Kansas State University


College of Education

Category: May 2016

Teaching…Outside the Classroom

Will Clark, with a junior high basketball team he coaches.
Will Clark, (front row, right) with a junior high basketball team he coaches.

Will Clark, recent KSU COE graduate with a degree in social studies secondary education, lives in Oakley, KS, where he’s not exactly in a classroom, but he’s still teaching.

“Upon graduation from K-State, I decided to change directions regarding a career, and am now an insurance agent with clients in Kansas, Colorado, and Nebraska,” Will said. “Teaching did not go completely go by the wayside, however, as I was privileged to help coach Jr. High and High School homeschool boys’ basketball teams this past winter. Our teams competed in the National Division II Christian Homeschool Association tournament held in McPherson, which hosted 72 teams this year. While we had the typical ups and downs of a season, it was a good year as we worked through different situations and circumstances that were a good learning experience about what life is all about. In addition, I recently began substitute teaching in my local public school, and I am enjoying being able to interact with students again, learning right along beside them!”

He says he’s making use of all the knowledge and skills he gained in the COE.

“​A key component of working with individuals, (whether in insurance or any other setting), is learning how they process and understand information,” he said. “Being a KSU COE graduate truly has helped me to be able to step into the shoes of my clients, basketball players, and students, and see information from their perspective. Working with visual clients, for example, tells me that I need to present as much information in graph or pictorial form as possible in order for the information to ‘click.’ Some basketball players can hear what I say and immediately apply it on the court, while others need me to show them how the play works before they can do it themselves.

“The COE has provided me with the tools to effectively and efficiently gauge the thought patterns of individuals in various situations and then help me respond in a manner that directs our collective efforts and energies in a productive manner,” he continued. “As one of five coaches on the boys’ basketball team, it was necessary for all of us to be on the same page in practices, during games, and in other discussions. The COE efforts throughout my teaching experiences in college prepared me well to collaborate with my fellow coaches in ensuring that everything ran smoothly and efficiently throughout the season. We received compliments throughout the season about how well the teams seemed to work together, and I credit my small contribution on the team to the training received at K-State.”

Through his experiences, he says interaction with parents is a key to helping their children succeed.

“Just a note of encouragement: Most parents want what is best for their children and are often willing to go to great lengths to provide whatever they can for their youngsters. This is usually more so in a homeschool setting, and working with parents to raise their children in this environment can be challenging (various tastes, personalities, and so on), but highly rewarding, as well. I would encourage teachers in whatever setting they are in, if an opportunity to interact with your students’ parents arises–take advantage of it and encourage that parent to be active in their child’s life and in your classroom, if possible. You may gain a tremendous benefit from being proactive in engaging parents with their children’s learning!”


COE Open House Happenings

In case you weren’t able to return for the COE’s Open House event last month, here are a few of the happenings! Bluemont Hall and its courtyard were filled with visitors, young and old, science experiments, critters, and so much more! You’ll see several of the social studies students and their leader, Dr. Burenheide, showcasing a living wax museum (featuring various historical figures), as well as Dr. Staples, Ms. Thiele, Dr. Sherbert, Dr. Morales, Ms. Harlow, and Ms. Briggs joining in the fun!

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Farewell to Your First Class

goodbye-classYou are about to say goodbye to your first class. You can’t decide if you want to cry…or smile. That’s OK – it’s probably going to be a little of both.

It’s different at the various grade levels. Some teachers may see their first class leaving the building for another school; some may see their first class graduating from the school district and moving on to other stages of their lives.

Whatever the situation, you’ll probably find that you think back to your first year for many school years to come. They will be the group that, for better and for worse, helped you complete your first year in an extremely important career.

Take a few minutes, before everyone dashes out your classroom door, to thank them. While you’ve been the teacher, they have taught you many things, as well.

A Few First-year Memories

memoriesWe found some of your former Curriculum and Instruction professors and asked them, “As a classroom teacher, what’s your favorite memory from your first year of teaching?” And here are some of their responses.

Dr. Brad Burenheide (Secondary Social Studies) — “Being told I was being brought back for year 2!”

Dr. Sherri Martinie (Secondary Math) — “I remember doing a lot of great projects, including skits and songs. It was a ton of work, but so much fun!”

Dr. Tom Vontz (Core Teaching Skills) — “Watching students turn in their final exam on the last day of the semester. The final exam was one essay question, yet most of the students used the entire 90 minutes to write out their answer. I was proud of what we accomplished and how much they had learned – not just about history, but about hard work, study skills, organization of ideas, historical thinking, and a host of other things.”

Dr. Vicki Sherbert (Secondary English/Language Arts, Speech/Theatre, Journalism) — “During Parent/Teacher Conferences in October, a parent told me that her daughter loved my class. She said that she and her husband were always excited when their children were placed in a first-year teacher’s classroom because what new teachers may lack in experience, they make up for with fresh ideas and enthusiasm. Her words encouraged and gave me confidence.”

Dr. Phillip Payne (Music Education) — “I would say the resilience of my band as we returned home from Indianapolis after 1/3 of the band got food poisoning. This tested a lot of what I had learned in school. Seeing the connection between parents, community, and administration was invaluable and really allowed me to see the profession from beyond the walls of my classroom.”

We Want to Hear From you!

e-mail iconDo you have a question about classroom procedures? Or a suggestion for a topic we should address in Before the Bell? Want to add your name to our mailing list? Or provide a different email for our mailing list? Or, if you’re in your first year of teaching, send us a photo of you at work in your classroom!

Second-year teachers, feel free to jump in and offer suggestions to those who are following your career choice!

We’d love to hear from you, so please email us at lagoodson@k-state.edu.

Go, COE Cats!

Keep an Eye on August

eye-on-augustDespite what some say, teachers have plenty of things to do through the summer–whether it’s teaching summer school to help students catch up on skills or student-free activities such as attending workshops or classes. Here are just a few suggestions to help you make the most of those not-so-lazy, hazy days of summer!

  • Be looking for ways to improve your lessons. If you’re teaching the same course next fall, spend some time flipping through your lesson plans. Hopefully, you’ve made some notes and done some reflecting on what worked and didn’t work. Where can you add a new element – a brief video or music clip? How can you enliven your lessons to get your students excited? What activities did they seem to like the most AND learn the most? Revise, revise, revise!
  • Look for new resources. The Internet provides an endless amount of options for you, including many that are teacher-tried and trusted. But don’t overwhelm yourself; be selective by focusing on pumping up one particular unit for next year’s class.
  • Team up with a colleague (as near as a friend who teaches down the hall to as far away as across the nation, thanks to the Internet). It’ll make planning and revising much more enjoyable!
  • Find a workshop or course to take that addresses an area in which you’d like to become a stronger teacher…classroom management, special education needs, technology, etc.