Monthly Archives: March 2018

Say YES! To Elementary Clinical

Blog Yes Clinical Group 2018

SMSU School of Education takes pride in the clinical experiences we offer to our teacher candidates. From the time they are freshman in ED 101 Introduction to Education to when they are student teaching at the end of their teacher preparation program, our teacher candidates get to be in the classrooms quite often and practice what it is truly like to be a teacher. And, we all know that practice makes perfect.

An SMSU field experience highlight is our 2-day clinical during the teacher candidates’ junior year. The secondary majors complete this 2-day experience during the fall. The elementary education majors complete the 2-day clinical in the spring as the capstone of their classroom management course (although it will now be during the fall beginning 2018-2019 school year).

Austin, who is an elementary education major from Jackson, MN, described clinical the best when he wrote, “clinical was the most stressful but satisfying two days of my life.” Thank you for that, Mr. Olson! Well penned! I guarantee you will never forget it. I graduated over 30-plus years ago from SMSU (SSU at that time), and I still remember my clinical experience like it was just yesterday.

This year was an exceptional clinical year as our SMSU teacher candidates were completing their last week of pre-student teaching the week prior to clinical. Throw in a few unexpected snow days to cause them to have to make up that time, and these future teachers learned how to stretch and grow with unpredictable circumstances.

When all is said and done, the best reaction from all teacher candidates (and the professors of the Classroom Management courses) was the passionately charged fist pump in the air and a LOUD ecstatic “YES!” The on-campus teacher candidates did it.

Up next…the 2 + 2 teacher candidates, traveling from all over the state of MN, will arrive in Marshall in April to participate in their special 2-day clinical. Best wishes to all of you and to your professor. You too, will give the universal “YES!” fist pump in the air when you successfully complete these two exhausting days.

I asked my students to write down fun stories from their 2-day experience. While I’d love to share all of them, I share just one as it is the first time in over 16 years this has happened during my tenure as the ED 423 Classroom Management professor.

“In the last two minutes of the first day, a student pulled out his tooth. He didn’t say anything. We didn’t notice until the other students told us. We didn’t have any plastic bags in the classroom. We had to find some paper towels to wrap it up in.”

I guess next year I’ll share with my teacher candidates what to do if a student loses a tooth. 😉

Life and teaching are like your 2-day clinical, teacher candidates. There will be ups and downs. There will be best moments and worst moments. There will be unexpected twists and turns. However…knowing that you can stretch and grow from life and all teaching experiences and survive them; then you can give an enthusiastic fist pump in the air and say “YES!” Yes to giving your all. YES to survival. YES to a job well done! YES to the best profession on Earth. YES to SMSU School of Education. Congrats to all of you! 🙂

Blog YES Lucy

YES! 😀


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Stay Calm & Clinical Congrats!
Profs Dr. Wendy & Dr. V. 

I Can Only Imagine What it Will Be Like

Blog Imagine

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I cannot imagine what he went through while growing up with his father after his mom left them both behind.

Physical abuse. Verbal abuse. Emotional abuse. Psychological abuse.

Breaks my heart. I just cannot imagine. What causes a dad to do this to his own child?

My husband and I went to see the movie I Can Only Imagine a few days ago. It is a moving story about Bart Millard’s life growing up. Who is Bart? He is the lead singer of the Christian band MercyMe.

Bart penned the well-known song I Can Only Imagine which has gone platinum twice. Bart witnessed God’s miracle when his dad was transformed. Bart’s message is this: “If God can change my dad who was a monster, God can change anyone.” Grace and forgiveness win every time.

At his dad’s funeral, Bart’s grandma made the comment “I can only imagine what your dad is seeing right now.” From that humble statement, the song I Can Only Imagine was born. It took 10 minutes for Bart to write the words to this touching song that has netted over 2 million digital downloads and has probably been played at many, many, many funerals over the years.

My hubby and I highly recommend the movie. Warning…take Kleenex. The jam-packed theater (grateful we got to sit together) was sniffling simultaneously. I wanted to offer a Kleenex to the stranger sitting next to me but I used my last one. 😮

On a fun note…the gal who played Bart’s girlfriend, Shannon (actress Madeline Carroll), looks a lot like one of my current SMSU students. When I sent Calisha an email to let her know this, she thanked me and said several people have told her that. Fun! 🙂

We give this movie a five-star rating. Go! Bring your tissue. Be touched. We believe you will enjoy it as much as we did.

Stay Calm & Imagine!
Profs Dr. Wendy. & Dr. V.

A Thank You to My Principal

blog Thank you Principal

Dear Mr. Ken Stanek:

I just want to say thank you for giving this hometown girl a chance at being a teacher. I still remember the local newspaper’s article shortly after you offered me the 3rd grade position replacing Lyla Bracken. “School Board Questions Principal’s Hiring Policy.”

Holy cow. I thought I was going to be fired before I even got started. Back then, the school board did not believe in hiring hometown people. My, how things have changed. Thank goodness! 🙂

Now we encourage our hometown kids to stay or come back after high school. You were ahead of the game, sir. So…from the bottom of my heart, I sincerely say thank you for believing in me! Thank you for having my back those years you were in charge.

I now teach college students how to be teachers, Mr. Stanek. I still love what I do. One of the best honors for me though, is that I have had the opportunity to share my educational passion with your two granddaughters, Kelsey and Sarah. What a privilege for me to pass on my passion and enthusiasm for this profession to your two lovely granddaughters. Honored.

You will never guess what I did the other day, Mr. Stanek. Give up?

I went to my TRA retirement meeting. Yes, I reach the Rule of 90 and can retire in September of this year. Yes, you read that correctly! This year…2018. I am just as shocked as you are. Where did that time go?

I will not retire though, Mr. Stanek! I am not ready yet. Even after 31 years of being in education, I still LOVE what I do. I still get excited every day to go to school. I still enjoy serving the students. I still want to listen to what they did over their break.  I still work late hours to get assignments corrected and that is okay. I still enjoy finding new ideas to try out in my classroom. I still appreciate learning from other educators. Nope, not ready yet. 🙂

I remember when you retired, sir. It was a time that the Teacher Retirement Association offered an early retirement incentive. You jumped on the opportunity, and I think you were a young 55 at the time. Do I have that right?

I do not blame you. Being a principal is tough. I did that gig for a short time. Educational leadership is hard. Being an educator comes with many challenges. Please know that I believed you were very good at what you did! I appreciated you then, and I appreciate you now.

Thank you for everything, Mr. Stanek. Thank you for taking a chance on a small town girl who just wanted the opportunity to show the community I could be a good teacher. And my journey from teacher to principal to professor is partially because of you and your encouragement…never underestimate the difference you made in my life.

Hugs to you, sir! God bless always.

blog thank a principal

Stay Calm & Thank you, Mr. Stanek!
Profs Dr. Wendy & Dr. V.