Friday, August 26, 2011
Wow! What an exciting year this is going to be! The only problem is, I already feel like I'm irreparably behind. There's so much to think about, and so much to keep in mind, I don't know how I'm ever going to get it all to behave itself inside my head. How can one person possibly think about textbooks and reading assignments, syllabi, classroom management strategies, teaching styles, annual plans, lesson plans, hands-on learning, constructivism and child-centered teaching, lab experiments, homework policies, seating arrangements and room decoration, etc. etc.? I just know that I'm going to neglect something - even though my CRC has 11 years of experience. I'm afraid that I won't be as effective as I imagined I would be. It's so easy to imagine everything going exactly like you planned it to, and so easy to forget that things seldom do.
But then there are a few moments when I get a glimpse of what it might be like next year, or the year after. Will I be in the same building? Will I have a better room than the oversized closet we have this year? TJ has a separate chemistry laboratory, built in the old style, with rich woodwork and cabinets for the glassware. It's in desperate need of some TLC, and I feel like that would be a great project for me. We helped a new earth science teacher move into her room, and I realized that that will be me next year - sorting through the relics of the room's former owner, designing my classroom as if it were a blank slate. TJ has a planetarium, which we visited, and I must say I'm truly impressed. I peeked into a biology classroom, and I found myself coveting all of the amazing things the teacher had collected over the years. At the back of the room was a wasps' nest that must have weight 25 pounds or more. It was three times the size of my head!
And I feel like that's the way school is supposed to be. Classrooms should be filled with distractions, and the chemistry lab should make students feel like Michael Faraday or Marie Curie. There should be marching band practice all day during the summer and the science club should be both a time for kids to just hang out and a way for kids to go on amazing field trips. I believe when someone scribbles across a row of lockers, the math teachers should get together and turn it into a graph of a sine wave.
I'm excited to start school, and I'm excited for next year when I'll be building up my classroom from scratch. In the meantime, though, I just hope I can get all my homework done! Ok, enough procrastinating... time to get it done!
Tuesday, August 2, 2011
The Myth of the Extraordinary Teacher by Ellie Herman, a teacher at Animo Pat Brown Charter High School in South Los Angeles.
I thought this article was interesting in pointing out the context of teaching and the realistic, material grounding of the classroom.
"I'm willing to work as hard as I can to be an excellent teacher, but as a country we have to admit that I'll never be excellent if we continue to slash education budgets and cut teachers, which is what's actually happening in California despite all our talk of excellence, particularly in schools that serve poor children. Until we stop that, we'll never have equal education in this country.