Happy 2010-2011 School Year!
It is a Friday evening. I look out the front door and notice the color – twilight blue. The sun set several minutes earlier, and I am cooled by just looking at the sky. In a moment of vanity, I imagine my skin blue or turquoise, like the sky. And then, in the midst of my imagination, I notice a lone man walking from the high school. He carries a bag strapped around his shoulders and luckily it looks light. He is a colleague, a math teacher (bless him), and he is returning from his classroom. I’ve forgotten about turning blue or turquoise, and admire him because he is a teacher.
Monday is the beginning of a new school year.
This is my New Year. January 1 has generated great hype over the years, but I think with the focus of education in government, August will ‘one-up’ it soon. Kidding aside, I like the comparison. My syllabus is like a resolution-list. I wrote ten (big) things I wanted to change this year, and my boss said instead to choose wisely from that list. I decided to focus on two areas. It required that I project and think about what I plan to keep, what I want to change, and what I can stick with. Every year, I break several January resolutions because keeping them all would require about three of me.
My resolution-list, my syllabus, will require that students obtain an email account. I’m assuming most have one, but I also come from a rural, stunning landscape in Northeastern Arizona where many people are still without internet, phone, and electric services. The school has to provide – that’s how I see it. This summer I attended a conference in Las Vegas and it opened my eyes to the effective use of assessment and technology. I realized that I shied away from electronic and internet tools because I am not strong in those areas. In doing so, I let my fear create a disservice to my students. So, obviously, a resolution will be to incorporate internet technology in my class, and that means I have to learn some new skills and terms.
I also intend to focus on assessment, effective assessment, which will encourage my students to challenge themselves. It amazes me how many ways there are for students to achieve and feel successful. And yet, because I am comfortable with certain styles of assessment, I limit those successful moments for students. I want to change that … I will change that. These seem like two small resolutions, and I will need a year to see what the kids teach me about these resolutions.