It’s my last week of vacation, and I’m making it count.
Whoever still thinks teachers still get 3 months of summer vacation is sorely mistaken. At my school, I get five weeks of summer vacation. Five weeks to de-compress from teaching 100 kids all year, and hanging around with 600. I love them, but can you imagine taking care of 100 kids a day? You’d need to de-stress, too.
Anyhow, after my five weeks, some of which is spent traveling, and some of which is spent binge-watching shows on Netflix, I get to return to work for professional development. Three weeks of workshops that last longer than my regular school day, before our students return on August 14.
I work at a public charter school, so we have a lot more PD than other schools: about 300 hours a year. When I taught in public school in another state, we were lucky if we got 15 hours a year. The reason we do this is because our children need it. I work with a largely immigrant population: kids who often get the short end of the stick as far as getting an excellent education goes. It is our job to close that opportunity gap for our kids, to make the possibility of going to college real for them. It’s working.
I am a Math Interventionist. I work with small groups of students struggling with math; students who are in the lowest 20-25% of test scores, but don’t qualify for special services. I take groups throughout the week to work on skills and strategies. I love it. I call my program “Making Mathemagicians.”
One thing I love is discovering new ways to approach the basic skills necessary to master mathematics. Anyone who knows me well knows I am not a master mathematician (I can handle K-5, which is what I teach), but I wish I was. I am enjoying learning right along with my students, and my goal is to become more proficient in a subject that always flustered me. Being “not a math person” has kept me humble, and allowed me to have empathy for these kids who struggle to understand even the most basic concepts. And, to their credit, I have only a handful of students who have ever said they don’t like math.
I have created a page for my mathematical journey as a teacher here at the Freelance Dilettante, called, appropriately, “Making Mathemagicians .” Other new sections are “Art Journals“, where I invite you to join me on an artistic journey, “Random Writings” (prose, articles, etc.) and “The Intrepid Adventurer“, where (eventually) I will put writings about my travels.
I know it’s a lot, but It keeps me from having eight blogs. Now I only have four, this one, and my three private ones. (Everyone should have a private, locked blog. Then no one can read your diary, even when you die.)
Anyway, I hope you join me on (at least some of) my journeys. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.