Prior to my graduation from college, I was completely oblivious to the condition of industrial agriculture. Thinking about the source of my food extended as far as which store I preferred to shop at and farmer’s markets were luxuries for those who had the means to be picky. Further, processed food was categorized in degrees; some processed food was less harmful than others (only true if you neglect corn’s invasion of everything).
My penchant for researching new ideas brought me to a series of fascinating documentaries that served to pull the veil back from the marketing facade of our food production models. I found myself at the table of micro-farmers, urban farmers, and advocates of sustainable agriculture.
I would like to invite you to the same table and pass along introductory documentaries that started my own venture. You may not walk away considering how you can contribute to sustainable agricultural production, but if you alter your ideas of food and consumption, then a goal has been achieved by those of us who produce (or aspire to produce). Continue reading
It has been some time since I last wrote on this blog; mainly because I have been running another blog about theology and did not think I would be returning to this blog.
Yet, as it stands, I am now in my third year of teaching at Summit Christian Academy with the change this year that I will be working with gifted students. At SCA, we use a pull-out program called Stewards. Here these students work together to cover extracurricular units that hone their skills and teach them responsible use of their gifts. This year, these gifted students will cover unique units running the gamut of Conservation, Culinary Arts, Architecture, and Aerodynamics to Body Systems, Inventions, and World Travel.
That is where this blog comes in.
There is one particular section of our study this year that will provide a lot of hands on experience, challenges, and opportunities for my students. Currently, the project has the enthusiastic approval of the administration as well as the local City Hall. Lord willing, I will know tomorrow if all of the funding is in place and whether we can begin the project. Accordingly, look for an update soon as I reveal what exactly this project is!
If/When the project is underway, I and my students will post regular updates (complete with photos). I hope you will follow our progress and encourage my students in this journey.
From the Desk,
Don’t only practice your art, but force your way into its secrets, for it and knowledge can raise men to the Divine. – Beethoven
I have entered what will be my last week of ‘summer vacation’. Orientation for new teachers begins next Monday and I am in the throes of lesson planning, Powerpoint creation, and quiz/test preparation. I have had to think about things I have not yet had to; class attitude expectations, the particulars of assignments, grade weighting, etc. I find this most invigorating.
I must admit though that with this new look behind the curtain of what teachers actually do, I have been pondering many aspects of the teaching craft. Though there is much work to teaching, it is nonetheless a craft. A craft with which you may put immense concentration into the details or go about it listlessly and shoddily. (Just as not every painter or artist is a true craftsman.) Besides consistently growing in their field, I believe that teachers must always evaluate their methods of teaching. We must not believe that once we have reached a teaching position or have had a few years experience in the field that we have mastered teaching.
If we as teachers, truly love teaching as we say we do, why would we cease to grow in our field, ever-growing to be the best from year to year?
Don’t get me wrong, I am a spring chicken in the field of teaching, and there is so much I know that I do not understand. Perhaps some of you are saying, “just wait until you get in the field”. I couldn’t agree with you more. I sit here a mere week from orientation and I shake in my boots about how my I don’t know how to do. But we must start somewhere, and I pray that I was right in believing that a year of substitute teaching would greatly reduce my upcoming mistakes.
Well in the mean time, if you have any ‘first year’ tips, I would love to hear them. Shoot me a comment or email and let’s talk about teaching craft.
Shivering in Starbucks (Why must they keep it so cold?)
Easy, pleasant work does not make robust minds, does not give men a consciousness of their powers, does not train them to endurance, to perseverance, to steady force of will, that force without which all other acquisitions avail nothing.
– William Ellery Channing
When I began substitute teaching in 2011, I did not imagine that 9 months later I would be employed full-time in education. When I first signed up for substitute teaching, having failed to find a full-time job straight out of college and having exhausted my contacts, I was at the end of my rope. Through the advice of my best friend, I signed up. It did not take long for me to realize that I had found my calling. Being in the classroom came natural and seemed as though I had taught many years before. Further, interacting with the students and aiding them in their learning was most rewarding and left me inspired and excited to have a classroom of my own someday.
I would sub for any class they would give me: History, English, Math, Science, Art, and even Spanish (even though I do not speak Spanish). Whenever I was the sub, I always had trivia questions pertaining to the subject at hand. Due to my flexibility in teaching and bank of ‘random’ knowledge, to the students I seemed to know everything. I attribute this not to any inherent wealth of knowledge, but to the cultivated desire to continue growing in knowledge.
I believe it is important for every person to continue learning throughout their life. It is easy to let our minds stop growing after our high school, college, or even post-graduate courses. It is a shame that with such a wealth of knowledge in this world that we would simply stop our pursuit of knowledge at some degree. I believe three things about the constant pursuit of knowledge: 1) You establish your credibility and ‘accredit’ yourself, 2) You keep your mind sharp and involved, and finally 3) You remain current in your field of study or societies debates.
Through this blog it is my goal to share with you what I am currently studying and share with you aids and challenges to keep expanding your horizons of knowledge. I hope to rub off on you and inspire to you continue to learn. Further, being new to the field of education, this blog will serve as a chronicle for my experiences and lessons.
So, welcome to Mr. Bluebaugh’s Desk!