Writing Portfolio

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Writing Portfolio

In this section, I showcase some of my work. My goal is to make connections with linkedin.com, fiverr.com, etc to hire for content writing. I specialize in fitness and outdoors creative writing blog posts. Please look over my work and contact me if you have any questions (email: lazarus817@hotmail.com). Thank you and I hope you enjoy. 

Blog Article About Top-Ten Hikes around Missoula. Also featured on MakeItMissoula.com

Three Published Books


One: Thirty-Eight Poems by JS Jones


This is a book I wrote in Seattle, last fall. It's a collection of poetry dealing with beauty, pain, and the 

power to overcome. 


Kindle 

Paperback


Two: The Day I Took My Own Life


This is one I wrote about my experience with teenage depression and how I made my way out of it. Great reading! Offers hope & love. 

Kindle


Three: A Little 'Bout a Lotta, eBook

Life is full of endless directions and possibilities. Often, we are taught that the only true value is to master one thing and then hold onto it. In this book, however, I present the idea that learning and becoming a student is the true form of any mastery. As one Zen proverb states, without an empty cup, we can never become full. 


eBook


Little 'Bout a Lotta, PaperBack

As a young guy, I got lost. There were so many things I could learn. They all sounded fascinating, but which to spend time on, to me, was a mystery. In my book, I explore the benefits of learning something in every possible situation. There is no summit to learning. The only destination is a love and involvement in the process of being a learner. 


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Final Essay, Student Teaching 2014

In pausing to reflect on my experiences as a student teacher, it occurs to me that this final paper is an example of the endpoint of any lesson plan. This was the point at which my academic learning became hands on learning and transitioned to personal learning and application. The part where the student is changed by the acquisition of knowledge and experience.

          At the start of the semester I was full of enthusiasm and grandiose ideas of my potential expertise in the teaching profession.  By the second hour, however, I was appropriately terrified.  As I watched my perceptive teacher manage all rings of this circus called a classroom, with the students being both audience and understudies, I realized how very much I had to learn.

          And so it began. Make a lesson plan, identify goals, and plan how to meet the goals. Make it interesting, creative, challenging, and concrete. Gear the lesson plan to the group, to the individual, to those who excel, to the challenged. Toss and turn and dream about the lesson plan as it relates to the next lesson plan, and the next. Narrow and expand the concepts (the possibilities being endless). Include some grammar, some creative writing, some poetry, some art. Age appropriate, curriculum-oriented, state standards met, diversity acknowledged, politically correct. Figure out how to keep them in their seats and quiet, how to discipline if needed, how to make them listen, how to make them care. Evaluate the outcome.

          All was well and good, though hugely challenging. Middle of the semester; something is missing.  I’m realizing a lack of connection, a lack of feeling the purpose in it all. Everyone knows these kids are here because they have to be.  It’s middle school, not college and they aren’t worried about student loans and degrees.  They are worried about identity, and peers, and being liked and wearing the right clothes.  How do I make them see a purpose in what’s going on in the classroom? Inner light bulb begins to come on. As with every other experience in life, it’s about the human connection. If I can connect, they will listen. If they listen, they will learn. If they learn, they can apply. They need to be shown how it applies.  If they apply, they can change their own lives and other lives. It’s very important stuff, this connecting with the students. I began to learn their names, faces, behaviors, and interests.  I began to keep these in mind throughout the lesson planning and evaluation. I began to think of hands on activities that would connect with developmental stage intellect and emotion.  I began to connect.

          Making and meeting student teaching goals and approaching my time at Target Range with the intention of completing them, kept me on task. Every time I sat down at my desk in the school, I would look over my notes on my lesson plans, comparing them to the state standards and finally to my goals. Just like anything else in life, progress is best made when something is approached with an intention. My intention was to become a great teacher, and although I am far from finished, I feel that this experience has set me well on my way.

          At the beginning of the semester, I felt lost and overwhelmed. Transitioning from student to teacher is a huge step and I don’t think you can ever be fully prepared for it by academics alone. Being the organized person I am, I made every effort to nail the schedule, rubric, and curriculum from the start. If anything, I walked into the classroom too equipped and spent more time on the prep work than on my actual relationship with the students. But as I would soon find out, going into teaching fulfills one of my deepest needs and that is to reach out and help our growing youth. When I was in middle school, I felt like life had never made less sense. I wasn’t an adult yet, but I would never admit that I was a child. In this sort of three year limbo, I did more searching than at probably any other point of my life. But luckily, along with the greatest hardship usually comes the greatest growth.

          My student teaching goals were like stepping stones, or a road map through an unfamiliar wilderness. When I walked in, being nervous and in new territory, I was all business. But as the semester concluded, it occurred to me how astonishing my connection with the kids had become. I knew all of their names, likes, dislikes, and whom they could and could not sit next to. But for the first time in my life, it felt like I could see into someone, really grasping who they were at their center. On my last day of class, I spent thirty minutes talking to one of my favorite students. He approached me, telling me all about movies and television sports he liked to watch. I just listened. I have come to realize that as a teacher, this is often your most important job. Like I mentioned, junior high years are very awkward and what kids are mostly looking for is to be told they are good enough to enter the fast-approaching world of adulthood. When my student had finished, I shook his hand and told him that I was very proud of him, that he was a very smart young man with a lot of potential, and that it had been my greatest honor to work with him. He didn’t say anything after I told him this; he just turned around with a wide grin and exited the classroom. But having gotten to know him over the last four months, I could tell that deep down, what I had said would leave a lasting imprint on how he felt about himself. That day, I did more than teach, I inspired. But the magic of the whole thing was that I didn’t inspire with something I did, but by getting a student to realize who he was.

          As a future teacher I feel the semester has taught me so many logistical things. I’m still growing in how to manage all the rings of the circus at the same time.  My professional goals have been clarified and shaped by the experience and will continue to evolve.  I have a heart for the downtrodden, which by the way are from all walks of life.  I have a passion for people knowing and acting from the core of their better selves, which I believe is the cure for bullying.  I love literature and writing and showing students how both can help you navigate the practical and artistic world.  Most of all, I want to teach with connection, so they will listen, learn, apply, and go change the world.