Yesterday was my last day. It was okay. The students made a surprise party for me during the last period of the day. I knew something was up but not the whole school. I was speechless...literally.
My former high school students were great! They hugged and cheered me. They made me posters. The best poster, I am going to frame. It was made by Nestor, Miguel, Eduardo, Andres, and Adam. It is a collage of everything they learned from me. There is a drawing of me in a lab coat riding a bicycle in a kayak with Tio (my parrot) on my shoulder while holding test tubes. There is a drawing of me in the bow of the boat for the Project b-Eagle. There is a drawing of my Leatherman, the ultimate science tool. There are photos of the Earthdial, me in wearing a PFD (personal floatation device) on our way to the Beach Olympics. A photo of me giving Carlos a certificate for winning the science fair. There is a drawing of a water rocket and a photo of me launching the rockets. They drew Chinoto (named for Venezuelan version of Sprite softdrink) and Hit Naranja (named for an orange soda like Orange Crush), our fish who died. We had a dramatic funeral for Chinoto when he died. I had it on video on my other computer. Hilarious! They remembered reading Abel's Island. They say it is the only book they have truly read and remember. They learned to love that book as much as I do.
When I could finally speak, we started reminiscing on all the cool projects we did. I told the students I learned right along with them. I came to ELA with science credentials, but I learned right along with them, i.e. when we built the wind tunnel. I had never built one before and it was fun figuring out how to do it. I also pointed out that so many projects we started had become traditions; water rockets, ice cream, etc. I thought the Project b-Eagle could have become big, but the school changed and we couldn't continue. But I feel it could have evolved into a huge, major, on-going project.
During this reminiscing, H. (the director) interrupted me, but I ignored her. I just kept talking. She doesn't have a clue what we did as ELA. More and more today, I saw that she viewed me as some kind of threat and was in a hurry to get rid of me. Petty woman!
I am frustrating by this BS of teaching...especially corporate thinking of teaching. I am not a corporate type thinker and least not education company XYZ type thinking. You should read some of their policies...they border on ridiculous! Example: 1. Teachers are not allowed to smoke at work, in public, or at home. 2. XYZ only hires non-smokers. What? What are they? NAZIS? I don't smoke, I don't like smoking, but what right do they have to say what I do in my house? There is nothing about drug abuse, pornography, or alcohol abuse...only smoking. That's nuts! During the interview (I wasn't interviewed, I was grandfathered in…) I have been told, they ask you if you believe in God. I don't know how I would answer that question. That's a very personal question to ask.
Anyway...I think I'll wrap it up with them at this outpost school and figure out what to do from there.
Other news from Friday…
Today I talked to a Ms. V., the new principal at my first school. She was very friendly to me. I told her who I was, that I was researching their website and that I was proud to see that Kialo F. was now the Gifted and Talented teacher. Kialo was one of my students from the 1980s and still to this day, he was one of my most outstanding! Ms. V. said Kialo was wonderful. She told me the school has changed status, a grant school, but also a magnet type school, and they want to make the school an innovative and special place. I asked if I could apply and she said by all means. I told her to talk to the "old people" who are still there from the days when I was there, especially Kialo. She said she would. So maybe...If I teach in the USA it will be back to some place like Torreon. Going back to Torreon (see Matthew’s blog on the GDR about the lawless reservation) could be interesting. I am hoping to get Kialo's e-mail so I can get the scoop.
As far as other jobs go, I am seriously thinking of it. I am thinking more and more about the bike industry again. I am making more and more contacts via the Internet. I am getting my name and the Mimbres Man name and logo back out there...who knows. I am getting all sorts of encouragement from all sorts of people to come back and work in the industry. Still scary but maybe…
Yep, Steiner is right…limitless possibilities.