Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Missed Opportunities

Every morning in schools around the country, the P.A. system beeps on and the daily announcements come on. Some schools use broadcasts, which is at least much more interesting than the voices in the sky.
But, I can't help but think that these modes, especially the P.A. system is hopelessly outdated.
In a generation where schools are constantly looking to draw their students in and engage them, it seems to me that we are missing many great opportunities to deliver messages through Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Youtube. Schools are still fearful of these social media sites, and the result is a greater divide between the students and the school leaders.

Friday, April 06, 2012

Governor Malloy Must Just Show Up for Four Years Pt. 2

Unless I am misunderstanding Governor Malloy's Education Reform movement, he would like to see teachers held accountable for poor student performance. But for the University of Connecticut's men's basketball team, Governor malloy finds it "ridiculous" that the NCAA has banned the team from post-season play for poor academic standards in the past.
Interesting. I guess it isn't politically advantageous to call out the UConn Huskies and Coach Jim Calhoun, but those poor, incomepetent teachers...

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Caught off Guard

My best guess is that if the quality of my teaching was to be judged on student outcomes this year, I might end up as ineffective, especially when compared to last year's scores. Surviving this year has undoubtedly been difficult, and it has often left me feeling ambivalent. And yet.
In his powerful book of essays, The Hungering Dark, Frederick Buechner writes a prayer:
"Catch us off guard today. Surprise us with some moment of beauty or pain so that for at least a moment we may be startled into seeing that you are with us here..." My wife and I had the entirety of the prayer read at our wedding. The truth of it encompasses so much of what we do.
Last week, on a Friday no less, a student or two caught me off guard. For the entire school year to date, this one student, full of good intentions, has failed to accomplish any reading assignments at home.
But here she was, eight chapters into The Lord of the Flies, up to date on her reading and with the type of annotations I expect from my students. Tucked into her notes was a deep and profound question, but I can't remember it. Instead, I remember the lump in the throat, the "moment of beauty."
I have learned this year to not let my highs get to high or my lows get to low. It is what it is as the cliche goes. But I was thankful for the moment.