Damped and Driven

October 30, 2008, 9:06 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

There’s an after school tutoring program at the high school. I usually stay after as i live right in town and I can; i help students with science and math. It’s a good place to build relationships with students, whether i have them for class or not, and they can get some homework done.

Anyway, the program is funded by some sort of federal grant, as many of the programs on the rez. This year we got a new format for sign-in sheets. Theres a column that asks students to write down ‘race’. This wasn’t on the old sign-in sheet, but apparently the grant is exclusively for native students. It’s awkward. The students think it’s awkward and i agree.

The most devastating part of it is that many of the students write down NA or N/A. I can’t help but think ‘not applicable.’ It makes me think of the marginalization my students and their people have faced. I think It’s an insult to them that in order to stay after school, in order for them to stay after and put in some extra effort and try and compensate for some of the inequity of our educational system, my students have to bow to the federal government and identify themselves as in need of some special assistance or something. Why doesn’t every kid in this country have the same opportunities irrespective of ‘race’? I think i understand why its there, but that ‘race’ column unsettles me.


Regarding my Hiatus:
October 29, 2008, 9:49 pm
Filed under: Not School, School

So… it’s been a while. My apologies reader, one of the things i worried about when i started this blog was that i would drop the ball, that the thing would get pushed off the priority list, and well thats basically what happened. However, its a new year so i’m going to give this another shot.

First a quick update:

So last i posted it was the middle of april. Quite a bit has happened since then. I was informed that i didn’t get re-hired at TCHS, in fact a quarter of our staff was not asked back. This sort of took the wind out my sails as i had wanted to take what i had learned in the last year and apply it, use it to making class better for my students in the 08-09 school year. If i ended up moving schools or grade levels, i felt like my effectiveness would be diminished. Thankfully, 2 MONTHS later, i was able to get re-hired at the high school as a math teacher. As it happened i would end up teaching physical science again anyway! More on hiring and admin in the district later- suffice it to say it can be quite a comedy.

The summer was great, i went camping in the BWCA for a week with my dad and some friends. I spent a month and a half in Lincoln, NE. I know a professor there i had worked for, during a summer 3 years ago. I got in touch with him in the spring and asked him if there were any short-term projects he could use a post-undergrad-but-not-yet-grad student on. To my delight, he had some projects that i could help with. I ended up working on aspects of a problem i had gotten familiar with when i was there before, mostly a class of interesting math problems. That was the summer.

It’s the middle of the 1st semester already, wow! School is different, the main thing being we changed to a block schedule. I teach two 90 min blocks of 9th grade physical science and one block of upper classman in pre-calc. Its a great mix of younger kids and older kids and the most of the kids are great. There are a few knuckle-heads, but there are also some super kids, kids that inspire, kids that you don’t want to let down.

The year is off to a good start. Theres already been some epic adventures, lots of hiking in the badlands- turns out theres a really great place right in Wanblee. Teaching, planning, grading, old friends and new. I think it’s going to be a good year.

more soon..