Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Ethics and Thunder Storms

The class stated off with some more Newsworthy Presentations. Kisa tried to show us a video of Marrisa Meyer, Yahoo!'s new CEO but due to technical difficulties, we weren't able to watch it in the morning. That was a bummer. I've been hearing quite a lot about her but I never actually saw her face before. So we went on with some more presentations until Angela Romans, our last guest speaker, came in to talk to the whole class.
She earned her Master's Degree at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and her Bachelor's Degree in Biomedical Engineering at Harvard College. She decided that she wanted to be an educator, so she pursued that path. Eventually, she became a teacher and also worked in Brown's Admissions office for 11 years. She also worked with a Diploma Plus, an educational organization that aims to prepare young students for a brighter future. Currently, she is working for the Mayor of Rhode Island as a Senior Adviser on education. We talked a lot about low-performing schools and how teachers are in the middle of the budget crisis in many states. I got to share what it's like to be in a 'turn around' school since De Anza High School was labeled as a school on California's bottom 5% list a couple of years ago. It's been a whirlwind, honestly. We went from having a lot of teachers that had been teacher there for 10 plus years to welcoming brand new teachers from all over the country and a whole new set of admins. I think it definitely puts a lot of pressure on students because we had to adjust to the new environment. Also, to keep the School Improvement Grant we had to apply for, the school has to focus on improving our test scores. Angela Romans gave me a lot of feedback about that, saying that the issue with the turnaround schools is that it affects the student body and there is not a solid way to assess if the school had improved. I agree with her because personally, I'm not a great test taker and I don't think that tests reflect my abilities in a classroom.
For the latter part of class, Kisa was finally able to show us the video of Marrisa Meyer. Now that I can finally put a face to the name I've been hearing about. What an inspiring woman. Who would have known that such a vibrant, young woman was the Google's first engineer and is now a CEO of Yahoo!, one of the largest corporations worldwide. She is on her way to motherhood, and I feel that she is getting criticized for that just because she holds such a high position. It goes to show that society is still having a hard time accepting women with higher positions in large companies. She is definitely someone the world will continue to hear about, as Kisa says. Afterwards, we had an activity that addresses Ethics and Leadership together. We discussed ethical controversies and dilemmas floating around the world. For example, we had a heavy discussion on Stem Cell research and cloning. Is it ethical? Are we allowed to "play God" for the sake of saving lives? I didn't want to state my opinion on this just because I feel like I still need to do more research on both sides of the argument. Anyway, we went on with an activity that helped us evaluate our ethics. In groups of 3-4, we read fictional scenarios about teens that are going through ethical dilemmas. In the end of each reading, we had to answer questions like "if you were XYZ, would you have done what he/she did?" It was a good way to reevaluate our own morals. Well, at least it gave me a chance to really think if I am capable of always doing the right thing. 
I am currently in my favorite place in Brown, the Sciences Library! I’m working on the Action Plan paper that is due tomorrow morning. The weirdest part of my day happened here in the library, actually. I was setting my stuff down and I see this huge flash in the room. I thought to myself that someone must be excited to take a whole lot of pictures, but then I turned around and saw lightning outside.  I checked the weather and it is 93 degrees outside. The East Coast sure is a surprising place!

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