Wednesday, July 2, 2008

This is me...

Introductions...My name is Ilka. I am starting my 4 1/2th year of teaching 8th Grade English. I was a sub for most of the first half of my first year. I teach in a small town school surrounded by a growing urban population. It make for an interesting mix of attitudes on the part of my students. We have a little over 800 students in my middle school (grades 4-8). My class sizes could be smaller, my period could be longer, but there is never anything perfect in this world, right?

In my school, I am the "weird" teacher. My principal pulled me aside one day to compliment me saying every school needs one. I have come to agree with him. The beautifully odd and expressive students know they have me to look forward to, unless they join my drama club and are stuck with me for three years of plays. I love my job and everyone who knows me, knows I am a teacher 24/7/365. I am regularly whip out my journal to jot down teaching inspirations in the middle of dinner, movies, hospital visits, etc.

I am a voracious learner and love the Internet. I am also completely in love with my daughter, Gabryella. She's the most fun, though we are growing through a bit of bossiness on her part right now. Fun, fun, fun.

My interest in the Holocaust started my first year in 8th grade. I try to research the backgrounds of my stories so I can be prepared for student questions. The Diary of Anne Frank is one of the plays I teach. I realized going through the play that there is a lot of prior knowledge the students need to truly understand the subtleties of the story. Well, this started quite a journey for me. Every year World War II and the Holocaust has taken over a bit more of my school year. I am hoping that eventually, it will be the background for almost all of my teaching.

My goals at this seminar:

  • I'd like to steal as many ideas as I can from other teachers to make my lessons more valuable to my students. (Teaching is all about thievery. Think Robin Hood. Taking from the intellectually rich and giving to the academically poor.)

  • I would like more first hand knowledge of the Holocaust and it's survivors. The primary accounts will vanish from our world in my lifetime and I want to be able to carry on those stories. Our district had two Holocaust survivors come in to speak with the students this past year. What a profound experience.

  • I would like to find a way to get my students to make a connection to the world outside of their little microcosm. These kids are truly sheltered and they don't know. Entering high school, I would like them to start to care about what is happening all around them, and not just in their interpersonal relationships.

  • Finally, I hope y'all make me smarter. :)

See you soon!


1 comment:

Larry Neuburger said...

Hello fellow "weird teacher!" I am proud to be considered wierd. I relate with you wholeheartedly about students leading sheltered lives. I plan to play Robin Hood myself and see if I can pick up some pointers on how to get them to step out of their box. I look forward to meeting you in person.