Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The First Day of School

The students are going to show up Tuesday. Last week I was setting up my room. I've spent the past three days attending "professional development" sessions given by the district. We've been treated to overviews of the newest latest and greatest programs that are supposed to bring success to our students. These replace last year's latest and greatest. They, in turn will be replaced next year. For the most part, I was able to contain my aggravation at having a new set of crutches thrown at me. These programs are crutches designed to compensate for the fact that we don't use the proper methods to teach our children to read. Until we are allowed to use (and for almost all teachers, taught to use) explicit phonics programs in the early years, there will be no end to the crutches in public schools.

I wasn't able to contain all of my aggravation at our session preparing us for the state's standardized testing to be given in October. The writing portion does not grade for spelling, punctuation, grammar or any of the basic skills. In other words, the state standards have sunk so low that a student can pass the test without knowing any of the conventions of writing.

This all makes me crabby.

Tuesday, when the kids show up, I will be happy and excited. I like being in the classroom. I don't like being at meetings where the trainers insist that students don't need to know anything. I will also be relaxed as my family will be spending the weekend camping. I plan to do a lot of reading.



At 9:21 AM, Blogger jennifer said...

Harry have a great getaway...and enjoy reading!!!

At 4:41 PM, Blogger Jungle Mom said...

I am so glad there are teachers like you, that care. I know that in spite of all the obstacles, there are a few children with a great interest in learning. If they are blessed by a teacher as yourself they will learn to overcome the difficulties put before them. Keep up the good work!

At 8:40 PM, Blogger Rancher said...

My wife is considering going back to teaching. I hope she does, people like you and her can make such a huge difference. Hang in there.

At 10:59 AM, Blogger Harry said...

I did enjoy just sitting and reading . . . and swatting mosquitoes.

Jungle Mom,
Not all of my students think they are blessed. To some of them, I am that mean guy that keeps making them do work they don't want to do.

I know I keep harping on this, but if your wife does go back to teaching she should learn a good Orton-based phonetic program, like my favorite, Riggs, at


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