School's out, but I'm still working on my grad class. It's keeping me quite busy, and I resent that I'm not able to enjoy my summer vacation immediately.
In particular, I'm working on my portfolio, which is too big a project to successfully prepare in less than three weeks, especially since we have to include artifacts (a stupid word meaning student work or stuff you're proud of), and it's exactly the wrong time of year for me to be searching through filing cabinets and old student projects.
We have to start with a metaphor for our teaching philosophy.
1. My teaching philosophy changes every year. I'm constantly learning new techniques and strategies, and while my main objective--to create lifelong learners--remains the same from year to year, my methods are malleable. I hate trying to articulate a philosophy, it seems so pretentious and useless. Isn't it a given that most, if not all, teachers go into the profession because they want to create lifelong learners? And because they thirst after knowledge themselves? How do I turn that into a page-long explanation?
2. I hate metaphors. I prefer to say things straight out. And I'm not so great at putting them together. Everything I write seems stupid and simple. This is what I'm going with, with the codicil that I DON'T CARE.
Teaching is like a treasure map, and the teacher is the map’s key (or legend). At first, the student must always refer to the key for clues and cues, but eventually he will be able to recognize these on his own. Using the information provided by the key, the student will infer and draw conclusions as he seeks the treasure (full comprehension).
The student will be able to use these skills in other areas, as often the treasure maps in for other subjects are very similar.
Grr. How about, instead, I get to write a paragraph about why I wanted to be a teacher, or why--considering it's a relatively thankless profession with few tangible rewards, and it often seems hopeless and without result--I continue to teach? That would be something worth writing, though I have absolutely no idea what I'd write, beyond admitting that I'm a straight up nerd and I actually LIKE school.
Nearly all of my artifacts are assignments I've created, because they were easy to find. Somehow or other, I've got to figure out how they fit both my teaching philosophy, which I've yet to write, and the metaphor, which is quite stupid, AND show my professional growth, professional leadership, and my collaborations with colleagues. It's going to be the most boring portfolio EVER.
But it's not done yet! I also have to write a rationale for including each artifact AND a reflection as to how it worked in the classroom (if it did).
On top of all that, my class is full of elementary school teachers who--and this is not an indictment of elementary teachers, because goodness knows I could never do that--are putting together these elaborate scrapbooks full of fancy papers and stickers and photographs and all those little embellishments that cost like, thousands of dollars. Meanwhile, I'm putting the minimum amount of effort into the whole project and turning in a bunch of computer printouts in a three-pronged folder. IF I'm feeling fancy, I MIGHT even use a proper three hole punch to put the papers in it. I have made slacking into an art form.
So that's why you haven't heard from me for a week, and as soon as I turn in the portfolio, I have two days to read and critique five journal articles as part of a research design project, so you won't hear from me for another week either.
After that, though: THE DELUGE.