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Archive for August, 2009

Portfolio Completed!

     It doesn’t look like much in this picture but it took most of the summer to complete.  At first, I found the project completely aggravating.  The task was to review my work over the course of my program, synthesize it to prove my competence about ten principles of education, and collate the evidence to address almost 100 individual rubric points.   My irritation was that I wasn’t learning anything new, not doing any research, not extending myself and I thought it would be a book that never got opened after it was reviewed.  But… It was an opportunity to think deeply about education and something that I will probably review because it captures my naive beliefs and objectives for my future practice.

     It ended up filling a four-inch binder and is mostly appendices with the required artifacts – most of the papers I wrote during my program.  One of the hardest parts was that it felt like bragging – “This proves that I’m good at that.  That proves I’m good at this.”  It was a cloud over my summer but it is finished.    Now onto finding a job so I can put this learning to work.   

     I really, really need a job.

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Blog Spam – Apology

If any of you are following this blog in Google Reader, I would like to apologize for the spam related to prescription drugs that is now showing up in the feed.   I have no idea why this is happening but there are rumors that the tech support people are working on it.

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Neglected Blog

     I’m back to my long neglected blog.    On another blog I read, Julie blogged about Living, not Blogging – I have a similar excuse.   It has been a busy summer with trips to visit family or drop off kids every weekend until this one when I actually find myself home on both Saturday AND Sunday – time to blog.    I have been to the Adirondacks for camp pickups and dropoffs, Ohio for a family reunion, Vermont for my niece’s graduation party, and camping on Cape Cod for a family beach vacation.  [Links to pictures]

     Ostensibly, this blog is about teaching.  I miss being in the classroom and am still hopeful about a job but also dealing with the reality that I may be substitute teaching this fall.   It’s not a good job market even for science teachers.   I am knee deep in my masters portfolio and although it’s a bit tedious, it feels good to be thinking about teaching and learning full time again.  After 14 months of intense grad school including student teaching, it was odd to not be immersed in it full time this summer.   On the other hand, I didn’t get to take any of those trips last summer.

     Another adventure got me thinking about how difficult it is to teach something you know instinctively.    The picture above includes the front of my canoe as I solo paddled on a recent canoe trip with my kids, some friends, and their kids.   I have canoed for most of my life – more than a few decades.   I didn’t know that my friends were novices – the kids all know how to paddle from various camps;  we no sooner pushed off when my friends asked how to steer.  I gave them the standard sailor response about moving the rudder in the direction you want to go.  They were going in circles as I came to realize that canoeing is almost completely backwards from that and they had no idea how to use a paddle as a rudder and were focused on paddling only.   We laughed hysterically while I picked the process apart and then taught them how to steer a canoe. 

     Fortunately, when I teach my students, I know that I need to prepare and break things down.    This was just another reminder of how difficult it is to teach something that is instinctive – chem lab procedures are like that for me but fortunately, in my professional experience, writing procedures for others including programs for computers was part of the job.

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