Saturday, August 16, 2008

Reflections on The Beginning of the School Year

It's that time of year again, school is about to start up again. Teachers in my district officially started back to work yesterday. Most of us have been back for at least two weeks, moving everything into their rooms and getting them ready for the first day of classes.

This year there are many, many changes occurring within my school and district. We have a new principal and assistant principal. There is a new Superintendent. We have three new elementary schools and two new junior highs. Sixth grade has moved up to junior high with the seventh and eighth grade. On our campus half the staff is new or teaching a different subject or grade level, or both. I am personally switching from 8th grade Language Arts to 6th grade Social Studies, World Cultures. I know several teachers spent the summer getting familiar with their new subject through the curriculum and the textbook. I read the textbook and got my word wall together all summer, it took 2 ink cartridges.

I am excited about the new year, grade, subject area, and group of students. I am also a bit nervous. I like to challenges, but find it disconcerting to be heading blindly into the unknown. I know that strictly speaking, it's not the unknown. I have always been one that prefers having guidelines and rules, and they have scrapped the curriculum for my subject. I am eager for the mental stimulation of work, yet am already missing the days of lazying around (though I am suffering from slight boredom). Each summer vacation reaffirms that I am not cut out to be a housewife. Despite this, I'm having a hard time shifting my brain to work speed. I've also enjoyed the time I've had to pursue my other interests to any extent I want. I must now relearn how to balance my time between the have-tos and want-tos of life; and shift my focus to the have-tos parts of life.

I am looking forward to the look on students' eyes when they make a mental connection about what I'm teaching. I also love it when kids gets excited about something they are learning. I am not looking forward to the bureaucracy or parent phone calls. Look forward to work related conversations.

I am also making a change in my transportation to work. I will be riding a bicycle to work unless the weather is bad. I began to do so last week on a regular basis. It still takes under 20 minutes to get there. My left knee hurts a bit when I ride, but no other side effects. I still have an old knee brace, I think I'll use it next time I go riding.

This year will teach me a lot about my job and myself.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Some Thoughts on Science and Human Rights

P.Z. Myer's blog, Pharyngula is one of my favorite blogs. He is reasonable, intelligent, and has a sense of humor. He even allows his university students air their ideas on his blog, it doesn't even have to be directly related to their course work. His guest blogger today is Shastra, who discusses the relationship between science and human rights. This young person has some very interesting thoughts on the topic of how science and democracy are similar.

I heartily agree with what this young person had to say. Please have a read and leave your comments.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The "Y" and "M" Block

A favorite toy of youth. Completed August 13, 2008.

A mouse for the letter M, so cute. Completed August 31, 2008.


Sunday, August 10, 2008

The "V" and "Q" Block

A voluminous volcano. Completed August 10, 2008.

Queens are much too complicated to fit in a 1.1 square inch space. Asking questions is vital to life anyway. Completed August 11, 2008.