Thursday, February 7, 2013

While I Plot My Career Change

Matt Groening got it right
I am sure I will surprise no one when I tell you that I am one of the burdgeoning ranks of disillusioned teachers.  There always were unhappy teachers, as this is a tough, next to impossible, job, but the disenchanted sector is now at epidemic levels.  Teaching has changed since I started only ten years ago.  When I was a new teacher, No Child Left Behind had just passed and had not trickled down to any meaningful extent to those in the trenches.  However, now that it has, teaching is less fun, and I am confident that learning is less interesting as well, if the number of disengaged faces I see every day is any indication.  I documented some of the fun, in-depth projects I used to do, back in the day, but no longer can.  Many teachers are looking for something else; I am one.

In the meantime, after the all important tests, which are coming up, we do, sometimes, get to do different things than just prep, prep, prep.  And so, I have something to look forward to professionally.  My school has culminating projects based on a theme, that is divided amongst the the five different "academies" that my school is made up of (it's a giant school, so rather than have children running wildly around the whole school, we divided things up, so different individuals should only be running wildly in a portion of the building).  In any case, this year's competition's theme is "Cities of the World", and my academy's city is New Orleans.  Not my first choice, certainly, but I can find an angle.

Something along the lines of this

So, I am currently planning a lesson to be given in June.  Ah, June, the finest month to teach.  A time of weddings, warmth, fresh air, kids going nuts, and teachers just hoping no one gets seriously hurt while they look forward to the summer break.  During this magical month, I will teach "Wrought Iron Geometry", which will involve very little geometry, and a whole lot of mini making.  I figure we can make a small "French Quarter" facade, and focus on the balconies.  I am thinking of making some examples from polymer clay by printing out a template, and having the students just lay the clay over the paper.  Cooking will be done at home, because, back in my enthusiastic days, during the Mesopotamian Math project, I created a wicked smell when I burnt the Cuneiform clay tablets the children made in a scavenged toaster oven.  There were actual flames coming from the polymer clay.  This was the first time there were flames and horrible smells emenating my classroom, but, sadly, not the last (a lighting fixture burst into flames in my room last year, and I would guess that the lingering chemical stench was a toxic PCB gas).  As a backdrop to the Sculpey railings and French Quarter facades, I envision a large railing pattern that will be traced on the wall using my projector.  Like I need one more reason to look forward to June!  Now I have to go scavenge some cardboard, and resist the temptation to start buying brazing rods and dreaming up stair railings and getting completely off track on the Undersized Urbanite competition.  Hurray!


  1. I can't imagine how hard it is to maintain any level of enthusiasm in your work when there are so many restrictions. I fondly remember my teachers, (in the 70's/80's), had me wanting to learn because it was fun. Sorry to hear you are so disenchanted =0/



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