The home stretch.
The dying days of summer vacation.
I love my job. I really do. I have to confess, however, that I find it difficult to transition from the leisurely pace of July and August to the structure of September and beyond. My school's caretakers are kind enough to allow teaching staff to come in during most of the summer; I did it quite a bit in the beginning of July but haven't darkened the door much since. Now that it's the last week before school, it's time to seriously contemplate what and how I'm going to teach this coming year.
Here's a dilemma - I want to take a more authentic approach to student-led inquiry this year, so how can I plan when my main teaching partners (also known as the students) aren't around to help? I guess this is something I should discuss with our kindergarten and grade 1 teachers, who are quite devoted to inquiry learning. I'll start by developing the class culture/community (gotta love Tribes) and discovering what excites them.
People I follow online have also thought long and hard about their intentions for the upcoming year. Cale Birk, a great principal in British Columbia, wrote about his plans here and the first line of his blog reads:
As we are getting ramped up for the start of another school year in British Columbia, I have now shelved my John Grisham novels and Sports Illustrated magazines until next July.
I asked myself why this reading material had to be temporarily discarded. His next line explains it succinctly:
Like many educators at this time of year, I have re-engaged in professional reading to get myself amped up for Day 1.
Being my perverse self, I wondered why we "force" ourselves to read things we wouldn't always be drawn to consuming. I'm not saying that Cale is reluctantly reading education-related material; he was pretty enthusiastic in the rest of the post about Five Disciplines of PLC Leaders. I like to be contrary. Why should I stop reading things I enjoy just because school is starting? I guess it boils down to our reasons for reading - reading for pleasure vs reading for information. I'm just trying to figure out how I can have my cake and still eat it. I just finished reading Stieg Larsson's The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. In some parts, I had to put down the book because I was so frightened. I would never dream of using it as a read-aloud, but maybe I could consider how social issues from the book or genres can be incorporated into my library lessons.
Before you get the idea that it's a simple fiction vs non-fiction thing, I'm actually dying to read some gaming studies. I attended a session at The Academy of The Impossible recently and got to mingle with some pretty fascinating individuals. I talked with someone who told of an interpretation of Club Penguin as a place where you can learn to be revolutionary - a complete 180 from the usual description I hear of Club Penguin as a place to train capitalists and consumerists. I want to read a study like this for personal interest!
If we are allowed to choose what we read, we'll be more eager, regardless of the reason. I still intend on reading The Choreography of Presenting both for interest and for professional enrichment. We'll see how much planning, preparing, or reading I get done in this last week.