Observations from an Open House

I went to my son’s Open House last night. He’s in seventh grade and goes to a different school district than where I teach, so I am always curious to know what other teachers are doing.

First of all, he has an energetic team of teachers, for sure.I wish they had more of an online presence so I could see what is going on from home (only one of the team has a website) and I wish they had an online homework site, like we do. But, we can’t have everything we want, and overall, I was impressed by the experience and enthusiasm of the team.

The science teacher spent five years living on a Tall Ship off the coast of California, working with classes of kids who visited for five days at time to explore the ocean. She’s admittedly marine-biases, but who cares … she has a passion for science.

The English teacher is also his homeroom teacher, and her class seemed a bit cluttered, in a good way, and it looks like there is a lot of Mark Twain on the curriculum for the year ahead. That’s a good thing. She talked a bit too fast for my liking, and asked us to multitask (filling out forms while trying to listen), so I am not sure I got half of what she said. I hope my son does better at listening than I did.

The math teacher seems nice, and knowledgeable. This is her first year at the school after spending ten years teaching math at a nearby urban school district. She seemed happy to be here, and her calm demeanor will be probably go a long way in there.

The computer teacher is a former sixth grade teacher, and is a bundle of hyper energy (compliment). I’m not all that impressed that the curriculum is so Microsoft-centered (Publisher, Powerpoint, Excel), and asked about Open Source. But he seemed ready to galvanize the classroom teachers around using technology, and the school has a fair share of it: two rolling laptops, two labs (with a third being built), and a boatload of new desktops that are being distributed to classrooms.

The social studies teacher also seems great, with a focus on world politics, and she has her own weblog. We chatted briefly about her wanting to have students publish more work, as opposed to her posting assignments and resources. Maybe I can help her with that.

My son is a reluctant singer in school chorus, so maybe as little said about that is best.

I think he’ll have a good year.

Peace (in the house),

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