Thursday, September 20, 2012
Sunshine on my Shoulder
This has been a difficult beginning of school. I finally feel the call to retire. I realize the time to have heard that particular call would have been before! I love my classes and the students this year. We have done so many fun things already. Yesterday I sent my English 2 students to good old Google Earth to map the trail from Dawson Creek where Jack London's unhappy gold digger met his doom in "To Build a Fire." 19 English 1 students surprised me with finding a Quilting Site instead of the Preposition online game I thought I had linked them to play...My son explained it as static and dynamic addresses... I dunno... They thought it was a hoot. Me? Not so much.
I personally think the paper mountain has all but eclipsed nearly every avenue of our lives. I don't talk to anyone who is in public works who isn't overwhelmed with the amount of documentation required to do our jobs... people who touch people's lives shouldn't have to note every single thing... the important parts of education cannot be tied to Common Core standards any more than they could have been tied to GLES standards, CLES standards, or MMAT benchmarks.... or any of the other numbered nonsense we have had to do... I think many of the improvements and suggestions have been okay for us teachers, but that silly step of telling which number every little objective meets? It's a bunch of stupid, time-wasting nonsense. I guess I should really say what I'm feeling, huh? Yeah.
Our school is making many improvements to the facility, including surveillance cameras, extra vestibule doors, emergency exits.... I hope and pray nothing ever is needed... All that extra precaution brings an air of fear to the classroom. Imperceptible at times, the idea of danger permeates the very core of each student. My freshmen recently finished reading Du Maurier's "The Birds" about the cold war fear. I asked them to journal if they felt they were more secure today than the people felt in the 1950's. Well, to my surprise, they felt much more afraid than I had hoped. All but one felt it was likely they would be attacked by either terrorists or madmen in their lifetimes.. Can you imagine being 14 years old and thinking you would not live your days in peace? I was sad. Very sad.
The 19 students in my composition class just wrote essays for college scholarships. In these, I read dreams, goals, hopes, needs. Now, in a historical fiction writing project, their ideas turn to disaster. I realize most of that mindset is due to drama, television and movie and novel themes they have experienced. However, not one student plans to write about anything positive... I have Wall Street Crash Tycoons, bomber pilots from both the American and Japanese sides of the war, privates in D-day, and a couple of holocaust survivors and victims.. I see a few with Afghanistan and one with good old Titanic... I can't wait to read these stories because I know my students have a great amount of creativity and joy inside. Actually, if I were seventeen again, I would probably choose something bizarre and dramatic for my historical fiction as well...
Onward and upward. Have a lovely week... It's Thursday, my favorite day of the week... Time to prepare the house for the weekend tonight, so when I return home on Friday, all I have to do is experience WEEKEND magic...