Looking Back On My Three Years As a Teacher

On this last day of school I think that how feel can me summed up in one quote:

Ah, but I was so much older then
I’m younger than that now

Bob Dylan “My Back Pages”

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The AZ Teacher Walkout From My Point of View.

I had the privilege of participating in the AZ Teacher Walkout a couple of weeks ago. And I am going to be honest with you before I continue: I did return to work for the last three days of the walkout. I returned to work because I needed to save my days off. In my district the walkout reached a point where teachers had to start using their days off in order to continue participating. I chose to save my last 4 days for the end of the school year so that I could use them to take my car in to get serviced (which it desperately needs) and to start packing up my house for when I move next month. Going into work on these days without kids proved to be an opportunity for me to begin cleaning out my classroom. And those days spent cleaning my classroom really helped put things into perspective for me.

Even though I had been walking with my fellow teachers I had never had the amount of commitment some of my colleagues did. This was for one simple reason: I am leaving the state. I am not leaving the state because of my job. I am leaving because it is in my best interest to be closer to family and to go to graduate school. It has occurred to me that the fact that I am leaving the state gives me a more objective view of the walkout. This is because THE RAISE DOES NOT APPLY TO ME. I will receive no money as a result of the walkout and I chose to participate any way.

I’m not trying to put myself on a pedestal but it’s important for me to make m reasons for supporting the walkout clear. I did it for my colleagues and my friends. They deserve a raise and so do the kids. The first picture I’ve posted is a picture of what my classroom looks like when I fund it myself. It’s bright, it’s fun and it reflects me as a teacher. The second picture is what my classroom looks like when I remove everything that I purchased myself. Which do you prefer?

The need for funding goes beyond just making a classroom pretty, it’s about making sure that students and teachers as working with equipment that works. My desk has one leg that isn’t attached (it’s literally just standing there and it falls all the time, and will take my desk with it one of these days). I have also had three broken student desks this year, and there is a forth that is still being used because without it I wouldn’t have enough desks for my kids. The funding is for supplies as well. Yes, a lot is donated every year and we are so grateful, but it’s not enough. If teachers used only what was donated there would probably be nothing left by Christmas. Teachers are dipping into their own pockets for these supplies, and has happy as most of them are to do it, they shouldn’t have to.

“Teacher Tired” is a term that shouldn’t exist because teachers are working multiple jobs or are spending their free time working on school. Teachers should be valued as much as a football play or an actress. Teachers shouldn’t be scared to ask for what they need, or ashamed by how much they make.

Teachers and schools are the future and if you are too small-minded to see this then you are part of the problem.

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Sparkle by Radwimps

Caught in a never-ending game
Seems like the world’s still trying to tame me
If that’s the way, I will obey
Beautifully struggle every day

Should we have a little kiss
While seeing both of our hourglasses
Let’s make a plan to meet somewhere that is
Most far from “goodbye”

Finally, the time has come
Everything up ’til yesterday was a prologue
Skimming through the days of old
It’s my turn to bear the load
My experience and my skill
And all the courage I had let start to mildew
At an unprecedented speed, I will
Dive right into you

And when I dozed off into a lukewarm can of soda, I
Dreamed of a world so far from here that’s not on the map
Searching outside of the classroom window
Or in a summer morning that’s brought from the commuting train

Words like “tomorrow” or “future” or “fate”
No matter how far they extend their hands
We breathe, we dream, we raise our love
In a timeless land that is far out of reach

Even the second, hour hands of the clock
They look at us sideways as they tick and tock
How I hope to have forever to spend
This life, no—all future lives
Right here in this world with you

Let’s put away them far ahead
“How do you do”s and all the “Nice to meet you”s
And breathe over a thousand-year cycle in a single day

How I hated lifeless world
That’s made up entirely of dictionary word that
I saw through my kaleidoscope
On a monotonous August morn’

When you appeared in front of me
You acted shy but I didn’t miss your grinning face like
If it’s the textbook of this world
Of how to make your smile on your face

I’ve been looking for “incredible”s, the meaning of “unbelievable”
I even hope for tragedies if it goes with the thrill
But when you were standing in front of my door
With every piece in your hand that I could ask for

Words like “tomorrow” or “future” or “fate”
No matter how far they extend their hands
Let’s breathe, and dream, we’ll play together in this place
What do you say?

Even the way that you loved
I swear I could smell the scent of yours
And in the way that you walked
I could hear that bright laughter of yours

Since one day you will disappear
I’ll keep every part of you
Make sure that it’s burned into the back of my eyes
It’s not a right that I’m due
My duty that is must have been kept

Words like “tomorrow” or “future” or “fate”
No matter how far they extend their hands
We breathe, we dream, we raise our love
In a timeless land that is far out of reach
Even the second, hour hands of the clock
They look at us sideways as they tick and tock
How I hope to have forever to spend
This life, no—all future lives
Right here in this world with you

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Film Review: The Globe On Screen Macbeth

I love Shakespeare. You probably already know this about me but for those of you that don’t, you should know… THAT I LOVE SHAKESPEARE. I have restarted Shakespeare Club at school and it is better than ever. The first play that the kiddos chose this year was Macbeth. A great play. A dark play. And a reason for me to buy another Globe on Screen DVD. The Globe Theatre in London is a  true gem. Being there for a live show is as close as your every going to get to how these play were originally performed. The Theatre also films some of their productions and makes them available for purchase. I have started my own little collection and Macbeth is my most recent acquisition.

I prefer to show that Globe productions when I teach Shakespeare because they are typically very traditional and they tend not to take themselves to seriously. The are bursting with humor that can be hard to find in most filmed versions. (Unfortunately some of that humor gets a little dirty and inappropriate for school so I have to skip certain chunks). Macbeth is no different. When my DVD first arrived in the mail I noticed a quote that called this production warm. I was greatly confused and I initially thought that it was impossible for a production of Macbeth to be warm. Macbeth is a dark play. most productions are very somber from beginning to end however this was not the case at The Globe.

This production was directed by Eve Best and featured Joseph Millson as Macbeth, Samantha Spiro as Lady Macbeth, and Billy Boyd as Banquo (he was definitely Pippin in Lord of the Rings and it makes me happy). Millson and Spiro have a wonderful chemistry as Lord and Lady Macbeth and they bring a maturity to the roles that also have a touch of humor. Boyd’s Banquo is fresh and down to earth. The production as a whole is down to earth as it displays a stark background that is meant to represent Scotland, and features a large amount of bagpipe music.

My students in particular appreciated the humor because it kept them engaged in the story. The humor also brings a sense of humanity to these characters. Most of the humor stems from a choice to portray the characters as unsure and less than perfectly confident. There is a scene near the end in which Macbeth is dressing for battle. He at first has one of his servants put on his leather arm brace, then he gets frustrated with the slow pace and tries to do it himself, before giving up and throwing the brace on the ground. This is a special moment that is extremely relatable and also slightly humorous. Though not so funny that it takes away from the important themes being displayed in the dialogue.

The humor also helps display the character development of Macbeth. He is clearly unraveling and gradually becomes more paranoid as the play progresses. The humor shows a distinct lack of confidence that is relatable for the audience and helps make Macbeth a more sympathetic character. By the end of the play I found myself pitying Macbeth. He began the story as a good and loyal man who has been twisted by a desire to move up in the world and a desire to please his wife, whom he clearly loves very much. I look back at Macbeth’s journey in this production and I feel sad by what has happened to him. And the decidedly somber portrayal of victory at the end shows that this is not necessarily a happy day for those that defeated Macbeth. There is a level of regret in all the characters, because they also remember that Macbeth was once well-loved and good.

I could talk about all this version of Macbeth ALL DAY LONG! It’s that good. It’s a must see for Shakespeare fans. It’s relatable and funny but also somber and humbling. Eve Best did a top-notch job with this production and it has quickly become one of my favorite productions to ever come from the Globe.