Saturday, November 05, 2011

Rain. Cold. Basketball.

Yeah, this week was better than last.  The simple fact that Winter has appeared in her full glory is enough to make me smile.  I love the rain.  It’s a sign that many things are now upon us; basketball, hot tea, Thanksgiving (my favorite holiday), and days of simple hibernation in a warm house with cats purring on your lap.

The week began with Halloween.  I dressed up as I always do; as the Angry Monk.  I have a simple monks outfit with a rope cord belt and make really biting comments towards student outfits.  It’s really great for a laugh.  I have to admit that my main target is the females that think Halloween has somehow become an Erotic Holiday.  I stand outside my classroom and in a thick Irish accent I give out lectures on self-respect.   Eventually word gets around that a crazy teacher is yelling lectures on morality against public nudity and some students don’t come the direction of F-Building.  That’s fine.  Parents might want to monitor their 15 year old child that looks like an ad for Victoria’s Secret.  It’s an embarrassment and they aren’t even my kids.

Ever get that feeling when an idea pops up and then the river of positive thinking just flows on a paper that’s not nearly long enough to contain it?  Yeah, I’ve had that feeling twice about my Advanced Placement classes this week.  It’s made me really excited about the potential of high level thinkers.   You know what you really need to do with intelligent students?  Let them be intelligent.  Reinforcing reading with lectures equals a student that’s not being allowed open up their full potential.  I’m making more realizations that A) Students need to be more responsible for basic information, and B) I need to provide the structure to make them innovate and expand their universe.  Think of it like a mix of traditional and Montessori style, sort of.

Here something that was reinforced this week.  Teachers are part of the education problem.  Two things were made abundantly clear; some teachers have cashed it in and need to be fired, and no, not everything should be part of a collaborative process.  We manage our classrooms.  Managing a school or a district is totally different.  If you want to try it, go for it. 

Basketball starts up officially on Monday.  From now until early March I will be owned by a large round, orange ball and a gym full of kids with really squeaky shoes.  I’ve now been doing this basketball thing for about 23 years; coaching it for almost 20.  I’ll be the first to admit that it is a joy and a curse all at the same time, and those that have coached will probably admit to it.  It’s a blast to coach kids and see immediate improvement.  Think teaching is fun?  How about watching an assessment twice a week that the kids love to do.  But it owns my life.  Holidays don’t really exist much because games surround them.  I’m now responsible for the lives of twelve young men, and that becomes really interesting when we do overnighters.  Oh well.  If the sport of basketball treats these kids like it’s treated me, a combination of pure ecstasy and sweet misery, then it’s totally worth it. 

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