Monday, April 4, 2011

The Underground Re-Open for Business

Despite our recent episode with DHMO on April 1, the Teaching Underground is alive, well, and celebrating a milestone of sorts.  April Fools' Day marked the sixth month of Teaching Underground.  In September of last year, we faced some pretty dramatic changes in our little "educational basement."  Our district had increased class sizes, added an additional class to high school teachers' (and students') schedules, and implemented a student information system with so many problems they finally decided in March to discontinue its use for the next school year.

We entered the school year with energy and high hopes, but hours of time spent re-learning how to use a gradebook that didn't work, planning for an additional class, and managing the grading and paperwork for an additional 30-40 students started to get us down.  From the beginning, we wanted to use the Teaching Underground as a forum to raise awareness of major issues affecting education locally and nationally.  We also hoped to balance this with a little humor and encouragement for others in the profession.  You can see this evident in our first few posts Should We Trust Superman? and Teaching and Donuts, both of which remain among our most popular posts.

Around the time we decided to launch the Teaching Underground, we were asked to give a presentation about leadership during a professional development day at our school.  Part of the objective for this session was to inspire and encourage others in our building to think beyond the classroom to become leaders for positive change in our school and in the lives of our students.  Even in September, the burdens of the new school year were already evident.

From this experience, and the lessons learned in the last six months of writing for the Teaching Underground, I've come to believe that educators must speak up and honestly react to policies and change that negatively impact the student experience in the classroom.  Just as importantly, they must refuse to fall into the trap of complaining and resisting change.  The only way to balance these two roles is to stay informed, continually makes efforts to improve, and maintain relationships with families, peers, and administrators.

We sincerely appreciate everyone who has made Teaching Underground a part of your experience.  Our readership has grown significantly in the last few months, so thank you to everyone who follows us on google and Facebook and to everyone who has taken the time to share us with your friends.  We hope that you continue to join us, and if you like what we're doing, please share.  And, we hope that we are able to continue to provide support and encouragement to the education community.

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