It's been a while. I've been meaning to write. There was a lot of paperwork to complete since last we spoke. Grading is a bitch. At least for me it is. I'm not as on top of things as I should be. So what's new? I'm more on top of things than in previous years, however.
My class is irritating. We have a huge field trip scheduled. We're supposed to go to Washington, DC. The students are slowly winnowing themselves down. Our grade came up with a very generous rubric for inclusion on the trip: 4 detentions or 1 suspension result in a loss of the trip. Within 2 days, I had a student that couldn't go. At least 4 others are almost there. We go next month. By then it will be me and 3 of my students left. The others will be on the outside looking in. The boy that won't be joining us told me the classic "I go to DC all the time. I was going there this weekend, anyway." He has to tell me this to save face. It's sad because he could have had such a great time there and instead can't go. He's always being excluded. His whole life is about exclusion. So I've excluded him and now I've fed into the whole cycle. It sucks for everyone.
I'm not pleased with Obama's ideas for education so far. He wants to weaken unions, support charter schools, extend the school year, extend the day, and increase merit pay. Wow! I don't support one of those ideas. What I do support is funding the system we already have. I also support feeding our children, getting them healthcare, getting their families counseling, getting their families jobs, cleaning up the neighborhoods, getting rid of drugs and crime, and getting some hope in these dangerous, depressing neighborhoods where I teach. If we did some of this - addressing Maslow's hierarchy of needs - we would be so much better off. Until you do that, there aren't going to be gains. Not really. The Rookie Schoolteacher plan is much harder but better. Write a letter to Obama like I did. Tell him what you think. I'll let you know if I hear anything about mine. Let me know if you hear anything from yours.