Henry Adams once claimed, â€œA teacher affects eternity; [she] can never tell where [her] influence stopsâ€. Although Adamsâ€™ word choice only pertained to the male teachers, it can only be assumed he believed any teacher could achieve this. In order to be a successful teacher, accomplishing a lifelong affect on a studentâ€™s life is a necessity. Adamsâ€™ quote describes my belief in teaching quite perfectly, and my experiences during service learning provides evidence for his statement. These experiences have only added to reinforcing my decision to choose teaching as my profession.My service learning took place at two different schools. My very first experience was through Sherman Elementary School. Unfortunately, only having one day there constricted me from gaining the full experience of the school. However, the schoolâ€™s principal amazed me with his determination for improving their academics and environment. The school seemed fairly new, like most of Toledo Public Schools. His passion was contagious, and his heart was truly in it for these kids. The environment at that school had a very welcoming vibe, and the students were all eager to work with us.It seemed like all these schools, who were struggling to keep their academic level at an acceptable status, just needed someone to be confident in them. Teaching at a less developed school like this one definitely appeals to me. I sat in a sixth grade classroom momentarily that day, because the principal had taken up most of our time with a tour. The teacher was very sweet, and had good control on students who liked to test her patience. Although I believe that I could have benefited tremendously from that experience, I accepted my move to another school.I am currently fulfilling my service learning hours at Keyser Elementary. The environment at Sherman Elementary and Keyser differ dramatically. The staff at Keyser was usually very disorganized and seemed unprepared for our visit each week. The Bowling Green students and I would file into their cafeteria, find a spot on one of the folding tables, and wait for students to be sent down to be tutored. The first student I had was a third grader named Marcus. Although on occasion he would be absent, he was my main student for the first part of our time at Keyser.Marcus is a very quiet boy, but once he warmed up to me I learned all his favorite activities. Each week, Marcus and I read a story. Reading is the only thing I have done with Marcus. His reading skill was below average because of abundant reading issues with inconsistency and vocabulary. Up until a few sessions ago, my second studentâ€™s name was Keivon. He is a second grader and has the opposite personality as Marcus. He looked at his trip to the cafeteria as an escape from his classroom. Getting him on task was my first job, and then reading came after that.We also never strayed from the subject of Reading. It was the same thing every week. Keivon had an excellent reading skill, and always comprehended what he read. However, the past few sessions I have been sitting in a Special Education classroom, to help me decide if I would like to specialize in that area. I was very excited to get the opportunity to work in a classroom. The students and teacher were very welcoming to me, and seemed eager to have a new face in their room. These students were easily distracted and had definite behavioral problems.The teacher barely got through her sentences without an interruption. I never worked one on one with students until my most recent experience. As a result of my experiences at Keyser Elementary, my expectations did not match the reality of my situation. I expected to be in the classroom throughout my whole service learning. I was expecting to be able to absorb the everyday experience of teachers in their classrooms and learn from them. If I would not had asked to be placed in a Special Education classroom, I never would have experienced the environment of the classroom.Although I feel as if other sections were more fortunate in their experiences, I still thoroughly benefited from mine. Furthermore, I believe no experience is an unpleasant one, always a great opportunity to learn. In my first experience with Marcus, I helped him review the Reading section of the Ohio Proficiency Tests. He struggled with having a fluent reading pattern, along with confusion on numerous words. I encouraged the technique of breaking up the word and sounding each part out, and then putting the whole thing together.He seemed to benefit from this technique, and his reading fluency evened out. Reading and Language Arts have always been my strong point in school, so I felt I had the proper knowledge of the content to help Marcus understand the test. Kauchak and Eggen (2009), report that having a detailed understanding of the content one will teach improves the quality of how the teach it and how the student learns (p. 15). In my most recent experience, I helped a few students with dependent and independent clauses. Again, this content is very familiar to me and I have a detailed understanding for the clauses as well.This also demonstrates Ohio Standards for the Teaching Professionâ€™s (OSTP) second standard, which states being familiar with content is a responsibility for the teacher (Standard 2). Additionally, I felt my overall experience at Keyser gave me a side of teacher collaboration that I did not expect. Whenever the Bowling Green students arrived at Keyser, we seemed like more of a burden than beneficial for the school. There would be times when the administrators would forget we were coming, and it was evident the school had a lot of communication problem.With Sherman Elementary, I felt the principal and the school all collaborated really well with each other, and they all had positive energy that promoted student learning to the maximum. Additionally, the principal made the effort to reach out to the community and keep everyone involved. Both schools demonstrated how they collaborated and communicated, which aligns with standard six (Standard 6). However, Keyser Elementary failed to meet up to the standard, whereas Sherman Elementary succeeded it. To further expand upon Sherman Elementary Schoolâ€™s excellence, I believe they created a very encouraging environment.For OSTPâ€™s standard five, the main idea is that â€œteachers create learning environments that promote high levels of learning and achievement for all studentsâ€ (Standard 5). In my one-day experience at the school, I felt that the school implemented a very productive learning environment. In past years, the school had been categorized as an â€œacademic emergencyâ€ school. However, they have been creating programs like â€œParents Power Hourâ€ where they allow the parents to come into the school and learn about their studentsâ€™ progress in school.The principal also shares some news about the schools progress and this helps the parents get a feel for what their child is learning. Additionally whenever the principal shouted, â€œWhatâ€™s that smell,â€ the students would shout â€œSherman pride! â€ The environment and school spirit in that school was contagious. The sixth grade teacher I encountered deeply cared for her students, and in the ten minutes I spent with her I already knew she promoted a successful learning environment. She led her students through a greeting activity where each student was greeted properly and in a mature manner, and then they also shared something they were proud of.This made the classroom climate very positive, which is an essential key to a productive learning environment (Kauchak and Eggen, 2009, p. 236). The students were all supportive of each otherâ€™s proud moments, and I believe that was a good start to a productive learning day. As a result of my experience within an actual classroom being very limited, I lost the opportunity to witness the teacher delivering their instruction. My hope was to learn about how a teacher effectively instructs her students, which fits in OSTPâ€™s standard four (Standard 4). However, I did encounter an effective instruction within the Special Education class.On my most recent experience, the teacher was reviewing Christopher Columbusâ€™ journey to the New World. To limit the lesson to her lecture would not have given the students a full understanding of the journey. Therefore, the teacher brought the globe to the front of class and physically explains the journey by tracing his journey on the globe. Having the lecture along with the demonstration on the globe proved to be much more effective than the lecture alone. As previously stated, all of my experiences have only reinforced my decision to continue on the path of becoming a teacher.I witnessed a positively charged environment and one that did not have such delight. However, when I am a teacher in the future, I will be positive no matter what type of school I am in, and promote the learning environment my students deserve. I plan on continuing my expansion with the content I intend to teach, therefore my students will gain the ultimate learning experience with me as their teacher. I believe encouraging, teaching, caring, communicating, and believing in my students will benefit them tremendously. As a teacher, itâ€™s all in a days work.
Although prescription drugs are not harmful if used correctly, prescription drug abuse is high in teenagers. Most parents would never think their teenagers are helping themselves to prescription medicine sitting on ones counter. The truth is, prescription drug abuse in teenagers has become very common nowadays. The drugs are easily accessible at home, or cheap to buy at school. They are highly addictive and can even cause death. Putting oneâ€™s prescriptions in a safe place may save a childs life. Prescription drug addiction usually starts with experimentation. Teenagers may be trying prescription drugs because their friends are doing it or it may just be out of curiosity. Some teenagers will turn to prescription drugs to forget their problems. As the addiction progresses, it becomes harder and harder to stop using the prescription drugs (Smith, 2010). Experimentation rarely leads to a good outcome. If oneâ€™s child starts with a simple experiment of prescription drug use, odds are it will ultimately end with addiction. Smith (2010), states â€œAddiction is a complex disorder characterized by compulsive drug use. People who are addicted feel an overwhelming, uncontrollable need for drugsâ€ (Drug abuse and addiction, para. 1). When one has repeated drug use it will permanently alter the brain. The long-lasting effect on the brain changes ones ability to think, use good judgment, control ones behavior, or feel normal without the drug. It is the drug cravings and compulsions to use that make the addiction so powerful. These cravings and compulsions to use are partly cause by the changes the drugs make to oneâ€™s brain (Smith, 2010). The average prescription drug abuser will start between the ages of 12 and 17. Every day about 2,500 teenagers in this age group abuse a prescription drug for the first time (Havens, 2009). â€œThe number of high school students who are abusing prescription pain relievers such as oxycodone (OxyCotin), a potent and highly addictive opiate, or sedative is on the riseâ€ (Freedman, (2006), para. 3). Stimulants are the most common used, next is opiates, followed by tranquilizers, and then sedatives (Parenting Teens, 2005). The pain relievers such as Vicoden or OxyCotin are used to achieve a high, whereas the sedatives such as Xanax and Valium are used to relax or calm. These drugs can lead to dependence and addiction. Stimulants such as Adderall, Ritalin, Dexedrine, or Provigil decrease ones appetite but increases ones alertness and attention. These are dangerous because they can cause addiction, seizures, or heart attacks. Stimulants are often used to lose weight of for studying. Steroids are used to built ones bodies or promote athletic performance. The dangers involved in consuming steroids are mental and physical health effects as well as serious sexual effects (Havens, 2009). Findings from a 2005 survey conducted by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health â€œindicates that approximately 21% of the U. S. population age 12 and older report using any type of prescription drug nonmedically in their lifetime, 16% report us of opiate-type pain killers, 8% report tranquilizer use, 8% report stimulant use, and 2% report sedative useâ€ (Ford, 2008, para. 10). The study also found that substance abuse can cause users to offend the law as well as impair good judgment. However, it has been found that the violations of the law are followed by the abuse of prescription drugs, or other illegal substances. Therefore if oneâ€™s teenager is addicted to prescription drugs, legal difficulties will probably follow. The researchers believe substance abuse is a definite road to a delinquent lifestyle (Ford, 2008). Reported prescription drug abuse by high school seniors in 2005 Parenting Teens (2005). According to Freedman (2006), an 18-year-old who lives in San Francisco believes as long as the prescription medication is taken properly, it is much safer than any street drug. According to the findings of the Partnership for a Drug-Free America study, forty percent said prescription were much safer than illegal drugs; while 31 percent said that there was nothing wrong with using prescription drugs once in a whileâ€ (â€œPrescription-Drug Use by Teens,â€ (2006), para. 1). Teenagers think that because a medication has a prescription for an individual, it makes it safe for everyone. Several factors are involved in prescribing certain medications such as medical conditions, age, other prescriptions on may be taking and the diagnosis of the individual. Most teenagers do not consider these factors when helping themselves to medications prescribed to someone else. Prescription drugs are easy for a teenager to acquire either from their doctors or from their own medicine cabinets. Most parents are not aware of the risks involved in leaving a bottle of prescription medication lying on the counter for everyone to have access. It will start with taking one or two at a time and then the teenager ultimately proceeds to steeling the entire bottle, buying the prescription medications at school from classmates or even lying to their doctors to obtain their own prescriptions. The increasing popularity of nonmedical prescription drug use is based on the putative advantages of prescription drugs over â€œstreetâ€ drugs: the drugs are easier to obtain, there is less likelihood of arrest, use is more socially accepted, and there is a perception the prescription drugs are saferâ€ (Ford, (2008), para. 10). Prevention is the best tool concerning teenagers and prescription drug abuse. Havens, (2009), â€œMost teenagers say parents are not discussing the dangers of prescription drugs with themâ€ (6 Steps to Prevent Prescription Drug Abuse in Teens, para. ). It is the parentâ€™s responsibility to monitor closely the prescription medication in the home and purchase a lock box if necessary to keep oneâ€™s teenager safe. One needs to educate oneâ€™s teenagers in the dangers of prescription medication and the factors that go into prescribing those medications to each individual. Take it as far as asking the family physician to speak with oneâ€™s teenager if necessary. Sometimes they listen to strangers better than their own parents. Take the time to ensure there are no or out-of-date medications in the home. If these medications are no longer needed, dispose of them properly by flushing those (Havens, 2009). Parents are not always aware of how dangerous their own medication can be to their teenagers. MSNBC (2010). Parents also need to educate themselves in the signs associated with prescription drug abuse. Some of the thing one needs to watch for with their teenager behavior is neglecting responsibilities, getting into legal trouble, and even problems with the relationships with oneâ€™s friends. If ones teenager is starting to fall on school grades, not do chores at home, or even skipping school a pattern of neglecting responsibilities in beginning to develop. Behavior to watch for in relationships with friends would be losing longtime friends, and sometimes fist fighting with them. One may also be fighting more than usual with oneâ€™s siblings or ones boss at the job. The signs of legal trouble can be anywhere from simple disorderly conduct to any type of major crime. If ones teenager suddenly becomes involved with the law, something is wrong (Smith, 2010). The most noticeable physical signs of a prescription drug addiction is if ones pupils are bigger or smaller than normal, ones eyes are bloodshot, grooming habit deteriorate, unusual odor on breath or clothing, slurred speech, bad coordination, and tremors (Smith, 2010). Psychological warnings one can detect are (Smith, 2010), â€œUnexplained change in personality or attitude, sudden mood swings, irritability, or anger outbursts, periods of unusual hyperactivity, agitation, or giddiness, lack of motivation; appears lethargic or â€œspaced outâ€, appears fearful, anxious, or paranoid, with no reasonâ€ (Drug abuse and addiction, para. 9). Warning signs that tend to show more in teenagers are when one starts being secretive about their friends, one has a new interest in oneâ€™s clothing styles, and ones teenager is suddenly in need or more privacy then usual. If one has money, valuables, or prescription medication missing, one may need to consider the possibility of oneâ€™s teenager developing a prescription drug addiction. Other common signs are depression, withdrawing from the family, using incense to hide the smell, or eye drops to cover the dilated or bloodshot (Smith, 2010). Drug rehabilitation can be a costly, but necessary, adventure. According to ChooseHelp, (2010), â€œthe professional staff involvement at any comprehensive and quality rehab facility disallows bargain treatment, and you need to be prepared to spend a significant amount of money to get a quality and effective treatment program (The Cost of Drug Rehab, para. 3). â€ Considering all cost involved in housing, feeding, drug therapies, and professional involvement, prices can range from a few thousand dollars a month all the way up to $30,000 per month (ChooseHelp, 2010). Several insurance companies will absorb most of the financial burden. One needs to contact oneâ€™s private insurance company and receive all details pertaining to this type of treatment. If one contacts oneâ€™s local State Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation Council, there are programs available to those that cannot pay nor have any insurance. One needs to take into consideration the seriousness of this addiction. When it involves a prescription drug addiction, one cannot let the cost be a factor in the determination of the treatment. According to ChooseHelp (2010), â€œfamily programs can help to heal a family harmed by the destruction and heartache of abuse; and bring back a healthier dynamic to the family as a whole (Families Need to be a Part of the Process, para. 3). â€ One needs to decide how much family involvement will be in the rehab process. Family involvement is extremely important not only for the family but for the addict as well. When family member are learning about the addiction from trained professionals as well as other families facing the same situation, families are taught what is most beneficial for the teen and it assures the family that they are not esponsible for the addiction (ChooseHelp, 2010). When seeking a prescription drug treatment center for teenager one needs to consider a program involving patient education as well as family education. The program should offer counseling sessions with a therapist or psychologist as well as peer group session involving several families. One needs to choose a facility close to home to achieve adequate family involvement (ChooseHelp, 2010). When the rehabilitation program is successfully completed it is also important to continue care in an outside group such as Alcohol Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous. Information for these meetings can be obtained in oneâ€™s local phone book. If the teenager in the home has been acting differently and medication is running out sooner than usual, take the steps necessary to help him or her. Admitting he or she may be addicted to prescription drugs is not easy but the help one can receive for him or her may save his or her life. Pay attention to the warning signs, ask questions at the doctor appointments and try not to have addictive medication prescribed to oneâ€™s child, especially if the child has had a problem in the past with any type of addiction. Be careful where prescription medications are located and consider investing in a lock box. It may be a decision that saves ones teenagersâ€™ life. If one discovers oneâ€™s teenager has a prescription drug addiction, or any other addiction, do not be afraid to seek help. Money does not need to be an issue in saving ones life. References http://www.choosehelp.com/drug-rehab/families-need-to-be-a-part-of-the-process http://www.choosehelp.com/drug-rehab/the-costs-of-drug-rehab http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/12803776/ns/health-addictions/
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