Sunday, September 22, 2013

Back to School Night a monumental success, for the 15% who showed up.

I don’t know about other schools but Back To School Night at Ukiah High School is not the most attended event I have ever seen.  This year was like most years in the Coach Brown classroom; 5-30% parent attendance, good questions, positive vibe, and the occasional parent that wants to make sure that I’m not A) Showing liberal media, and B) forgetting to include Zinn in my AP U.S. History classes.  By the way, those would be two separate parents.  But now the Back To School festivities are here and gone, and while the parents that did show were very attentive and fun, my concern is the class of APUSH parents that barely registered eight families in a class that contains 34 kids.  I wince at that statistic for many reasons. 

*****

As of today Homecoming Week is two weeks away.  The students have been preparing for that one week for the past two weeks.  Eek, that reeks!  Gotta go eat some leeks, other something something.  Anyway, the distractions have amounted to some instructors asking to have have a couple of kids pulled for any assortment of issues related to Homecoming, about five or six, and me saying “no” thus maintaining the reputation that I hate Homecoming.

Have I mentioned that I hate Homecoming?

Ok, I don’t hate it that much, except for the fact that it is totally pits students against each other, ignores the academic mission for at least a week, forgets the football game, and impacts the state of student lives for up to five weeks.  What’s to hate?  And I really tried to get involved this year.  Seriously!  I offered up the Homecoming theme of Arab Spring countries, with each class of students representing a country that has gone through a modern Middle Eastern revolution.  They turned it down and went with musicals instead.  Cowards.

*****

I rank this year up with being one of the best starts ever.  Energy is up.  Engagement is up.  Attendance issues are wayyyyyy down.  And I need to say that part of the solution was to make everything inquiry driven and to minimize lectures to about 20 minutes or less, and to stay the course with that.  I didn’t have a problem with student engagement before, however now the students seem like they are showing up partly because they want to know “what happens next.”  It’s a tad bit addictive.

*****

And I’m still coughing.  Dammit.  I’ve now been sick over a week and while I’m getting better very day, I still have this damn cough.  It’s annoying. 

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