Well, things are certainly changing in my work world. For the past two years I’ve been working in our school district office, the first year doing some things I loved and believed in, the past year not so much. Now I am preparing to leave there and go to a middle school and begin teaching English Language Development. I’ve only taught high school so far, and have always sworn I would NEVER teach middle school, but now that it is going to happen, I’m feeling excited about it. I’ve missed the classroom these years, and am anxious to try some things I’ve been thinking about. I think that some of the things I always thought I was doing in high school with regard to keeping kids safe, guiding them to safety are actually more necessary earlier, probably in elementary school, but certainly in middle school.
I’m referring to choices kids make with regard to friends and gang involvement. A recent fatal drive-by shooting has the community in which I work in an uproar. This is only the latest in years of these things, and in the past I’ve always felt like I was helping keep kids safe by being real with them throughout their high school years. I know I helped make a difference for some kids, but the reality is that they make these decisions before high school. Catching it in high school is too late in many cases. It is so heartbreaking to go to the funerals of kids ~ I never want to go to another one, but odds are that I will, unfortunately.
This leads to my rant about the curriculum that we offer our students. When kids’ life outside school, or at least outside our classrooms is so dangerous, how can we think offering them fat men in space or never-ending stories about ants and a silo of grain is going to engage them? I think the school rule makers are off base, and yet they are in charge, so we must at least attempt to comply with their mandates. Or use subterfuge to get around them. I want to use technology in some edgy ways to grab kids, give them a reason to read and write other than it being third period and that’s what they must do at that time of day. But at this point even EduBlogs is blocked and it is like pulling teeth to get it opened up.
I wonder when we will be able to be trusted as the professional educators that we have prepared ourselves to be, and be permitted to teach students things that go beyond the minimum requirements.