Hall of Famer Eddie Cochran, and musicians after him covering his iconic rock and roll hit, claimed that there “Ain’t No Cure for the Summertime Blues.” As we approach mid-August, that end-of-summer-break-sensation starts to creep into our minds as well as the realization that the annual return to the classroom is on the horizon.
This post offers a remedy of sorts for those summertime, back-to-school, blues. No, it isn’t a suggested career change or an extended excursion (this would be avoidance). Rather, the post is a dose of excitement, motivation, and awareness for your consideration and exploration. Inspiration comes from all sources and is all around us. Checkout this excerpt (including part of the poem Los Heraldos Negros (The Black Messengers) by Cesar Vallejos) featured in the film Girl Rising:
NARRATOR “In a lot of the world, school is free. Parents don’t just have to pay for school. They have to buy books and uniforms. Sometimes, they pay for exams and report cards. For millions of families, it is simply too much.
A girl born on planet today has a one and fourth chance of being born into poverty. And a very good school, that is where she will stay.
But the right education could change all that. Knowledge is power, just ask Senna.
SENNA, 14-years-old “Reciting Text”: The Black Heralds, by the great poet Cesar Vallejo.
- There are blows in life, so powerful . . . I don’t know!
- Blows as from God’s hatred; as if before them,
- the backlash of everything suffered
- were to dam up in the soul . . . I don’t know!
The first time I read that it took my breath away. The rhythm of it, the force. For me, it was unforgettable.”
What blows will come this school year? How will you and your students respond to them? How tuned in are you? How do you frame teaching, the profession, the experience? Can you explain your educational philosophy?
I suggest looking at these resources below and leave a comment in the morning. Enjoy!
Blogs (I focused on Social Studies/History Blogs)
- History Tech:You’ll find all sorts of ideas, tools, and best practices in the social studies here at History Tech. So feel free to browse around, subscribe to the feed, or leave a comment.
- The NYTimes Learning Network -Social Studies:The Learning Network provides teaching and learning materials and ideas based on New York Times content. Teachers can use or adapt our lessons across subject areas and levels.
- World History Teachers Blog: This is a webpage written by high school teachers for those who teach world history and want to find online content as well as technology that you can use in the classroom. There are sister blogs about US History and US Government as well.
- Not Another History Teacher: Melissa Seideman teaches 11th grade U.S. History, 12th grade Government/Economics, and AP Government and Politics in Cold Spring, NY. Her goal is for her blog to provide teachers with resources that can excite a student’s love of learning. Technology can meet student needs, engages them, and help them to be the best learner they can be.
- The MiddleWeb: all about the middle grades with a sharp focus on teaching and learning in grades 4-8. Since 1996, we’ve been providing resources for teachers, school leaders, parents and others interested in the success of young adolescents. In 2012, they completely redesigned the website around four streams of original content.
- World Religions Blog: This is a blog by high school teachers for those who teach World Religions and want to find online content and technology.
- Mr. Martera Musings: World History & International Relations Teacher at University School of Milwaukee, Martera writes “Being creative and making things keeps me happy.”
- Connected Educators:In collaboration with a wide range of educational organizations and educators, the Connected Educators project is increasing the quality, accessibility, and connectedness of existing and emerging online communities of practice.
- The Institute of Education Sciences: provides rigorous and relevant evidence on which to ground education practice and policy and share this information broadly. By identifying what works, what doesn’t, and why, we aim to improve educational outcomes for all students, particularly those at risk of failure. We are the research arm of the U.S. Department of Education, and by law our activities must be free of partisan political influence.
- US Department of State Office of the Historian: The Office’s public outreach activities include hosting scholarly conferences on key issues in the history of U.S. foreign policy, answering historical research questions, consulting with scholars, educators, and students, and working with high school teachers across the country to provide high-quality materials for classroom use.
Fueling the Passion
- EdWeek Professional Development Index: Whoa! Check it out. From “About Japan” to “Zane Education.” And that is just for the History/Social Studies filter. There has got to be something for you.
- Teaching American History: The website redesign is indeed more attractive. Did you know they have a free online Saturday Webinar Series?
- Geoffrey Canada: Our failing schools. Enough is enough! : Why, why, why does our education system look so similar to the way it did 50 years ago? Millions of students were failing then, as they are now — and it’s because we’re clinging to a business model that clearly doesn’t work. Education advocate Geoffrey Canada dares the system to look at the data, think about the customers and make systematic shifts in order to help greater numbers of kids excel.
- Write your Teaching Philosophy: Your teaching philosophy is a reflection of your education and classroom experience, developed during college or graduate school, and in the classrooms where you have taught. Take time to write or revise your philosophy statement.
- The UN Global Education Initiative:
The Global Education First Initiative is led by the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon. It gathers a broad spectrum of world leaders and advocates who all aspire to use the transformative power of education to build a better future for all.
The Initiative aims to raise the political profile of education, strengthen the global movement to achieve quality education and generate additional and sufficient funding through sustained advocacy efforts. Achieving gains in education will have an impact on all the Millennium Development Goals, from lower child and maternal mortality, to better health, higher income and more environmentally-friendly societies.
On an existential note, if none of these links act as cures for the summertime blues, you can always find another. Eddie Cochran couldn’t. He died in 1960 at 21 in a car accident in the UK while on tour. Tragic indeed. “Summertime Blues” was ranked number 73 in Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. Cochran’s short life provides some perspective that I always found useful right around the start of the school year. So does this recent discovery; the children’s cook Zoom by Hungarian illustrator Istvan Banyai.
So, don’t forget to smile at the start of the school year. Who would you actually be impacting if you waited until winter break?