05 May 2005

Looking Ahead

I am fortunate to work in a department with people who not only have a passion for science, but take pride in their craft. Four of us sat down yesterday afternoon for the first of two marathon planning sessions. Now that the state has provided a set of standards for us to teach, what will we do with them in our biology classes?

In the fall, we spent some time determining which standards would be targeted each quarter. This will help coordinate things a bit between teachers, although we don't plan on being "lockstep:" each teacher doing the same lesson at the same time. However, teachers could work on building common lessons/labs (if they chose), doing them with students, and then talking about the results and improving them.

There was some very good discussion last night. Where are we all philosophically in terms of curriculum and what "biology" means? What would we like to add to the document we started in the fall?

I was a little disappointed that we didn't end up doing more. Not because the discussion wasn't valuable or necessary, but rather that time is so precious. It's so difficult to get everyone's schedules to coordinate enough to have a block of time to work. Let's work. Also, some of the things that were discussed/chosen to try next year aren't ideas I'm entirely sold on. This doesn't make them bad ideas, it just means that they don't suit my particular style of doing things. I worked to remind myself that I'm not having to teach this curriculum in coming years. As long as the teachers who do have to carry out the plan are excited about it, that's what matters. They will have to be the department leaders next year. Whatever makes it doable for them is most important.

Today, I had a meeting with the Boss Lady and the Gent in Charge of Facilities regarding what we can scope out for the two junior high schools needing upgrades before the Science Recommendations are implemented. I'm feeling very positive about things. Support throughout this process has been positive and significant.

I am continuing to look ahead to next year. In a few days, I will meet with the Boss Lady again to talk about my role next year. I have some small clue about what I'm supposed to do, but I need to hear her vision, too. She mentioned today that she doesn't know where they'll put me...which I assume means that she wants me to work out of the Curriculum office rather than out of a cubbyhole in my building. This makes sense in a lot of ways, but I will miss my stronger ties to the "home" building.

Tomorrow is my last class day before The Test. Twenty out of my twenty-one test takers are coming out to my neck of the woods on Saturday to do some more review. But we really have reached the end of our preparations. Our time of "looking ahead" to The Test is almost finished.

For now, I think I'll just look ahead to a quiet Thursday evening. :)

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