SOLSC 24/31 #sol15

The air is still winter air, no smell of spring.  Dirt and grass are still partially covered with dirty and icy snow.  No violets or crocus poking their head out. No daffodils brightening the boring landscape.  The kids played soccer on the blacktop at recess, but when I walked out of the building at the end of the day, the air was still biting, the snow around the walkways still icy.

We are not ready yet. Maybe the soil is no longer frozen and maybe the streams, ponds, and the river are no longer frozen solid, but the ice on the surface is still there.  Jack still slips when running on the side driveway.  He does not seem to mind.  But everyone else does – when will spring come?

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SOLSC 23/31 #sol15

On a conference call with the NEA (town meeting). How to get involved? Should I volunteer?  It is difficult. I tried before to make calls out to vote and I hated it! Should I try to talk to colleagues at school? That is a bit easier but how? when? Union’s meetings are attended by people who do not need convincing, they are already involved. Not sure how you can express your ideas without coming across as pushy.  I don’t think I can make the cut as an activist. But then I think about how outraged I am about all the money spent on charter schools, all the money spent on testing and test prep, and all the time spent on test and test prep, and all the decisions that are being made by people who know nothing about educating real children in the real world, and then I get angry. So, don’t I have an obligation to get actively involved, not just by casting my vote, but by also informing people who are not aware of what goes on in our schools?  Easier said than done…

“1 out of every 32 votes comes from an NEA member family” – wow! The power of our voices! But what if my voice is silent?  I am very vocal with close family and friends, but that is not enough.  So, should I jump in? Should I try and find some like-minded teachers and join efforts with them, so as not to feel alone in this?  Maybe.  

This is my slice for today.  An unresolved slice.  A maybe slice.  

SOLSC 22/31 #sol15

My thoughts are mostly about Education this morning.  I ordered a book that was recommended in a column in Edutopia, and started reading the tablet sample, until it ran out (now I have to wait for the hard copy).  Progressive education – I’m thinking back about my college readings, Dewey, Piaget, Vygotsky, and realize that after a few years of work in real schools, I lost my vision somehow, or, at least, my vision has become clouded by a lot of unimportant stuff.  I do try to work in a child-centered classroom, but in reality, it’s still too teacher-centered.  We are still giving too many tests (even though we call them formal assessments to make it sound better).  There are still too many rigid structures for kids to feel free to be creative.  We teachers feel watched, evaluated, but not supported by most of our administrators or by the local board of education.  The parents support us more.  At times I doubt whether I like my profession.  I may make a difference in some kids’ life, but it feels temporary.  Will my students become responsible citizens?  Will they care about social justice? Or will they care only about their immediate neighbors and family?  Will they become active participant in their local governments? Or will they feel powerless and become cynical? My colleagues and I feel powerless at times, and without a voice on what decisions are made in our school district – who gets hired, who sets the direction and how.  

A gloomy day.  It’s sunny and deceivingly bright outside – 27 degrees and gusty winds. I feel the cold and want spring.  I need to stop thinking.  I will delve in some of my school work now. Tomorrow is another day.

Missed the deadline

Oh no, I just missed the deadline.  I fell asleep.  Family was over. We talked and talked. I cuddled with a puppy.  I said goodbye.  Then I fell asleep.  Oh no, no prize for me!

SOLSC 20/31 #sol15

New term, new leaf.  New units – reading, writing, math.  Parent conferences.  My students, still young 5th graders, soon will be ready to move on to the middle school.  Me?  Maybe I will be moving on too.  I am conflicted about making a change, but sometimes I feel I need to.  But then again, I love working with this age group, I love teaching math, but I also love sharing my love for reading.  I may have the opportunity to focus on math only.  Should I consider it? I would still work with elementary school children, but from all grades. That appeals to me.  I see those kindergartners and first graders walk the hallways with their confident smiles.  So much promise on their faces!  The school I could be working in is a high need school and that also appeals to me.  There is time. Teaching is what I like and you can make a difference no matter what you teach.  Would I continue to write?  I would certainly continue to read, that’s my life. But how about writing? I have been appreciating the value of writing every day with the SOL.  Writing makes you think more deeply than just reading.  I’m not sure. Over the years I have written on and off.  It’s easy to just avoid writing because writing is hard, it forces you to reflect on not always pleasant areas of your life.  And reflection can be tough. But you grow with writing. You  grow in a more deliberate way. There are still a few months before I need to decide.  Maybe the whole summer.  Maybe things will not materialize any way and the decision will be made for me.  For now, my fifth graders are here and I still have a lot of teaching and learning with them.

SOLSC 19/31 #sol15

Sometime I wonder what it felt like being a kid.  When I see my students’ eyes smiling and  open in wonder as they discover or realize something, I think I too often forget, because I rationalize everything too much.  Today the fifth grade went to the Connecticut Science Center and, as it happens every year, the kids were excited, ran around, touched everything in sight, moved things, blew things, made vehicles and tried them out on inclines, made noises, listened to noises, jumped around, looked at their frozen but swirling image with huge smiles, tried to make sense of maddening wood puzzles, relaxed and maybe concentrated too much to beat their opponent in a game of “who is most relaxed?”   And how about the snake petting, and the tarantula, and the cockroaches, and the Connecticut River virtual trip? And the twister chamber, and the weather reporting?  And the star gazing… a reflective pause in na whirlwind of activities and discoveries.  A beautiful day.

SOLSC 18/31 #sol15

I fell asleep after dinner, hugging Jack, my dog.  One minute I was just trying to get warm snuggling with Jack, with my after-dinner coffee waiting on the end table – next thing I know 11:36 is showing on the cable box. Why didn’t anyone wake me up? Where is Jack? Where is “anyone”?  Noooo, I need to prepare for a meeting I have after school!  I have not finished responding to my students’ daily blogs! I haven’t brushed my teeth!  Deep breath, a sip of cold coffee (why doesn’t coffee keep me awake???  No effect on me!), get to work!