Beginning Again

A new school year. Already.
Sort of feels like we've come back after a 3 day weekend and started a new school year. What the hell happened to "See you in September!" ?

This year, I have 103 students instead of 130. Something is different this year with this crop of freshmen. Not sure what it is, really. They're quieter for one thing - maybe it's just that they're still scared of me.

I saw a piece on MSNBC about Teach for America, and the cute little teacher from UVa who is giving the teaching profession a shot. She said that teaching is not what it seems like from a student's point of view. Or even a parent's. There is more to being a teacher than meets the eye, and I don't know how to get people to realize how much work, heart, and soul goes into this profession.

Long Lost Normal

I have gotten so used to abnormal that somehow I learned to accept it as normal.

First there was testing and my administration's pre-testing Festival Of Panic. During the week of testing, my family began the hospital ordeal, which plodded into summer, which only seemed like summer because it was hot but even then I spent most of early summer in the air conditioned hospital.

Then it all caved in.

Then I left town with kids, then I came home for two days then I left again. For a month. For that month, I became accustomed to a poetic, honest, hilarious, intelligent normal. It was a glorious break, and I spent the month both relishing it and bracing myself for the new normal I would find at home.

And then I came home. And somehow, I am a teacher again.

Starting school has been walking through jello. Today, though, there was a moment. I was with the kids I'd had for years (along with some new ones) and as they settled into a quick reading and I sat down at my desk to do attendance, someone asked a question and I looked up and--without thinking--smiled. I felt it again. Normal. The normal I've missed since April.

It left me later on, but I was glad to have it visit today. I'll be hoping it comes back for another visit.

Life Long Learners

One of the most important things I try to impress upon my students is that learning is a life long process. Just because I am their teacher doesn’t mean I’ve stopped learning. I read about history, watch PBS specials and learn about things like ToonTown from them. If I learn about something particularly interesting I try to share it with them the following day. This way they can see how excited I get about new information. In the classroom, I create challenges for students who complete their classwork early. These challenges usually involve little research projects that can be done in the classroom. I encourage the students to share their findings with the class when there is time. Being generous with the stickers is always helpful here!

What do you do to encourage life long learning?