Archive for April 2010

In search of my identity   2 comments

It’s Tuesday morning. 7:20 to be exact. I am waiting to see the girls off to school. Looking forward to getting back in the bed as soon as they get on the bus. I know I should be planning how I will attack the day and all the things I want need to get done, but some days I just don’t want to. Yesterday was one of those days. I am praying that it doesn’t turn into one of those weeks. You know the kind where you have literally zero productivity because there is something there, something in the way. You can’t really put your finger on it, but you know it’s there. I think I have figured out what ‘it’ is for me. I miss the classroom. I miss the interaction with the kids. But it goes a little deeper than that.

As I participate in discussions and interact with other teachers on Twitter, I am reminded of what I am missing. This little voice has been nagging me. Blame it on the questions on Facebook and Twitter: ‘Where are you teaching?’ or ‘What are you teaching?’ I hesitate to respond. Technically speaking, I am not really a teacher, per se, or am I? I don’t really consider myself a homeschool teacher to my oldest, but instead just a parent doing what had to do be done-the public school alternative leaves much to be desired. Any way, here I am. Struggling with my identity. Can I really call myself a ‘teacher’ since I am not in a classroom? Those who have retired from the education system can refer to themselves as a ‘retired teacher. But what should I say?

‘See my blog. That will explain what I used to do, why I left, and what I am doing now.’

Nah. I need to figure this out (ASAP) because I am feeling a little stuck right now. I have the feeling that whatever it is I am supposed to be doing, is right on the other side of this confusion. Sadly, there will likely be thousands of other teachers in the same predicament at the end of this school year.

Posted April 13, 2010 by moniseseward in Uncategorized

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School districts, it's Spring Break:Do you know where your students are?   9 comments

As I was standing outside talking to my neighbor the other day, I went into ‘old-school, back-in-the-day, grown-up from the neighborhood’ mode. Now I know some of you many not know what that means, so let me explain.

We were discussing our Homeowner’s Association, or lack thereof, when I spotted a boy (probably around 10 or 11) walking through a neighbor’s yard and throwing a ball against the house. Yes, I said throwing a ball against the house. I stopped my conversation with my neighbor and asked (here comes the ‘old-school, back-in-the-day, grown-up from the neighborhood’ mode):

“Excuse me. Do you live there?”

“No,” he replied.

“Then why are you walking through the yard and throwing a ball up against the house?”

“I wasn’t throwing it hard.”

After I picked-up my bottom lip, I said: “It doesn’t matter how hard you were throwing it. You don’t throw a ball against anyone’s house! And why are you walking through their yard?” I concluded my lecture about respecting the property of others and suggested that they all go do something constructive, like read a book. Couldn’t help it-the teacher in me tends to rear its ugly head every now and then. But I missed something really important that day: The kids really don’t have anything to do out here; here being the burbs without public transportation and an abundance of overpriced recreation and out-of-school programs. These things were expensive a few years ago so imagine the sacrifice now that many more people are either unemployed or underemployed. Let’s fact it: Kids have to be left at home unsupervised because the parents simply cannot take time off or afford one of the afore-mentioned programs.

But this is what gets me: Our kids attend school in the largest district in the state of Georgia, yet the district officials do not see a need to offer some form of programming during the breaks, especially summer. Or maybe they just don’t give a damn. Yeah, I think that’s more likely. After all, many of the surrounding schools are classified as Title I schools so there are extra funds available. What are they doing with those funds? They sure as hell aren’t providing enrichment programs for the kids who qualify. Those services are only available for kids in danger of failing a class or not passing the upcoming Criterion Referenced Competency Test (CRCT). You would think that preparing kids for the test would be top priority for district officials. Oh wait….I forgot: They make teachers use instructional time for test-prep. My bad.

Any way, I will continue to work on grant proposals for this FREE summer program for the same kids I lectured a few days ago. Otherwise, they may end up cutting through my yard and throwing a ball against my house.

School districts, it’s Spring Break:Do you know where your students are?   9 comments

As I was standing outside talking to my neighbor the other day, I went into ‘old-school, back-in-the-day, grown-up from the neighborhood’ mode. Now I know some of you many not know what that means, so let me explain.

We were discussing our Homeowner’s Association, or lack thereof, when I spotted a boy (probably around 10 or 11) walking through a neighbor’s yard and throwing a ball against the house. Yes, I said throwing a ball against the house. I stopped my conversation with my neighbor and asked (here comes the ‘old-school, back-in-the-day, grown-up from the neighborhood’ mode):

“Excuse me. Do you live there?”

“No,” he replied.

“Then why are you walking through the yard and throwing a ball up against the house?”

“I wasn’t throwing it hard.”

After I picked-up my bottom lip, I said: “It doesn’t matter how hard you were throwing it. You don’t throw a ball against anyone’s house! And why are you walking through their yard?” I concluded my lecture about respecting the property of others and suggested that they all go do something constructive, like read a book. Couldn’t help it-the teacher in me tends to rear its ugly head every now and then. But I missed something really important that day: The kids really don’t have anything to do out here; here being the burbs without public transportation and an abundance of overpriced recreation and out-of-school programs. These things were expensive a few years ago so imagine the sacrifice now that many more people are either unemployed or underemployed. Let’s fact it: Kids have to be left at home unsupervised because the parents simply cannot take time off or afford one of the afore-mentioned programs.

But this is what gets me: Our kids attend school in the largest district in the state of Georgia, yet the district officials do not see a need to offer some form of programming during the breaks, especially summer. Or maybe they just don’t give a damn. Yeah, I think that’s more likely. After all, many of the surrounding schools are classified as Title I schools so there are extra funds available. What are they doing with those funds? They sure as hell aren’t providing enrichment programs for the kids who qualify. Those services are only available for kids in danger of failing a class or not passing the upcoming Criterion Referenced Competency Test (CRCT). You would think that preparing kids for the test would be top priority for district officials. Oh wait….I forgot: They make teachers use instructional time for test-prep. My bad.

Any way, I will continue to work on grant proposals for this FREE summer program for the same kids I lectured a few days ago. Otherwise, they may end up cutting through my yard and throwing a ball against my house.

Women have no place in education….   2 comments

DISCLAIMER: The thoughts contained in this blog post are those of the writer and the writer only. I don’t really care if you agree with me or not, but this needs to be said; I have never been able willing to ignore the elephant in the room. If the millions of people ‘concerned’ about the state of education were genuinely concerned, then this post would not be necessary.

Ok, now to explain the title: Women really do have a place in education, but I can’t help but wonder if working as a classroom teacher in some ways limits our opportunities to assume leadership roles, e.g., administration, superintendency, charter school developer, etc. Now I know there are some very dedicated, qualified, and damned good classroom teachers who have absolutely no desire to transition into a leadership role. I can and do respect that. But what about those who do? At what cost? What must she/they exchange in order to exercise their dynamic and visionary leadership skills and leading their staff in transforming a school that ensures the success of every child?

In previous blog posts I have given ‘shout-outs’ to Principal El, Dr. Steve Perry, and Principal Kafele for their tireless efforts in ensuring that minority kids and those from low-income families receive the best quality education, thereby increasing their post-secondary options. I applaud these men for their work, but where are the women? I kinda feel an Alex Kotlowitz-esque book entitled, ‘There are no women here: Exposing the glass-ceiling in public education,” coming on…I bet it would sell but I digress.

How many women leaders can you name? I am sure we can all name Marva Collins, whom I respect and admire, but is she the only one? Seriously? Where are we? I need to hear from you! I am really wondering if a penis is a prerequisite for getting professional respect and an equal opportunity at making a difference. I shudder at the thought….

I’m out!