Monday, January 25, 2010

Brooklyn Museum; advisory

Went to the Brooklyn Museum on Saturday! I was a couple minutes early, so as I waited for the Nicest Guy in the World to meet me, I studied the shiny black sculptures conveniently placed in the lobby. I especially admired Rodin's Orpheus, his reach upward. The placard said, "This sculpture, with its intense torsion and strain, its mixture of exaltation and despair, reflects the complexity of the theme and Rodin's willingness to have his works express the internal conflict and ambiguity of actual experience, even when dealing with a mythological theme. According to the Greek myth, when Orpheus's wife, Eurydice, died, he descended into the underworld to try to regain her. This he accomplished through the persuasive power of his music. But returning with her to the upper world, he was unable to restrain his passion and glanced back at her too soon, ignoring one of the conditions set by the gods, and lost Eurydice again."

The cruelty of those gods. Always testing you.

Last Friday I had a nice day. I taught a small group lesson in sixth grade social studies using this neat play about Socrates. It was fun, and it went well. The special ed director observed, and I think she's going to give me some good feedback!

But today ended on a sorry note. We're supposed to receive lesson plans for our advisory classes (small groups that meet twice a week). But at least a third of the time, maybe even half the time, we're not given any lesson plans, so each teacher ends up with a group of eight kids they don't have anything to do with. This is despite the fact that at the beginning of the schoolyear, we were told we would always be provided with easy lesson plans that were basically scripts we just had to follow. In the past, whenever I didn't get a lesson plan, I would always make something up from scratch ahead of time (as if I didn't have a thousand other things to do). But last Thursday, I'd had it. We hadn't gotten any lesson plans that week, and I thought, you know what, I'm not going to kill myself to do this anymore. We still went around at the beginning of the period, as we always do, and said our "rose" and our "thorn" (positive part of our day/negative part of our day), and discussed that for a few minutes. But other than that, if the powers that be don't care enough to make sure we have lesson plans for these classes, I'm giving the kids a free period. I can get stuff done, the students will be glad not to have work to do, and everyone's happy. Right?

It worked out fine on Thursday. But today we didn't get any lesson plans yet again -- and wouldn't you know, it was the ONE DAY the principal emerged from her office on the fifth floor and came all the way down to the first floor, where my students and I meet. So she saw them being "free." One boy was reading and a couple others were drawing, but a few were playing with their handheld electronics, which they're not supposed to use at school. I'd turned a blind eye because all I had for them was paper and markers if they wanted to draw. I'm sure it looked bad, so now I'm just waiting for her to send an e-mail out to all teachers about making sure students are "on task" during advisory. To which I'll say, fine -- give us a task for them to be on! ;O

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