Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Possible's slow fuse is lit by the Imagination.

The title of this post is a quote I just read in my Daily Ray of Hope email from the Sierra Club.
The gleam of an heroic Act
Such strange illumination
The Possible's slow fuse is lit
By the Imagination.
Emily Dickenson
When I Googled to find the original poem, one of the sources included this rather depressing quote:
But so few have imagination that there are ten thousand fiddlers to one composer.
Charles F. Kettering
But of course imagination is only the light that illuminates all the hard work we have to do to get the impossible to become a reality.
Genius is one percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration.
I never did anything worth doing by accident, nor did any of my inventions come by accident. They came by work.
Thomas Alva Edison
So, what does this mean for me in my search for this "impossible" job teaching high school mathematics? I must admit that I haven't been using my imagination (or producing perspiration) enough. I've been applying for jobs through EdJoin, which supposedly lists all the school jobs in California. But most of the jobs apparently "disappear" (to someone the principal already knew) before the District gets to my application.

In between I admit that I've been moping - as well as reading about the pedagogy I hope to use in my very own classroom, and even writing about my readings and reflections here and in Negotiated Identity. But that doesn't seem to be getting me anywhere.

People were telling me that doing Secondary Math would have principals begging me to teach at their schools! Now that's imagination! So I have to use my imagination to light the work needed to be known in the schools.

At least I have finally pulled myself together to find school contacts for the required minimum 25 hours of observation in a variety of different schools and class types, from kindergarten through high school, including classes for English Language Learners and various special ed students. I guess that is the difficult "perspiration" part of doing the impossible.

Tomorrow will be my first observations - in a middle school special ed class. I plan to report on my experiences here. Years ago, soon after moving to Denmark, I tried to work as a substitute teacher. One of the jobs was in a special ed class, which was devastating (and probably the reason I decided to get a Danish university degree that would qualify me for teaching in high school!) I had absolutely no pedagogical training at the time, and certainly not in special ed! I really admire teachers who can work so well with these kids!

I am also lining up observations at an elementary school that does "Dual Immersion" in Spanish and English with the goal to make the students academically fluent in both languages. This will be a challenge to my Spanish. I'm considering offering to volunteer in math classes there once I've completed the rest of the 25 hours!

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