Monday, October 16, 2006

Freedom Writers Return

I suppose I'll eventually return to a halfway witty post title, but I'm going with what's on my mind at the moment. My midnight return played havoc with my waking this morning. My head was swimming with everything from the weekend.

I needed some sort of FW detox. It's nice to be back in the classroom. So much to do. I've got to pace myself.

I woke this morning to an e-mail from Principal Steve. He's been reading the blog and had this to say:

Your most difficult battle could be convincing "old codgers" like me that we need to reexamine our belief systems when dealing with students in the domain of discipline (sounds as if you may have had a 'philosophy-changing moment" in this regard).  Having been around the block a time or two I think I know something and not so sure we don't have some anecdotal and data proof to back it up.  High expectations, a relationship-based approach and a gradual shift to the center is a recipe for post graduate success for our kids.  I mean our students will have to function in society, won't they?

I'm in agreement with what he has to say about high expectations and a relationship-based approach to teaching. The thing is, we can't just worry about the relationship between the teacher and student, we must also be agents of change for building relationships between students.

I don't know that I've had a philosophy-changing moment, more of a philosophy empowering moment. I'm going back to the essay I wrote at the end of my time in university. My "Why I Want to Teach" essay. Though my understanding of the working of a classroom and the daily struggle for relevance is refined and evolved, my target is the same. My core values haven't changed.

On the ride to the airport yesterday, I wrote this:

Andy Hargreaves talks about the fact that people rarely give up who they are all at once. It is something that happens piece by piece. With that mellowing process, educators become ENRONS of public education. I saw that happening; I saw myself slowly giving in to the pressures of a methodology of pedagogy that is not my own. My kids have missed out because they have been moving targets in a war of educational assimilation. It is not "standardized" thinkers who become heroes.

More later.

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