Backyard Civil War

In 2015, one of the best years of my teaching career, I taught 7th-grade Humanities in a tech academy setting. Part of the joy was the freedom to create curriculum. (Once in a while there is someone who thinks a teacher-created curriculum is a threat to western civilization, but those voices usually belong to those who don’t understand agency, autonomy, and professionalism.) Sitting down with a partner, myself, or a PLC we strive for engagement, purpose, and relevancy. The rigor is embedded in the engagement, and engagement doesn’t always look like what is on the evaluation check-boxes. Teacher-created curriculum is…

Slithering summer

Ah, those last few weeks in U.S. public schools before students and staff leave for summer break. When teachers all over the nation are worried about ‘summer slide’ and for their students, and perhaps themselves: thinking about what professional development may boost spirits and lighten the soul, or thinking about how much they’ve put off to those magical summer months of repair and rejuvenation. Personally, I’m finding it difficult to soldier on through the rest of the year, namely because of content: my fanaticism for history and big, bold, brash units feels like my gate valve to flow froze. Nah,…