Sunday, April 27, 2008

It's been awhile! And it looks like blogging has become a monthly activity. Time flies and I rarely have time to even think of writing a post, much less actually doing it!

Springtime brings a myriad of events in a school: fieldtrips, concerts, achievement testing, special activities, and on and on. Adjustment is kind of hard for me because I'm not a super-flexible person. I make my plan and I don't like to change it. Many of the spring events tend to appear on Monday to happen on Tuesday, so my plans made over the weekend must change abruptly. But, I'll learn.

The most interesting and exciting thing to happen to me over this semester involves classical education. Who would have thought that in the few months I've been at this school and the time I've taken to talk to certain key people who have the ability to change things that I've been given the go-ahead to go classical in all of my English and history middle school classes for next year. All of my ideas have been embraced by the administration and I was told to choose my curriculum and books that I want. I could not have asked for more support.

In addition, the fifth grade position opened and the decision was made that the now-administrative assistant (this woman is the glue that keeps the school together and used to teach fifth grade) will fill the position. She is very, very supportive and enthusiastic about teaching from a classical perspective. Nothing has been said to anyone else about going classical for middle school, but this is what will happen. As she wisely put it, we can quietly transition the middle school to classical in the core subjects of history and English, work out the kinks and tweak it where needed and when we are ready and we have (anticipated) success stories to show, we will become visibly classical. At that point, I will be in a position to follow one of my middle school grades into high school at which point the anticipated curriculum will be Omnibus.

I took my copies of Omnibus I, II, and III to share with the administration and guess what? Those books stayed in the office for weeks while the administrator read through selected sections. Every day, he would come by and say "I read about Augustine today...." Other teachers that make a difference saw the books and ooh-ed and ahh-ed over them. They all declared that the beauty of the books made education inviting. Yes, ...the good, the true, and the beautiful. Beauty does matter.

Tomorrow my list for all my chosen books is due. To save money for the school and some time for me, I chose several of the same literature books to start the middle school sequence. For literature, I only chose four major books for the school to buy. I will do more books eventually, but I am still stretching the students' reading ability. Plus, I will fill in with internet-accessible poetry and short stories and use the library to offer staggered reading assignments. This is very doable and over the next couple of years, I will be able to increase the size of my classroom volumes. By going to a sequential and chronological history, I am able to teach in smaller chunks of centuries and in more depth than this year. I so look forward to this.

I am so thankful to be able to be part of the transition team. I never, ever thought this would happen.

On the other hand, I am so discouraged with some things at church that I've found it very difficult to even drag myself out of the bed on Sundays mornings. The sermons have gone from five minutes to eight minutes. Today we had three baptisms, two toddlers and one adult. Interestingly, the Session (the local governing body) did not know of these until the service began. Evidently we have a
maverick minister. Questions are being asked and concerns and opinions are beginning to surface. There are other things that attribute to my lackluster Sunday mornings. Answers are not easy, but knee-jerk decisions are. My inclination is often knee-jerk. But my husband is the more level-headed and discerning of us.

When school gets out in early June, much unrealized stress will be relieved, I'm sure. At least it will be while I'm laying on the beach and doing nothing but pleasure reading for a week! I hope that after that, stress in other areas of life will lessen. Then it will start all over again! I still love what I do, but right now, I just really tired. Five weeks until the chair. And the sun. And the sand. And the sun. The beach!


Carrie K. said...

Here's hoping for a very successful final five weeks of school - and a wonderfully quiet, restful week on the beach!

ukrainiac said...

What an incredible impact you are having on education right where you are! I marvel at what God has done, and by your obedience...being prepared to share your convictions...I am sure that you will REALLY appreciate that week of rest!

Carrie K. said...

Happy Mother's Day, Janie!

Circle of Quiet said...

Exciting school news. Oh-too-familiar church news. Sorry.

I've thought of you so often lately, knowing that I am going to be back in VA in June. I wonder if we can meet up again. I'll email.

You're in my prayers as you wait for the beach (-: