Today is the last day of the semester for the Fall of 2009. In the spirit of Reflective Writing (my current graduate class), I am going to attempt to write in the suggested writing style of the National Board Certification about this past 19 weeks or so (with my personal writing style mixed in). Mind you, this is only the first step of the reflective writing process; its the one in which you remember the situations, writing whatever comes to mind, but always returning to "I remember". The second step is learning and discovery. The third step is setting your intentions.
Lets start with the family, shall we? This semester I remember taking Jessica to get her driving test done. We stood outside the Oklahoma DMV from about 5 a.m., until they open the doors and give out numbers at 7 a.m., in the nastiest, coldest rain (for August), trying to stay warm. I remember feeling like I built a better relationship with JC over this semester and really being able to talk about my expectations of him without him feeling like I was criticizing him. I remember building a closer relationship with Mishelleyb and being amazed that she could love me and put up with me for 19 years.
Physics during the fall of 2009 will be remembered as an average class. There aren't really any stand out moments I can remember vividly. I will remember several of the students as insightful, bright learners who have a desire to understand the World in which they live. I remember a student who hacked a computer, thinking it would be funny to add an additional password to the login process. I remember a couple of students who have more than 15 tardies in class. This should come as no surprise to many of you, since I teach high school and this is first block. I remember having a Navy Nuclear Physics instructor come to my class and talk about Nuclear Physics with my students. I remember that the students were engaged and interested in what he had to say. I recall this semester's wiki project as one the students didn't really "buy into".
My Pre-AP class for the fall of 2009 a memorable semester. If you read this blog, you'll remember this post. Its the retelling of a great story (which consequently drove a LOT of traffic to my blog) in which I was doing a physics demonstration and had an accident, which sent me to the Emergency Room. I bet no student will forget THAT class! I remember there being several student in that class who are extremely smart. I have had a sibling or two of theirs in my classes already and the parents of those families are doing something right. I remember having a Particle Physics researcher come in to speak to that class. I think the kids were interested in what was being said even if they didn't totally understand it all. The researcher spoke at the level of about a 3rd year college class and she has a pretty thick Russian accent.
I remember fall 2009 as a semester in which I taught Earth Science for the first time. It was a time of heavy collaboration with another teacher; one who had also never taught Earth Science. It seems to me that we muddled along for the first 9 weeks but really hit our stride after fall break. We got things organized and began to collaborate using GoogleDocs and Google Calendar (take that PC Library Media!) I remember thinking "if we could get the whole school to share a calendar and documents, wow! How much more effective could we be?
I remember this semester as the one in which our school took a step BACK in technology. We (the corporate we, not me) decided it would be advantageous to go back to a handwritten calendar book when scheduling computer labs in the school instead of continuing the use of Google Calendar as a viable way to do scheduling. (grrr...) I remember being very disappointed when I couldn't get a return email after an initial offer from Discover Magazine to begin hosting my blog in their new Science Education part of their website. I remember telling myself I wouldn't get my hopes up, but I remember (more vividly) when my hopes were dashed on the rocks of a very steep cliff. I remember thinking to myself "why am I writing this blog, anyway?" I remember this being the semester that I felt like I began to get my feet underneath me as far as teaching goes. I also remember starting my Master's and that totally erasing the "feet under me" feeling, since now I have much less time to plan for class. I remember this semester being one in which I was finally able to begin getting to work at a time in which I am comfortable. This is due wholly on the fact that my oldest child drives herself and her brother to school, so I can pretty much get here when the doors open (which is around 0645). I recall this semester being particularly difficult, given the fact that I chose to procrastinate on what may be the most difficult class of my Master's program. This made the rest of the semester extremely stressful, especially because I recognize I was the cause of all of that stress.
Enough! Enough of the negative! I remember this being the time in my life when I was able to purchase a motorcycle. This was made especially delightful given the fact that I was able to do it without incurring any debt. I remember riding out to Arcadia (to Pop's) and enjoying every minute of it (the numbness of my buttocks notwithstanding)! I remember taking the long way to school in the mornings just so I could ride for 5 extra minutes. I remember freezing my unmentionables on a few upper 20 degree mornings but taking the long way anyway!
Overall, I remember the fall of 2009 being a pleasant time in my life. I'm certainly thankful for that.