Hey, Stranger

Collatz ConjectureOK, so my friends have reached the point of stopping calling and asking me if I want to hang out. I had a stack of essays—ungraded—shuttling back and forth from school to my house for a month. A month! I am teaching five classes, five different preps. And this is the time of year when it gets busy. When you look at the calendar and say, “Oh, hi, March! I’m still in the Renaissance.” Then I have to give myself permission to still be in the Renaissance because of all the instructional days lost for various reasons, and I have to tell myself it’s OK because it’s an introduction to British literature and not meant to be as comprehensive as a graduate school (or even an undergrad) seminar.

Speaking of grad school, I am also behind in that area. My Educational Research class is proving challenging, but I am learning a great deal, even if my quiz scores don’t show it (the quizzes are another issue altogether). My Multimedia Authoring course is beginning to rank up there with my favorites in the grad school program (Instructional Media, Graphic Design for Multimedia Presentations). I like classes that allow me to create; however, I am concerned that I have bitten off more than I can chew. I want to create a flash game that helps students learn phrases and clauses. I would like it to be similar to the Grammar Ninja game, but I know I’m not knowledgeable enough to make it quite that good, especially graphics-wise. The creator of that game is majoring in Computer Science with a minor in 2-D Art for Games, and I surely don’t have that background.

Still, I have not completely checked out, and I can be found bookmarking links on Diigo and tweeting most days of the week. I don’t always bookmark links I check out. This morning, someone (and I admit I can’t remember who) tweeted this link. I don’t know how to feel about this issue. Sad that the parents were so easily satisfied? Confused as to whether I missed some qualification left out of the article? Angry that my profession is reduced to entertainment and stripped of its seriousness of purposes for the sake of TV? I realize the article is now about six months old, and Danza does seem to have some empathy for the life of a teacher and seems to treat the profession with some reverence and respect. If I’m fair, I have to admit I think he “gets” it about teaching, or at least his blog posts reveal he does (and I’ve only begun taking a look, so your mileage may vary).

What do you think of it?

Update, 4/1: The LA Times has a new story about Danza’s first year teaching.

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5 thoughts on “Hey, Stranger

  1. I don't get this — with all the cry about standards and certification and raising the bar on what's expected of the kids, here goes unqualified Danza, teaching a class. I don't see how this helps anyone — "exposing" the public to typical teaching certainly won't happen — what high schooler would act up with cameras all around? He's going to be teaching what, one class? Will he be grading papers? If so, how? Calling parents? Cleaning the room? Ordering textbooks? Running down lost ones? Reminds me of when friends who have written books and must go on book tours. I tell them it will be amazing — no grades, no discipline, no busy work, just sharing your book with the kids. What fun!

    I've checked the web and don't really see anything posted that's current on this. Thanks for bringing this to our attention; I'll be interested in how this plays out. Ah…

    • You make a great point about standards and certification. He admitted he wasn't certified to the concerned parents. I agree about the skewed "reality" that will exist with cameras around, too. I admit to beyond reading the news article and a couple of blog posts, I'm relatively uninformed about the particulars.

  2. Dana,

    I took a look at Danza's blog, and I will keep reading it because finally someone out there "gets" that the job of a teacher is not an easy one. Never mind the fact that he's not certified, I'm more taken in by the idea that he understands how teachers carry a lot of weight for students, curriculum, and instilling the love of learning. One thing that I found myself shaking my head in agreement to was when I read Danza's thoughts on the importance of education. He writes, "My parents made me acutely aware of the importance of school. That wasn't the teacher's job. The teacher taught and if you deserved it, they might add to that guidance you received from home. Of course, there are parents who work hard to make their kids understand and I admit that since I have been teaching I have become more sensitive to the constant pounding that our schools and teachers take almost daily" (Danza, 2010).

    How many folks today have guts to own up to their responsibility as parents? Yes, teachers can instill a love of learning, but at the end of everyday, parents have the lion's share of the work. I can only lead the students to the water. They have to learn to drink and fish for themselves. The world is changing fast and quick. It demands ingenuity, self-reliance, self-regulation, and meaningful contribution.

    That's just my two cents. I enjoy reading your blog. I just started reading it. I, too, am an English teacher; however using the blogs, studying for an IDT certificate, and having to implement new technology at school while teaching reading and writing are mind boggling. I don't know how I get anything done, but you've got many amazing resources posted here. Good luck in your studies.

    Danza, T. (2010, February 10). We Either All Buy in or Nobody Does. Message

    posted to http://www.dailydanza.com/

  3. Thanks for posting this, Dana. I'm beginning to think that grad school is the ultimate challenge for friendships. I hope I have some when I'm through.

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