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Sunday Salon: education

Life and Family:
Life is good. Seriously. I know there are things that are icky and annoying and get us down, but overall, things are good and I have to remember that each day. Focus on the good. One of the really good things this week was our annual visit to the pumpkin patch. We have a great place here in Santa Barbara called Lane Farms (run by the Lane family whose kids were in my first class that I taught at the high school. They are now both teachers!). We do the corn maze every year. Notice I did not say we complete the corn maze. I'd say we have less than a 50% success rate, but this year we triumphed!

We choose our pumpkins, get gourds and corn to decorate the dining room table, and we check out the farm animals (yes, I always "talk" to the turkey).
Here I am with my parents
(not sure why my photos are all grey on the bottom. They are from my phone...)

Every year my daughter and I get a photo of the two of us at the pumpkin patch. It's a staple on our Holiday card

 The farm has a great collection of old fashioned vehicles. This one is a school bus from 1901.

The craziness of our new website is almost over. What's been the most frustrating thing for me is working with some of the faculty (hmmm. I wonder if any of them will read this post. Oh well). While most are cruising along, working really hard, taking all this new change in stride, there a quite a few who seem to complain about everything that comes their way. They don't like change, assume it's bad, and whine about it to me. I don't want to hear it. Too much negative.

I went last night to see the movie Waiting for "Superman", which is all about schools, education, and teachers. A friend organized a small group of us from school to go together and we stood around in the lobby for about 40 minutes afterward talking about it, which was great to do. 

While the movie made good points about the frustrations of standardized testing, teachers who aren't effective, classrooms lacking in resources, and more I felt like it was missing anything new. Will non educators come away saying "OMG! Education is in the toilet!"? They kept talking about quality and good teachers, but never talked about what that means. They showed good schools and schools that weren't doing as well, but never pointed out that what makes a good school depends on funding, parent support, an administration that supports its staff and is strong, teachers who care (and actually like students), and students who can come to school without so much baggage that they can actually concentrate and learn.

Blaming teachers is just too easy. Education isn't just teachers. It's students, parents, teachers and administrators working to figure out the best way to help our students learn and become productive citizens.

Books and Reading:
I am having a pretty interesting reading week (details to come in tomorrow's It's Monday). My Book Group met on Thursday and we talked about Jamie Ford's The Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, which I really enjoyed. My other book group meets this coming Wednesday so I am madly trying to finish Mornings in Jenin by then.


Amanda said...

All those photos bring up so many memories of living up north! I miss pumpkin patches and corn mazes. They have them down here too, but they're not the same at all. I love that picture of you and your daughter! It's so perfect with all those pumpkins around you!!

Amused said...

I love the photos of the pumpkin patch! Such a fun thing to do with kids! So jealous :)

Helen's Book Blog said...

Amanda and Amused--It's funny, I generally do not like the color orange, but there is something about a pumpkin patch that appeals to me greatly. The pumpkins look so great in photos!

bibliophiliac said...

Helen, you make many good points about education and educators. I see the same combination of enthusiasm and grumbling at my school. We also have a new school web site this year. I find it is very helpful for me--I post everything on my class pages: every assignment, schedule, announcement, etc. Now my students and parents can be well-informed,and it saves me from answering multiple requests for information over and over again. But I can also see why some teachers see it as just another chore. Thanks for a thought-provoking post (and great photos!).

Alyce said...

Your trip to the pumpkin patch looks like it was a lot of fun! We went this week too. I've never been in the big corn maze at our pumpkin patch before, and hope to do it next year.

Helen's Book Blog said...

Bibliophiliac--Our new website will be awesome (Edline) since it will allow parents and students to see grades, attendance (if I can figure that part out), and teacher web pages. I think you're right: it should save a lot on the phone calls and inquiring emails

Alyce--The corn maze is always the first thing we do. We station my mom at the exit so she can talk us in that direction when we get close!

Athira said...

Corn maze sounds like fun. That's something I never heard of before. Lovely photos too! (Btw, that dark thing at the bottom of each picture usually comes due to an incomplete copying of the files or because of some corruption within the cam itself - very common in mobile phones).

Helen's Book Blog said...

Aths--I am surprised you've never seen a corn maze; they are fun, but really difficult! Most years we end up making our way back to the start point since we can't find the exit.