Archive for the ‘Teaching’ Category

Thanksgiving Feast

As we approach Thanksgiving, here are a few things we might want to keep in mind:

  • The story of the first Thanksgiving is often told from the perspective of the Pilgrims.
  • Thanksgiving means different things to different people.
  • Some Native Americans refer to it as a National Day of Mourning.
  • Many Thanksgiving images are stereotypical images of Native Americans.
  • These images are hurtful and can promote prejudice.
  • The Wampanoags’ assistance to the Pilgrims was followed by the theft of their land and genocide of their people.
  • Native Americans are not all the same.  There are different names, languages and cultures.

Here’s are two good articles to read:  The Surpressed Speech by Wamsutta James and Thanksgiving: A Native American View by Jacqueline Keeler

Here’s my question for you.  Do I stand by silently as Island Boy and the rest of the Kindergartners are asked to make a pillowcase, fringed outfit for a Thanksgiving feast?  Do I have him choose a Native American name?  As a friend suggests for his name, “He-Who-Equates-Dressing-Up-As-An-“Indian”-As-Dressing-Up-In-Black-Face”? Or do I send information to the Kindergarten Team to reconsider their curriculum for the following year?

–Running Girl

Fail

We here at Kay Nou have had a few weeks that we would not like to repeat anytime soon.  We are managing.

Most days I absolutely love my job.  I love teaching.  I’m thoroughly enjoying teaching Math after school.  This week I had a student say, “I love math.  You make it really fun.  I actually like learning about Time.”

I’m quite certain it helps that there are only 4 students.  It also helps that the kids eat a snack before we start.  It further helps that we can joke around as we learn. Continue reading

Math

Our school has an after school program called Skill Builders.  It is a 2 month program for kids who need extra help in Reading or Math.  The students stay after school 2 afternoons a week for an hour each session.  They are in small groups and work with a teacher on Math or Reading. Continue reading

The Future

Where will my kids go to school? What about global warming? And what am I going to make for dinner?

I’ve always loved that word — future.  It’s totally appealing.  In French, l’avenir, and in Italian, l’avvenire, mean “what’s to come.”

Despite my fondness for the word, I admit to occasional bouts of that middle-aged man malady, fear of the future.

Just when everything is going well, you stop and begin to despair about the future.  If you’re like me, you worry about whether your children will have the opportunities that have existed up until now.  I also worry about what type of planet they will inherit.

Of course, fathers have been preoccupied with thoughts like this since we emerged from primordial slime by walking on our fins.

We have difficulty intellectualizing that, although things will certainly be different in the future world, new opportunities and fresh innovations will develop.

I guess it comes down to one of my favorite John Hiatt lyrics, We can live in fear or we can act out of hope.  I try to choose the latter. Continue reading

Texting

Right now America is discussing Huckleberry Finn and what Mark Twain’s intentions were at the time he wrote it.  I love it.

An honest debate over this issue began on Facebook with some friends.  It then continued in the form of a discussion at a party.

In the midst of the debate, the group came to a realization that, of the six of us involved in this conversation, only Subway Dude had read Huck Finn within the last 20 years.  As a result, we all (with the exception of SD) resolved to read the novel and get together in a month to take up this issue again.

We can only hope that Americans throughout the country are having similar discussions, and that this debate will encourage my fellow citizens to pick up the book again. Continue reading

Think Before You Speak, Would’ja?

Remember this story? If you haven’t read it, you should.  The story is as follows:  The Fashionista shows a teacher a project that is due the following day.  She asks for feedback and he says, “This project sucks.”  He goes on the show her project to other classes later in the day.  Her name is not on it, but word gets around.  He says to the other classes, “This is an example of a project that sucks.”  So not cool.

The Fashionista re-worked the project that night and ultimately completed the course with this teacher.   TF had zero interest in dealing with this situation.  She wanted it to go away.  She did not want an apology.  In fact, she wanted us to let the entire situation fade swiftly in the First Quarter’s rear view mirror.

We told her, “Sorry.  Parental veto power taking effect here.”  We agreed to let it go until the class was over.  As soon as she started her new “satellite” class, The Major contacted the school. Continue reading

In Support of Teachers’ Unions

Scapegoat — n. a person or group made to bear the blame for others or to suffer in their place.

Bête noire — n. a person or thing strongly detested or avoided.

In the labor world, unions are the scapegoats for everything that is not right with the work place.

In the world of education, teachers’ unions are both the scapegoat and the bête noire.

In 21st century America, it has become fashionable and, indeed, socially acceptable to bash teachers’ unions.  Continue reading