Sunday, January 20, 2013

Blog Post #1

About Me
My name is Paula McKinney and my twentieth birthday is actually Monday the 21st. I was born in Biloxi, Mississippi but grew up in the neighboring town of Ocean Springs. Thankfully, for the past sixteen years my family and I have lived in the same town, on the same street, and in the same house. Now that my younger brother and I are both attending college, it's just Mom, Dad, and our two dogs: Daisy and Jeffy. As child I loved to learn. I'll admit I was the crazy kid that wanted to move to a school district that had school year round. I love music. I began playing the clarinet in fifth grade and continued to the end of my freshman year of college. I remember loads of random, sometimes useless, information. I'm a nerd and proud of it.

My senior year I found myself struggling to decide what I wanted to do after graduation. For years I told my family that I wanted to attend a culinary school and become a pastry chef. However, after sending out applications to various universities and culinary schools I realized that I wasn't ready to trade my pencil in for a spoon. Truthfully, I chose to attend USA because it was only an hour from home and I made the marching band. I entered last school year as an undecided freshman just going through the motions and trying to decide on a major. It took some time, but I eventually fell in love South and felt that I had made the right choice.  Fall semester of 2012 I finally decided on double majoring in education and biology. I'm extremely excited to see what the future has in store.

My Future Classroom
After graduation I would like to teach 8th or 9th grade biology. My science classes were always my favorite classes because the teachers kept the class interesting. I would like to adapt similar up-beat and entertaining methods to keep students intrigued. I love hands on learning and feel that science is a subject best taught with visual aids and by physically doing experiments.
As a student I understand that every student is different and learns best by different means. It’s impossible to say how my students will learn. I hope that they will be responsive to my teaching methods. However, part of the reason I want to be a teacher is because every group of students will present a new challenge. Obviously my first set of students will be completely different from later generations due to society and the advancement of technology. All I can say for certain is that I will continuously be learning how to improve my own knowledge and skills to provide my students with the best education possible.

I love technology and think that teachers tend to have mixed feelings on using it their classroom. I feel that it is very help during class and even after. I will definitely be using PowerPoint for lectures. I also plan on using a blog to post after class discussion forums and to help with any questions about assignments. My high school had a program where portions of the student body were issued tablet computers as a test for allowing computers in classrooms school wide. Being a student in the program, we rarely used them because our teachers either preferred we physically took notes or they were unable to actually use the software and programs that came with the computers. I would definitely be open to learning how to effectively incorporate student laptop usage in my lessons.
As a student I hate when a professor is unorganized and seems flustered in the middle of class. Therefore, I hope to be an organized teacher with a neat class room. Also, because I hope to have a very visually based teaching method I will definitely have props, pictures and examples on display. Hopefully my school will have the financial resources to have working a relevant technology for a biology class and laboratory. And I would not be a proper science teacher without some type of animal living in my classroom.

Dr. Randy Pausch on Time Management
After watching Dr. Pausch's video, I learned that I need to begin officially setting goals and planning better. Every year I buy a planner but only end up using it for a few weeks. Instead I need to try harder to plan ahead and set goals to accomplish. Also, instead of just writing down goals, I should think about why I've set the goal and what my end result will be once I accomplish it. I should begin planning on various levels, such as weekly and monthly, and not just a daily to-due list.
Dr. Pausch's video also touches on completing more challenging tasks before simpler ones. I tend to put things off because I'm afraid of doing them incorrectly. In the video Dr. Pausch touches on turning the focus from doing the right thing to doing things right. He mentions the importance of a person's experiences and how one learns from them. So even if I fail at a task, the important part is that I've gained and hopefully learned from my experience. As a habitual procrastinator I really enjoyed hearing Dr. Pausch's ideas for breaking the habit. I had never heard of Dr. Pausch before this assignment.


  1. Hi Paula! Happy late birthday also! My birthday was this month too :) I have to admit at one point in my childhood I too had dreams about what it would be like to go to one of the schools that was in session all year. I admire the fact that you would like to be a biology teacher. Science teachers are always keeping things interesting like you said. I also agree with what you said about always learning about the new technology to keep up and be the best teacher you can be. I think every one that even considers going into teaching needs to be willing to grow with technology. Jumping to your Randy Pausch response, I just wanted to say you should totally start making to-do lists! They are life savers. I am known for making lists, if I'm having a conversation with someone and they have more than one thing to do I usually find some paper and make a list for them. It's so easy to just write everything down, and it feels really good crossing things off your list. Great post!

  2. A proud nerd! Right on!

    Be organized and on time. Great goals.

    Happy Birthday!

    Well written. Welcome to EDM310!