Friday, June 24, 2011

Texas Bluebonnets, Cameron Park, Waco, TX Spring 2011

Summer Vacation

I'm in the public library's quiet study room, hoping the library furniture so familiar from my undergraduate days will influence me to focus on my school work.  I've been here since the library opened at 9, and so far I have spent my first two hours doing work for my job -- sending emails, looking at a project a colleague and I worked on yesterday, and filling in my calendar for a vacation week in August that I'll be spending in my school district at classes, meetings, and working for student registration. 

I actually like continuing education, and I chose to devote this summer to a lot of it, both because there are things I think I need to know for my new job responsibilities and because I have decided to take the classes I need to renew my teaching certificate.

However, I would like to find some way for all the people whose objections to teachers seem to include those "summers off" to see my schedule.  Those "summers off" do include time at the beach and some recreational reading, but it's more like being laid off for two months -- but you still have to go to work AND pay tuition to go back to school. 

I actually think that we should look at different school year models -- even when I taught in a rural community with  many working farmers among my students, I didn't think the 19th Century calendar was working for us.  However, I would expect to be paid for working those extra weeks, and I would want to have the four or five weeks of vacation I enjoyed in other professional level positions.  [I think everyone should have more vacation, but that's another story].

Does anyone have any suggestions as to how we can communicate to our friends, neighbors, politicians, and community that schools have changed since they were in second grade, and that the student's perspective on what a teacher does and how they work is not the whole story?  I do think there is a need for serious school reform, and to look at lots of other possibilities for education -- but seeing something done is not the same as knowing how it is done or being able to do it.  I watch a lot of NASCAR racing, but I wouldn't drive 200 miles an hour.

Fortune Cookie

Information is not knowledge.
Knowledge is not wisdom.
Wisdom is not truth.
Truth is not beauty.
Beauty is not love.
Love is not music.
Music is the best.
Frank Zappa