Browsing Category: Teaching

The Dreaded PRAXIS

Every new teacher has to take the Dreaded PRAXIS exam!!!!
These are multiple choice question tests that score your knowledge on a certain subject. They are scored out of 200 and each subject has a minimum point that you must pass. You must pass these exams to receive your teaching licence. The main point of these exams is to make sure that teachers actually know and understand the subject they will be teaching.
I had to take 2 exams:
1) World and U.S. History Content Knowledge Test (Content knowledge on history…what happened when, why did this happen, etc)
2) English Language, Literature, and Composition: Content Knowledge Test (content knowledge on literature, authors, understanding text, language and linguistics, composition and rhetoric, as well as pedagogical questions on how to handle students questions/samples and how to teach these)
As you can see, I was very nervous about the English one. History is my major and I was pretty confident in answering questions about history. But, the English one required so much knowledge! I was so nervous.

But…today, I came home to a folder in the mail.
Inside was a Certificate of Excellence….

                      For English!

It states: ETS Recognition of Excellence presented to Tayler Christiansen, In acknowledgement of your outstanding score on the Praxis Series: English Language, Literature, and Composition: Content Knowledge on April 28, 2012. Your exceptional performance earned a score that ranks within the top 15% of all test takers who took this assessment in previous years. This achievement indicates a high level of proficiency in an area critical for professional educators. Congratulations!
YAAAAAAAY!!!!!
My scores: 
History 173/200
English: 193/200

Needless to say, I am soooo stoked!!!!

Tayler is a work at home mom. She does free lance articles and dabbles in graphic design and virtual assisting for bloggers. She spent 3 years as a history and English teacher. Her passions are her husband, two children, history, reading, nature, and her Savior, Jesus Christ.

The Power of a Name

“My name, and yours, and the true name of the sun, or a spring of water, or an unborn child, all are syllables of the great word that is very slowly spoken by the shining of the stars. There is no other power. No other name.” ~ A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula LeGuin

Names have always interested me. The meanings of names. The cultural, historical, religious, or linguistic origin of a name. Even the pronounciation of a name. Why do we name things? What importance is there in it?

Take for instance, my pen name (no, you still don’t know my real name):
Tanney–> origin, me. I made it up. But, it is for numerous reasons…it is an algamation of my first and middle names. But, it is also short for tangerine, my favorite smell, color, fruit, my personality, etc.
Christiansen–> Danish for son of Christian. But break that even further and it means a follower of Christ.

What power is there behind my name? Well, on the one hand, my given name holds me to expectations: I am a Christian.  The name I gave myself gives me power of creativity.

Names have power behind them. That is why they are so special to us. All religions believe this to some extent. Judiasm and Mormonism both believe that God’s name is so special, that we shouldn’t speak it. That is why we call him God or Heavenly Father. But there has to be a further reason why names have power.

In mythology and magical believes, names have power of control. If you know the true name of something and can posess that true name, you can have power over it. Naming is one of the languages of magic. Once you have learned the true name of someone, you can bend them to your will. You can summon creatures of light and dark.

There are many examples in media that I really like that play with this idea of the power of names.

Spirited Away
In this movie, Chihiro stumbles upon a realm of spirits and mythological creatures. To earn her and her parents’ freedom, she must work for Yubaba, the owner of the bathhouse for the spirits. She signs a contract and Yubaba lifts her name off the contract and says Chihiro’s name is hers now. She then recieves a new name of Sen. Sen’s only friend in this world is Haku, Yubaba’s slave/apprentice. He warns her to never forget her real name or she’ll have no hope of escaping. Haku, however, can’t remember his own name, thus, must do the bidding of Yubaba. Chihiro keeps this in mind and eventually helps Haku find his name as well.
Lost Years of Merlin
This is part of a series that describes Merlin’s youth and how he gains the powers that allows him to become known as one of the greatest wizards of all time. One of the 7 songs of Wizardry Merline has to learn is the Song of Naming.
Earthsea Series
This is perhaps, the greatest example of the power of a true name. All magic in this series consists of knowing the true name of something. Thus, the people of this world are very careful to keep their true name secret and go by a more common name. The more true names you know, the more powerful of a wizard you are, but you also have to be able to understand the true name in order to actually control what you are summoning, creating, or controlling.
I think the power of a name is very true, whether magically or religiously, I do believe it. Naming is a power of creation and it has a purpose.

Tayler is a work at home mom. She does free lance articles and dabbles in graphic design and virtual assisting for bloggers. She spent 3 years as a history and English teacher. Her passions are her husband, two children, history, reading, nature, and her Savior, Jesus Christ.

History and Literature

I am a history teaching major and an English teaching minor.
My entire life as been so deeply embedded in these two subjects and I can’t imagince life without either one. In fact, I can’t imagine either subject without the other.

History is a form of story-telling. Has been since the beginning of time. The oral tradition was just that–a way of telling stories before written language. However, it was more than just stories, it was a way to pass down geneology and information as well as myths and legends.
Throughout time, history has influence literature, but literature has also influenced events in history.

I love both subjects so much and am amazed when people can’t see the connection between the two. I can’t wait to become a teacher and teach both subjects. I want to be abel to create an integrated class program. A class for both history and English. A high school version of Humanities.
I feel that is the best way we can learn about ourselves.

History is a novel for which the people is the author.

(Alfred de Vigny, Réflexions sur la Vérité dans l’Art)

Tayler is a work at home mom. She does free lance articles and dabbles in graphic design and virtual assisting for bloggers. She spent 3 years as a history and English teacher. Her passions are her husband, two children, history, reading, nature, and her Savior, Jesus Christ.

"Once Upon A Time"

A poem I wrote about how history is a form of story-telling.

“Once upon a time,”
Starts every story, every fairy tale;
throwing us from the fire in the present
To the smoke of what was, and has been,
 All once upon a time. 

Once upon a time,
There was a princess with hair of fire.
 Gloriana was her name, a future Fairy Queen.
Knights in shining armor came to court
only to be turned away and sent across the sea.
Elizabeth the first ruled mighty England,
All “once upon a time.”

Once upon a time,
A mighty warrior rose from the misty plateau,
Shamans, with their runes, at his side.
Like a mighty plague, his army rode
thundering across the barren waste land.
Genghis Khan almost conquered the world,
All “once upon a time.”

Once upon a time,
A humble, barefoot tribe of forest dwellers
Connected to the spirits of the land,
Were invaded by pale men with lightening sticks,
Only to be saved by an unlikely couple.
Pocahontas meets her John Smith,
All “once upon a time.”

“Once upon a time”
Begins myth and legend, story and song.
“Once upon a time”
Begins our past, our story,
Our history.

Tayler is a work at home mom. She does free lance articles and dabbles in graphic design and virtual assisting for bloggers. She spent 3 years as a history and English teacher. Her passions are her husband, two children, history, reading, nature, and her Savior, Jesus Christ.