Saturday, November 05, 2005

From Angst to Action

I am full of angst.
I am working full-out, but not even remotely teaching the way I want to be teaching.

Re-entry into US public school teaching has been jarring and disheartening.
Be it real or imagined, I feel a crushing pressure to teach to the test, teach what is familiar to the parents of my students, teach the Prescribed Curriculum, leave No Child Behind.

And so that is what I'm doing with worksheets and textbooks. And my students buy into it [or not] in varying degrees. And we are all playing school, except that this is their real lives, real childhoods.

At some level, they sense that what we are doing isn't relevant to their lives. If their families place a high priority on school, they get some satisfaction from playing school well. Some days I am able to make what we are doing fun, engaging. That doesn't hide that this is an old, disjointed, largely irrelevant curriculum.

But at night, I read edublogs. Today Clarence Fisher over at Remote Access discusses three vital pieces that need to be in place to restructure our classrooms so that they meet the future needs of our students. As usual, he clearly and succinctly draws the essentials into focus.

Articles like Clarence's depress me because my practice is so far from what those bloggers are doing in their classrooms. They also give me the kick I need to get moving. Tonight I sent and e-mail to David Warlick requesting a pass code for Blog Meister so that I can begin to blog with my students.

Even the elation of that small step is tempered by exhaustion. Where will I find the time and energy to get this up and running? How will I inform families, build support AND use the blogs to empower my students through their writing?

I used to sling around the unattributed quote,
Anything worth doing, is worth doing poorly [rather than not at all].
I wonder if I can take my own advice.