(This article has been cross posted at tritonarts.wordpress.com.)
We have just finished our first week of band camp, and we are off and running with a very good start.
I can hardly believe another year is upon us. The summer, for me, has been one of reading blogs, conversing with teachers around the country and the world, and checking out all sorts of new resources. Through Twitter, I have built a valuable and challenging Professional Learning Network, comprised of teachers, principals, educational consultants, and higher education professionals. These people all have one thing in common - a passion for educating children to the very best of our abilities.
To do this, we recognize that there are some things about our system that must change. However, we are of the opinion that it should be educators leading the way, because we know what's really going on. Good as the President's intentions are, he has not been a public school educator. Secretary Duncan is working to repeat strategies that he implemented in Chicago and which failed. And our favorite billionaire drop-out, Bill Gates, and the group of "philanthropists" he has put together, simply think we can privatize it all and run schools like businesses.
We can't. We don't make widgets. We teach young people.
I have spent some time thinking about what I would like to do professionally this year - thinking about little ways I can begin to, as Ghandi said, "Be the change I want to see."
I want to find new ways to help my students take responsibility for their own learning. I would like to teach them how to use the Web 2.0 resources I've found - be it blogging, using online recording tools, or learning new methods - besides PowerPoint - for making presentations. It will be a challenge to find ways this will all fit into my discipline of music, but if I want to give my best to my students I will do it.
As for our department, we have another busy and event filled year in store, and TMPO is bringing the Polar Express to the area. We're going to be working long hours together - but that's the best part. Through these events, through our work together, we connect and build community.
What's better than that?