Category Archives: List

Reflecting on this week

This was a good teacher week.  It was a good teacher week because I felt that there was at least one lesson that really hit the kids.  It was a good teacher week because we ended positively.  It was a good teacher week because I slept a lot.  It was a good teacher week  because two different people from my childhood showed me they cared because they saw an area where I was needy and provided.  It’s things like that — not advice, not suggestions — just physical funds, resources, or labor, that really speak to me as a teacher, right now. 

Today, I also happened upon THREE DIFFERENT teacher-related links that were all so good.  I think these are good for everyone to read.  It speaks to me, as a teacher, but should also let people know a bit of what teachers experience.

How To Be a Teacher for More Than 5 Years Without Killing Yourself

I’m working on different parts of this list written by Justin Stortz, a former teacher who is incredibly vulnerable in his posts.  Last year, I was thisclose to burnout, and I wish he had written this post sooner.   And I’ve already learned the hard way why it is important to stay humble and not “set yourself and your class up for failure by letting your ego get in your way.” :-/  Also, this year, I’m trying to maintain a hobby (working out and writing), trying to cook more, and I put myself on a sleeping schedule.

The Hardest Job Everyone Thinks They Can Do

Inspiring kids? Inspiring kids can be downright damned near close to impossible sometimes. And… it’s downright damned near close to impossible to measure. You can’t measure inspiration by a child’s test scores. You can’t measure inspiration by a child’s grades. You measure inspiration 25 years later when that hot-shot doctor, or lawyer, or entrepreneur thanks her fourth-grade teacher for having faith in her and encouraging her to pursue her dreams.

Maybe that’s why teachers get so little respect. It’s hard to respect a skill that is so hard to quantify.

Fellow teacher friend and HGSE grad shared this link on Facebook.  Dennis Hong, a molecular biologist – turned – teacher shares a few tidbits on what teaching is and why it’s so hard.  A short, thought-provoking piece from an apologist for teachers.

First They Came for Urban Black and Latino Moms (For Arne Duncan)

A few months ago, I walked past a “successful” charter school here in Harlem, NY, speed-walking to get my school supplies for the coming school year. I noticed a huge crowd of mostly Black and Latino families all waiting to pick up their children when a taut, pony-tailed White man came out with a clipboard and yells, “Alright, parents, we need everyone to line up!” My inner voice yelled “What!?” at the entire scene. No one protested. A few snickered and rolled their eyes. They all got in one straight line, parallel to Malcolm X Boulevard to pick up their children.

This would have never gone down at a suburban school.

Jose Vilson, hits on a piece of white privilege that we so often ignore.  Also, coming from a successful charter school, I see this all the time.  It’s articles like this that reminds me that it should not be so normal to witness this kowtowing as schools begin to own the children.  I rage about families that don’t support their children, but in the same sense, we should be helping families support their children, not just forcing our parenting upon the families.

Advertisements

Always learning

My friend Eunice and I had a coffee date last week.  She’s one of those people I met and knew by name and face in college, but didn’t really get to connect with until after college.  It’s interesting to see how relationships evolve. Especially since many of the relationships forged in college feel substantial — the idea that they may change seems improbable at the time.  Anyway, it’s sweet.

We discussed her future plans and my future plans.  We were talking about practical classes I might need to take and Eunice mentioned that MIT was offering free online classes for possible certification.  I expressed my disbelief — surely they’re not offering free certification — and then we went on to talk about other ways to take classes.

Anyway, I looked into it and yes, MIT is launching an online learning initiative: MITx.  It offers a variety of courses and the learning tools will be freely available. Certification or credentials may be available for extra fees though.  Anyway, it looks pretty cool and it’s launching in 2012. FAQs here!

I probably won’t delve into that, but it did make me think about other free resources to stay learning.  Most likely next year I’ll be taking finance classes at a community college in order to have a better handle on starting the Mind Garden. And hopefully, for the rest of my life, I’ll have formal and informal opportunities to learn.

With that in mind, below are a wide variety of ways to take courses and learn for free!

 

7 Days.

So, the Summer has zoomed by and I think I might collapse.  In this final week before I leave for Boston, I am turbo-packing and tying up loose ends.

I really want to keep this blog running, but the fact that I faded so quickly at the first onset of work makes me a bit doubtful.  Perhaps there’s a slight bit of perfectionism in me, where I want to make sure that my articles are thorough, concise, and witty.  Anyway, I want to post more and there’s still a lot I want to say.  Maybe I’ll try writing a few entries ahead of time.

Anyway, keep your eyes peeled for the following:

  • How I kept myself occupied during my “Gap Year” – College Track, Volunteering at a Title I Elementary School, Reading Partners, Loved Twice. (maybe a 4 part series)
  • What’s the deal with “college prep programs” in affluent communities (pros and cons; attacks and defenses)
  • Robert J. Sternberg and the idea of intelligence and what it encompasses (and the current limited state of evaluating intelligence)
  • A close re-reading of Tim Keller’s Ministries of Mercy
  • The Mind Garden raves and plans and daydreams

Summer Summer Summer!

The more I do in preparation of moving to the East Coast, the more I grow in appreciation for the West Coast California NORTHERN CALIFORNIA!

Despite our funky weather, I love California, and I love her summers.  So far, I’ve always had some sort of summer break or a change in schedule.  I guess when I start “real work”, weeks will meld into each other.

But! I noticed that even with working friends, summers do signify new resolutions, mini-trips, increased socialization.  Is it because we’re so used to having our summers off?  Is it because we’ve finally ventured from the hole of winter and are finally shedding both our physical and figurative coats?  Whatever the case, summers are exciting!

Tentative Habit Plans

  1. Read fun books!
  2. Write (creatively) more!  (Jen and I are planning to turn off our internet and write for a few hours on select Saturdays.  Contact me if you want to join our East Bay writing club)
  3. Work out!  (A few friends and I are going to do the Tri-For-Fun in August.  I started triathlons in fall 2008, and love it.)
  4. Hang out with friends
  5. Enjoy local events (ie: I’m not traveling to anywhere this summer so I guess I’ll milk local community events.  Further aside:  I’m kind of enjoying our economic downturn because now more people do free things, and as a result, more free things are becoming available.)
  6. Work! (but not weekends!  Hopefully I can pay off my Boston housing this summer)
  7. Babysit!  (This is the only way to worm your way into kids’ hearts.)
  8. Pack and find a good storage plan 😦
Actual Things of Note I’ll Be Doing
  1. Mamma Mia (the musical)
  2. sister’s graduating from UCI in music.  She’s an oboist extraordinaire
  3. Justin Bieber Concert (woohoo College Track!)
  4. Family trip to Yosemite
  5. Four weddings.  (I’m just thankful I’m not a bridesmaid.  But wait, is that stage of life done already?  I never had a chance.)
  6. Buy a macbook pro.  (For those who know me on facebook, I’ve given into the oh-so-attractive darkside.  Apple, will your promises really come through?)
Things that I’ll be fitting in somewhere 
  • Camping with friends
  • murder mystery dinner party
  • trip to SLO
  • beach bonfire
  • surfing (sold the board, still have my suit)
  • apply for scholarships
  • fishing?
That does sound fun.  I hope you’re inspired to add items to your summer repertoire as well!