Thursday, April 23, 2009

some reflections after visiting the district of columbia

i don't know how to start this post, so i guess i'll just preface it all with what i did the past few days: i went to DC! yes, my home away from home (since i went there for college) has popped into my mind several times, and i've figured out that that is where i want to be when i teach as a real-life, fully employed teacher.

so, since we have vacation now i thought i'd head to DC to see many people and visit a few schools. here are some impressions:

the first school i visited was off the benning road metro stop, not far away from it. if you look at the map, it means that it's across the anacostia river, which means that, most likely, no white person lives there, and the accent suddenly twangs intensely and it gets much more southern sounding. for a white person like me, although accustomed to a diverse (aka, not predominantly white) school, who's also a northerner, it seems that my skin suddenly whitens more and my little racisms that i'm terribly embarassed about pop up. i went to the office and sat around stewing in my own ridiculousness--blazer, etc.

getting past that, i saw some nice sixth grade classes--two english classes and a special ed class. i also saw an eighth grade class, but they had finished and were just kind of foolin 'round (everyone was preparing for DC-CAS, the standardized test apparently based off the MCAS, Mass's test). quite honestly, the classes looked pretty intense--like, probably, a class at CMS where some of my friends are doin' there teaching, too. i think it was the outside of the class stuff that rubbed me the wrong way: the way that kids were roaming, the way that one girl sang directly in my ear (i guess my nervousness played right into that, but still).

what i liked: professional development every day, and for different purposes, too. once a week, there was something called "classroom blitz," which has the teachers observing other teachers, which keeps them on their toes and all their requirements in order. i like that a lot. also that they have a "respect center," where the kids can chill out and reflect on why they shouldn't smack someone upside the head, or whatever may happen. that's very similar to our school, which is nice.

what i didn't like was that there weren't any paraprofessionals due to understaffing. and no technology, which sucks but if that's how it goes, that's how it goes.

i think, for the sake of length, i will keep it at this...tomorrow i'll post about the other school i went to.

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