Substitute Teaching

Typically graduate students have a full schedule filled with homework, classes, internships, and student teaching. Like most college students, most of our wallets are empty and we looking for experience within our field. Thankfully, there are many elementary, middle, and high schools in the Potsdam area. Each of the schools in the neighboring district are always looking for substitute teachers. This opportunity is great for graduate students because they have the opportunity to gain more teaching experience while making extra money. The pay ranges by district from about $85-$100 per day. There are also so many long-term sub opportunities since it is common for teachers to take a medical leave of absence. It is also possible to sub for only half the day. Substitute teaching is beneficial for graduate students because it is not a consistent job. This means that if you are overwhelmed with homework or other obligations, it is not mandatory to work. Each day in the classroom also counts for days towards a professional teaching certificate.

I am glad that I took the opportunity to substitute teach in two different school districts because I have the opportunity to experience different grade levels each day. Even though I am only certified to teach grades Birth-6, I still was able to experience upper grades. Being a substitute teacher makes it easy for me to leave Potsdam on breaks or to visit friends because I can work whenever I am available. I also had the chance to experience the differences between school districts and grade levels. Substitute teaching looks great on a resume and it gives you the opportunity to be a part an active participant of a school district.

As I mentioned, substitute teaching will give you the opportunity to gain experience, rack up teaching days towards professional certification, and extra cash. If you are interested in applying to sub in a school district, most applications are posted on the school district websites.


Teacher Education Student Association (TESA)

There are many different clubs and organizations on the SUNY Potsdam campus; one of which is the Teacher Education Student Association (TESA).

This organization is open to anyone who is interested in learning more about teaching, and would like to receive professional development for their time, as well as interact with other education majors.  Meetings are held bi-weekly and last for about one hour, starting at 7:30pm.  The meetings consist of doing different activities to give back to the community, or having a speaker come in to discuss different topics related to teaching/schools where you receive professional development for the time.

In addition to the bi-weekly meetings, TESA also hosts a professional development conference right here at SUNY Potsdam.  This conference consists of two days where alumni from all over come, some of which are retired teachers or administration, others who are currently teaching or in administration, provide valuable information for when you go into the real world of education.

Their next meeting is held Monday, February 9th at 7:30pm.  This meeting is an ice cream social where everyone will be making Valentine’s Day cards for the local Meals on Wheels, while enjoying some yummy ice cream!

Below is the link for TESA’s Facebook page for TESA where you can find more information about what has been done at past meetings, as well as notifying you of upcoming events.

This organization is a great opportunity for all, and I encourage you to attend the meetings to see everything that they have to offer!

Opera-tunities in Opera Club

Opera-tunities in Opera Club
By: Jennifer Adams

It’s okay to admit that the image you think of when you hear the word “opera” is a large woman with Viking horns a top her head belting out a high note that shatters glass.  Though many of us have this initial image of opera, the truth is, opera is about so much more. Opera is a form of dramatic art through composition.

I’ve been a member of Opera Club at SUNY Potsdam since September 2014.  The club is open to anyone (NOT just Crane students)! Whether you’re a lover of opera, new to opera, or hoping to learn more about opera, Opera Club is the place for you! Not only will you meet great people who are enthusiastic about Opera, you will also learn a great deal about Opera itself.

The Metropolitan Opera HD Live is presented by SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music and the Roxy Theater.  The Roxy presents both the Live Met Opera and its encore performance for numerous operas throughout the Met season.  Opera Club attends these showings as a group, and members also get discounted tickets!

Currently, Opera Club is working on Opera scenes. Members are choosing scenes, singing, staging, directing, and coaching. Even if you’re not so sure about singing, there are plenty of jobs and ways to get involved in helping!

Meetings are Thursday evenings at 6pm. Location is determined on a weekly basis. For more information, please visit our Facebook page!

We really hope to meet you at our next meeting!

Beating the Winter Blues

“April showers bring May flowers,” or at least that’s how the saying goes.  But what if it’s still snowing in April, and even at times in May?  That’s the kind of weather we get here in Potsdam, New York.  Unpredictable to say the least.  One thing that is for sure is the cold, bitter weather that winter brings along with it.  From the first light snow fall of the season to the ice storms that come to follow, knowing how to face the ever changing weather is always important here at SUNY Potsdam.

With temperatures as low as -23°F (-30°C) in the early morning and a potential high of 46°F (7°C) during the sun’s highest point, Potsdam is a place where you need to be prepared for any kind of weather.  It may be odd to see someone wondering around in shorts and a light sweatshirt in early March, but once the weather gets above freezing, everyone comes out from hibernation.  This is when spring may seem to be right around the corner, even if Punxsutawney Phil says we have six more weeks of winter, but that’s not the case.  You never know when “Jack Frost [will come back] nipping on your nose,” for the tenth time around.  But this time, be prepared.

5 Steps to Beating the Winter Blues:

1. Get an Indoor Hobby- Don’t waste those cold, bitter days all bundled up in bed.  Find a hobby that keeps you going, and uses your time wisely.  This would be a great time to put that DIY Pinterest board to use!

2. Be Social- Don’t spend your time alone.  Winter can be depressing enough for some, but it doesn’t have to be when you’re willing to get together with friends. Maybe this is the weekend that you try to break your high score in bowling, or have that Harry Potter movie marathon with friends that you’ve secretly been wanting for weeks.  No matter what it is, I’m sure your left-hand-man is right beside you!

3. Make Someone Smile- With the many opportunities to make someone smile, all around the world, why not have today be the day that you put that smile on someone’s face.  Paying it forward is a great way to do so, and it doesn’t always involve money.  A simple gesture like leaving a positive note on someone’s car window can change anyone’s day!

4. Dress Up- Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean you should only wear heavy layers of dark, drab wool.  Don’t be afraid to wear some color, and even dress up in something other than your pajamas.  You may not have anywhere to go, but why not dress up and have a dinner party with some of your closest friends!

5. Treat Yourself- Whether you have a spa day, get those new pair of heels you’ve been eyeing in the window, or go to the gym so you look great in that bathing suit this summer, take the time to make yourself feel special!

The winter blues can’t keep you down forever, and won’t stop you at all if you just remember that as each week goes by you are one week closer to spring, and soon enough summer!

SUNY Potsdam Graduate Student

Hello! My name is Julie Hollis and I am a graduate student at SUNY Potsdam. I am currently enrolled in the Literacy Specialist program and I plan on graduating with my MSED in May of 2015! I also attended SUNY Potsdam for my undergraduate and earned my BA in Early Childhood/Childhood education with a minor in History. I chose to continue my studies at SUNY Potsdam because the campus has a lot of offer. The professors are very supportive and the campus offers many of opportunities to help me enhance my resume. I felt very comfortable and content at SUNY Potsdam so I decided to stay for my Master’s degree. Continuing my education at Potsdam was one of the best choices that I made and I am excited to start my last semester.

I am from Buffalo, NY and even though I live around a variety of different colleges, I fell in love with Potsdam’s campus. Throughout my whole college experience, I have been actively involved in numerous campus organizations that has enhanced my college experience such as Wellness Advocates, TESA, Active Minds, and Greek life. Graduate students are also encouraged and welcome to join campus organizations. There are also paid opportunities on campus that are available for graduate students such as graduate assistantships.

As a graduate student, I feel that SUNY Potsdam offers so many options to become an active participant on campus. If you have any questions, feel free to contact the Graduate Studies office. Campus tours are offered along with additional information on majors, scholarships, organizations, and more.


What I Learned From My First Day of Student Teaching

Day one of my first full-time student teaching placement, I learned a few tips to share with my teaching peers. Now, I am not and do not claim to be a teaching veteran, but this is fresh in my mind (of just a few hours ago), so if you want a first hand & current perspective, here it goes:

1. Be Prepared

Aside from being on time, dressing professionally, etc.,etc… There is another way you can be prepared on your first day of student teaching. Even if you’re not teaching a lesson or expected to write a lesson plan, be prepared in other ways. It is important to start placement off on the right foot, particularly with your sponsor teacher. Be prepared with questions. Establish your space in the classroom, reiterate expectations, and ask the questions that are making you a little nervous (like what to do at lunch?). Also be prepared to be patient. Your mentor teacher is also adjusting to this scenario, and to having a new person in the classroom. So, have something to keep you ‘busy’ (like making a schedule or checklists) while your teacher may be doing their own thing.

2. Say Hello

Say hi to every teacher, staff, or admin that you pass in the hallways. A smile and ‘hello’ can go a long way with a stranger, especially when that stranger turns out to be the principal or superintendent. It is easier to later introduce yourself if you recognize the person and vice versa. By portraying a positive persona in the public spaces of the school, you are making a name for yourself where people will be talking about you – in a good way.

3. Get Stressed… Then Destress

Allow yourself to get overwhelmed by everything that is new. Allow yourself to be nervous the night before and the day of. There is a lot to absorb on the first day… especially if it is your first time in the building. There is a lot going on that you think you will (but will not) remember, so carry around a pen and paper and take notes. Not only will this boost your professionalism – showing you care enough to write it down – but you will also have some tangible notes about what you need to follow up on. I find this is extra important on the first day because your teacher will probably want to throw tons of resources at you throughout the day. Be sure to star any notes that require attention after school. To destress and cure how overwhelmed you may be, take the first night of placement “off”. Don’t have a Netflix marathon, but but instead just take a night off of planning and stressing. Take your notes and look into the things you were interested in throughout the day. Watch that documentary your teacher says she always shows during the ‘climate change’ unit. From there, create a to-do list, or a few goals for the rest of the week because inevitably there will be some loose ends you want to tie up this week and questions you want to ask your mentor.

4. Ask To Be Introduced

Your teacher may no realize you haven’t met the administration. So if you haven’t, ask your teacher to take you to the office on prep or lunch and get those formal introductions out of the way.

More importantly though, ask to be introduced to your students. Yes, this does sound crazy. But since the first day is usually observation, it can be easy to get lost in the background of the class. Your teacher may not pick up on the students’ whispers of “who is that?”. It is surprising how many classes or days (true story) it can take before being introduced to the students your in the same classroom as. An easy way to bring this up with your mentor teacher is to say; “Would you like to introduce me? Or should I introduce myself?”. Make sure to bring it up with teacher right before the bell so it is fresh in their mind.

5. Develop Your Habits

This is day one. The things your begin on day one will be the things you can refer to as “I’ve done [blank] since my first day of student teaching!”. This may be something like developing an eating habit, drinking a third period tea, stopping to chat with the crossing guard, or high-fiving students as the enter the classroom. Developing a routine is beneficial for both you and the students (if they’re involved) because it is something to rely on. A routine can be something you count on everyday and can calm your nerves on a highly stressful day.

Five little tips I have realized, that I hope help you through your first day. Good luck & have fun!

MST Childhood Education

Are you looking into applying to be an MST in Childhood Education student?  Well then, here is a little bit of information and advice in terms of program requirements and the practicum experience.

As an MST student in Childhood Education (certification in grades 1-6), we all must complete our Practicum in Childhood Education before student teaching. This is where each student is provided with supervised classroom experience.

In this practicum, we must complete at least 100 hours in the field with all aspects of childhood curriculum, as well as at least 15 hours of special education field experience. It is expected at this practicum that you will use the prior knowledge from the classes you have taken in undergraduate, as well as graduate school.

By completing this Practicum, one will learn the modern technologies and curriculum including using the Common Core Standards of NYS. As an MST student, you will learn how to write a proper lesson plan, as well as implement the lesson in real life experience.

The practicum experience is very exciting and useful in the prerequisite to student teaching. I am so grateful for the opportunity the MST in Childhood Education program at SUNY Potsdam has given me to be enrolled in practicum. Here is some things you may need for the first day of Practicum.

5 things you need for your first day of Practicum…

  1. An open mind that is ready to learn
  2. An infectious smile
  3. Professional attire
  4. Pens and pencils
  5. Lunch