Priorities as an excuse
Yesterday, I sent off via Priority Mail the last paper for the last continuing education course needed for renewal of my Indiana teaching license. For the past three months I’ve neglected my blog, justifying in my mind that any writing should be directed at my career, not my hobby. Now, with that excuse exhausted, I return to History as Prologue with a renewed ambition, and hopefully, more energy for writing than I’ve had during this insufferable Indiana winter.
This morning I spent some time in my Google Chrome bookmark manager sorting through the Blogs of Interest folder I created. My intention was to store in that location a number of blogs I’d like to read with some regularity. Many, of course, have to do with history and teaching history, while others are blogs of friends and writers whose work inspires me to write
more good better.
Having resolved to write generally shorter posts on a daily basis as opposed to my habit of writing longer posts only a few times each month, these blogs of interest should help. Between the headlines and the various blog posts I should have no shortage of material.
As I’m also making the drive to return to my own classroom upon renewing my credentials, thinking in detail about how I want to teach should provide me with at least the opportunity to reflect on what I’ve learned about good teaching.
How to teach badly
It’s really not talking out of turn when you observe public education. After all, it is public, despite a pervasive notion by many in schools that we’re somehow involved in secret education.
As a guest teacher for most of the past two years, I’ve seen some good teaching and a helluva a lot of just plain awful instruction. Much of this, in fact the lion’s share of awful teaching is directly related to classroom practices mandated from above in the frantic hope of getting higher scores on standardized tests.
Since first receiving my license in 1998, I’ve witnessed such changes to teaching and the school environment as to make my profession unrecognizable. The changes have been overwhelmingly bad for all parties. Citing the few improvements, and I’ve seen a few, only suggests the good has kept pace with the bad, which it has not.
My greatest professional fear after not finding a position is one of being mandated to use bad practices and curriculum knowing there’s a better way.