That's me, last summer, giving my mom a noogy. There are very few pictures of me in recent years, mostly because I am behind the camera taking the pictures, so the only ones I have are somewhat formal. As previously mentioned, this picture was taken last year, so my hair will be shorter and my beard will be full when I get to meet you all in person.
I just finished my second year of teaching 8th grade English at a somewhat rural school in Springfield, MO (I call it rural because it is far from what I am accustomed to being a "city school," since I grew up in New Orleans). I like teaching, because of the interaction with students. I have to teach The Diary of Anne Frank, which is where my study of the Holocaust derived. I really don't like being required to do anything (hopefully this won't get me into trouble during our seminar), and was on a quest, which turned out to be a short one, to find more diverse literature which might convey broader realities of life during the Holocaust. Now, I'm using much of this new knowledge gained to try to develop a quarter long exploratory class on World War II/Holocaust studies. That's basically what I want from the seminar. I think, for me, it is most of all a psychological study, and a course development study. I'm pretty sure I can read all the books and watch all the videos and learn about the Holocaust without a summer seminar. As a new teacher, I need lots of help narrowing my focus, since I've come to the conclusion that there is a considerably greater amount of information out there than I first anticipated. I also need help identifying what is age appropriate and what is not. I also need help identifying specific learning goals, which seem hard to put in concrete, measurable terms. Maybe all of that stuff is already out there; to be honest, I think it is, since I know that across the country there are Holocaust institutes for middle and high school students. But I've found that meeting with other teachers who are also motivated to learn and grow is always the best place for me to be, even if I just want to be lazy and try to learn everything through the blinding glow of my laptop.
And that leads me to technology, which is a huge component of my class. I have an eMINTS class, which I won't take time to explain, other than the fact that technology drives everything that we do in my class. For that reason I've got a webpage that is still underconstruction that you might be interesting in checking out (if you want a better idea of what my classroom might look like): http://sps.k12.mo.us/pvms/tmmaerke/. I also have a class blog, which I don't use quite the way Larry uses his - he is way better at using the blog for discussion than I am: http://www.bluejayenglish.blogspot.com/. And as I said, I'm beginning to develop a World War II/Holocaust studies class: http://room146.pbwiki.com/FrontPage. If you've got ideas or suggestions, please pass them my way.
I'll leave you with another picture of me, my dad, and my brother. Honestly, I can't remember another time in the last 10 years that we've had this much fun together taking pictures, so I'm not only showing off my boyish good looks, but I'm also showing off a once and hopefully future emotionally strong family. Enjoy.