Monday, November 10, 2008

Checking In

Hi. My name is Amanda and today I feel... maroon with vertical stripes of blue.

I started a new job hunt this weekend. My current job is... frustrating? Infuriating? Totally against creativity being exhibited by me or my students?

Which is annoying. I knew I was going into a school/district that is Title-1, high-risk, on academic watch, etc. What I didn't know is that they were hiring a new superintendent after they hired me, who came in and made some sweeping policy changes that I don't agree with. That they brought in a new curriculum coach who thinks that "novels are a waste of time." That the money they swore to give me so I could start a drama program "isn't available this year". And so on. If you saw the venting on my blog from last week, well, you have a pretty good idea of what's going on on the classroom level, too.

In any case, I started the job hunting process over again. Because I know that it was right for me to be in Denver right now, but this job sure isn't right for me. Which makes the whole moving thing a bit perplexing for people who don't understand that sometimes you make choices because you're listening for the harmonies in life when everyone is singing along to the melody. You know?

So, to sum up. Hi! I'm Amanda and today I feel anxious and I could really use some reminders that green places do exist in public schools, please.

And I pass it to Craig.


At 10:25 PM, Blogger Emily said...

Green spaces exist. We have to build them ourselves, most of the time - but it starts with one kid smiling as he leaves your class. Very simple sprouts of green.

At 8:40 AM, Blogger Holbrook said...

The 2006-2007 year at my old school was a crazy mixture of awful and wonderful. Awful because my principal wouldn't let me go to the intensive, and she started building a case against me so that she could get rid of me altogether.

But it was also wonderful because I started using NITS strategies in the classroom. I tossed out the desks and all my old lesson plans and started from scratch. Not everything went perfectly, but there were occasional touches of magic. In the school I hated, I found things I loved.

Now I'm at a new school, and though it's not perfect, it's a HUGE improvement over my old school. It's also a middle school, which is something I shunned for my whole career. Now I can't imagine going back to high school.

I'm directing R+J for our contest show right now. My Sampson, a stoic athlete of limited acting ability, was almost moved to tears as we explored "a dog of the house of Montague moves me," because he was troubled with equating his classmates with mere animals.

You can't change your students' backgrounds or your superintendent's ideas, but you can change what happens in your room. Sometimes something beautiful springs up from the most unlikely places. I guess the moral is, you never know what's going to turn green.

At 11:34 AM, Blogger Walker said...

Checking In:

Hi my name is Mel and I'm feeling mustard yellow today.

My students got shafted at the Regional One Act play festival last night. Our play, "Beowulf on a Budget" (which I highly recommend) was the crowd favorite--even the judges admitted it, and our two actors received the only honorable mentions as Best Actors.

As the only comedy to receive consistent (and loud) laughter throughout the performance it received wild cheers and applause from not just the regular audience, but also the other competitors.

However, we didn't even place in the top half of competitors. One judge said it was like "watching some kids playing around in a parking lot." What does that even mean?

How can a play that tied for first at the district level receive such low ranking at the Regional level? I wouldn't be so upset if we hadn't legitimately done a good job--but it was a solid performance.

Sorry--but I had to check in with people who would understand, and I didn't want to be bitter with my students. My actors are feeling a little less green today.

Thanks for hearing me out--mel

At 11:41 AM, Blogger chitarita said...

And that's why I've never been a fan of competition drama. It's like trying to measure student learning through test scores - art isn't and was never meant to be measured. I'm sorry, Mel.

(And, by the way, just before I clicked over to here, I was thinking, "I hope Mel posted - I want to hear how she's doing!" So, yay! And, hi!)

At 10:38 PM, Blogger educat said...

I'm Jen, and I'm a mighty eighth grade cheerleader.

My check in is that I am working with spirit club and loving it. The best lesson that I've learned is that we have to reach out to others and invite them to share their best. I haven't felt so good about the extracurricular work I do with kids since I directed. I love asking kids to join us in our silly club, and they're becoming excited to join us.

The best news to come out of it all is I am right now the teacher who "saved Senior Assembly". Admin wanted changes in the format and the Senior sponsor didn't care enough to retool, so some kids and a parent asked me to help. Now, although it's not Hamlet (yet!), I'm finally directing *something*. I'm humbled at how many teachers have told me they'd help---and I'm giving every one of them a job!

What I'm learning about life is to reach out and allow everyone to bring their best.

And I miss you all.


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