Friday, March 31, 2006


I could not teach my last class… The class had to be re-scheduled for April. Very disappointing.

Why was school closed? Vista was closed because students walked out of class. Why did they do that? Students were protesting. What were they protesting? They were protesting new immigration laws.

As a history student - this is fascinating and without precedent. These are Latino students 13-18 years of age causing High Schools and Middle Schools to shut down in Vista, Oceanside and other cities in San Diego. The demonstrations have been for the most part peaceful (Thank God!) but revealing at the same time. With a bit of luck they will not become pawns of any political demagogue.

Hopefully there will be a realization of the cost.... to the student themselves, to parents, to the community, to the school, etc. Lesson #1: there is never a free lunch - someone will pay.

Oh boy, we live in interesting times.

Is this a tocsin of the things to come? What do you think?

Friday, March 24, 2006


I wanted to catch up… its been a while since my last update, no I have not given up or anything like that… I have been so extremely busy that it has been near impossible to focus on the blog – but it keeps calling me… so here is a quick update.

The spring semester started in late January, on time and on schedule except without me… I had to drop three out of five of my COE classes because of conflicts with my work – Was I disappointed? Very… but I am confident that it is the right thing to do for my work, for myself, and for my family. Well at least I was able to continue with two classes: my Beginning Student teaching and also the BCLAD class. One is behind me now (or almost) and the BCLAD class is on Saturday’s so I have no conflicts.

The Beginning student teaching was a blast! It started with a challenge in logistics, and the school bureaucracy but it smoothed out to a great teaching experience. Teaching 31 10th graders European History all in Spanish proved to be a challenge… I had to prepare the lessons from scratch – no textbook…don’t ask why.

I integrated key pedagogical strategies to engage the students achieving for the most part good outcomes. I introduced power-point lectures (never used in the classroom); we did word wall exercises, cartoon analysis, group presentations, etc. The class was supposedly the worst class in the teacher’s roster. Only 3-4 students were passing the class. I am not sure if in the four weeks I taught were sufficient to turn around the kids, but at least in the unit I taught (WWI) 14 students passed… the disappointment was in the fact that still I had 16 kids that did not do well… I was asked if I thought they could make it eventually - the answer is YES! I truly believe that these students could succeed.

The classroom experience gave me a lot to think about – but of all the things to think about, it certainly confirmed that I liked to teach and seemed able to connect with the students…

Here is an example of a mindmap about history – we used this at the beginning of the class…

I will use the expression I heard in school, it reflects how I feel about this teaching experience: “I am stoked!”