It's been a strange 2016 so far. Early in January, I got the call from the school district where I sub from time to time asking if I could do a two week hitch for a language arts teacher. Sure, I said. A few hours later, the hitch turned out to be for the entire semester. Well, how could I say no?So back to school on a full time basis. Left to my own devices, I have been given a wide latitude as to subject matter as long as it fit into the most broad Common Core guidelines. I must admit I have given the kiddos a workout. It has been both gratifying and at the same time disturbing. It still gives me chills to see a light go on in a kid's eyes. It dismays me when I meet a kid for whom the educational process is already shut down in the 6th grade. I think of the remarkable junior high education I received and I am filled with regret that a kid will never experience that.
The district here is one of the most tech filled I have encountered and I have found it to be a powerfully mixed blessing. On the one hand, distribution of content has been made really easy; on the other the learning process is somehow dulled by passivity and what I have come to call the "feed me" syndrome, like little birds in the nest that sit there and wait to be fed. They don't have to think, they don't have to move, they just wait to have a morsel dropped down their craw. In some cases, the students have overcome this condition and are striving to see what else is out there. In the vast majority of cases, they just wait to be fed.
So while the school year winds down to one last big push, and standardized testing is almost finished, I hear rumblings from Wayne. This time, I regard Wayne as a visitor, and not a proxy resident. My folks are in McLean, VA. The only reason I have to return to Wayne area is the 50th Reunion. Bob Shepherd is chairing the effort this time and has set a date and some plans for the event already somewhat influenced to a spirited Facebook discussion this past October,
What I have been able to glean so far, and yes I have compared my notes to Linda's (she is definitely my FB presence as much as me) the event is set for May 7 at the Sheraton Tara in Parsippany. Tara compares favorably to the old HoJo (now LaQuinta, but always HoJo to me) like a Cadillac to a Rent-a-Wreck. Plus the prospect of $99 rooms is quite a deal that Shep has managed to wrangle for us too. Cash bar, so no one has to subsidize alcohol consumption without an absolute and unnecessary prohibition and the rooms on-site provide a non driving place to bunk down too.
A catered buffet meal is in the offing as well, although I am as yet unaware of the menu. We are, after all, still over a year off, but Shep is truly trying to change things up and I'm always up for change.
So start making your plans if you can. It's the big FIVE OH. As experience has shown us, time is fleeting. The Fates have been busy lately, and I for one am not about to tempt them. And, I will report any additional information as we find out about it.
Similarly, I am hoping that my Anthony Wayne group will be coming so we can get together sometime over the Reunion weekend and if everything works out right, break bread with the Piagets. Plenty of time to work all this out too.
Time to plan out my next teaching unit. I'll bet these kiddies have never had to make a speech..........Heh Heh Heh........