Thursday, July 9, 2009

Summer sentiments

Greetings from the land of summer vacation! School has been out for about two and a half weeks. In that time, I've read four books, gone jogging every other day, worked on my (absolutely horrible, but slowly improving) golf game, brought my car in for repair, had a checkup with my doctor, booked a teeth cleaning, tended to the yard, cleaned, saw friends and family...

There's a lot one can do when one has time. Many of the aspects of my life that I neglect during the school year can finally be tended to during the summer. When I am on vacation, I really try to focus my energies on things other than school. Periodically though, thoughts of school and teaching pop up.

Later this month I will meet with nine other teachers of freshmen in hopes of developing some common strategies to help the incoming 9th grade students acclimate themselves to the rigor and demands of high school work. We're meeting across disciplines to talk about ways to help them with organization, notetaking, reading, writing, study skills, homework, asking questions, speaking in front of the class... skills that can be used in any academic environment.

In August I'm going to hit Vermont's Long Trail with one of my old high school buddies, then after that my wife and I will spend a week at the beach on the North Shore of Massachusetts. After a few more days of R&R, I will trek back into school to begin setting up my classroom and preparing lessons for my new students.


Jackie said...

I'm also meeting with ninth grade teachers at my school for very similar reasons-- how we can help our students adjust better to their entrance in high/upper school? This morning I had an interesting conversation with math teachers, for example, about how to teach annotation.

Have fun on your vacations!

Janet said...

As a fellow teacher, I can absolutely say that summer reboots are crucial. I don't know what I'd do if I wasn't a teacher and had a week here or there to charge the batteries. All I know is that it wouldn't be pretty.

Mr. B-G said...


Ninth grade is obviously a pivotal year. Good to hear you are working with other educators at your school to find ways to ease the transition. It's rare that we have time for any meaningful face-to-face conversation among teachers - let alone cross-curricular discussions.

That's one of the other benefits of our meeting, as I as an English teacher will be able to learn how basic skills and expectations compare and relate among other departments.

Your annotation conversation sounds noteworthy! Enjoy the rest of your summer.

Mr. B-G said...


Without a doubt. The time off to recharge also allows us to reflect and make improvements for the next go-round.

There are so many levels to teaching. By the end of the year I am emotionally, intellectually, and physically exhausted. And lo and behold, by the end of summer I am excited, energetic, and ready to try out new ideas and lessons with my next group of young charges. Do I lament the end of vacation? Sure. But the new school year brings with it unparalleled excitement and optimism.

Teaching is hard - very hard, but it has its own rewards that are pretty special too.

Ms. Hagan said...

Hi, there. I am a teacher in Colorado, and I have a newfound obsession with using blogs in my class. I ran across your pages and am really impressed. I have a few technical questions re. I realize I can create links to other websites, but how are you adding the simple links to your classroom assignments and other word docs? I am sure this is something very simple, but I am new to this. Also, do you have a good calendar site tht you can recommend? I would like to create an online calendar on my teacher blog. Thanks for any help!!

Mr. B-G said...

Ms. Hagan - Thanks for the comment, and for checking out my blog. I've used a file sharing website called Ripway to create Internet links to my assignments and handouts. I upload my documents to Ripway and it creates a unique URL that allows anyone who knows the URL to download the file.

There are many file sharing sites. Ripway is free, and was one of the first I learned about, but there are probably others that are also free and just as good if not better.

I've seen some cool calendars on Wordpress blogs. There might be a specific Wordpress calendar application, or perhaps it's just a calendar widget. If you Google "calendar widget" you'll likely find a site with what you're looking for.

Good luck. I look forward to checking out your blog as it develops!