I am thankful for mainly my father who first introduced me to the guitar. One day, he was playing his electric on the couch and something changed inside me and I had the urge to learn it. He had books on chord shapes and scales. After getting me started on the basic chord shapes of C and A major, he sent me on my own and I took off from there. I am also thankful for everyone I played music with over the years. Mainly my friends in high school. It is extremely important to play music with others any time you can because you will always learn something, every time and no matter how big or how small, it will make you a better musician.
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I will never forget my favorite math teacher. Mr. Lazur taught ninth grade CAS Geometry (my school's version of AP) and also twelfth grade IB Calculus, so I was fortunate enough to have him as a high school freshman and then again as a senior. I'm incredibly thankful for Mr. Lazur because his fun and informal teaching style got even the most anxious students to actually enjoy math. In his classes I learned to think about math on a more “macro” scale, thinking about the concepts and how they related to each other rather than getting bogged down in numbers. He also knew exactly when and how to give a practical demonstration of a confusing concept so that none of us would ever forget it again. One of these demonstrations has stuck with me ever since, and I don't think I'll ever lose the knowledge it provided. We were in Geometry, working on volumes of solids. The previous day we'd learned the formulas for volume for cubes and cylinders, and today we were supposed to... read more
When I think back to my education and the teachers who impacted my life, I am reminded of three teachers. First was my 3rd grade teacher, Mrs. Gerheart. She was amazing. She was patient and loving. No matter how silly or difficult I could be she still loved me. Second, was Mrs. Wren my humanities teacher. She was strict, had high expectations and challenged me to be the best I could be. It was because of her passion for literature and writing that I obtained my Master's Degree in Creative Writing. I wasn't the best writer, but because of her dedication, I became a very good writer. Third, was Mr. Edwards my government teacher. He knew I was smart, but had difficulty taking tests. He would meet with me afterschool and ask me questions relating to the material he was teaching. What I didn't know was he was giving me a test. I would answer the questions and he would take some notes and I ended up passing the class with an A. He knew I had... read more
This is a simple question for me, but it might not be for everyone. I am a poet, a journalist, and a creative nonfiction writer. The teacher who springs to mind, is my 6th grade teacher in Pleasant Hill, California. Every afternoon, when we had just finished lunch and recess time, Mr. Simon would have us file into the classroom quietly and lay our heads down on our desks and close our eyes. He didn't want us to be distracted by anything! Then, he would read us long stories. He read with a clear, strong voice that comforted us and made us feel safe even as he read about wildfires and floods. This was a special time in my life because I was being taught how to listen to the sound of words. I could not see, smell, or touch them, but I could listen. Learning to appreciate reading is all about developing good listening skills. I do think that listening to the sounds of words makes you a good writer and one who has a mind stuffed full of great vocabulary. Listening. Reading. Reading... read more
As a psychology undergraduate student I took a multivariate statistics course. The course was very tough given that it was pre-SPSS and we had to calculate all of the equations manually. The way I handled the course was by taking advantage of my professor's office hours and working in teams with fellow classmates. By the end of the course, I felt very comfortable with this topic and was able to take more courses during my masters and doctoral studies. Now I teach research and statistics at the bachelors, masters and doctoral levels. The other important point is that the more one uses the information in an applied way, it is easier to grasp the material.
Everyone has different learning styles. Some are visual learners; these people learn by "seeing", or visualizing a concept. Others are auditory learners; they learn by hearing a concept explained to them. Some learn best by simply reading, while others prefer to write things down. Last but not least are the kinesthetic learners; they learn by doing, i.e. performing or acting out the concept or knowledge. We often discover our learning style through trial and error. As a teacher in group settings, I will often incorporate all five learning styles into my routine until I figure out what "sticks" for each individual. Let's take physics, for example. Say we want to describe the motion of objects in space. For the auditory learners, I start by introducing the concept out loud. "Today we are going to discuss two theories of physics. On the one hand, we have Newton's theory of physics, which... read more
When I was studying abroad in Italy, I was primarily studying art history. I went so that I could see the art that I had been enamored with and inspired by in person. I had no experience speaking Italian, though. Part of my requirement was to take Italian. No biggie, right? I figured I'd learn the basics and enjoy my semester going to to museums. And, everyone told me that a lot of English would be spoken. WRONG! I ended up in an intensive, rigorous Italian class in a city where almost no one spoke English- imagine 5 years of high school language classes crammed into 3 months. The only way I survived was to actually go outside, and practice speaking the things I was learning in class. By the end of the semester I was partially fluent, writing 5-page essays and speaking with the locals at the market I shopped at weekly. On the last day I was there, an Italian tourist approached me and asked me directions to a city landmark. Without thinking, I answered in Italian, and... read more