Monday, January 21, 2013

Blog Post #1

About Me
Hello, my name is Tonya Fendley.  I live in Fairhope, Alabama with my husband and three children.  My oldest child is in the IB program in high school and plays in the band.  My middle child is in middle school and also plays in the band and attends two dance classes a week, modern lyrical and hip hop.  My youngest child is in elementary school and plays whatever sport is in season.  We have two pets; a dog named Mollie and a cat named Tucker.
There are many things I enjoy doing.  The top thing on my list is spending time with my family.  I also try to schedule one day a week to meet with friends for lunch.  I enjoy reading, listening to music, singing, attending church, swimming, organizing, shopping, decorating, putting together puzzles, playing golf, watching sports and playing fantasy football.
This is my second time attending the University of South Alabama.  The first time I graduated from USA was almost 20 years ago.  I chose USA then because I lived in Loxley and wanted to save money by living at home.  When I made a decision to return to school to pursue a degree in secondary education, it just seemed logical to return to USA.  I chose to enter the field of education because it's what I love.  I have taught children in different volunteer capacities for over 20 years.  I also taught at the preschool level for 7 years and have been a substitute teacher for the Baldwin County school system the past two years.  I love to learn and I love to teach.

My Future Classroom
One day I hope to be the teacher that children will remember as being encouraging, helpful, inspiring and caring. I plan to teach mathematics at the high school level. I hope to find creative ways to teach math. My teaching style will be flexible and motivational and I want each student to know that I am approachable.
My students will learn by listening to my instruction, being encouraged to ask questions, participating in group work time, watching videos of math being applied in cool and interesting ways and completing projects that teach them to build, to create, and to imagine.
There are many tools and resources available to teachers and students due to the internet. Many high school students have computers assigned to them when they begin 9th grade. If this is the case at the high school at which I am employed, then I will set up an email system for communication and have all of the class information online. All of the things we are being introduced to in this course will be very valuable to me as a teacher. My oldest child is in 9th grade. He has been assigned a Macbook and his teacher's use Google and Moodle. He is also required to post to a blog on a weekly basis for his history class. Assignments are downloaded and most of the textbooks are online. He has a planner to keep track of his schedule and when his assignments are due. Sound familiar? I plan to use everything I learn in EDM310 in my future classroom because these are the things that are being implemented now at the high school level.
When I think about my future classroom, the word engaging comes to mind. I want students to be engaged in learning from the time they walk in until it's time to leave. This will be a challenge when it comes to teaching math but I will search for ways to be creative with my style of teaching. I can't imagine anyone falling asleep in my classroom. I want there to be a lot of interaction between myself and the students and among the students.

Dr. Randy Pausch on Time Management
There are so many great lessons in Dr. Pausch's lecture that it's hard to just pick one. I think the one that I like best when it comes to time management is "failing to plan is planning to fail." He suggests that you plan for each day, the week, and the semester but to keep in mind that those plans can and will change. I also like what he points out about brick walls, they "are there for a reason: they let us prove how badly we want things." Instead of letting them stop us or defeat us, we should use brick walls as a motivation to prove to ourselves that we can overcome obstacles and be successful at something about which we are truly passionate. "Don't complain, just work harder."
After watching Dr. Pausch's lecture, I watched his appearance on the Oprah show and his interview with Diane Sawyer. He is a great inspiration. Being faced with only months to live, he truly understood the importance of time management. I think his book, The Last Lecture, would be a great read for everyone. I plan not only to read it but to live it.

Time Management Exercises
I found the article on time management full of useful ideas. I used to be the best at procrastinating. I've become much better at managing my time but still find that the tendency to procrastinate still raises it's ugly head from time to time. I need to be better at making daily lists in order to stay focused on the tasks that are most important and have deadlines. I do use a planner and a phone calendar but discovered several tools in this article that will help me to become an even better organizer of my time. I like the link on the page that takes you to the time management exercise. It will be interesting to see how many hours I spend on different activities during the day and to evaluate where I might be wasting time that could be put to more productive use. Thank you to Pamela Todd for suggesting this article.


  1. "He is also required to post to a blog on a weekly basis for his history class." I need to contact his teacher to see if we can comment on the blogs. Can you give me his/her name and contact information? Thanks.

    You will watch Randy Pausch's Last Lecture later this semester. It is a powerful and moving video!

    My wife is also a golfer. A very good golfer! Twice champion of the Ladies Annual Tournament at TimberCreek. Shoots in the low 80s with high 70s five or six times a year.

    Well written. Welcome to EDM310!

  2. Justin Cometti is the History teacher at Fairhope High School. From the school web page it sounds as though he is a recent graduate of the University of South Alabama in Secondary Education/Social Studies. Maybe he acquired his teaching methods in EDM 310? His email address is

    I did watch "The Last Lecture" and was moved to tears...very powerful!

    I wish I could say that my golf skills were as amazing as your wife's but unfortunately I only have time right now to play a few times a year. It is something my husband and I enjoy doing together and need to make more time for. I've never played at TimberCreek; we usually play Quail Creek because it is closer to where we live. I think all golf courses are beautiful and who doesn't like to drive around in a golf cart?

    Thank you for the feedback and the welcome!

  3. Tonya,
    My name is Leah Garvens. I cannot express to you how envious I am of your son. I wish that I was given the same opportunities to use blogs and other internet resources similar to those we both are using now. Another thing I am jealous of applies to you, as well as Dr. Strange's wife. I have wanted to learn how to play golf for years, but have yet to jump into the sport. I have played volleyball and soccer almost all of my life. The athletics scene is truly enthralling. Your first post is quite intriguing, and hopefully I will be able to meet you over this semester.

  4. Kia ora Tonya, You recently visited my blog and kindly left me feedback which I greatly appreciate. You have no idea what it means to people who teach at the far reaches of the earth to connect with learners such as yourself who are embarking on your careers and have much to offer.

    I am pleased to read that you are entering a Maths teaching career. Our young people so deserve to have 21st century teachers who use technology to open up the subject in engaging ways. So many teachers my age think that scanning a Maths text and putting it online is exciting - when the truth is it is a dull as a page of maths text was back in the 30s or 40s or 50s or......

    I look forward to following your journey in EDM310 as you explore the myriad of ways available to bring Maths alive for the young people you will spend your days with.

    Auckland, NZ