I hate internal struggle. I can be my own worst enemy. I have – once again – spent the last two days filled with self-doubt. I have engaged in conversation regarding blogs. I really listened to those participating and then sat back wondering if I have ANY clue as to what I am doing.
Starting two new curriculums is pretty nerve-wracking. I have taught English in summer school before and have been doing a lot of reading. The other 8th grade teacher uses Writer’s Workshop and I am learning as fast as I can. I am meeting with her tomorrow to go over a number of things I am still learning. I am also teaching Social Studies – US History. I have NEVER taught that before and had to take the Praxis in June to be certified. So, in my spare time, have been reading the textbook (which is SO boring!), as well as fun stuff like “Gone With The Wind.”
I passionately believe that I need to teach my students in the world they live in and the world they are heading to. For me, that means I need to integrate technology. I have truly listened to the conversation on blogs, but I really believe my students need to post some of their writing on class blogs. The writing process will take a while with each piece, so I don’t see us posting daily or even weekly, but I do want them to be thinking of a wider audience. I also want my students to read other students blogs. I am finding some that I am going to have them read and comment on. I want them to learn how to appropriately respond to others and how to engage in a conversation with the writer. They will also have the opportunity to respond to each other and all the students in our CORE. This will give me the opportunity to talk to my students about how they represent themselves on the Internet. I really can tie this all together and work to make them understand how they need to be responsible with what they put out there.
I have started setting up a wiki and will use that for English and Social Studies. I am adding resources that students can use and will continue to add as we find more sites to use. I want my Social Studies students to also work in groups and put together their own wiki pages for some research they will be doing. I am looking for interactive web sites to add to their learning experience. I have been told there is no way I can cover all my curriculum without using the textbook, but I just know if I put that boring book in my students’ hands, they will resort to HATING US History. I HAVE to make this interesting. I know this is 8th grade, but these kids will be adults in a few years – voting and some will be leading this city, county, state, or even country. Hating history does not bode well for that. I think we can do better.
Am I idealistic? Probably. Will I re-evaluate as we go? Absolutely. I see a lot of research and work in my future, but at least that part doesn’t bother me. I teach in what is considered one of the toughest middle schools in Rapid City. (Okay, it isn’t inner city Chicago, but we do have our own problems!) I love my kids. I never leave for the day without believing I have made a difference. Because of that, I take this very seriously and never mind what I have to put into it. I have nine days until we are officially at in-service and 16 days until we have students. I am nervous about the whole curriculum thing, but really excited to have my students back.
While the conversation about blogs caused me to re-think what I am doing, I don’t mind that. I am going to re-think everything I am doing anyway – that’s the kind of person I am. I still believe in myself and in what I am doing with my students. We’ll see where I am in a month or two!