Here it is the summer vacation I've been waiting for, dreaming about and... it's been officially a week. However, I had a workshop Thursday and Friday that kind of sucked some fun from the concept of vacation.

So, let's look at that workshop: English Department and Social Studies Department gathered around one table. For the most part, tempers were kept. Not too many digs or snotty comments. But, what did we do, exactly? We talked about more work we can do.

As I am becoming famous for asking: what is the expected outcome of this workshop? What will it look like? And I walked away from those hours of work wondering just that. I think we agreed that some changes need to be made--to increase literacy in Social Studies and for English to stop teaching history. One question I asked is about the number of projects/activities the students do in English class. I wondered if less time could be spent on the fluff and more on the writing process, which is lacking. Now, I'm not one to shy away from an activity that will reinforce the learning and maybe pull some creativity out of these students (uhm... yeah). But, seriously... runaway slaves would not have written journals describing their Underground Railroad experience. And yet we have English teachers who don't understand why that isn't a valid exercise. Where to begin, where to begin???

I ended the workshop days frustrated and confused. We started the week by identifying how we would bring more rigor to our social studies curriculum--by including specific pieces of the research process into our classroom. And yet, when we finished, I have no idea what we decided. So we set goals and outcomes but we scrapped them. I think.

That's one of my biggest frustrations as a teacher. We sit and brainstorm and round table and discuss and discuss and discuss. And we have some good ideas that I get all excited and enthusiastic about. I start giving my energy and creative forces to that idea. And then... it disappears. And somehow, I missed the conversation.

I think, however, I am forgetting that I have a month of vacation. I feel like I've got to cram naps and laziness into everyday. And too much sleeping isn't especially good for me. And I can only read so much before it all blends together.

I need to make a structure to the days. But I don't want to do that. I want to go with the flow.

Meh, I'll figure something out. Just seven days until the whole family is together. Then I'll be wishing I had some flexibility and alone time, and nap time...

what if this is as good as it gets?


Melissa said...

Thanks for stopping by my place! :) Reading your post here made total sense to me! I too often am the one at those workshops/meetings asking those same questions! I teach reading and writing to 8th grade students with reading and writing learning disabilities. I am with you on not being able to effectively teach the writing process when following district curricula! It's impossible to get it ALL IN! (And we as teachers usually know what needs to be taught differently, more, and to what extent......but does the district listen to us in the trenches?) Sorry...I'm venting!

Enjoy your break! :) Are you in year-round school or do you have all summer off like me?

Have a GREAT WEEK! :)

WendyDarling said...

I am so sorry you are having to "deal" with those meetings. I understand, they are so frustrating. Every time I had to be on a committee to "brainstorm" ways we could "improve", the administration would shoot down EVERY idea we came up with. Talk about irritating! I love reading your blogs, and it's the ones like this one that remind me why I am so happy I stopped working for the local school district, and started homeschooling. I CONTROL the curriculum. :-) (Yes, I do have control issues.) :-) Love you!! :-)