It’s been a little over two years and I’m in desperate need of an update. It’s funny re-reading posts from two years ago; I was so trying to be an active blogger. It’s kinda cute.
There. I said it.
I thought about deleting my old posts, but I think they need to stay. To remind me to be thankful of the past two years. Rather than tell how I lost hope, how I really struggled to stay in the teaching profession in North Carolina, how lost I really felt in the public school system, I’d rather get right down to the now and the excitement I feel in my teaching career. Perhaps even re-state some new objectives for this blog.
I’m teaching at an all girls boarding school (independent school, that is) in an entirely different state (Virginia), where I live on campus (it mostly rocks) and teach American literature (on a modular schedule). And I love it. The school hosts about 300 girls of which 40% board. There is a diverse mix of international, minority, and local students. And they are all girls. My day consists of four 80 minute “blocks” of instruction with some open blocks of 15 minutes in between the instructional blocks. I don’t teach all four; because I coached field hockey this past fall, I only teach two. The last block for every teacher and student is an elective- anything from creative writing to playing on the school softball team. It’s the first time the school has been on the “mod” schedule. To me, especially coming from teaching at the university level, it feels a lot like the norm.
I have a lot to share about dorm life, the schedule, adjusting to a new state, and I can’t wait to start the reflection process of that, but mostly I just want to begin anew with this profound personal statement:
I am in love with what I do. Again. I’m alive and teaching. Again.
This year feels very different than any other year I’ve taught (obvious reasons aside) and it can be attributed to several small things and two big ones. It’s these two I’d like share and that mold the new objective for this blog. The first is something I’ve always been into but never quite considered as a part of my profession: technology. I have always been a computer/playstation/xbox/tech junkie. I wanted my classroom back in 2006 to be a tech haven; public schools just weren’t there yet. Neither was I- the english curriculum didn’t seem to need the kind of technology I used at home. Technology was a learning outcome in my classroom, not a tool. Years later, and I’m the teacher putting a playstation in my classroom (because girls are gamers too) and using OneNote as our class platform (more later). Technology is the biggest tool (haha)in my teacher toolbox. I breathe it; I love it. And the English curriculum is such a natural pairing for all those things I love: games, computers, writing, storytelling.
The second is more of a coming of age via the teacher version. I am learning to embrace the things that I love to read and disect (StarWars, dystopias, Harry Potter, zombies, Cormac McCarthy, graphic novels…) in my own teaching. Yes, the canon is important. However, we should also leave room for things like the American Gothic, the role of philosophy in graphic novels, Asian American identity, ethics as explored in science fiction, readings in queer literature. I don’t know that I fall into the camp of “it’s a classic so they must read it.” I’m definitely becoming more of a “if it isn’t relevant anymore, why are we reading it?” And that has reshaped a lot of who I am as a teacher.
So. With this in mind, the objective of this blog isn’t to glorify the profession, talk about how to teach the canon, or even present all my successful lesson plans.
This blog is to share in both my success and failures, to examine why or how some things are taught, share some of my nerdy obsesssions, help my students understand my classroom, and help me reflect on me, the teacher.
Mostly, to share, reflect, and learn. And maybe play a game or two.