Saturday, June 30, 2007

The Other Side

Summer (brief though it may be) offers me the chance to do a lot of the focused learning that I never manage to get to during the school year. So, this summer I'm taking four different classes. One class, Principalship K-12, is already finished. It met on a Saturday from 9-5 and then Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 8:30-4:30. Long days, but a fantastic class. Now I'm taking three online classes. One is on Geometers Sketchpad. I signed up for the class to learn how to use the software, but I'm learning more about geometry than I dreamed was possible. Another class is on digital portfolios, something I want to implement with my kids this next year. Finally, I'm taking a class on the read/write web.

The principalship class is part of my endorsement in supervision and administration. The other three classes are simply because they interest me. I'll be blogging more on these classes in the future. And on how it feels to be on the other side of the classroom.

My reason for mentioning them is that I've been thinking about how teachers spend their summers. Many people think teachers have it made because we get our summers off. And technically, they're right. However, the teachers I know spend that time doing a ton of professional learning - and they don't get paid a thing. They take classes, attend workshops, read professional books,plan, and more. Teachers, as a general rule, want to do the best job they can for their students. In order to do this, they work long hours during the school year and spend their free time continuing their own learning. I'm not sure what this means or why it feels so important to me. But, it does feel important.


organized chaos said...

i've decided... you become a principal of a charter school so I can work for you. it has to be a charter school so it can be creative and really show the principals you believe in.

make it happen :)

thj said...

You're definitely right about teachers working and learning all the time, even in summer. The summer Smartboard class I'm teaching had a waitlist as long as the class roster! I'm particularly interested in the class you mentioned about digital portfolios--that's something I'm working on developing this summer and would love any resources you might have to pass along.

D Sellers said...

I've been teaching for over thirty years, and last summer was the first time I've been off - and even then I taught two nights a week at the community college.

EWaxman said...

I think as teachers we are fortunate to be intellectually curious by nature. I am a relatively new teacher and I've been thinking about roles models lately. I think that part of demonstrating "lifelong learning" to our students is to continue to grow and learn on our own time. Last September as a way to promote literacy, the Administration asked all teachers to post the books they had read over the summer. The lists were very impressive.

Coach A said...

I often feel as though there are two sides of being a teacher. I feel as though the public sees me as a young, happy, patient teacher who likes rainbows, blue skies, and reading. I have the summers off and spend my time taking walks, vacationing, and of course -reading! Ha Ha! While that "teacher" resides somewhere deep down inside, the "other me" is passionate, often staying up late into the night because I can't let go of a certain idea I'm working on. I'm crazy-busy and rarely leave enough time for myself. The summer as a relaxing vacation? Ha! again. Two online courses, two weeks of baby-sitting relatives, two and a half weeks of writing assessments for our district, and three and half weeks of teaching summer school.... I'll be ready in the Fall for my own class again in my own lovely room. : )