It’s Thursday morning and it is the twenty-seventh day of summer break, almost two-thirds remain. There is a myth which persists that teachers don’t work a full year. It’s not true, it is nowhere close to being true and the myth misrepresents what educators do to be ready for the coming year.
Class starts in an hour.
This summer I am taking a professional development class, in fact the last several summers I have taken PD classes. Classes are taught by fellow educators and are filled with rich curricula and new methods to help students grow and learn. This summer I am taking a two-week long class at the local high school. The class is offered through Fermilab Education and W’s freshman biology teacher is the instructor, he was also one of W’s wrestling coaches. It has been an interesting eight days of being transported back to being fifteen again, and then morphing back to my real age. It’s been forty years since that high school freshman year, I’d mostly forgotten that very awkward time.
— CUSD 200 (@CUSD200) June 20, 2016
The class is for high school science teachers and focusses on Modelling Science. Forty years ago in science class, I read the textbook, took notes, listened to lectures and took notes, and completed labs in my high school science class. That’s not how science is taught any longer and the class is helping me – a relatively novice science teacher – learn new ways to help my eighth graders grow and learn in science.
A child’s world is fresh and new and beautiful, full of wonder and excitement. It is our misfortune that for most of us that clear-eyed vision, that true instinct for what is beautiful and awe-inspiring, is dimmed and even lost before we reach adulthood. Rachel Carson, The Sense of Wonder (1956)
More on Rachel Carson, in a future post. And, It’s also been fun parking each morning in W’s old parking spot #100 and then heading off to class.
Last night the weather was awful, meteorologists had warned that the Midwest was primed for a major weather event with heavy rain, high winds hail, and tornados. Our town was spared, we had rain and high winds briefly, but the brunt of the storm went north or south. The semi-final game of the Copa America, Colombia vs Chile, was stopped and the stadium evacuated for almost two hours because of the storm’s severity. Several tornados were reported south of us, but fortunately no one was reported killed or seriously hurt, only property damage.
But the night before, the sky was clear and the light of the strawberry moon illuminated Earth, and I could clearly see three planets in a line in the southern sky – Jupiter, Mars, and Saturn. It filled me a sense of wonder and excitement. My view of the night sky is limited by the trees around our home and the light pollution from living in a large urban area. I am looking forward to being at the cottage the following week when I can look up and see more stars. Wonder.
I got tickets.
This past year I taught US History – four classes and one science class, the year prior it was the mirror image – 4 science classes and one US History class. This coming year, you ask? Three US History classes and two science classes, but that could change. Go figure, stay tuned.
I’ve long known the power of music in the classroom, but this year I had help. Hamilton the Musical has been the rage in New York and earlier this year it was announced it was coming to Chicago for a two-year run. I was determined…
I am not throwing away my shot
That’s a line from the musical. Tuesday, I was in line for tickets and I had two, then the website crashed, and crashed and finally, eight hours after the tickets went on sale, I had two. I am excited and I am looking forward to the performance, but it’s a little less than five months away. For now, I’ll have to continue to read Hamilton by Ron Chernow – it’s on my summer reading list and listening to the soundtrack on my iPhone.
I am not throwing away my shot
Hey yo, I’m just like my country
I’m young, scrappy and hungry
And I’m not throwing away my shot
I am not, no way.
And for now, class is an hour and I had better jump up, jump in, and seize the day before it seizes me. Today is gonna be a great day, a day of learning, a day of service, and a day growing as a person. Making the days Count, one day at a time, full of wonder and excitement.
What fills you with wonder?