Three for Thursday

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.

that's y foot and W's old parking spot
that’s my foot and W’s old parking spot

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.

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.

Three planets

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.

Tuesday evening's night sky - taken with the aid of an app for my iPhone
Tuesday evening’s night sky – taken with the aid of an app for my iPhone

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?

7 thoughts on “Three for Thursday

  1. When I was in high school, I hated science classes, largely because of the way they were taught, which is how you described your class as a freshman. I wasn’t a fan of history class, either, for the same reason. I love history now. And I am envious that you are going to see Hamilton in five months. I think I am going to have to wait for a year or more before the tour show makes it to Providence.

    Three things fill me with wonder: Art, music, and words.

    Enjoy your science class. It’s good to know teachers like you.

    1. Thank you. I am not sure you would have ‘grooved’ this year’s science class… I don’t think I did a good job of teaching science this year…..the coming year we have a new curriculum and there is content I think the students will embrace – forces, earthquakes, water, and weather – and plan to do a better job of helping them learn to wonder… enjoy your weekend and the countdown to the fourth!

  2. Heigh Ho, heigh ho, it’s off to school you go. Never a dull moment for teachers, huh? Keep up the good work, Clay. And good luck on scoring tickets to that show. It sounds really good.

    Have a good one.

    Patricia RIckrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

    1. Thank you. I was sharing the music with my daugher, O, and she was warming to the idea of attending a show… but time will tell. I did get a couple of tickets for the November 20 matinee… I hoping to organize a school trip this fall for a weekend matinee… enjoy your weekend – keep cool. Peace.

  3. Let’s hear it for teachers! Yes, you can all get an unjustified bad press, but some of us at least recognise that you work long hours throughout the year. As to the strawberry moon – well it was a bit disappointing here – too much cloud. And it looked a completely normal colour to me when I could spot it. Keep enjoying your summer break – what you can of it, anyway.

    1. Thank you. I finished the class yesterday and have another next week then the lake. I saw the moon again last night and I agree, no color to it, but it is waning and becoming more of a slice, than a whole. Enjoy your weekend and the week ahead. Peace.

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