Comfortable Beginnings

Today ended the second day of my internship at Hays Consolidated Independent School District’s Dahlstrom Middle School with my mentor teacher, Ms. Bandy.

So far, I have been thoroughly enjoying my experience and feel that middle school could be the place for me. The students are lively, entertaining, and rambunctious, but can be controlled with proper classroom procedure. They all seem to enjoy my mentor teacher, which gives me enthusiasm as I hope to be a beloved teacher some day.

Everything seems to be just about what I was expecting. Some students remain working the entire period, while some need constant reminders to stay on task. Others will completely refuse to work. The lunch period is short and the teachers are required to eat quickly in order to return to class on time. The school requires that all teachers teach a core subject during second period, so twice now I have seen my mentor teacher struggle to teach math to her art students. There are definitely restrictions and challenges in the schools, but seeing the positive impact that Ms. Bandy is having on her students is inspiring.

One thing I was not expecting is the level of quality coming from Ms. Bandy’s students. From the work I’ve seen in class and hanging in the hallways, her students seem to be surpassing what I thought was typical of a middle school artist. I am pleased by what I have been seeing and know that I can now raise my expectations if I am to teach middle school. Ms. Bandy’s students are also very knowledge about specific art terms such as gradation, value, depth, shade, and tone.

In Ms. Bandy’s classroom, she has posted the rules about noise level. Whenever she is talking, such as during lecture, taking attendance, or giving announcements, students should not be talking at all. When students are working, however, and Ms. Bandy is not talking, students are allowed to talk quietly. Ms. Bandy also has a few “Drive Your Own Device” signs posted. When I asked her about the signs, she explained that students are allowed to use their electronic devices in class, but for educational or music purposes only. They may use them to play music through headphones or to look for reference images and inspiration on line to help them create art.

I have been challenging myself to learn Ms. Bandy’s students’ names and feel that I should know them all soon. I have been paying attention during roll-call and whenever students are called to the front to try and catch their names. I have also been occasionally asking for students’ names or overhearing their friends using their names. I’ve also been trying to find individualities to match the names, such as Griffin is extremely friendly and talkative, Ana is shy and emotional, Emma is stylish and popular, and Shauna is quiet and seems sad all the time.

So far, I am enjoying my experience and look forward to getting to know each of the students. I am excited to watch their progress and to help them along the way. I also feel very comfortable and it seems like I am being well-received by the students. There was a substitute teacher today, so I mainly led the class and students treated me as they would any other teacher. I was even asked how to turn in choir money, to sign hall passes, and when report cards would be coming out. So far, I have felt completely prepared for this experience and believe that I am on the right trail.

Nature & the Quest for Meaning #40: I Love Summer!

I love Summer!

I love Summer!

This semester is almost over and Summer is about to start! I love Summer!

Summer is my favorite season for a variety of reasons: it’s my birthday season, it’s warm, there’s no school, and there’s so many possibilities!

This Summer, I’m going to be studying abroad in Italy, through the program ARTIS, which is very exciting! I can’t wait for Summer to start! I’m so excited!

Nature & the Quest for Meaning #39: Mother Nature, Make Up Your Mind!

Right now, it’s that awkward time of year where the mornings and evenings are extremely cold and windy, yet the middle of the day is warm and humid.

Every morning that I wake up, I have no idea what to wear. Mother Nature, make up your mind already! Do you want it to be cold or warm? Just pick one!

But please pick warm…I don’t like cold weather.

Nature & the Quest for Meaning #38: I’m Red and I Hurt

Photo by Susan Hanson

Photograph by Susan Hanson

Last weekend my Nature & the Quest for Meaning class had a camping trip in Medina, Texas.

We spent a few hours at the river and I wore a tank top but forgot to put on some sunscreen.

Let’s just say that aloe vera is my best friend right now.

Nature & the Quest for Meaning #37: You Can’t Guess My Favorite Color

Can you guess what my favorite color is?

Can you guess what my favorite color is?

Can you guess what my favorite color is?

If you know me, then you’ll know that I wear a lot of green and brown and that my room is decorated in green and turquoise. I love natural colors and try to surround myself with them. So can you guess what my favorite color is now?






It’s purple.

I think it’s actually odd that purple is my favorite color, because I don’t really own anything that’s purple. I surround myself with the colors of nature because it soothes me and helps put me in a stress-free environment. To me, the colors look natural and fresh, so I enjoy being around them because I enjoy nature.

Maybe someday purple won’t be my favorite color anymore…

Nature & the Quest for Meaning #36: Picnic in the Park

Photo by Susan Hanson

Photo by Susan Hanson

A few weeks ago, my Nature & the Quest for Meaning had a picnic during class at the park next to the San Marcos Nature Center and across the street from Herbert’s Taco Hut. That’s the same park that the Terry Scholars have adopted and that we keep clean on a regular basis through the Adopt-a-Spot program!

It’s a really lovely park and there’s an area that’s kind of hidden with picnic tables and a cool-looking bridge. There’s also a tree swing that you could use to swing into the river.

It was a pretty nice break from regular class.

Nature & the Quest for Meaning #35: Flying Mammals Visit Texas State

Photo by Susan Hanson

Photo by Susan Hanson

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn | Written by Mark Twain | Illustrated by Raymond Sheppard

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn | Written by Mark Twain | Illustrated by Raymond Sheppard

A few days ago, Dianne Odegard came to my Nature & the Quest for Meaning class to represent Bat Conversation International from and present about bats and the many myths that surround them.

Diane began her presentation with an informative PowerPoint presentation. She showed an impressive amount of varieties of bats, with more in Texas, with 33 species, than anywhere else in the United States. The smallest kind of bat is the “bumblebee” bat and the largest is a “flying fox,” or fruit bat, with an impressive 7-foot wingspan.

That’s longer than I am tall!

She also showed bats in the media, including in literature such as Mark Twain’s biography illustrating Huck and Becky running from bats in the forest. She explained that Mark Twain had lived near a bat cave and was very fond of the animal so he incorporated it into his work.

She explained just about everything about bats including their reproduction. Bats are the slowest-reproducing mammals for their size and only give birth to about two or four pups at a time. Usually though, a bat will only have a single pup. Although bats will swarm together in caves, mothers only allow their own pup to feed from themselves and can recognize their pup from its distinct cry and smell.

Because of the long amount of time it takes a bat to have a single pup, it’s surprising that there’s so many of them!

After presenting the Powerpoint presentation, Diane asked us all to write bat haikus in groups of two. We partnered up and wrote some bat poetry. After we shared a few of our words aloud, she asked us to email them to our professor so that she could post them on the Bat Conversation International Website.



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