The world as seen through my (and Blaise’s) iphones.
The world as seen through my (and Blaise’s) iphones.
I gave my first test of the year this past Friday. For the last two weeks, one of my classes has studied the art and culture of the Middle Ages.
The first week I introduced major social roles and gave them worksheets that described – in simple language – Kings, Noble(wo)men, Knights, Bishops, Priests, Friars, Monks/ Nuns, Serfs, Servants, Minstrels, and Merchants. I had them complete “fill in the blank” worksheets to help them learn these roles. We did creative writing exercises.
The second week we talked about Gothic Architecture. Again, I gave them many, many handouts and had them do “matching” exercises to learn that Gothic Architecture is marked by (1) tall, sweeping designs, (2) flying buttresses, (3) vaulted ceilings, (4) pointed arches, (5) light, open, and airy interiors, (6) gargoyles, and (7) an emphasis on decor. We viewed a ton of slides and sketched our own features.
The night before the test, I purchased folders for each of the students, put stickers with their names on them, and put their worksheets inside. I provided these folders for the exams.
I took each and every question on the test AS A DIRECT QUOTE from their worksheets which they had in front of them.
This is what I got back.
A shocking lack of understanding of basic geography.
This. Is. Depressing.
The average test score was 59%.
I am not mad at my students. Yeah, they did some pretty silly stuff on their tests, but when you look more closely, this is obviously my fault. I’m their teacher. I should have taught them better. But I only see them 40 minutes a day and… and… and… who do I point the finger at now? I mean, for pete’s sake, finger-pointing seems to be all the rage in the education debate these days, so clearly I need to point at someone else and scream “not it! not it! not it!” at the top of my lungs. This isn’t fair. These kids are passing through the public school system and despite their teachers’ best efforts… they aren’t learning anything.
Do we blame then? The education system? The federal, state, and local mandates? The district? The curriculum advisers? The school administration? The faculty? The parents? The students themselves? Or do we look elsewhere? TV and the internet? Hollywood? Video games? Popular culture? Ugh.
Frankly, I’m feeling pretty depressed about this whole thing. Clearly this problem is far, far over my head and out of my hands. I’m discouraged by the lack of care people have for education and especially for my Fine Arts classes. I feel so terrible for my students who are struggling and misinformed and not getting a stellar education. I wish I could make it different. I am trying. We are all trying. But it doesn’t seem like it’s making a difference.
And I sort of want to scream “NOT IT” and quit.
A lesson planning party at Lux with my brother and my beautiful friend Sarah – both teachers.
I am definitely going back on my words from a few weeks ago when I was wishing for the structure and routine of a normal workday. I miss my summer life. I miss being something other than “just” a teacher. As much as I love my job and my students, I miss being a “real” person and having hobbies and time and energy to do them. I feel pretty one-sided these days.
But hey guess what?!? Blaise is back! It’s been a long past week and I’m very happy to have the boy home. Check out his blog and you can hear about some of his adventures.
And finally… um… anyone want to buy some eggs?
We are marching onward. 5 days down, 174 to go.
The world as I see it so far:
Not much more to report today. Blaise is off to the east coast for a week and I will miss him dearly. It will be just me and the chickens! I met an old, dear friend for coffee today – as soon as she bustled into town, she’s off again and I’m not sure when she will be back. Goodbyes are never easy.
But for now, I am pooped. My legs are tired after standing all day in less-than-desirable shoes. I have plenty to do tomorrow, so I’m about to tuck in and get some much needed zzzzzzzzs.
xo – Cal
It’s the weekend! More specifically – it’s SUNDAY. Sunday is my absolute favorite day because it is the only day of the week that Blaise and I have off together, so we make our best effort to make the very most of it. It’s been such a lovely day already!
[[[and speaking of, here’s a little video by one of my favorite up-and-coming bands, aptly named Acrylics!
Although their album came out just last year, the sound (and their video) is just so very ’80s, and oh-so-very wonderful.
And now I have stopped by my darling parents’ house to do some work and relax. We are headed to my grandmother’s to eat dinner and catch up on some Olympics viewing. It’ll be nice to spend time with the fam.
So long for now! I’ll be back soon!
I had a sinking feeling that once school started up that I’d stop blogging as regularly as I had been… and guess what! I was right.
Life has been pretty hectic. I’m not going to lie – I’ve had a bit of a tough time adjusting back to the school year, getting everything ready in time, and staying energetic and positive about the whole thing. Not that I need to waste time complaining about it at this point, I guess. It is what it is, you know?
In any case, there’s a lot to get used to these days. And I suppose blogging less than I’d like is just one of the side effects of returning to full-time work. I’m too tired after school to do anything interesting or take any pictures, so I find that I just don’t have anything to blog about. Hopefully I’ll get into a rhythm soon and get my life in some sort of order and return to making this blog a happy place.
For now, it’s all lesson planning and brainstorming…
a teacher’s work is never done!