Monday, September 18, 2006

And what have we learned this week?

I'm currently in the throes of week #4.

I know that I've neglected my blogging duties as of late. Blame it on the fact that I'm just working my ass off trying to plan and organize stuff, mainly for the new International Relations class. The class seems to be going really well, even though the class gave me tongue lashing today when I presented them with an essay regarding Realism and Liberalism. I'm enjoying the flow of the class in that there is no pressure, and we are doing a whole lot of learning. Of course, we are talking about college prep kids that want to be there.

One of my students was a foreign exchange student from none other than Kandahar, Afghanistan. I say "was" because she has moved on to a different city, but her experience here was wonderful. In the short time she was with my class she discussed her views on Bush, the American perception of Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the idea that the problems are based around the Taliban. She was elegent, well spoken, and a wonderful representative from her country. She will be missed.

I have a challenging class. I've nailed a variety of cell phones and IPods from the class, and have done two student moves to different parts of the classroom. The next rule breaker becomes an example because I can tell exactly who is just starting to test my limits. I have a half dozen that are thinging about it, and 2-3 that will probably act out on their unwise choice. Unfortunately, this group will also could dictate how the class reacts to perceptions to rules, which is why they need to be nailed immediately and fairly. For all you new teachers out there, the students will often do a good job telling you when students are getting out of line. I had a couple of eye rolls today from a group of ladies up front. It was a clear indication that they thought the troublesome group of students were getting away with too much and distracting the class. It is the sign that action must be taken.

Want to donate to the Ukiah High School Model U.N.? Hit up, it the Paypal button, then come back and comment about the site content. I always need feedback.

I noticed that USA Today has an article about teacher blogs, some of which (First Year, What It's Like, Get Lost, Shrewdness, Joanne Jacobs, Babylon, and Education Wonks) I read on a regular basis. Take a minute and check it out.

Finally, an exchange between the French teacher and myself, all in very good fun. His students were in the computer lab while a group of mine were at a lab table researching Federalist #51. He approached them and started talking about Montesquieu. I intervened.
"No, no. Don't start bringing France into the American political realm."
"But Mr. Silva-Brown, it is common knowledge that the great ideas in political thought actually began in France."
"Well, we try and avoid that part."
"Remember the quote by Thomas Jefferson, 'Every person should be a citizen of two countries; France and their native land'. Put that in your pipe and smoke it."
"Um, that's exactly what Jefferson was doing when he made that comment."

And the lab, and the teachers, roared with laughter. It's nice to have that kind of relationship with people you work with. It makes you think, "I love my job".

Now pass me some Freedom Fries.
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