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George wurtz author auto bio

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George wurtz author auto bio

  1. 1. George Wurtz ITE 404_D Fall 2011George WurtzDr. Ellen SpitlerITE 404D: Secondary Language Arts MethodsOctober 18, 2011 George Wurtz Author Autobiography My Life Through Reading and Writing - Preschool Through 8th Grade - Growing up in the late fifties and early sixties was in my opinion theperfect time for learning literacy skills. I’d have to say it may have been thelast great era for learning how to read and write. At the time it seemed as ifschools had a different focus, a simpler method to their madness. I learnedto read by first learning the ABC song, then phonemes, and finally shortwords. Instruction was methodical and mostly by rote. Great pride wastaken in learning to read well andsuccess was expected. While attending a Catholic grade school I learned the basics ofgrammar and proper communication. An emphasis was placed on order and“correctness” when reading, writing, and speaking in class. While it may nothave been pretty, it was understood and taken for granted that literacy wasa skill that every person must master; and at an early age. Since that timeteaching methods and theories have changed and yet, the desired result Page 1 of 7
  2. 2. George Wurtz ITE 404_D Fall 2011remains the same. Oddly enough, literacy rates have dropped since thenand worries over the illiterate in our society are increasing. Reading and writing were taught in my K - 12 years in tieredclassrooms. Students were separated by their reading and writing abilities.Every student knew who was in the advanced class and who was in the“slow” class. By being placed in the average class I started to work harder.There were always incentives to read better and faster. One particularincentive that I remember was having the daily readers organized by colors.Students had to work their way up to the “cooler” colors. The easiest bookswere all primary colors and as the material grew more advanced, the bookcolors proceeded through a variety of shades until you hit the “elite” pastels.When you started on the pastel section you knew you had arrived. Thestories were more complex and interesting and as I advanced through thelevels my reading confidence and ability grew. - High School Through Dropping out of College - As a high school student I began to slack off. Texts were assigned inlanguage arts class and little leeway was given toward personal choice. Likethe typical adolescent I really didn’t appreciate adults telling me what toread and what to think about. This teaching method was also a sign of thetimes. High schools taught the canon of world, British, and American Page 2 of 7
  3. 3. George Wurtz ITE 404_D Fall 2011literature. While exposed to the literary classics, I often sped through themtaking little time to consider their actual meanings and messages. I knewthat the teacher would tell me what to think and how to feel when I got toclass. Besides, language arts classes consisted of little more thanregurgitating supposed facts and crucial points on cue for the tests. It wasduring this time that I started reading less for fun and more for fulfillingclass requirements. Any reading I did on the side consisted of the dailynewspaper or a handful of magazines such as “Mad” magazine, “SportsIllustrated” and of course the articles in “Playboy”. When I graduated high school and proceeded to the local communitycollege my love for reading had vanished all together. The texts got biggerand harder, while the fiction and the writing got more difficult andimpossible to keep up with. I had always had a pretty immature attitudewhen it came to school and education and a year and a half of communitycollege did me in. I flunked out. - A Change in Attitude and a Change in Latitude - In the late 70’s while still living in Illinois, I chose a profession. Ibecame a photographer. Working as a construction laborer for a year will dothat to you. Being that young and faced with a lifetime of back-breakingwork I decided to try and get paid for doing my hobby. I started reading Page 3 of 7
  4. 4. George Wurtz ITE 404_D Fall 2011voraciously. I devoured picture books and biographies of the greatphotography masters. I ate up magazines on photo tips and technique bythe dozens. The more I read the more I advanced as a photographer and asa skilled professional. As my curiosity for photography grew so did my desire for knowledgein other areas of the humanities. I went back to college and started taking acouple of night courses a semester. I made up the failed grades from myprevious college start and was on the way to doing quite well in school. Ilearned that all I had to do to get good grades was go to all of the classes,take notes, do all of the homework and assignments and then study for thetests. I had it mastered. Soon after that I put my college career on hold and moved to Hawai`iand became a professional photographer and committed beach bum. Mylove for reading was still strong and it wasn’t long before I was back incollege and studying for a new career in television production. I kept thegood study habits I had picked up in Illinois and proceeded to do quite wellas an undergraduate at the University of Hawai`i at Manoa. I had learned toread and comprehend advanced texts and became semi-proficient as awriter. Upon graduation in 1986 I began working full time for the local cablecompany. A year later I was promoted to “Creative Director” in the cablecompany’s Promotions and Advertising department. Page 4 of 7
  5. 5. George Wurtz ITE 404_D Fall 2011 - Writing for Television & Corporate - While at my position with the cable company my reading and writinghabits changed. I began reading technical manuals and books on televisionproduction. My writing changed from writing essays to writing both shortand long TV scripts. The writing style required for these was quite differentthan what I had done in school. In essence writing for TV was easier.Everything had to be short, descriptive, and to the point. While somecreativity was required, promotion and advertising scripts are pretty much;who, what, where, why, and when. Sometimes the scripts were 30 seconds,and sometimes they were 30 minutes. The main thing is that they werealways assigned and many times the content was beyond my control. I also became proficient at memo and report writing. Word processinghad begun to take off and writing memos and reports soon became routine.About 12 years in to my 17 year career with the cable company I becameboth restless and disenchanted with the monotony of the work. It hadceased to become challenging and thus became boring. I’ve often said thatmy 17 years with the cable company were 12 of the best years of my life. Iknew it was time for a change so when I left the cable company I took upteaching and computers. It wasn’t long before I became excited aboutteaching, teaching methods, and writing curricula. I read about teachingand did the best I could but I knew I needed professional help. Page 5 of 7
  6. 6. George Wurtz ITE 404_D Fall 2011 - Back to School - For a while I was working as a substitute teacher for the D.O.E. and asa full-time computer instructor. My students were between the ages of 8and 88 and after some years of both success and frustration, I decided to goback to school to earn my teaching credentials. I had become increasinglyinterested in finding out why some of my teaching was successful and someof my efforts just fell flat. I knew someone had the answer so with a bit oftrepidation I enrolled again at U.H. Manoa. I had been away from school foralmost 25 years and I knew it wasn’t going to be easy but I felt I could do it. Since returning to school I’ve developed some anxiety and doubt in mywriting abilities. I knew that in grad school things would be kicked up anotch but I wasn’t quite ready for what I encountered. As an undergrad Iwas about 5 to 6 years older than my peers. My reading, writing, and studyhabits were head and shoulders above my peers. As a post-grad studenthowever, I am about 30 years older than my colleagues. The good news isthat I am meeting and studying with some incredibly talented andcommitted professionals. The bad news is that I’m more than a littleconcerned that my school papers and reports are less than comparable tothose of my peers. This results in some extreme anxiety which causes meto procrastinate and put off my large writing assignments. Page 6 of 7
  7. 7. George Wurtz ITE 404_D Fall 2011 - Hope For the Future - I’m a firm believer in that I can and will accomplish anything that I setmy mind to doing. I am also starting to (finally), feel as if my writing skillsare improving. I know it’s true that writing skills improve the more a personwrites. Now that I am heading down the final stretch toward earning myPost Baccalaureate Certificate, I feel that it’s time for me to hone my skills.I am working on tackling my assignments sooner instead of waiting until thelast minute. I am also going over my previous work and correcting it whereI can so that it’s ready for inclusion in my portfolio. Currently writing for meis angst filled, hard, frustrating and rewarding. I like to think that I’mimproving with each paper I write. I know that working on my writing skills will be a life-long learningexperience. I’m weak in grammar and in punctuation. I know the process isnever ending and one that can never be perfected. I’m sure however thatthe challenge it provides me will make my new choice of profession bothfulfilling and exciting. Become a proficient and effective writer is somethingI’m both dedicated and committedto accomplishing. Page 7 of 7

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