27 June 2007

three days to go ...

Exciting times for me. In a few days I start my round the world Great Escapade trip. England is destination #1. A summer in London. Long dreamed of doing this. Two months in Belsize Park. Hoping to make progress on my early memoir draft. It's a strange feeling these days leading up to the trip. A lot of this is to do with the school year having just ended. The first week of summer vacation always seems hard - even when I'm in some wonderful place in the world. I always agonize over whether I'd done enough for my students. Of course I could ave done more. But then I would have give up other things in my life to free up time and energy.
People envy teachers their long summers. Yes, I can't deny that it's a great perk. But boy, what a tough job we have. So many people to please, so many demands made on us constantly through the school year. So much bullshit to adhere to.

Santa Barbara Schools have some strange ideas about teaching. Then again, the demographics is a tricky issue. How do we get white kids in our schools? What ridiculous, utterly foolish pedagogical strategies can we implement just so that middle class parents can believe their kids will get a great education?
So something this school district is famous for doing is having teachers work as "teams". Boy, does this ever irritate the heck out of me. Each "team" is supposed to plan curriculum and teaching ideas so that all classrooms of a particular grade level are as close to identical as possible. This insane philosophy has never worked with me because most of my teammates have always been way too different from me. Shouldn't we plan teaching according to the make up of each our classrooms? Each child really is unique, you know. It's not just a cliche! And therefore, each classroom is unique. How I teach varies from year to year depending on the interests and abilities and personalities of the kids. Sharing ideas with teammates is one thing. Replicating lessons for a one size fits all so no parent can complain and single out one teacher as being better than the other is a bit of a tall order, really.

Anyway, let me focus back on the great adventure that's about to begin ...

23 June 2007