My First Education Blog Post (Yay!!)

Hello, my name is Jaleh Mohseni, soon to be Miss M! 🙂

I am a student teacher candidate who is very eager to gain teaching experience, so I have yet to discover what kind of teacher I truly am.  If I were to describe the kind of teacher I strive to be, it would be a very warm, kind, funny teacher who makes her classroom feel like the safest and most exciting classroom on campus.  I would also describe myself as the kind of teacher who runs a very tight ship, but because I always strive to captivate, engage, and entertain my students, my class won’t feel overly strict and rigid (I hope!).  Adding to the free and fun vibe will be plenty of rich discussions I plan on having for almost all of my lessons.

How will I meet the needs of my diverse learners?

The way I will meet the needs of my diverse learners is by making sure each of my lessons, modeling, instructions, and student activities, have opportunities for all kinds of learners to benefit from and excel in.  That means each lesson will have reading, writing, listening, and speaking for my linguistic learners; some kind of experiment, observation, analysis, followed by a rich discussion of something they can see, feel, hear, and physically move around, for my spacial, kinesthetic, visual, and auditory learners; graphic organizers of all kinds for my logical/mathematical learners; moments of peaceful solitude while reading for pleasure, research, or individual activities for my intrapersonal learners; and last but not least, plenty of collaborative group and pair work for my interpersonal learners.

I will also meet the needs of my students with exceptionalities, ranging from students who have fallen behind in school or have developmental delays due to personal circumstances, English language learners, emotional and behavioral disorders, students with ADHD, on the Autism spectrum, hearing, visual, speech, or physical impairments, intellectual disabilities, and/or learning disabilities.  There are many supports and adaptations I can incorporate into my lessons that will coincide with the very multi-learning styled lessons and activities I will already have in place.  I will utilize technologies that can assist with visual, speech, and hearing impairments, while making sure I am using appropriate speaking and audio volumes, appropriate fonts sizes, incorporating sign-language and images, and plenty of facial expressions and body/hand gestures.  I will have behavioral incentives set in place, along with smaller sections or “chunks” of teaching, reading, and activities that are more approachable and spaced out with plenty of opportunities to move around.  I will always find ways to engineer my text resources to appropriate reading levels, and/or provide plenty of vocabulary and context supports in my instructions and classroom wall displays for my ELLs and other students who are working towards higher reading levels and language fluency.

What’s my personality like?

My personality is very loving, empathetic, and down to earth.  I am big on solving negative issues with understanding, diversions, and at times with tough but fair reward/consequence systems.  My greatest strengths will be my ability to detect my student’s best learning styles and utilizing their strengths to succeed, and my strong ability to sense other people’s emotions and phycological roadblocks.

I can also be a bit of an overachiever, and in these moments my vision and thinking becomes narrow and frantic.  This is something I have been working on for many years, as it is what has helped me achieve so much in life, but at a cost.  Now as a mother, I see how this sometimes negative trait can take away from what would otherwise be a calm and enjoyable moment, and spread anxious feelings onto others.  The one great skill I plan to fall back on is my ability to relax and go with the flow.  It is not easy to do, but in my many years of restaurant customer service, I somehow found a mental “switch” that I flip when I need to surrender myself to the chaos to start focusing on maintaining a positive moral and disposition.  Especially when I began training, I knew my anxious feelings would be detectable consciously or subconsciously by the people I was training, and that was no way to learn.  I was always surprised how much better hopeless situations would turn out when I kept a genuine sense of calm and positive attitude.

I took a Meyers Briggs personality test, and was an equal match between two personality types:

ISFJ (77%)

and ISFP (77%)

The one quality that stood out to me from the test (found here—> Teamtechnology questionnaire) is that I am very firm on sticking to my own morals and personal values.  This will effect my teaching in how I create and establish classroom rules, morals, and a general feeling of justice and intellectual and emotional freedom of expression through respectful means.  While this personality type can often cause me to make decisions based on emotions rather than logic, I see this as a good part of my ability to sense and understand other people’s feelings and thinking.  This will be helpful when dealing not only with a variety of feelings and thinking styles of my students, but my whole school community.  I was pleased to see how high my personality scored for the jobs of facilitator and education consultant.  The explanation for why I fit these jobs made me feel a bit more confident in my decision to become a teacher.

What is my learning style?

After taking the free teaching and learning style test created by Richard M. Felder and Barbara A. Soloman of North Carolina State University (found here —> Teaching and Learning Styles), I discovered a more detailed understanding of what kind of learner I am, and through this, what kind of teacher I will most likely be.  Out of all four dimensions, I never scored over 3, which means I am a mix of both types of learners in each dimension, but lean slightly towards one side.

Active vs. Reflective: I scored 1 for reflective learner, which means I prefer to think about things I’m learning quietly to myself first.  I also prefer to work alone.  It is beneficial for me to always make time for periodic moments of reflection and mental/imaginative applications of the new things I am learning (Oh I definitely do this!  It often goes to a ‘lol too deep into a bit of time-consuming/waisting daydreaming… haha!).

I have to say, I agree with the result.  When it comes to group work, even though I eventually enjoy it and usually end up doing well with my group-mates/partner, deep down I always wish I could just work on my own, alone in a peaceful place.

As a future teacher, I see this influencing how I manage student accountability in group work, as well as make sure I establish well reviewed and respected rules on how to be respectful, communicative, proactive, and fair in group work.  I’ll be doing this with well defined and displayed rules, and plenty of student group reflection and discussion.  I also see how this will impact the individual work time I will set aside for my students.  I want them to be able to be calm and comfortable enough to be able to really think things through so they can have something to bring to the table when they do work in collaborative groups.

Sensing vs. Intuitive: I scored a 3 for sensing learner.  This means I like to learn the facts and solve problems with well-established methods.  I dislike complications and surprises, which means I also really resent being tested on material that has not been explicitly covered in class (<—Wow! Yes! That’s me). I am patient with details and good at memorizing facts and doing hands on work.  I am more practical and careful, which is a big reason I do not like learning about things that don’t have any real-world connections.  If I am struggling in class with an abstract or theoretical concept, I need to make the effort to ask my teacher to give me more specific examples, or try my best to find them.

I found myself nodding my head in agreement a lot with this result, but also identified with intuitive learners who like discovering connections and relationships.  If I had to be completely honest with myself, I enjoy making those connections well after I have already mastered one particular skill or concept that I am trying to bridge connections with.  In applications, I am very cautious to not fail (a.k.a. learn through my trials and mistakes), which can be a downfall in many ways because this fear had prevented me from even trying in the past.

As a teacher, I see this influencing how I help my students find tride-and-true methods they can always lean on for learning and studying certain subjects.  I have so many go-to study “hacks” that I want to teach my students, and I hope to do so in a way that they can truly understand the method well enough to relate it to their everyday lives.  Now that I know I am more of a sensing learner, I want to make sure I do not limit the different ways my student can learn through discovery and a variety of methods.  However, one thing is for sure––in my class there will be no surprises on the tests.  I will have made sure we covered everything on the assessments and the students have had plenty of time and chances to learn the content, what is exactly expected of them, and reach out for help.

Visual vs. Verbal: I scored a 1 for verbal learner in this dimension.  This means I am pretty balanced as both a visual and verbal learner, but I tend to get more out of words when written or spoken.  This could not be more true.  As much as my learning is always enhanced with great visuals, I realize that I heavily depend on reading the image sub-titles or graph explanations first before I analyze the visuals.  Also, as a verbal learner, I benefit from writing out summaries or outlines of course material in my own words.

As a teacher, I know one of my best qualities is how I will present information to my students, and how I will verbally explain it to them in a way that feels as if we are having a fun, exciting, and casual conversation, but still learning a lot.  I have always admired teachers who would present great outlines or summaries, giving little “sneak peaks” or “teasers” for each outline heading (bridging prior knowledge and building schema) that they will delve more into later.  When they eventually do, they do it in such a way that makes the students feel like they are having mini epiphanies and revelations.  I too will strive for this kind of teaching style.

Sequential vs. Global: This one is me through and through, which is why I’m surprised I got a score of 3 instead of a higher number.  As a global learner, I tend to learn in large jumps, taking in material almost randomly without realizing the connections, but later suddenly “getting it.”  I may be able to solve complex problems quickly or put things together in novel, ingenious ways, but I will have trouble explaining how I did it.

That was me my entire life.  I can remember my teachers, family, and friends, always being amazed at the random times I would do things or create things in ingenious and effortless ways, but when it came to understanding what I did or replicating it in a new situation, I would struggle.   I did relate to sequential learners with their need to do things in linear steps.

Being this kind of learner will push me to make sure I do my homework and fully understand and model the things I know but take for granted.  It will also inspire me to have lessons that are more self-paced, where my global learners can start finding the missing pieces that lead them to their next mental “jump,” while also ensuring that throughout the unit I maintain an organized and sequential delivery of new concepts and skills.

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Jaleh Mohseni

My name is Jaleh Mohseni, and I am currently a student-teacher candidate with National University's California teacher credentialing program. I am also working towards my Master's in Arts and Education. I had previously earned my Bachelor's in Political Science through the California State University of San Marcos. I once had goals and dreams of eventually running for political office, but they began to wane as it became apparent to me what the true requirements were for a career in politics. Yet, they still exist in some small way. I realized my values of justice, honesty, fairness, love, consideration, and kindness, and my general heart-on-sleeve disposition, would not do well or survive in the political world. Maybe someday, but it will only be because I have built a trusted and appreciated grassroots reputation in my community with hard work and real results, and not because I pandered to the people or rich corporations. I had always wanted to be a leader who facilitates, motivates, and encourages civility and love. This has ALWAYS been with me. After having my daughter, I began looking into and creating on my own unique and fun ways to give my daughter a head start in her education. The experience has been so profound and incredible. It has opened my eyes to how humans learn, and the often unlocked potential within all of us. I'm nervous to apply my discoveries to a class full of 25+ students verses my one child, but I know with all the teaching and management strategies I am learning, I will find success.

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