…And Another Thing!

I’ve been doing educational workshop type things lately. I’ve been to the New Schools Project Symposium – which, other than getting fed very well, involved visiting a peer school, running into old friends (and making some new ones), and then attending a symposium to collaborate with other teachers and principals about how to make our school a better place. On top of that, I went to part three of the Learning Centered Schools training that began this summer. On top of that, I have to get in grades, make sure my kids were on topic, AND prepare to do homework for my own online class.

And on top of all this…I lost my gas cap.
I know exactly where I lost it too. At the gas station to the left of Crabtree Valley Mall. The one that’s near the diamond place and the Bank of America. I put it on the back of my car. And then I drove off, not realizing my folly until I got to Elmo’s that night and saw that my flap was open…and that there was no gas cap inside.

I have to find a replacement.
I don’t want my car to blow up.
Which is exactly what I think my car might do.

But anyway, on to the real reason for this post.
I don’t mean to sound ignorant. Or backwards. Or just…elitist…but I visited a school – City of Medicine Academy – where the students all start out taking Honors level classes. Honors English I is the only class offered. Their reasoning: they want to detrack students, and, more over, they want to give students who don’t usually have the opportunity to take honors level classes a chance to do so. They want to give them an opportunity at success. From there, once they get to their Sophomore year, they can branch out, choosing to take a lower level of English class if they so choose.

Here’s my question. The question no one has asked.

What I mean is – what is the point of calling it "honors" if all the classes are at that level. Isn’t it then just English class? I mean, I think this is a great idea…holding kids to a higher standard, asking them to excel and whatnot. However, I’ve got to ask – if all the kids are in an Honors class, isn’t it just Honors in name only, then? Why can’t everyone be in an Honors class if that’s the case. Let’s call all classes "Honors" such-and-such…then all kids will succeed.

Unless, of course, that an Honors class adds an extra degree of rigor…and a credit-weight boost. But then, if all the kids are getting a 5.0 opportunity, it’s not really a credit-weight boost then, is it? You can’t be boosted if everyone is the same height. I love the idea of holding them to a higher standard, but shouldn’t the class, then, simply be called "English I". Shouldn’t it be that standard English I requires A, B, and C…instead of just A and B? Isn’t that essentially what one is doing in creating a situation in which all classes are Honors level?

Is it sad, then, that I’m thinking "well if you can’t be better than anyone else, what’s the point?" But that is, invariably, what I’m thinking.

I realize when I am petty and shallow. See the above mentioned situation. (Yes, I like to think that I am better than some people, even though I realize that I’m not supposed to actually be better than others, in that I deserve special treatment, I do think that I’m better than others because I like myself and I think I’m awesome. I’m not better than everyone – I’m not that egotistical – but I do think that I’m better than the woman who tells her daughter that getting knocked up by her army boyfriend in order to "keep him" is a good idea. I mean…I simply….I am.) I am pretty honest about this aspect of my personality. But I don’t need to be critiqued, judged, or criticized for this.

Dear Woman-at-the-Conference-who-doesn’t-seem-to-realize-that-I-am-agreeing-with-you-and-continues-to-make-your-point….

When I said that one of the "barriers" to having peers review one another and share good teaching practices with one another might be competitiveness, I was speaking generally. Yes, I realize it’s a good idea to share work. I like sharing my work. You don’t have to work for twenty minutes to teach me that sharing my work with others is good and fine and nice. You don’t have to convince me that there is really no need to be competitive. I realize this. When I said that sometimes I felt like I didn’t want to share ALL my techniques with others (you know, because I want to be a special teacher and if I share everything, I won’t be special anymore) I realize that this is a selfish, capitalistic, desire…and I don’t care!

I’m going to share, dammit…quit giving me the lecture! I’m just saying that sometimes I don’t want to share! It’s like confiding that sometimes you just feel like walking through the door without holding it open for the person behind you…or sometimes, when someone asks you how you’re doing, you don’t really want to have to ask them how they’re doing in exchange, but you do it because you want to be a good person.

Sheesh! Let me live my life! Dang!

Sincerely Yours,
Licia Badazz


About alburnet

New mom, new natural, and..for the last year...still a new teacher!

Posted on December 3, 2009, in Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Idea…
    I agree with you about the all Honors thing. I kinda like the way that Jordan does it with the Academy – everyone’s in English 1, some get Honors level work and some get Standard. I find that this way a lot of Standard level students are still held to a higher standard by association (if that makes sense).
    This way it’s special and enriched for the Honors students, but the Standard kids get a bit of a leg-up as well and some of the benefits of being in the Honors class with assessment at their level.

    • Re: Idea…
      That’s what I’m thinking. If we want to detrack kids, can we not just say that everyone will start out taking the same classes – and you can move up in the areas in which you show a particular aptitude?
      I have a couple of kids in my Honors 10 now that I KNOW would not have been in Honors 10 if they hadn’t had a standard level class with some students who were definitely honors material. The fact that KW – who isn’t “there” yet, but who works really hard – used to hang out with CC – who has always been “there” and is now going beyond that – has played a big role in KW’s success.
      I think.

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