Wednesday, February 02, 2011

The hamster wheel

photo by Klaus


I've definitely been silent from this little chunk of the internet this past week or so. Funny how the beginning of the semester for me as a teacher and as a grad student is always the same:  scrambling around trying to find a groove I can get into and get things done. I had my second Web Design class last night and spent an hour and a half discussing the basic web pages that we have created so far. I haven't created a website from scratch since 2000, when I made a horrible site for a class at NAU. It's amazing how easy it is to have a significant web presence these days without doing any backend work to build a website. This blog, facebook, and twitter allow the shop to have an internet reach (I'll refrain from calling it a broad reach) without really doing much coding in html, except when I want to make things look pretty.

It's been an odd few days at school as my colleague Alex and I have been getting a great deal of attention for the scores our Physical Science students made on the NC end of course test last semester. What I felt was attributable to low standards, is still significant as we outperformed the other high schools "significantly" as administrators have put it. They have started asking us how we did it in order to try and duplicate our results with other teachers. If this were a movie, it would be shortly after this initial glow of success that people started accusing us of cheating. Let me go on record as stating unequivocally that I do not care what my students test scores are, I don't feel that it is a complete measure of who I am as a teacher nor do I feel that standardized tests are an adequate measure of a student either. There are too many intangibles in this life that cannot be neatly quantified in the form of a multiple choice test. Simply put: I don't care enough about standardized testing to cheat and since there is no monetary incentive, that can't be used as a possible motive either. I get paid the same no matter how good their scores are.

I don't know what to say. We were as shocked at our scores as anyone else, so us giving up the "secret" to our success is akin to asking the bird why he flies so well or the rabbit how he jumps so far. They don't know, they just do it.

I've been hitting the greenway every school commute and it is such a peaceful way to cover the miles. No cars and no one on the greenway when the weather is cold and wet, makes for an empty path that I can fly along on. I love having such a long car free stretch to commute on every day and our town is lucky to have such a progressive project going on. I've ended up facing two cars driving head on at me in my lane this past week and incidents like that really make you appreciate a safe, car free alternative.

As part of my MS 365 Project, I'd like to update you on the stats for January. Yes, I rode at least 1 mile outside all 31 days of January. I have ridden a total of 345 miles as of January 31st; maintaining a >10 mile a day average to stay on track for 3,650 miles total for the year. I have no idea if I have raised any money for Can Do MS nor have I received any new pledges since the opening weeks of the project. I promise not to shill too much for donations to this cause, so I will limit myself to some NPR-style, end of the month pleas for a small donation. If you can, take a moment and give a little to this worthy group so that people with MS can learn that a life full of exercise and activity is the way to a healthy and enjoyable life with MS.

Thanks.

Post a Comment