I think you should all know that I beat my personal best half marathon time by three minutes this morn’. My previous personal best was for my first ever half marathon, that I ran the day after I contracted the swine flu, and has been my arch nemesis ever since!
Hey guys -
I’ve joined something called the Arizona Coalition for Student Excellence (ACSE). We have a website with a blog, and I wrote my first post over there. If you want to check it out, here’s the URL: http://www.acse.us/2013/12/07/introductions-and-my-fear-of-the-common-core/
Note: My ACSE name is Madame Fabulous, and I have valid reason for not using my pic on that website. PLEASE be careful about revealing details about me if you comment over there.
Over and out.
(Let’s ignore the fact that he forgot the ‘n’ on my name…)
I SAY: Girls tend to care about the details. The details add up to a whole person. My weekly schedule includes three nights of church a week, fifteen minutes of reading my Bible every morning, and time for prayer at night so I REALLY need to find a guy who lives a lifestyle that’s compatible with mine. Your details lead me to believe that yours isn’t, but if I’m mistaken, you should let me know.
Dogs doing laundry!
Yes, it’s been quite awhile since I’ve done very much writing here. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve posted things to ensure that you don’t all abandon me completely, but I really have not been focused on writing for the past year or two. That’s not to say that I’ll necessarily get into the swing of things again, but I felt better equipped to write today than I have been feeling, so I thought I’d better get dive in.
Here are my thoughts for the day:
1. I’ve miraculously lost my anxiety about sleep. For awhile now, I’ve felt like I should always sleep when given the opportunity because I never know when it will be gone. I’ve gotten in bed at 8:00, concerned that ten hours might not be enough. Now, I feel a little okay with seven or even six. It’s nice to relax about it again.
2. I’m slightly concerned about my current drive to fix public education. My parents instilled in me a fervent fear of Big Brother, which has led me to believe Nationalized anything is bad and data mining is downright villainous. Okay. That’s all fine, but I’ve recently thrown myself so completely into an organization that’s taking on “the man” that I genuinely feel like that’s my ministry. Now, this isn’t to say that such a thing can’t be my ministry, but I wonder if it maybe shouldn’t be my ministry… partly because it’s not the church and I don’t want to somehow begin to count a secular institution as equal with the Bride of Christ. I know. I KNOW. I’m not actually doing anything wrong. I leave my educator meeting things early so as to make it to church on time, which makes me a good little Christian, right?
3. I’ve run out of steam, so no more thoughts.
I’ve been struggling more as a teacher this year than ever before. I managed to make it past those terrible first few years that destroy most aspiring educators, and yet, here in year 7, I’m on the precipice of those depths of despair Ann – with – an – e is so oddly enamored with.
“What on earth is going on?” I ask myself. “I love teaching! I love students and literature! Why am I so unhappy?” The answers to those questions are certainly complex, and yet, I find myself considering the possibility that there is an answer that puts me on a side of a political cage match. While I’d rather not be on any side of any such match, the variables seem (I say seem because there is quite a lot more research to be done) to combine for a HUGE politically-charged opinion.
Here’s my experience, research-light:
1.Someone, somewhere decided it was a brilliant idea to link teacher pay with student scores. Our district came up with a new instrument for measuring teacher success, and now, via an incomprehensible math problem, there is a number linked to my name that my principal doesn’t seem to understand, so, of course, neither do I.
2. Last year began with a bunch of hooplah about Common Core. committees were formed, we tried to be positive, and we went to work. I began the work of implementing the standards, which really means that I kept doing what I had been doing before, only I emphasized close reading a whole heck of a lot.
3. This year, English and Math classes in our district acquired new text books that are intended to help in the Common Core implementation. Evidently the math book is crap (I don’t have a ton of first-hand knowledge, but that’s what I hear from teachers, students and parents). However, the English book is decent except that complications arose because we were not given the time or the resources to effectively use our text books. Here are some of the complications:
- Kids don’t have the books at home, so they have to access the books online. Some kids don’t have computers. Others don’t have high-speed interwebs. None of them retain info as well when they read from a screen… etc…
- The old books were removed from our classrooms over the Summer, so we essentially had two days to plan out an entire school year. Much of that time was spent setting up our classes on the publisher’s website because each student had to be manually added to the online class before he or she could access the books.
- The computer labs are always full because we’re trying to use the resources well, but there aren’t enough computers for all of us to use at one time. In fact, there aren’t enough computers for 20% of our kids to be on computers all at the same time.
- We’re using a ton of copies.
4. One of the math teachers at my school was called in for a meeting during which he was told he had to teach from the text book that he believed to be inferior, if not damaging to children.
5. I began to lose it.
Do you see how number 1 and number 4 could be cause for concern? Already, there is a number that no one understands, that my boss can’t even explain to me, linked to my pay and this other teacher’s pay. Now, on top of that, we’re expected to do things we believe are inappropriate for kids… that means my pay is no longer IN ANY WAY linked to things I can control. If I am told how to teach, and am threatened with disciplinary action if I refuse, then I certainly should not be held accountable for the effectiveness of a choice I wasn’t allowed to make. Add to that the frustrations that come with implementing a set of standards that we have very little data on, using resources that I can’t fully take advantage of… and maybe I have reason to be unhappy. Maybe it’s okay for me to express an opinion about it. In fact, maybe I have a duty to express that opinion.
Here’s a video of a kid that blows my mind.
Last week, a friend and colleague told me about a conversation he had with some of the fellas who work in the math department (or there may have been some scientists there as well). Basically, I was brought up as available, nice, and not a Mormon virgin. My friend responded to the group that I wouldn’t touch the man who was lookin’ for a date with a ten-foot pole… and this whole situation irked me. I don’t exactly know why this irked me (and still does), because my friend was really just telling the truth. There is no way I could ever date this particular man… and yet, I’m feeling pretty weird about it all.
First, I think maybe it bothers me that my co-workers are suddenly talking about me. It’s entirely possible that they’ve always talked about me and I just haven’t known about it, but I always fancied myself invisible at work. Of course, I’ve tried a bit harder for the past couple of years to be friendly and get to know folks, but I never thought that would lead to them thinking about me and expressing their thoughts.
It maybe also bothers me that the context I was mentioned in wasn’t entirely innocent. Okay, so there are a million filthier things the guys could have said about me, but there was still that thing where I was being contrasted with a girl they labeled as a Mormon virgin. Again, I never suspected anyone had cause to talk about me in that way.
Third, I think it bothers me that my friend was so blunt. Maybe I don’t understand because I’m not a dude, but I certainly never would have insulted anyone in that manner and I probably would have found an exit ramp out of that conversation without having to answer the question at all. Avoiding the question is preferable to hurting anyone’s feelings in my mind. I’m not mad at my friend for his response (and it actually flatters me that he believes my standards are high enough that this man could not be anything other than repulsive to me) but I’m still a bit weirded out by the whole thing.
Thoughts? You’re probably just amazed that I made it to age 29 without anything like this happening before now, right?