A smattering of thoughts

I am slowly unpacking my bedroom at home, and setting up my classroom at school. There are no specials classes this week, so I am covering other teachers’ breaks, getting a feel for the new school environment, and appreciating this buffer where I can get ready for my own classes next week.

Note to self: Never buy sewing needles again. In the past I have bought a cheap pack, then put it somewhere “safe,” then failed to find it next time I needed to sew something. Repeat countless times. If you need needles, let me know.

I always thought bulletin borders were stupid, but then I realized that putting borders around a bulletin board conceals the fact that I can’t cut in a straight line to save my life.
 
I think it is going to be an okay year.
 
The third graders were writing about what they thought of the new school, and their goals for the year. Almost every kid mentioned the word “safe” when describing how they felt about the new school, which was encouraging.
 
My graduate class started last night. It’s going to be a very busy semester for me… between class and tutoring, I will be getting back home late – sometimes after 9 – almost every day. But so far I’ve loved my graduate classes… and hey, it’s an excuse to go more into debt and pay off bills with student loans, eh? Eh?!
 
Last night in class we discussed pronunciation a little, and whether or not it is teachable. The article we read called it a “Cinderella skill” that seems to magically appear, and experts wonder if it can actually be taught at all.
 
I think a lot of teaching has to do with this kind of question. You’re never quite sure if you can teach anything. You’re never quite sure if it’s going to stick, if it’s going to be backed up by other life experiences, if it’s going to be forgotten. For me, the crucial thing is believing that these things (pronunciation, language, writing, character, self control…) actually can be taught. Once you stop believing that someone can be taught, you stop trying to find new ways to teach them.
I’m not saying I’m a proponent of blind faith.
(Or maybe I am?)
 
I am trying to keep this in mind as I brace myself for teaching middle schoolers again, after the mixed success of last year. New block scheduling leaves me with mornings full of the vast expanses of 1.5 hour sessions with middle school classes… hm.
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