Tuesday, April 13, 2010

And Now for Something Completely Different...

With iLEAP testing in full swing, there's not too much to do with regards to being a teacher apart from reading directions aloud from a testing guide verbatim, wandering around your classroom aimlessly, and envisioning your school's SPS plummet because your entire class completed the maths portion of the exams with a full two hours to spare. So, I'm sitting here in the back of my classroom writing this blog entry instead of dying of boredom.

I freely admit that I haven't blogged too much about my school lately because, well, my classroom experiences have been a bit mundane. After all, it wouldn't be too exciting to have a pile of articles with the topic of "Student Who Never Does Anything in Poor Grades Shocker." The only real item of note was the fifth fight of the school year in my seventh period class that, in all reality, was more amusing than violent. But enough of the usual; here's some good news about my school for a change!

(1) Our Chess Team is Flippin' Awesome.

Due to the diligence of our school's counselor and one of our social studies teachers, we have a really thriving Chess Club. It meets every Thursday after school, and averages about 40 students on a very consistent basis. Last weekend, they attended the district middle school meet, and completely dominated. They won individually first place in the K-6 category (Won by the social studies teacher's son--a Kindergartner), first and third in the K-8 category (two of my history bee members), and won the overall trophy. The state meet is in a couple of weeks, and though it will be tough competition, I won't be surprised when the come back with trophies.

(2) We had a Program That didn't Stink for Once.

Face it, most school programs are terrible. The topic is uninteresting, the teachers are miffed class time is being interrupted, the student are bored, so they search for ways to get into trouble, and the administrators and speaker are shocked that this is all happening. He had a speaker earlier this year who did a Huey Long impersonation. Long was definitely an interesting human being, but this guy was boring, muddled in his focus, and talked over virtually the entirety of the student body's heads.

A reward for a recent fundraiser was a traveling BMX show. Kids who sold enough stuff got in for free, and everyone else paid $5 for the honour of attending. All that was there was a ramp, so my skepticism was naturally high. Thankfully, they put on a show that dazzled our students, and proved my skepticism wrong (for once). The guys were former X-Games participants, and took time out after the show to talk to the students. Having met some similar folks in my days of playing Paintball, it was nice to see these guys living the best life one can have: getting paid to do what you love to do.

(3) One of Our Teachers is presenting at a Conference.

In a sign that our faculty does not rest on their laurels--rather continually seeking to learn and share with other what they learned with other professionals, one of our own is presenting at a professional conference. Who is it? Why it's me of course! I submitted a proposal for a session at the Louisiana Middle School Association's annual conference, and on my first try it was accepted! The session will be on Geographic Information Systems (GIS) in the Middle Schools, and I will be talking about what GIS actually is, and showing how to use GIS tools in all subjects in middle school. As you know, I presented at our parish's Technology Share Fair earlier this year, and it was my first session I did solo (I rode shotgun for one the year before). Considering how successful it was, as well as the fact I enjoyed doing it immensely, I decided to step up to the plate and share with fellow teachers what's been percolating in my head about the profession. If I manage to not screw it up, I'll take the really big step and apply to present at this December's LaCUE conference in Baton Rouge.

So there you go! As amazing as it sounds, there's actually positive things going on in schools these days, much less in the circus that my school tends to be at times. Hope it (slightly) restored your faith in the American educational system.

Until next time.

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