Thursday, August 20, 2009

Here we go!

Another year has started! This makes year #22 for me, which is still weird when I think about it. This is the first year in new building, and aside from pretty sketchy wifi, it's been really exciting to be in it at last. It's also our first year in Academies and with a new dress code, both of which seem to be going decently well, at least in the I.B. Academy, anyway. We even made the news, which was kind of neat. I was particularly pleased that I didn't walk into the lcd monitor or trip over anything while on camera, so I'm taking that as a good omen for the year. (ha ha!)

This week was a hectic week for my students. On Monday we took a reading inventory so I would have a decent sense of where my students' reading levels were, then spent Tuesday giving a basic IB1o1 to my students. Yesterday and today we were in the library getting familiar with some of the various tools we'll be using this year: the class webpage, the class blogs, our class and Academy Ning pages, Edmodo, and Coveritlive. My goal was to address some ISTE NETS standards this week, so I focused on collaborative and communication tools.

The only real disappointments came when I received some emails this week that essentially asked me to set aside what I had planned in favor of someone else's agenda; particularly aggravating when those other people don't even deal with my students on a day to day basis. I am certainly flexible and willing to roll with changes, but when those changes are essentially dropped in my lap and the message (intended or otherwise) is "Yes, thank you for planning out your lessons so carefully, but we need you to do THIS right now," I tend to react negatively. A little heads up would be nice. Ah, well. Such is the nature of education sometimes, regardless of how frustrating it is.

Still and all, a good week and an auspicious start!!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

The reality is even better than the idea

Tonight's dessert: grilled peaches a la mode with Bhakti Chai chip ice cream and fresh, homemade whipped cream. Tastes even better than it sounds. Wow.

Tomorrow is the final day of Global Learners training. I'm really excited about the new group of Global Learners. They are really enthusiastic about the program and all they are learning, even if they are a little overwhelmed right now, much like I was a year ago.

One week from today is Freshman Day. Wow. I'm looking forward to it, though. Yes, the year will be replete with its bumps and bruises, but I do think it will be a good year anyway.

Monday, August 3, 2009

It's over... new beginnings

The summer is over for me now. I attended part of new teacher induction today, and tomorrow I will be back full time with Global Learners training. This was a really intense summer for me, so I'm not sad that it has come to an end. Added to that is the opening of the brand new, beautiful and exciting high school building, with all four Academies in place and ready to go. While I'm taking a break from the climbing program this year, my plate will not be empty. (The program needs to be reset due to the demise of the Denver Climbing League and Paradise Rock Gym, so the students and I are going to take some time to figure out what that will look like for the 2010-2011 school year and beyond.) Instead, this year I will have two mentees in Global Learners, a student teacher until December break, a few senior adoptees to get ready for graduation, and as senior class sponsor, I have graduation to help out with. The only extracurricular I have planned for this year will be the book club, though there are a few teachers and I who want to put together a triathlon event for the spring. In addition, with the authorization of the full IB program, we have to get that up and running as well. Like I said, my plate will still be decently full.

Last night I attended a book signing and teaching with Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche, author of The Joy of Living and Joyful Wisdom. I've been to a few such teachings/book signings, two with Tibetan writers/teachers (this is my second of such). The event was both entertaining as well as educational: I learned a great deal, and took quite a lot home for me to sort through. It was a really nice way for me to end my summer and to begin a new year. I'm looking forward to it now more than I was before.