I'm back from as of last night and am preparing to head back out of town tomorrow with the boys to Destin. It is starting to feel like a little like the movie Groundhog Day with duel trips to DC and FL this summer. I've spent the last three days at the National Archives and the Smithsonian American Art Museum working on lesson plans integrating photography as primary sources as part of the Archives new online for teachers called DocsTeach.
I'm currently working on an idea to turn the back wall of my classroom into a manipulative gallery of historic images as we move through the course. I was able to draw on many resources presented at the workshop as I start to design and work on this idea.
One of the coolest things I saw was the real instillation of one of my favorite exhibits in the Smithsonian. I have the poster in my room and award candy to the student who figures out first the message.
I also picked up more kitsch for my bookshelf and yes that IS a Harry Truman doll, some Presidential Mad Libs for first day back to school fun, and tattoos. OMG, they actually make Constitution tattoos! I am SO tempted to wear one on the first day of school and play it off that I am just that dedicated.
Sadly I left the John Brown one on the shelf. What kid wants a John Brown, famed abolitionist of Harpers Ferry fame? Speaking of, who wants a Harry Truman doll other than me?
One more thought on education.
Yesterday our state legislature passed a budget that eliminated just over 9,000 teaching jobs, ended tenure for teachers in place of merit pay for the top 25% of teachers, will no longer pay a percentage salary bump for masters or doctoral degrees, and has adopted a grading system for schools with 80% weighed on standardized test scores. The new budget does include a provision to fund $50 million in tuition vouchers.
All indications are the bill will be signed by our governor based on other contentious legislation also recently passed. As much as I have strong feelings about those bills as well, this hits my livelihood directly. I never left my job in baking in 1999 thinking that changing careers would allow me to live in the lap of luxury. My own spouse continually questions why I ever wanted to do and now continue this profession.
As I head into my 14th year into a job that has not had any type of raise or cost of living adjustment in the past 7 years, I have obvious feelings about these decisions. Given I am a public employee, this public space is not the forum nor is any other type of social media to play out my feelings as we move forward. While I also have no intention of belaboring the situation or what may come of these decisions with friends or family, please know that this weighs heavy on my heart.