Thursday, September 25, 2008

I'm a Happy Mom

This morning I was writing a post in my head based on E's school open house (is it open house week for the rest of the world? we had E on Tuesday, M tonight; friends of mine in other towns were last night, Tuesday night; K's, in a whole different state and a private school, was Tuesday...). Anyway, that post was about theory and pedagogy and reality, and maybe I'll write it later, but for now I just want to say: I LOVE M's teachers this year! Her English teacher? The kind of guy who changes kids' lives, truly. One mom went up to him after his presentation and said her son had never talked about English in seven years of school, and now he comes home every night and goes on and on about English. The guy made me want to teach middle school English--and I hate middle school! Her math teacher? Challenging and engaged. Science teacher? All about intellectual independence and science in the world. World geography? Africa, Asia, geography in the news, Israel and Palestine, cultural literacy. I am blown away.

Academically, sixth grade was dismal. Her teachers were old and grumpy. Most of them had been sixth graders back when the sixth grade was in the elementary schools (i.e. a long time ago), and they treated their students like little kids. Silly projects, boring math worksheets, spelling words--spelling words in sixth grade! This year already she has done a group project on a Sylvia Plath poem that involved an interpretive essay and poster. Sylvia Plath! She got a grade I will not share with the internet on a math test which is not a good thing, but shows that her teacher is determined to push them. She is all about the scientific method. Content! Quality teaching! At the Town Middle School! A great miracle happened here!

Another good thing is that most of her teachers are fairly new to her school, which means they are somewhat removed from recent major controversies which is all to the good--the longer-term teachers are, for the most part, embedded in both old ways and old resentments, which was very much to the bad. (Sorry about the crypticness, but...take my word for it, you don't want to know the details.)

All in all, I'm glad M has made it to this year! And, like the title says, I'm a happy mom!


Jenny Davidson said...

Good stuff!

Libby said...

Oh, yay! That gives me hope, truly.

jackie said...

Hooray for great teachers!

This year, one of my girls has a great teacher, and the other girl has a very-obviously-brand-new teacher. She is young and very well-intentioned, but there are definitely some things slipping through the cracks, and her classroom management skills leave much to be desired thus far.