Trying something new may be exiting, scary, uncertain, or exhilarating. Sometimes we may not know how to feel. Well, I tried something new this summer. I am teaching a marine biology class! It has taken me a great deal of time to decide what to included. The class needed to be interesting to students and valuable to their parents. I am teaching the class during a six week summer academy which parents pay for. I knew I wanted to conduct dissections, take field trips, make observations of marine life, and instill a love for the oceans in the students. I set high standards and so far the class is going well, I am in the second week.
Trying something new can also be a lot of work, and this certainly has been so far. The work is worth it. That is the most important point. President Theodore Roosevelt said, “Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty… I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life. I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives and led them well.” I absolutely agree. So, I will choose to do what takes effort, creates pain, and is difficult... because it is worth it!
Most days when students see a substitute teacher in their class they think it will be a mixed up day. Some students will take advantage of the sub and some will try to help. I have never been a substitute teacher and it has been a long time since I was in an elementary or high school room as a student. Tell me about the most interesting substitute teacher you have had.
So, today you start some electronic masterpieces. You will be learning about movie making, digital photo editing, web page creation and multimedia presentation. You will be making each of these during the school year. You will be graded on the quality of your work, not on the amount of time it takes you to complete.
Before you begin I want you to complete two tasks. I want you to write about your goals for this class and I want you to write about your expectation. Regarding your goals, I want you to write two. I want you to describe the goals in detail so that we can evaluate your goals later when your projects are complete. Regarding your expectation I want you to be clear. I want you to write about two expectation. Each expectation should be a paragraph long and should be clearly explained. Your expectation may or may not become true, we will examine your expectations again at the end of the class.
So, I was going to write about my least favorite subject but the best I could come up with was penmanship. Last millennial students would have to practice their handwriting skills. We would have to print our letters by following a model letter. We would print each letter over and over and use them in words. We did the same in cursive, or handwriting as some call it. Since this does not sound dramatic or tragic I'll write about my most favorite.
Art. Not just any art class with any art teacher, but a Chinese art class with Mr. Roy Chang. We learned how to make woven wicker baskets (no jokes about doing it underwater), we learned how to make lots of different kinds of pottery, we did a lot of brush painting and character writing with a traditional brush and ink on silk paper, we made the most amazing kites out of bent bamboo and rice paper. Mostly I learned from Mr. Chang that art came with passion. I learned from Mr. Chang that I should do my best the first time, be as careful as possible, be meticulous, always work in such a way as to say, "I did my best."
I learned this from a lot of other people in my life too, but Mr. Chang's combination of love or art, love of people, high standards and integrity made an impression on my. And by the way. I had the privilege of knowing Mr. Chang from the time I was in sixth grade (at Latimer Hall) until I graduated from high school. Thank you Mr. Chang for being such a great example.