It's that time of year again! Are you ready to go back to school? We're not quite there yet. I'll tell you about that later.
I thought I should let you in on what I did over the summer break. The Virginia Department of Education hired me to serve on the Content Review Committee for the 8th grade reading SOL test. They also paid me to work on the Range Finding Committee for the Virginia Substitute Evaluation Program. Both groups were filled with dedicated educators with a single desire-- to ensure that we are assessing our children in fair and rigorous ways.
Do you think that you would like to work for the DOE? Check the state website every Friday afternoon for Superintendent's Memos. This is a great information hub for the latest news in Virginia as it pertains to education. It's not top secret; it's open to the public.
I also enjoyed being a teacher assistant for two weeks at William & Mary's Summer Enrichment Program for the Gifted. Learning about engineering and chemistry was fun for this English major. Did I mention that I was not responsible for lesson plans? I may propose a unit to teach for the summer of 2012, but as for last summer, assisting was just right for me. I had the good fortune of being paired with Mrs. Carolyn Kendall. Her hands-on approach to some seriously sticky science was brave and inspiring. It's always a bonus to see a master teacher at work. Sure, the chances that I will ever teach chemistry are slim, especially if my high school chemistry teacher gets wind of the plot. Great teaching is great teaching. We can always learn lesson-design tips from our colleagues.
Not only is a passion for teaching contagious, so are summer colds. And, boy, did I catch one. It felt like the flu and clung to me like nothing I've ever experienced. If you have stock in Kleenex, you're welcome. That's all I need to say about that.
I also enjoyed taking on the role of guest teacher at William & Mary's 2011 Eastern Virginia Writing Project. You didn't miss anything since my main focus was on resources and ideas I've already posted here.
Finally, my last week of freedom included some time with dear friends in the Outer Banks. Ahhhhh.
So, yes, I need to get back to work to take a vacation from my vacation. I have a nice little corner trailer in our temporary modular units. I have two windows and my own air conditioning unit with a thermostat. I even have my own phone and extension.
Although our office staff has worked tirelessly over the summer, they were unable to build over 400 student desks and such. We are anticipating some NEW furniture by the end of this week. To tide us over, we were able to scavenge through some items that were salvaged from our school. I found a chair that students painted for me years ago. I also eyed an old, old, old oak desk that I hope to get soon. My pal Willie Thornton let me have one of his wooden bookshelves. I picked up a few ancient wooden chairs, a wheeled metal cart and one of those cool book-holders librarians' use to exhibit dusty dictionaries in all of their glory.
So far this week has been a whole lot of time spent with cardboard boxes. And then there was a whole lotta shakin'. When that earthquake took hold of us yesterday, we were having our first faculty/staff meeting of the year in a teacher's classroom. Yep, we were in a trailer up on cinder blocks. It was one wonky ride! Everyone's fine, but we're looking forward to Irene's departure a.s.a.p.