today’s quick-shot films. It will be my job to see that what they learn in my class is directly applicable to their lives and their futures. I want to show them that they’re all experts in something, and build on that expertise in pop culture, fashion, friendship, dating, sports, or whatever to show them that being an effective communicator will help them live better lives.

What do you think? Anything I left out? This was totally stream-of-consciousness; who knows what will come out of my mouth when they ask the questions.

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1 Comment »

  1. Miss Browneyedgirlie said,

    Great start with answers – I often think I give better answers if I don’t have so much time to contemplate what I’m going to say and just go off the cuff.

    Hope the interview went well!


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