"Education is not a product: mark, diploma, job, money; It is a process, a never-ending one." -bel kaufman

Friday, September 03, 2004


three weeks of preparation...

i have been sitting in front of this computer and in front of administrators for the past three weeks. we, the teachers of Antonia Pantoja high school, are preparing our lessons and ourselves for the school year. this is an arduous task, a long and grueling process of filling in the blanks of quarterly planners, unit maps, syllabi, and lesson plans.

and the school is changing, too. the general climate here is much more orderly and formal. paper work, student processing, tightening up dress code for teachers. it is now required that the students refer to teachers as "mister" and "miss." our image seems to be of great importance lately, and i can understand why. this school has been under probation for years and our reputation was less than admirable. i love this school, but i recognized that to the outsider, we looked disorganized and without foundation. At present, however, we are becoming something of pride for our parent organization, Aspira. our principal is stressing a clean, disciplined, and highly organized appearance. more than that, i feel these new intensive processes go deeper than our image--we are all freshman teachers with less than five years experience, most with under one year. furthermore, the faculty in alternative schools has historically had a discreditable reputation and is known for being unenthusiastic and inexperienced. this is our challenge, as i see it, and these new processes and preparations are difficult, but for the best. i will be more prepared for teaching and the school will have the documentation to prove, at least on paper, that i am working responsibly.

there are so many ways to teach, and i can understand my fellow teachers who complain that this paperwork is bogus and wasteful when we could be preparing more intensely on our lesson planning. if i had my way, i would be teaching without walls and without a syllabus. our lessons would be direct experiences and our curriculum would be conversations and interactions with people and world around us. but we work within the system we have, we do what we can to do what we love. and after all is said and done from these three weeks, the teachers of Antonia Pantoja will each, one by one, shut their classroom doors on the morning of september seventh and bring forth something invaluable to a body of students eager to learn.

!internet exclusive! some of my course preperation can be viewed here:
      * journalism 1
      * journalism 2
      * photography & visual arts


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