24 August, 2009

"You can call me a hipster as long as you're a listener"

This summer I have the incredible luxury of knowing which classes I'm teaching (every level of Spanish and a health class, NBD). So I've been able to work an hour or 2 a day at the handful of coffee shops in my neighborhood, which may or may not be part of williamsburg, depending on who you ask.
Mostly I've been writing skeleton unit maps, without writing all of the activities, which is going to mean more work later, but after last year I know I can handle it. I'm also working on catching up on movies in Spanish so I can put some themes in my units as part of my quest to convince everyone that Spanish is a real subject, with real academic consequences and benefits.

In between all of that hard work, I visited 2 of the cities with public education systems that have similar problems to New York.

In DC, everyone asked about my thoughts on tenure, which are exactly the same as many new teachers who got certified in non-traditional paths and have no families to support. Sadly I missed the release of the 200 page guide to effective teaching. Luckily I have no doubt I'll run into it during my thesis class this year. Maybe I can compare it to whoever decided that a good aim is all you need to have a good lesson and therefore consistently excellent instructional capabilities.

In Philadelphia, I watched at least 3 people yell at AMTRAK or SEPTA employees because they can only sell tickets for the transportation system they work for, not the other. It gave me all kinds of new ideas for tying English literacy in with Spanish literacy.

Probably the most valuable lesson from my summer adventures was that I shouldn't spend the whole school year saying "how are things? I'm coming to visit in the summer." I don't expect this year to be any less work (I actually expect it to be more), but since I couldn't stop being a teacher during the summer (thanks grad school!) hopefully I'll continue to be a human during the school year.

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