18 October 2007


I think about writing every day, but when I have the time, I don’t have the motivation, and when I have the motivation I don’t have the time. This morning I decided to make it more of a priority. Beany is seven months old already, and wonderful in every way. However, she is not yet meeting standards for napping and acceptable bedtimes. She is so curious and I bet she thinks that she’s missing out on things when she goes to sleep. By the time she goes to sleep, it’s about time for me to go to sleep.

At the moment I’m neutral on this school year. This is my third year with many of the same kids, and it has its positives and negatives. I’d really hoped that by 8th grade some of the more immature kids would have grown up a little more, but so far that doesn’t seem to be the case. It’s also kind of disheartening to mention things I taught them last year that they’ve forgotten. I have also been noticing other subtle changes that I don’t think I like.

Besides my lack of time, I’ve also been feeling a twinge of paranoia about being “caught” by my colleagues. I feel like I’m not saying a lot of what I want to say because I want to be able to stand behind what I write and not have things get personal.

We’re in our second year as an Empowerment School. I have no real complaints, because not having ReBots on our backs all the time is refreshing. There was nothing worse than having these people swoop in and tell us that everything we were doing was wrong. Since Beany was born, I think I’ve actually been a better teacher, though I have also thrown almost everything I know (which wasn’t much) about reading workshop, writing workshop, running records, balanced literacy, Fountas and Pinell, etc. etc. out the window. I’ve been focusing on what I know, what I feel the kids need, and what materials are available to me.

Recently I came to the realization that I was a better teacher in the days prior to BloomKlein. I think I struggled more after they took over, trying to figure out how I was supposed to teach reading with 30 kids (ok, 35) reading different books, how I was supposed to really learn and apply these new approaches with a literacy coach who wasn’t around and a (now former) administrator who treated us like we were stupid and uncaring because we had questions about her mandates. We really had the rug pulled out from under us and it’s amazing that the kids didn’t suffer more.

While the way I’ve been doing things this year isn’t perfect, at least I feel like I can own my errors and successes more. I don’t have time to agonize over what we’re doing. Finding materials is a struggle, because we don’t have class sets of anything, and getting copies is a challenge, but that’s preferable to having some random person I’ve never seen before tell me that I’m doing everything wrong.

p.s. Merit pay: bad, bad, bad Retirement at 55: I'll believe it when I see it. Hopefully it will come before I am 55 myself.

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