Monday, August 20, 2007

The Wheel in the Sky

I was listening to the local classic rock station driving to the first teacher workday this morning and when I turned onto the street on which the school is located, I heard these lyrics:

Oh, the wheel in the sky keeps on turning
Ooh, I don`t know where I`ll be tomorrow
Wheel in the sky keeps me yearning
Ooh, I don`t know, I don`t know

This song by Journey is not perhaps the most appropriate song (Google the lyrics) but the first line which Steve Perry kept singing was fitting. Each year is a new beginning. The graduating seniors have been replaced by the eager, tentative, incoming freshmen, and the retiring teachers have been replaced by eager, tentative, incoming rookies. Everyone gets a new, fresh start and the wheels keep on turning.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Here We Go Again!

It is the evening before veteran teachers are to report to school. The rookies have already spent three days in training camp. The supplies have been ordered. The floors are waxed. There's no doubt that a new school year is about to begin.

I look back at my summer with mixed results. I am a bit surprised because I am not even sure that summers are supposed to have results. I had grand plans of revamping all my classes and having all these amazing handouts and presentations ready to go. Ha-ha... no. There's no great disappointment, though, because things can always be revamped as we go, and that's probably better pedagogy because any revision will fit the students in their present situation, not in some pie-in-the-sky, administrative expectation.

I am embarking on my 21st year of teaching and, guess what, I'm still trying to figure it all out. If any teacher tells you they have all the answers and know exactly how things work, look at them askance, make up some excuse that you left your first day handouts on the copier machine, and move away. You may need to smile and nod, but that usually covers the requisite response.

I am planning to post more this year, if, for nothing else, as a means of therapy. For the first time in many, many years, I am the only Latin teacher in the building and will be teaching all five levels: Latin I, Latin II, Latin III, Latin IV, and AP Latin Literature (Catullus & Ovid). Add to this mix an active Latin Club, competitive certamen teams, and a bunch of other professional responsibilities. My wife is the head teacher-librarian (NBCT!) where I teach, my daughter will be entering the same high school (and having me as a Latin teacher) and my son will be in his last year of elementary school. They all have active schedules and life for the next 10 months or so is looking to be quite hectic. Therapy will be a necessity!