Monday, August 9, 2010

Did The Bell Ring?

The Back to School commercials couldn't even wait for August 1st this year. They slipped in before the last day in July. These are the days that mark the end of summer for teachers. It's the second week of August and already some are in their classrooms, attending meetings, adjusting schedules, making changes. Some are already teaching, so a former colleague told me last week. This 2010-11 school year will mark the 4th year now I won't be going back with them. My semi-retirement has been successful. My full-time days are over. I succeeded in securing a part-time position as Supervisor/Mentor for beginning teachers. STILL...I feel the pull. Of course, my "teacher dreams" continue, with new motifs. For awhile there, it was the I didn't really retire dream, I just did for a short while. I usually end up in these dreams in another school, often a MIddle School not high school, and always there is one class, the last in the day, that I somehow haven't been to in awhile. This is a group I don't look forward to, but I need to organize and keep forgetting about. Sometimes in this dream I don't make it on time, or find that I have forgotten to attend this class. Imagine me forgetting to show up at one of my own classes! I love these dreams because they keep talking to me, keep telling me something, keep me emotionally charged. Sometimes I can't find the office, can't find or never bothered to use attendance sheets, and on rare occasions, I don't know my way around the campus. Seems to me that's directly related to the new school that has been built on the sight of the one I taught at for 30 years.
The pull works in other subtle ways too. Yesterday I bought a package of small 3x5 colored index cards. Teaching so many subjects in English and Science Science over the years I found color coding helped. Guess it's just a part of me now. Another part of that dying world that I still find useful to negotiate my living one.
This school year, as I enter the classrooms of beginning teachers for my observations I'm going to pay special attention to human interaction. Using the technology available is certainly an advantage. But at what cost? I'm wondering how effective or ineffective we are becoming at working with one another. What's lost or gained for the writing process when all writing is done on the keyboard. Are there any characteristics or components of yesterday's classroom that simply can't be replaced in todays? I'll be watching.

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