Author Archives: maryreidmunford

Job Searching Advice

In a one-year program, it is inevitable that springtime means job hunting season. Luckily, there are tons of resources for you if you just GET STARTED.

  1. HGSE has a whole Career Services office that wants to help you out. Make an appointment with them to see how to begin.
  2. If you’re aiming to go into the classroom or K-12 administration, spend time throughout the year visiting schools. I spent a day at Vassal Lane Upper School , a public middle school in Cambridge and went to exhibitions of learning at Meridian Academy , a 7-12 independent school in Jamaica Plain. I am completing a teaching practicum at a Boston Public School, so I have gotten to see a wide array of classrooms. I am always humbled by how much there is to learn from visiting a new environment.
  3. Take classes and/or join clubs that demonstrate your skills and interests. Leverage that in your cover letter and interviews to demonstrate your commitment to growth and learning.
  4. Finalize your resume and a general cover letter over Winter Break. No one wants to spend hours tweaking this once the semester is in full swing (though let’s be real, we all end up doing it.)
  5. Make a list of places where you would like to apply, and then APPLY! Set a goal – one a day? One per week? You know your own schedule. Keep your options open at the beginning of your search; sometimes you don’t know the right fit until you interview or visit.
  6. Reach out personally to contacts at that school, business, or organization. Try to set up an informational interview or do whatever you can to (politely!) show interest.
  7. Stay optimistic and pro-active; reach out for help when you need it. Career Services wants nothing more than for all of us to land a dream job, so use their expertise and positive energy to your advantage. Good luck!

Mary Reid Munford is a Master’s of Education candidate in the Teacher Education Program, pursuing licensure as a high school English teacher. She has worked in schools in New Orleans, Mississippi, Colorado, and southern Africa and is interested in how experiential education can make academics come alive for a wide range of students.

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Dimensions of Diversity

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Our ELL class with three students and a teacher from Boston International High School/Newcomers Academy

The teachers and reading specialists at HGSE all have to complete state requirements to earn licensure. One of these requirements is completion of a 2-credit course about ELLs, or English Language Learners. T-210Z1B Dimensions of Diversity: English Language Learners incorporates a mixture of theory and practice.

Everyone in the class is embedded in a practicum, either in a full-time student teaching role or as a reading specialist at a local school. In addition to reading the research about ELLs, we completed assignments to formally observe an ELL class and to interview an ELL about their experience coming to the US, joining a new school system, and learning English.

In our final class session, our instructor, Shireen Al-Adeimi, invited a panel of students and one teacher from Boston International High School and Newcomers Academy. (They have a post on their homepage about their visit to a previous T-210Z1B class!) They shared their experiences and answered our questions before participating in small group mini-lessons. It was really valuable to get feedback from a student; she pointed out strengths and weaknesses in my lesson from the ELL perspective.

 

Mary Reid Munford is a Master’s of Education candidate in the Teacher Education Program, pursuing licensure as a high school English teacher. She has worked in schools in New Orleans, Mississippi, Colorado, and southern Africa and is interested in how experiential education can make academics come alive for a wide range of students.

Getting Practical with a Practicum

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As a TEP student, we are required to complete a semester of full-time student teaching. Other HGSE programs have practicum requirements such as L&L, PSP, and SLP. In TEP, this spring, I am only taking one half-credit course at HGSE as I spend most of each day at Brighton High School. I have been shadowing, assisting, and teaching in a 10th grade ELA classroom at Brighton since September. In the fall, I helped out two days a week in addition to taking four classes at HGSE. This semester, I am working there full-time for my practicum. While this is a requirement to get licensed to teach in Massachusetts public schools, it is also a key reason that I want to attend graduate school: I wanted to learn more educational theory and add depth to my “teacher toolbox,” but I also wanted to practice incorporating these tools and theories into practice. I wouldn’t be happy in a totally theoretical program.

I am working with a Brighton teacher as my mentor, and she is gradually releasing the reins as I take more and more responsibility in the classroom. I also have an advisor from HGSE, a former teacher and current Ph.D. student, who visits for structured observations and debriefs to help me reflect on my teaching.

After being a grad student in summer school and for a fall semester at Harvard, I now feel like much more of a teacher.

Mary Reid Munford is a Master’s of Education candidate in the Teacher Education Program, pursuing licensure as a high school English teacher. She has worked in schools in New Orleans, Mississippi, Colorado, and southern Africa and is interested in how experiential education can make academics come alive for a wide range of students.

Cross-registering

While I am happily enrolled at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, one of the primary reasons I chose HGSE over other graduate programs was the access I would have to other schools within the Harvard system – and even across Boston. HGSE students can cross-register in courses within Harvard’s umbrella, from taking a history class in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences to enrolling in an environmental health class at the Chan School of Public Health, and they can also take courses at Tufts’ Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and the Episcopal Divinity School.

I’ve taken advantage of this twice, and both times it has added to my development as an educator. In the fall, I took an undergraduate English course – I am an English teacher, after all – and deepened my understanding of American literature.

This winter, I took a two-week January Term class on Presidential Elections at the Kennedy School of Government with Elaine Kamarck, a veteran of several presidential election campaigns. She also headed President Clinton’s National Performance Review, taught at the Kennedy School for fifteen years, now serves as the Director of the Brookings Center on Management and Leadership… you get the point: She’s an expert in the field and a seasoned instructor. (I still can’t get over being able to take classes with experts like this!)

Class highlights:

  • Learning from fellow graduate students from across Harvard, Tufts, and MIT with backgrounds in law, academia, law enforcement, education, military, foreign government, and finance/business. (Our class was pleasantly cozy with about 20 students.)
  • Hearing from Joe Klein, a preeminent political journalists for Time and a veteran observer of presidential campaigns – this is his 12th! He stopped by on his way up to New Hampshire.
  • Untangling our confusing system of nominating and electing a president.
  • Reading from a list that mixed political science, journalism, and history.
  • Engaging in-class debates about how this history and policy connects to the 2016 election.
  • Organizing and debriefing field trips to New Hampshire to engage in the primary season there. Some of us served as “participant observers” to rallies, town halls, or house parties for Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush while others canvassed for Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton.
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Jeb Bush, 2016 Presidential Candidate – photo by Mary Reid Munford

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Canvassing for 2016 Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders – photo by Wei Luo

 

 Mary Reid Munford is a Master’s of Education candidate in the Teacher Education Program, pursuing licensure as a high school English teacher. She has worked in schools in New Orleans, Mississippi, Colorado, and southern Africa and is interested in how experiential education can make academics come alive for a wide range of students.

Why I Applied to HGSE’s Teacher Education Program

Thinking of becoming a teacher? Here’s why the Teacher Education Program (TEP) was a good fit for me:

  1. Our program begins in the summer, so we had a few months with TEP-only classes and the campus to ourselves!
  2. TEP allows me to earn a master’s degree and Massachusetts teacher licensure in 11 months.
  3. Our coursework is nicely balanced between teaching and learning, and our responsibility in the classroom ramps up slowly. We help teach in a local summer school, teach with a mentor at a local school for two days a week in the fall, and then take over teaching in that classroom for the spring term. Meanwhile, I am taking other Harvard classes through the summer and fall.
  4. We are allowed to cross-register for classes at several of the Harvard Schools (including the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Law School, etc.) as well as certain classes at MIT or the Tufts Fletcher School.
  5. We get to take 3+ electives in addition to required coursework. This allows me to follow my own academic interests in a way that some other licensure/master’s programs don’t allow. For example, I’m an English teacher, so I was excited to be able to take an American Literature class!
  6. I have three – count ’em – mentors/advisors. It’s rare that I have to ask for support as those structures are already in place!
  7. HGSE is really welcoming for diverse learning styles and many of us are supported by the Access & Disability Services  office.
  8. Our cohort is only 25 students, so we are a relatively close-knit crew. We get together for anything from Halloween parties to trivia nights to football tailgates.
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    Some of the TEP ’16 cohort at a weekend BBQ

    Mary Reid Munford is a Master’s of Education candidate in the Teacher Education Program, pursuing licensure as a high school English teacher. She has worked in schools in New Orleans, Mississippi, Colorado, and southern Africa and is interested in how experiential education can make academics come alive for a wide range of students.

How to Have Fun as a Grad Student (and Still Save Money)

Going back to graduate school was a tricky financial decision for me. I’d been working for a few years, and while I couldn’t wait to get back in the classroom, I also struggled to imagine the financial reality of a year without a paycheck. You can check out the HGSE Financial Aid Office site for more information on that side of things, but for now, let’s focus on how to have fun on a budget in Cambridge.

  1. There are tons of cheap or free events within the HGSE and Harvard community. Join the HGSE student Facebook page, plan events through your cohort’s social council, and pay attention to the HGSE weekly email bulletin.
  2. Boston, Cambridge, and neighboring Somerville are FULL of students, so take advantage of deals across the city. Use your student ID for free entrance to museums like the Museum of Fine Arts and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, and enjoy student discounts at stores and restaurants all over the city, from J. Crew to Burger King to the legendary Boston Duck Tours.
  3. Find Harvard-only discounts through Outings & Innings. I’ve gotten 20% off theater tickets; friends have snagged cheap seats at Red Sox games or even movie tickets. fenway
  4. Enjoy eating and drinking out without breaking the bank! Try Grendel’s half-price food menu from 5-7:30 each night, or enjoy affordable food and drink at Harvard’s Cambridge Queen’s Head Pub.

Mary Reid Munford is a Master’s of Education candidate in the Teacher Education Program, pursuing licensure as a high school English teacher. She has worked in schools in New Orleans, Mississippi, Colorado, and southern Africa and is interested in how experiential education can make academics come alive for a wide range of students.

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