Category Archives: Teaching

My experience with MOOCs via Coursera

For those of you who may not know,  a MOOC is a Massive Open Online Course.

I’ve been taking a couple recently just to boost my education and keep my brain working. My current job, while wonderful, doesn’t exactly require a lot of academic brainpower and I’m afraid to lose what I worked so hard to gain in college.

For me, Coursera has turned out to be a godsend! It has classes from actual professors of prestigious colleges and universities and has classes in just about anything you might want to study! Biology your thing? Anthropology? Fine Art? Neuroscience? They’ve got it all.

Coursera Classes

Yep, That’s Johns Hopkins and Princeton on that list, among others!

And the best part? IT’S COMPLETELY FREE! Yep! You can participate as much or as little as you want but it’s really an incredible experience to do it along with the other class participants.

I’m just finishing up one called  Teaching Character and Creating Positive Classrooms. It’s been a fun class for the teacher in me and has really had me thinking about my own classroom strategies and how I can expand from the skills I used in the classroom to skills I can use in my current position. Right now, my course page looks like this:



Since I’m almost to the end, you can see all the course materials to the left that I’ve gone through in the past and the things class is currently discussing to the bottom right. It’s a fun way to get my brain going and continue doing school work without actually being in grad school yet. I appreciate that it keeps me growing! 

If there’s a class you see that you want to take but then realize you just missed it or it’s not going to start for a few more months, you can also put it on your “Watch List” and they will email you when a new section opens up. If it doesn’t start for a while, you can still enroll in them ahead of time and it will remind you when it’s closer to time. I’ve got quite the lineup for the coming months and I’m really excited about the courses to come!

Coursera Classes

This is my list! Looks incredibly interesting to me!

I’ve had a really great experience with my classes and will definitely continue to take courses as they come up. The online format isn’t my favorite but it’s definitely better than no class at all!

Have you ever taken a MOOC? How did it go for you? Did you take it from another site? I’d love to hear recommendations for other ways to go about it!


(Bare with me here, I’m on some cold meds and my mind isn’t quite at peak performance, but I feel the need to write this out tonight. Every teacher in my school is sick right now, yuck! We all shared the same germs, I suppose!)

Wow, is it the end of summer already? I guess it is, and I guess that’s why my mind and body feel so confused. I know it’s not news to anyone to hear that post-grad life is hard and confusing when you don’t know what exactly you’re supposed to be doing with your life.

Tomorrow is my last day of teaching my kiddos.

Tomorrow is move in day at Agnes Scott College for the new first-years. The new yellow class. The class that will take over what we left behind.

My heart feels like I belong there. Like that’s still the life I get to live. But it’s not. I am not supposed to be there as Orientation Council to help move in the new class. I’m not supposed to be returning for another year of classes at my beloved Agnes. I’m not supposed to be settling into Rebekah 304 with Maddie (even though I totally would still want to do this part).

This is a new phase of my life.

I don’t get to go back to that life.

And though it seems a bit silly and pretty obvious to type it out, it doesn’t feel obvious. I feels a lot harder than I expected. Giving up what I knew and thrived in has been harder than I thought it would be, simply because I didn’t realize that graduating meant living a new life. Agnes Scott will always be an important part of my life, but that’s not my life anymore.

I am no longer a college student. I am no longer a student at Agnes Scott. That’s not what my life is anymore.

I know this is getting repetitive, but I’m trying to find a way to put into words what I’ve been feeling. I’m failing, clearly, but I feel…

I still feel like a college student. I still feel too young to have already been through and graduated from college. I feel like I’m not quite ready. But then again, life doesn’t wait until your ready.

It just comes along, happens, and passes all before you know it.

However, I feel confident in my ability to take on whatever challenge and adventure comes next. Having attended Agnes Scott makes me feel ready to take on the world, albeit one day at a time. And maybe I don’t feel quite like I’m supposed to twenty-something just yet, but I feel like I have the foundation to face this life head on, and work hard to figure out what comes next.




Today, as my students were hiking this hill, cheering each other on, sweating together, struggling together, and laughing together, other children were huddled in back bathrooms on a lock down.

Today, as my students were triumphantly smiling for more pictures and making “muscle man” poses, the only cameras others saw were news cameras.

Today, as my children ran freely in a park, played innocently in the lawn and on the playground, others faced fear and danger.

Today, I am again reminded of how blessed I have been to work in a place that is, so far, considered safe. I am blessed to not have had major security problems. I am blessed that I can field trip days like today. I am blessed that my students are all safe.

However, my school has similar safety and security procedures as this one and it reminds me just how uncertain each day can be.

I will hug each of my students a little tighter tomorrow as they come in, and we will review lock down procedures once more tomorrow.

Though my time with my students ends on Friday, their safety will forever be important.

Every student’s safely will forever be important. My heart is heavy for the children in Decatur that had to go through what they did today and that people still think it is okay to do things like this in schools. I am thankful that no one was injured.

I am thankful. I am blessed.

These children fill my heart and sometimes break it.

In which, teaching will show you the best and worst sides of humanity.

Today, after nap time when the little ones came out of their room to join my class in our “transition games” before snack and splitting back up, one of our girls was just having a hard time waking up. She so very sweetly came up to me, rubbing her eyes, telling me she missed her mommy. Sweet child. As I comforted her, she (quite sneakily) climbed into my lap and snuggled right in.

Let me tell you, sometimes 30 minutes holding a sweet 4 year old will just fill your heart and soul and with so much love and hope for this world. When her mom picked her up she was still snuggled in my lap, and as she got up she hugged me tighter and told me she loved me. If that’s not enough to make a person smile, I just don’t know what is.

On the other side:

I was chatting with one of my students close to the time he was to be picked up when he mentioned he was hungry. I replied with the usual for these kids “It’s almost time to go home and then it’ll be dinner time! Getting close!”

Instead of the usual reply of “Oooooookaaay.” I got, “Oh, we don’t have dinner at my house“.

Broke. My. Heart. I know I can’t do it every day, but you best believe I made the kid a sandwich to eat. I hate that this student isn’t the only one going without food at home. I hate that some of my students go home to abuse, or neglect, or fighting. I hate that I can’t magically make all their troubles go away every time I hear things like this. I just have to keep telling myself that I’m doing the best I can, I suppose.

And I am. I am an adult they can count on. I am one they can trust. I am one they know loves and cares for them. I am one they can turn to when they are hurt.

I will be the best I can for these kids. I know it’s all I can really do.

Overall, I love this job, and I love what I am able to do for these children. I often wish I could do so much more, but I know I am doing what I am meant to for now.

It’s July 28th already!

Wow, it’s been a while since I’ve been on this little blog! I’m so sorry for being away so long, life has been a whirlwind!

I moved into an apartment with no internet (yeah, breaking that addiction was interesting!), began my teaching job (my only source of internet) and have been loving it so far!

My students are the absolute coolest. I seriously could not ask for a better group of kids. They’ve kept me challenged and made me laugh more times than I can count. Watching them as they’ve grown even in these past couple of months has been so rewarding. Seeing them learn and get interested in the material has been great. We’ve has our trials and our road bumps but for the most part I’ve had a great support system around me and we’re getting through!

As for my own life, this past month has been about making big life decisions. I’ve been torn between moving back to Atlanta and moving back home to be with my parents. I love the city of Atlanta and all my friends (and boyfriend!) are back there, and I know my job opportunities are wider there. However, my father’s health isn’t the best, and being so far away just doesn’t seem like the best idea for right now.

Today, I made a decision.

When the summer ends, I will leave my teaching job and move up to my parents’ house. I will go to school at one of the local universities for a second bachelors degree. This time, in elementary education.

So I’m putting off the whole solo-living in Atlanta plan for now. It’ll still happen, but maybe not for another year or so. I know my friends understand. I know my boyfriend understands. They are all, of course, ok with it and supportive of what I feel I need to do.

It’s not going to be easy, but in the end I know family is worth it.


I’ve been feeling kind of “meh” lately. Between moving and leaving everything I’ve known for the past four years and trying to make this transition into living in Idaho and not being a college student anymore, I have to admit it’s been a little rough.

However, today when I was browsing the TV channels (cause I can do things like that now- no papers to write!) I saw a commercial about education that shared some stats about Idaho. While the commercial was quite sad (we’re ranked 48th in the nation! OUCH!) it also pointed out that although right now I don’t feel like I’m accomplishing much, I actually have done something that not many people do.

As you can watch in this video,

For every 10 high school first-years in Idaho, 8 will graduate from high school.

4 will go to college.

1 will graduate from college.


I am that one.

The teacher in me wants to make sure that in the next generation there are many more than just ONE. The recent grad in me is damn proud to be that one.

A a woman, I know the odds were even greater against me.

As a Latina, I know the odds were WAY higher that I would drop out or get pregnant than graduate from college.

I know it may seem like a small thing, but right now it’s big. And it’s real. And that’s something that I’m proud of.


“But teachers don’t make anything! You won’t be able to afford things!”

I’ve heard these things a few times lately as if I hadn’t thought about the financial implications of my job of choice. For me, money’s not what will determine my future career aspirations. I want to do something I’m passionate about and that I can enjoy. Right now, that’s teaching for me. That may change with time but for now I have a job that I love and that I don’t dread going to work to.

I may not get financial rewards or have fancy things, but I have enough.

And I have them:

2013-04-04 19.39.10 2013-03-05 16.45.03

Though these kids are some that I babysit rather than teach, I still believe that they are helping me to become a better teacher every day. I believe that building relationships with children is essential to being able to teach them and that understanding how they think and learn is incredibly important.

That’s enough for me, for now.

I will be the best teacher I can be. I will be poor and happy.