Alexis Mazey

About Alexis Mazey

Small-town Ohio native and sophomore Adolescence English Education major at Nyack Rockland. Lover of books, coffee, and nature. My talents include eating, consuming too much caffeine, napping, and making things awkward. Oxford comma supporter.

Global Worship

I’ve had the privilege of being a part of Ambassadors Football for several years now, an international soccer ministry. They put on soccer camps all around the world, and it is currently camps season in the US. Footballers from all over the globe come to the States to coach the camps, from small town Ohio, to London, to a village in Liberia. They come here for five weeks in total, one week of training and four weeks of camp. We have about 70 coaches at our training week this year, the training week being referred to as TREC (Training, Resourcing, and Equipping Coaches).

Every day at TREC starts out with corporate worship, believers from 25 different countries coming together to praise our Father in song. This is typically led by the host church’s worship team. On the last day of TREC, however, worship was led by some of our South African coaches, and being led by some of our own created an even deeper sense of unity as we started our day.

For those of you that are not familiar with South Africa, the nation has 11 official languages, some of the more prominent being Afrikaans, English, and Zulu. Seeing as this is so and that South Africans were leading worship, we sang praises to God in several different languages. While I like to think that I am knowledgeable and good with languages, I am not fluent in Zulu or Afrikaans. Luckily for me (and the rest of the room), the translations were written beneath the lyrics.

As I stood there worshiping beside my brothers and sisters from across the globe, I feel like I caught a glimpse of what Heaven will be like. Represented in that room by 70 people were 70 unique testimonies, 25 countries, and even more languages (apparently being trilingual is a common thing in the rest of the world). Despite the differences between us, cultural and otherwise, we were all united there for one purpose: to glorify God.

I was moved as I listened to the songs and the quiet prayers in Afrikaans, French, and other languages that I didn’t recognize.  I caught sight of a bigger picture, of a bigger and more glorious God than I had fully realized before. We know conceptually that God is more powerful, more magnificent, more creative than we could ever imagine. Yet in that moment I was surrounded by His power, majesty, and creativity from all over the globe, and I was in awe. I still am, and I pray that I will never cease to be.

Friends, I wish that I could recreate that moment for you, that you might experience it for yourself. But unless you join us in ministry next summer, I don’t know how to do that. Instead, I urge you to ask our Father to give you that glimpse, for He is actually able to do so. I urge you to go beyond conceptual knowledge and to go deeper, to belief, to awe.

Our God is staggering and awesome, in all senses of the word. Not only that, but He is gracious enough to let us enter in to His kingdom, to become His children. His glory is all around us. We only need to open our eyes, fixing them on Him and things above, and He will reveal to us more than we could ever imagine.

Perception: Coffee Shops and Book Covers

Image result for starbucks book creative commons

So I’m sitting outside at a local coffee shop (confession: it’s just Starbucks), and I’ve been stationed here for some time trying (and failing) to write a blog post. It was quiet and serene when I got here. Well, as quiet and serene as it can be when you’re positioned on the corner of two main roads. Slowly but surely, the place started to fill up, the customers inside spilling into my outside space. With more bodies come more noise, and to me, that means more distractions.

I am first joined by a couple of women who look to be in their early 40s, the typical soccer mom type. (In my head, one drives a Nissan Pathfinder and the other woman drives a Honda Odyssey, in case you were wondering.)

Next to the scene are two high school girls. They come out to the patio and sit down, and the only thing going through my head is, “Oh, great. More humans. My favorite.” (Spoiler: humans are not my favorite.) One girl was wearing all designer brand clothes, complete with an MK handbag and Birkenstocks. The other was nicely dressed as well. They were also drinking some non-coffee beverages at a coffee house. There’s just something not right about people who don’t like coffee.

In my already less-than-chipper state, I was expecting the girls to be another nuisance to me. I had assumed that their preppy selves were going to talk for ages about their pretty high school drama, also expecting them to talk loudly enough for me to hear their every word even though they were tables away.

Much to my surprise and delight, only half of that was true. The girls were talking loudly enough for me to hear them, but their conversation was much better than I imagined. The first words out of their mouth were about a Bible study that they were in, and then they were talking about needing to find a Blue Letter Bible. Not at all the topics of conversation that I would have guessed. My initial assumptions about these girls were incredibly wrong, making me feel ashamed and hypocritical, but also glad. As a matter of fact, my whole demeanor changed after overhearing their uplifting conversation.

I was judging them based off their appearances, something that drives me crazy when other people do it. You know, the judging books by their covers thing. (I still stand by my judgement of people who don’t like coffee, though. That one is valid.)

I was being a grouch because I allowed the circumstances of my own life to affect how I viewed the world and others, subconsciously choosing bitterness instead of joy. Because, friends, that’s the thing: joy is not just an emotion, but a choice. It is not always an easy choice. No, as believers it is frequently not an easy choice at all. It is much easier to look at the evil and destruction in the world and allow ourselves to become discouraged and bitter. I would know, because it happens to me. Friends, understand that these sorts of things happen when we aren’t expecting it, when we aren’t watching.  That’s why 1 Peter 5:8 tells us to be alert, that we might not fall, and Colossians 3:2 reminds us to always have our minds set on things above, not on earthly things.

So, brothers and sisters, I leave you with some verses to marinate in. May they be an encouragement to you no matter what season you are in. And remember, as cliché as is seems, books are not always their covers.

1 Thessalonians 16-18, NIV Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Romans 12:12, ESV Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.

Philippians 4:4, ESV Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.

James 1:2 -4, NLT Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.

1 Peter 5:8-9, NIV Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith.

Living out the School of Education’s Mission

 

If you tuned in to last week’s post, you’ll remember that we discussed the School of Education’s mission and motto, SALT (Service, Academics, Leadership, and Teaching). However simple it may seem, the acronym reminds us of our calling as educators. As a matter of fact, the calling stems farther than educators, but to all believers.

SERVICE

As followers of Christ, we are all called to serve, and we are each called to serve in different ways. As believers, we are called to serve our neighbors, whoever they may be. As educators, we are called to serve our students, their families, and the community. Note that we are called to serve all of our students, even the ones that drive you up the wall.

At Nyack, we believe that individuals can serve better when they know better. That is why education majors receive thorough and comprehensive instruction, which they can then implement in their field experiences and student teaching. Throughout the education program’s curriculum, teacher candidates are taught about student and community diversity, various teaching methods, and how to utilize the methods in various situations to reach all students. By doing so, our teacher candidates better understand those that they serve, that they might serve them better.

ACADEMICS

Academics is obviously a crucial part of teaching and education in general. As teachers, we must not only throw information at our students, but to show it to them, why it matters, and how to apply it to their lives when applicable.

Education is not about being able to pick the right answer on an exam, though today’s school system might tell you otherwise. Education is about seeing and understanding the big picture, about knowing why to choose that answer on the test. Without that deeper understanding, education has lost its purpose. We need to change the focus of education from a student’s GPA to their effort and willingness to learn, showing students that their worth is not determined by their SAT scores.

As educators, we need to take state standards and teach them effectively, showing our students why the information matters beyond the scope of a test score.

LEADERSHIP

Teachers are the primary leaders in the classroom. As such, they need to both lead and encourage their students, modeling for them how a great leader should act. In essence, their behavior should model that of Christ, just as every believer’s behavior should.

Educators need to lead their students by example, showing them how to respond to conflict, how to interact with others, and how to respect one another and their opinions.

TEACHING

It is no surprise that teaching is a part of the acronym. Because it is so obvious, I feel like we often lose sight of its importance. As teachers, we need to be cognizant of our students and teaching methods, and we then need to evaluate what methods work best for a given class. Our goal as educators is not simply to teach, but to teach effectively and thoroughly. That is best accomplished when we take a step back and look at the bigger picture, evaluating what instruction practices and curriculum are the most beneficial for our students.

For more on what it means to be SALT, check out the School of Education’s webpage.

When Being Salty is a Good Thing

What do potato chips, pistachios, peanuts, and popcorn have in common?  They all derive their most memorable flavor from the magic of salt.

Food would be both bland and significantly less sweet without salt, and the same goes for life. Well, at least metaphorically. (I know, I know. That salt-makes-things-sweet bit doesn’t make sense. But trust me, it’s true. Well, trust science. Check it out.)

If you’re well versed in trivia, biblical or otherwise, you know that salt is used for its preserving, healing, and seasoning properties. In Biblical times, salt was a hot commodity for trade, right up there with gold. While now not as rare or expensive of a commodity, salt is still useful and valued today.

Here at the School of Education, we value salt more than most. Now, I’m not talking about being snarky or about good ol’ sodium chloride, but S.A.L.T., our acronym to live by. SALT stands for Service, Academics, Leadership, and Teaching.

As you might have guessed, our SALT model comes from Matthew 5:13, part of the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus instructs his followers to be the salt of the Earth, essentially instructing them to encompass the preserving and healing qualities of salt.

In an open letter to future teacher candidates, Dr. Looney writes:

“Teacher candidates are instructed to be ‘the salt of the earth’.  This summarizes the belief that candidates and professional faculty in the School of Education strive to become, by God’s grace, individuals who reflect the properties of salt.  They are to season and enrich the lives of others.  They are to become the preservative of hope and encouragement to others.  Ultimately, they are to become healing agents serving others who need help overcoming the difficulties of life.”

We are all called to be the salt and light of the Earth, yet we so often forget our calling. That is why we constantly need to remind ourselves of the standards we are to live by, remembering that they are heavenly standards, not earthly ones. Furthermore, teachers are to be held to an even higher standard, as they are responsible for educating the future generation(s). This is a call that is to be taken seriously and should be understood completely.

Salt is used to heal wounds, add flavor to food, and preserve the perishable. It is versatile. We are to be the same.

Join me next week as we take a closer look at what it means to be the S.A.L.T. of the Earth and of our campus.

Teaching: A Calling vs. Profession

So, you’ve made it this far, to college. By this point you probably have a fairly good idea of what you want to do with your life. (Well, at least I hope you do.)

Now that you know what you would like to pursue as a profession, do you know your calling?

They might be the same thing, and they frequently are. But it is certainly worth taking a step back to check.

A profession can be anything, genuinely anything. People get paid for the craziest things. For instance, there is a hotel in Finland that has a ‘professional sleeper’ to test the quality of their beds (I am currently working on my application for that position, in case you were wondering).

A calling, on the other hand, is more than just a job. It is a conviction from God for a particular purpose, to a particular thing. My personal calling is to become a teacher, specifically to become a missionary in Africa. If you’re reading this blog, there’s a good chance your calling is teaching as well. You and I might have similar callings, and yet each calling is unique, specifically created for you by God Himself.

There is something very important that I want you to understand: Whatever your profession, whatever your calling, it is a ministry. And there is no ministry without sacrifice.

Teachers sacrifice more than most people realize for their students, be it their time after school or their own money to provide supplies for their classroom. Speaking of money, the lowest salaries are often offered in areas in which amazing teachers are needed the most.

The best career advice I have ever received was from my eighth-grade science teacher, and that was to choose a career based off of what I love to do and not based off salary. He is agnostic, so he missed the part where you should choose also based off of what you feel that God is calling you to do, but he still had a very valid point.  You can live off of $50,000 or $500,000, but know that your happiness is not linked to the number of zeroes in your paycheck.

If you’re only going into education for the money or because you think it will be an easy job with summers off, I suggest you change your major right now. I say this partially because you are wrong in that way of thinking. There are far easier jobs and there are jobs with far better pay. Some careers combine both of those things. If education is your calling, you will soon realize that neither of those things matter.

Teaching is not just a profession, not an easy paycheck. It is stressful and taxing, not for the faint of heart. Teaching is also not for those who just randomly decided on it one day or chose it as a last resort. It is for those who make the deliberate decision to answer the call to become an educator, a mentor, a friend. Being an educator is so much more than just a profession. It is a call to ministry.

Is Nyack the Place for You?

To everyone questioning whether or not they should call Nyack College their home next semester:

I can’t answer that question for you, though I wish I could. It would make things a lot simpler for both of us. Knowing the answers to tough questions would also make my finals a lot easier. Alas, I do not have that ability and am forced to stay up late cramming the night before and wing it, just like everyone else. (Yes, even the Ed. major doesn’t always practice the best study habits. It’s okay. Just don’t tell my mom.) Even though I can’t tell you exactly where you should go, I can tell you that I don’t think there is a one-size-fits-all college. If it were that easy, no one would be panicking towards the end of high school every time someone asked them where they would be continuing their education. Luckily for me, God let me know relatively early on that Nyack was the place for me. Crazy, I know.

My college decision was easy for me the minute I first set foot on campus, and it was one that I was fully confident in after time spent in prayer. For me, Nyack felt like home as soon as I arrived, though my journey getting there wasn’t all that smooth.

If I’m being honest, I initially wasn’t too keen on the idea of coming to Nyack. For starters, it was impossibly far from home (my mother wasn’t a big fan of that bit, either). Additionally, it wasn’t one of the colleges I had considered or heard of before God spoke to me. Since I was in elementary school, my family and teachers had been telling me that I would be famous one day because of my intellect, and that I was to remember them when I was a CEO or running the UN. That was a lot to put on a kid, but I took it on anyway. In essence, I was being prepped for a prominent, pompous college so that I could make a lot of money, not so that I could grow in my faith and become a teacher, and a missionary no less. But none of that grooming mattered to me when I first visited Nyack.

I found a sense of peace and serenity, a sense of belonging, when I arrived on campus. Although I am sure that being surrounded by the beauty of Rockland County and the Hudson River helped, I know that that is not the only contributing factor. The love and joy that radiates from the staff and student body is something that I have never experienced at another college or university. The levels of care and commitment that our professors exhibit are truly remarkable, and they make me proud and feel privileged to call Nyack College my home.

Nyack is not going to be found on a “Top 5 Ivy League Schools” list, but it is on my list of “My Top 5 Favorite Places” list, as well as “Places that Feel Like Home.” Nyack helps me grow as an individual and as a Daughter of God, and those are things that I value more highly than anything else in a college. Nyack makes me proud to be a Warrior, not only for the college, but for the Kingdom.

So, dear student, I don’t know where you belong. But I never doubt where I do.

Warm regards,
Your favorite dinosaur

Top 5 Community Service Options for Teacher Candidates

In my last post, I talked about the requirements regarding admittance into Nyack’s School of Education. This week I would like to expound upon that a little more and give you some ideas regarding your community service hours.

Each teacher candidate must complete at least 30 hours of community service with the given age group for their specific certification. I, for instance, am an Adolescence Education major, so I will be spending my time with 7th-12th graders. I know that I specifically wish to teach middle school, but I do not have to stick with middle schoolers for my community service. In fact, the group that I’m serving doesn’t have to be comprised of only those within my certification age group; there can be some elementary schoolers and other ages in the mix as well. There real focus is on spending time with my certification group.

If you aren’t sure what ages/grades your certification covers, check out my last post.

After speaking with the Dean of Education, Dr. Looney, I comprised a list of some common community service activities that Nyack’s education students have done, as well as adding a few suggestions of my own.

1. Go to Church!
As a Nyack student and child of God, I’m hoping that you are an active member in a church. Serving in the body is one of the most common ways that Nyack students serve their community. Depending on your major, serving in the nursery or Sunday school can be an amazing way to complete your 30 hours. Some opportunities within the church include:
-Sunday school teacher
-Youth group helper
-Kids ministry volunteer

2. Help with VBS
Many churches have Vacation Bible School (VBS), and this would be an excellent opportunity to gain experience. If you are not yet comfortable enough to be responsible for a group of small humans, this might be your best bet. Since this environment is filled with men and women who are experienced children’s ministers, you can look after and teach children while being looked after and taught yourself.

3. Become a Camp Counselor
There is undoubtedly a camp near you that is in need of counselors this summer. Bonus: You get to be filled with nostalgia and relive those amazing summer camp days while helping kids create their own! (I didn’t really go to camp, but I’ve heard stories about the amazing memories and nostalgia thing).

4. Become a Coach
I have been volunteering with Ambassadors Football for several years now. They are an international soccer organization that uses soccer to share the Gospel. I have joined them both as a summer camp coach and an intern, and I recommend the experience to all of my fellow footballers. They are still taking applications for summer soccer coaches. The kids range from age 6-16, so it’s the perfect fit for nearly every major. For more information, check out their website.

5. Become a Tutor
There are students everywhere in need of help, and you are the perfect person for the job. After all, that is going to be your future job. You can find a tutoring center near you this summer, or you can be a tutor at the Nyack Center, a community center with an after-school program for local students.

Whatever experience you choose, go into it with an open mind. Throughout my years as a coach, VBS teacher, miscellaneous volunteer, etc., I have found that I learn as much from my students as they learn from me.

6 Steps for Admittance into the School of Education

Whether you’re a senior or an incoming freshman, planning for and navigating through deadlines and prerequisites can seem daunting. I would know, because that’s how I felt going into my freshman year. I’d be lying if I said it didn’t still seem that way at times. With that in mind, I spoke to a few Nyack veterans regarding admittance to Nyack’s School of Education (SoE) in an attempt to make the process a little more clear for those of you wanting to join the SoE community. Here is a basic guideline of what you will need to do for admittance:

1. Declare Your Major
Your first step in becoming a teacher is deciding who and what you wish to teach. Everyone seems to think I’m crazy, but my favorite group to teach is middle schoolers, so I chose Adolescence Education. I commend those of you who have the patience and energy to teach the wee little ones. You are a special breed.
In case you aren’t sure of the degree breakdown, here it is:
Early Childhood Education: birth-grade 2
Childhood Education: grades 1-6
Early Childhood/Childhood: birth- grade 6
Adolescence Education: grades 7-12

2. Help Out
Every teacher candidate is required to complete 30 hours of community service to students in their certification age group. The community service is going to look differently for everyone depending on the specific major, and I will have a few ideas for you in a future post. For instance, I will be coaching and teaching at church camps this summer, but the possibilities are endless.

3. Get Good Grades
In order to be a part of the SoE at Nyack, you need to have an overall cumulative GPA of at least 3.0, a cumulative 3.0 GPA in your concentration, and a cumulative education GPA of 3.0, earning a C or better in any education course taken. If you earn less than a C in any given education course, you will need to retake the course.

4. Pass the School of Education Admissions Test (SEAT)
Students used to be required by NYS to take the ALST, but things have since changed. Nyack has now created their own exam, the SEAT. Talk to your advisor and sign up to the exam.

5. Be A Decent Human Being
You must pass a faculty review of dispositions, passing being 80% and higher.

6.Apply to the School of Education
This application also includes an essay. Don’t freak out about it. Completing the coursework and exams were the hard part, and they prepared you well.

Any forms you need can be found on Nyack’s School of Education’s website.

If you have any questions regarding admission to the School of Education, feel free to contact Nyack Admissions

Why I Chose Teaching as a Profession

People have been asking me what I want to do with my life since I came out of the womb, and even more frequently since I graduated high school. I’m sure that you know how that goes.

I knew what I wanted to do, at least in part, since I was a small child, and that passion hasn’t changed. I have always wanted to become a teacher, and I cannot imagine doing anything else, nor do I think that anything else would bring me as much joy as the classroom does.

Even though I knew teaching to be my calling, I had tried to convince myself otherwise, convince myself to pursue another career path, but it was to no avail. When I was in elementary school, I tried to convince myself that I wanted to be a chef. I would get to be around food all day, and that seemed amazing! I even went to a cooking school that summer. (I now make an amazing cavatelli and Bolognese from scratch, in case you were wondering.) I learned from an amazing woman, and I will never forget her. The reason I will never forget her is for her teaching, for her passion and ability to teach that to others. My desire to become a teacher was reaffirmed with her.

Years passed before I had truly given extensive thought to my career path again. Sitting in Mrs. Durieux’s 9th grade English class, I was assigned to choose the top three careers that I would be interested in pursuing. Naturally, my first choice was teaching. Second was Cytotechnology, something in the medical field to appease my mother. The third was pediatrics, which I didn’t even remember I chose until I looked up the paper right now. (Are you amazed that I can still find the file? Because I certainly am.)

I chose the other two careers to appease others and their hopes for me, not because they were things I truly wanted. Sure, I love the science that was required for the other careers, but that love in no way compares to my love of the classroom and students.

I’m not going into education to make the kind of money a doctor does. (But if anyone knows how to make that kind of salary happen, feel free to contact me.) I’m going into education for my future students, to shape and guide them the way my teachers have shaped and guided me. I can say without a doubt that I would not be the woman I am today without my educators, those who taught me not only about their subject matter, but about life and what it means to be a decent human being.

I chose teaching primarily because I believe it to be the calling that God has placed on my life, but also because of how highly I esteem it. Furthermore, few things bring me more joy than watching the light go on in a student’s head when they finally grasp a concept- not even my first cup of coffee in the morning. Although perhaps an even better feeling would be when a student doesn’t look at your classroom like it’s a prison, but like it’s a home. And that is my main aim as a future educator.

New Education Blogger Debut

Welcome! I’m so glad you’ve joined me.

My name is Alexis, and I am the new blogger for the School of Education here at the Rockland Campus.

My birth certificate says Alexis Mazey, but you probably know me as Rex, as I am affectionately called that by friends. And no, it is not because I have short arms.

I grew up in a small town in Northeast Ohio. Now when I say small, I mean a two-stoplight town, a my-backyard-is-a-cornfield town.  (I’m not kidding. My sister once invited her friends over to watch Children of the Corn and then got some other friends to jump out of our cornfield and scare people. Even my dad was in on the prank. Honestly hysterical.)

Growing up in such a rural town has given me a deep appreciation for nature. My family and I used to hike at a local park when I was younger, and hiking is still one of my favorite things to do. I find running on a treadmill to be an impossibly boring form of exercise, but kudos to those of you who can last for more than five minutes without your lungs wanting to explode. I cannot. Better than me having to run, I could hike for ages and not grow weary of it. Well, at least not mentally. I have yet to reach John Muir’s stamina.

Anyway, moving on.

Besides hiking or simply being outside, my passions include reading, drinking coffee, and eating. My favorite combination of these passions was backpacking through part of the Appalachian Trail last May. The trip was impossibly arduous and taxing, and it made me realize that I need to work-out more (confession: I need to start doing the working out thing), but the overall experience was amazing, despite my pained knees and tired feet. There is something magnificently beautiful and rewarding about hiking to the top of a mountain and seeing God’s creation in bloom. If you ever need to be reminded about how truly amazing our God is, just look around you.

In fact, I would recommend that you look around you right now for that reminder. I went to a STEMM high school, so I am constantly reminded by science how God created such complexities and intricate organisms simply by speaking. I am also a musician and marvel about how He created sounds such that certain waves go together to create such beautiful harmonies.

Those are just some creations that make me reflect and stand in awe of our Creator. What about yours?

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