Saturday, June 06, 2009

The last day of the school year and the beginning of another

Whew! What a year this has been!

At times, I said "I'm done." At other times, I dug my heels in. And in the end, I persevered.

And I'm glad.

The administrative difficulties of this past school year have been remedied, making the coming year appealing. Old friends who are educational comrades will be rejoining our faculty which makes me beam with joy.

I'm sure that the struggles of this past year were for our personal sanctification, at least mine, but time has not yet allowed me to see all the benefits.

This past week found me swallowed in the classroom cleaning, sorting, filing, storing. It was literally more exhausting than standing on my feet all day teaching. A few things still remain to be filed which I will finish on Monday. Yesterday was particularly tiring with the regular sorting-filing-storing, coupled with graduation practice and a wonderful retirement luncheon, a quick trip to the store and home to change and return for graduation. My legs were already tired, and between the heels I wore and standing during graduation, they feel unrecoverable. But they will!

One thing is for sure though: this summer will be packed full and be short. In the seven weeks I have left, I must get these things done before our seventeen-day European trip. (We get back from Europe three days before I start back to school. I assume I'll start tired.)

  • Resume my neglected walks. I cannot walk as I used to in the early mornings. The time and darkness don't fit into my new schedule. Also, I have to be able to endure the walking we will do on our trip. And I hope the added benefit will be the loss of some accumulated weight since I've been working. Since I cannot stand to only do one task at a time (it's just a plain waste of time, in my opinion) I will listen to some lectures while I walk, just like I used to. Currently in my CD Walkman is the American Revolution. I also want to finish Foundations of Western Civilization II which is particularly fascinating.
  • Wash all my windows. I've always washed all our windows and screens every summer. Last year, I didn't because of so much going on. And all year I've seen double-accumulated dust and pollen that made me resolve to do it or die! So, I've decided to take it easier than the past since I'm realizing the effects of age on my body (I used to wash all 26 of our windows and screens in one day). I plan to wash five windows and screens a day (which will take about 1 1/2 hours each day, then work on school prep for five hours, and finally treat myself to a disc of this season's 24. 24 is one of the few network programs I enjoy, but I cannot watch it during the year. I prefer the intensive method! This will last a week.
  • Finish typing all the history study questions for 6th, 7th, and 8th grades. Because we only finished about half of the book in each grade, I only have half of the questions completed. Throughout the year, I learned better ways of meeting my benchmarks and found what exactly the students were capable of doing. This realization will help me plan a better year of history.
  • Tweak the spelling program. Since I wrote the spelling program for 5th-8th grades last year, I found words to add and words to eliminate. I also want to add a category of Scripps Spelling Bee words to each list and have a spelling bee at least once per quarter.
  • Finish the vocabulary program. I cobbled together the vocabulary program that I used and need to finish writing it. I am satisfied with how it worked--the kids learned a lot of new words that seemed to stick with them--and want to complete it.
  • Create a sample history binder to show students and parents what to expect. Once I complete the history questions, I want to assemble it by chapter to include the questions, maps, and activities for each chapter. My goal is to have this spiral bound at Staples for the students to use during the year. So often, the students lose their papers or cram them into a locker resulting in a mess of torn, ragged, and often unusable paper. A spiral bound booklet may be a solution.
My coffee cup is now empty, the sun is shining in a bright blue sky after a week of heavy rain, and my neglected blog has this new entry, all signaling it's time to put on those walking shoes, gather the Walkman and hit the road.

Next time I plan to begin a several part series of posts about Real Education: Four Simple Truths for Bringing America's Schools Back to Reality (Murray), a fascinating book.

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