Thursday, May 15, 2008

Random Thoughts

End of the Year: It is a very difficult time for teachers in my school. In many schools, students are geared up for finals and are working hard at this time of the year. In fact, several schools declined to participate in the Film Fest because it was happening at the end of the school year and the students would be too busy with finals. At my school, it seems like the entire student body, 9-12, has seniorities. As soon as spring hits, attendance drops by half. It makes for a difficult year-end wrap-up and it makes the last 3-6 weeks feel ineffective. Of course, as I write this I've got several students sitting at computers tapping away at screenplays. They always try to prove me wrong, even when they don't know they are doing it.

Student Teaching, Part 2: I just got a reminder in my email to call my teacher/supervisor for the second half of my student teaching. I am dreading it (the student teaching, not the call). I have never been one of those MEA students who are already teaching and who refuse to admit they don't know it all. I've always embraced everything I've learned at Augsburg and much of has been applied to my classroom pretty quickly. I'm sure this will be the case when I complete my student teaching, but... It's in Woodbury, gas is almost $4.00, I am going to miss my wife and kids, I need a summer break to rejuvenate... On top of all of it, it seems like the supervising teacher is looking for me to come up with all of my own curriculum. He says they are in a two year cycle at this school, and that he is in his second year there, so he has no curriculum written for the units he is teaching this summer. Writing curriculum is one of my strengths; one of my favorite parts of teaching. But I have my own to do! I have given myself the huge task of getting a video/film curriculum online so that I can let the more academic stuff run on its own as I teach the more hands on aspects of the course. I feel like I'll never have enough time.

Filmmaker Badges: I made up all these badges on lanyards for the film festival. Green for regular attendees, red for festival sponsors, and blue for filmmakers (students with a film in the festival). Immediately, my video students started to ask if they could have theirs right away. At first I resisted, I was pretty sure they would get lost and I would have to give them another. Eventually, I gave in and started giving them out...with a promise from the students. They had to wear them everyday, in school and out, and tell anyone who asked all about the festival. They all agreed. I now have twenty or so very proud kids wearing their blue filmmaker badges wherever they go. None have been damaged or lost. Many times, because of the adult things my students have to experience, and because they look so grown-up, I forget that they are just kids. Little things, like being recognized as special with a plastic badge can mean a lot. They amaze me as they confuse me. I don't think I'll ever get them completely figured out.

PS: Still no R. I wrote a letter to his mother and sent it via snail mail. No response. It's time to let it go. maybe he will pop up again next year. I hope so.