Sunday, March 30, 2008

Planning a new unit

Well I have completely given up telling this teaching story from the beginning in New Mexico to where I am now in Canada. I guess I will just tell it as I think of things or I am inspired in such a way. I was recently going through my pictures that I have on a website of my last two years. One of which I taught in Korea and the other I am still working for the school in Korea writing them a new curriculum but living in Canada. Although between teaching in Korea and coming home to Canada. I took a cruise. It was my first ever and now of course I am hooked.

This was our first view of the pyramids.

But back to the topic which is planning a new unit. After a whirlwind tour of Egypt, I am planning on writing a new unit on Egypt. I have taught ancient Egypt many times and was impressed and often times overwhelmed by what I saw. I included pictures of the sphinx and pyramids. Even now months later, I think did I really see that? I did and it is with this that I am planning my new unit. I will focus on the ancient Egypt studies as that is always covered in middle school ancient civ. but I am going to try and include a portion on current Egypt now. I was so shocked to find that in certain months you can't see the pyramids because the pollution is so bad. I was also shocked to see us passing men and sometimes women in a cart behind a donkey on the highway. I was prepared for the vendors selling at all of the major sites. But I think what I was ashamed of was not really realizing the state in which most Egyptians are currently living. I and I believe many others are romanticized by the ancient past that we forget that, yes, Egypt is a part Africa and that Africa is a third world continent. I want to write lessons that teach children about the wonderful history of Egypt but I am now going to try and incorporate some lessons about what Egypt is now and where they are going.

The far picture is of the step pyramid and the one below is taken from a ridge not far from the pyramids of Giza. You can see the pollution of Cairo in the background.

This last picture is one I love... I think of my dad (he loves dried dates) every time I look at it. They were just starting to harvest the dates. This picture is taken from the bus as we were waiting to get in to explore the step pyramid.
Sorry this was very disorganized and not much on topic. I will attempt to clarify myself a bit more another time.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Things we aren't prepared for

I was planning on doing this blog in a nice logical order talking about my first years and then moving on to my present aspirations. But well life happened... In teacher's college they prepare you for many things such as how to manage your classroom, how to write exciting and engaging lessons and how to discuss a child with a parent. But what they don't prepare you for is one of your students dies. I had T as a 7th and 8th grader. He stood out. He was the only "white" kid in the middle school. He had it rough that first year but he was a fighter and he wouldn't give up fitting in. By the middle of the year he had made it he was in with the class even though he was highly religious (not many of the students were) and a voracious reader (once again not many of the students were). But when he graduated from our middle school to go on to high school he was loved by everyone! He stood up for what he thought was right and he would take the fall for someone if he knew he could take it or would be in less trouble than the other. He was a fun student to teach and always had interesting and insightful comments to add to a discussion. Unfortunately his life was cut short. Although if I were to talk to him he would smile his smile and with a chuckle tell me that it was his time and not worry because he is in a better place. It is with knowledge only that I can feel some peace at his young passing. I will miss him incredibly and any time I look at a young adult fantasy I will remember him fondly.

Friday, March 14, 2008

The Beginning

This blog is in response to my younger sister and mother's request. It is also a good place for me to record the stories I have accumulated over the years of teaching and that I plan to gather in the future. So where to begin is the question...

I guess in the beginning. After I received my education degree, I set out for New Mexico. I taught on the Navajo Reservation for 7 years. It was quite an eye opener. I had done my student teaching at school in which most of the students were either children of the local doctors or the professors at the university. The majority of the students at that school wanted to learn and their parents surely wanted them to be engaged in the learning process. Although I had had a great experience at my training school and my cooperative teacher was quite excellent, as well as job offers from two schools that would have had me working with middle class students. I felt called to the Dine of the Navajo Reservation.

So my parent's, two good friends and I set off to move me to the Northwest Corner of New Mexico. That it in itself is another story that I may tell some time as my parents and I found out that one of my friends was quite a drama queen. Not at all what we had expected. But back to the beginning, I finally arrived at the school. We unloaded the trailer and found that the house that was provided for me had some items that I had brought with me already in it. So I sent my kitchen table, couch and lazy boy back with my folks. The school was a mission school they provided housing and two meals a day at the school. Although it was just cafeteria food. I was quite thankful for this though, as my salary for my first year of teaching in 2000 was going to be $5000 before taxes.

This was my beginning... my love for the Navajo children... and it will be part of the stories I tell here.