As of last week, my summer work with Expeditionary Learning has turned into a full-time consulting position through the fall, with anticipated equal work through the spring. To recap, I have been serving as a curriculum designer and writer for EL as they complete their contract with New York State to create and roll out Common-Core aligned curriculum, accessible for free to everyone at www.engageny.org. In order to accept this new journey, I’ve taken an unpaid leave of absence from school for one year.
This all happened very, very suddenly, and I am still somewhat astonished and very grateful that my district agreed to support it. My head is also spinning at the idea that I don’t have to clean my classroom, figure out my attendance book, deliver my annual performance of “IQ” by Ani DiFranco, or call 90 parents next week. I suspect I’ll have some kind of full out, temporary breakdown shortly, and then everything will be fine.
I already miss the kids. The big room I always try to prepare and furnish for them in my heart at this time of year is empty, and I don’t quite know what to put there.
That being said, I am in love with Expeditionary Learning, what they do, how they do it, and what they stand for. The fact that New York was perspicacious enough to hire them is the flashlight I hold in the dark, murky night of other educational decisions New York has made. And now, I find myself in the very strange position of being 200% against the current wielding of standardized testing and the methods used to develop the Common Core, only about 75% sold on the full range of the Common Core itself, and 100% behind this work I am now doing. Try and label that, please, because I have no idea what it is.
A recent silly online political quiz I took pegged me as a “tender-minded moderate progressive”: I suppose that’s as accurate a description of my educational stance as there is. I like the idea of being “tender-minded”. It seems to describe someone who places almost equal weight on the input of the heart and head, with the balance being in favor of the head. I think this is something to which I can aspire this year with a clean conscience.
I am looking forward tremendously to continuing to blog as I work for EL. The curriculum and its implementation are going to create a lot of questions for practitioners as they feel their way through it, and I am raring to work through to the answers– or to further and better questions– together with my peeps still in the trenches.
So there you have it.