Thursday, April 7, 2011

Graduating: It's Nice

Well, today, I had to make a few quick decisions, the long term effects of which will be, hopefully, my own high school graduation. To make a long story short, I was supposed to take our school's "World History" class this year, which is, if you want to be nit-picky about it, required for graduation. Somehow, I slipped through the cracks and this class was not on my schedule.

Today, in my monthly meeting with our district's GT advisor (which has, over the year, been christened "Nerd Lunch"), I pointed out this minor technicality and gave what I thought was the best solution. I felt that, since one of the seven classes I would be taking next year would be a class at our community college instead of one on our school's campus, I could then use the open hour this produced to take World History. Basically, I thought I could take eight classes in a day instead of the regular seven.

But of course it couldn't be that easy.

Instead, we ran into more and more scheduling conflicts, and eventually decided that the "best" outcome would be for me to take a "hybrid" course (which, being a different course, is theoretically far more rigorous than World History) through our community college--OJC. This means that, although it would primarily be an online course, I would also have occasional contact with the professor.

So, at this point, I have two main reactions:

Reaction 1:  What will this be like? 


Over the last year, I have learned an incredible amount simply by reading around various edublogs. I have started analyzing every moment I spend in a classroom to see if I am really learning. Of course, this may be getting to the point where it becomes a distraction--but it's a distraction I can live with because it is providing me with the tools I will need if I hope to, one day, be a halfway decent teacher.

Now, as I try out this new medium--a "hybrid" course--I'll be able to carry this newfound insight with me to see how effective it really is. It'll give me a firsthand chance to experience what I try and think about every day, and I'll be able to write about it without having to worry about hurting anyone's (read: a teacher's) feelings because I won't be "learning" from a teacher.

Reaction 2: Is this really the best way?



Bill Ferriter actually said pretty much everything I've been thinking in this post, but I'll go ahead and rehash it. Throughout the entire conversation, we were looking at what I absolutely had to get in before 2013--and it meant a lot of time spent in classes that would probably not be beneficial. Now, we did start to take steps in this direction--we're going to ask the department chair to waive the World History credit for the hybrid course.

But it's not far enough.

If we could keep going in this direction, somehow customizing the curriculum for each student's individual needs and preferences...that's when I think we could get some real work done.

Now, I recognize that, logistically, that's a borderline ridiculous statement. As far as I can see, there's no way to pull that off in a way where every student is in a class beneficial to them--after all, who gets to decide which classes are "beneficial"? Then, even if that could be worked out somehow, we'd have to find a way to actually create a schedule for which that actually worked.

Am I on to something, or am I just an idealistic idiot? 

2 comments:

  1. You are on to something here with individualized education-it is what all teachers (and parents)want for their students. Unfortunately, the reality is that with the direction this country is headed with cutting funding to public education year after year, it's pretty much an impossiblilty. Your situation is particularly difficult because of the district that you are in. Declining enrollment has caused the schedule to contain more and more singleton (single offering) classes. A student like you who takes all of the upper level classes and fine arts (all singletons) poses an especially difficult scheduling challenge. I know that sudents in the past have dealt with this by taking required classes through TLC and getting them done in two weeks time. However, I think that the district has nixed this practice because students were spending their last few years as, basically, full time OJC students. The district hasn't allowed early graduation for decades (well before my time even!). The best you can hope for is to continue to advocate for yourself which, I am sure, you figured out LONG ago. I didn't know you wanted to be a teacher. You will be AMAZING! By the way, this is R. Brindle. I am posting anonymously only becuase I don't have any of the profiles listed. Best of luck!

    ReplyDelete
  2. You are on to something here with individualized education-it is what all teachers (and parents)want for their students. Unfortunately, the reality is that with the direction this country is headed with cutting funding to public education year after year, it's pretty much an impossiblilty. Your situation is particularly difficult because of the district that you are in. Declining enrollment has caused the schedule to contain more and more singleton (single offering) classes. A student like you who takes all of the upper level classes and fine arts (all singletons) poses an especially difficult scheduling challenge. I know that sudents in the past have dealt with this by taking required classes through TLC and getting them done in two weeks time. However, I think that the district has nixed this practice because students were spending their last few years as, basically, full time OJC students. The district hasn't allowed early graduation for decades (well before my time even!). The best you can hope for is to continue to advocate for yourself which, I am sure, you figured out LONG ago. I didn't know you wanted to be a teacher. You will be AMAZING! By the way, this is R. Brindle. I am posting anonymously only becuase I don't have any of the profiles listed. Best of luck!

    ReplyDelete

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