A Random Reflection

This is my reflection and collection of thoughts on the past year…..This past year it’s been everything I could do to keep my head above water. Every day brought a new challenge with remote learning, not remote learning, being a dad, tennis – but through it all, it was a learning experience. These are my takeaways from the past year:

It’s Just School

When the school year finishes, most students will probably forget the things I taught them. I’ve come to terms with that reality. But one thing will always hold true – they will never forget how I made them feel throughout the year. Yes, it’s easy for me to say, “It’s just school,” when I don’t have a state test for Social Studies. However, I had a state test, I would still the same thing. I don’t care if we get through all the units this year. It’s just school. I cut out a unit on America’s role in early world affairs. It’s just school. It’s important for me to ask every student, by name, everyday, how they are doing and to give them a chance to share. I don’t care if it takes up 5-10 minutes of class. It’s just school.

In 505, I try to see each student as unique with their own set of strengths. One question that helps me with students – How can I give every student a chance to be successful? Everyone in this life deserves a chance to have fun and be successful with something and if my class is that one chance then I’m happy with that. With each assignment, each lesson, each unit, I try to provide choice so students can use their strengths, find success, and have fun. This, to me, are the things students will remember the most from my class. After all, it’s just Social Studies.

Try Some New Things

In the last year, I have cared less about sports and focused more on learning new things. Most of my questions this past year have started with, “How,” or “Why,” and led me down great paths…..

How can I make better food? – This past year I have learned how to cook better food. Having restaurants closed down has driven me to figure out how to cook better food. Here are things I have perfected in the last year:

If anyone needs a recipe let me know……

  1. PF Changs Vegetarian Lettuce Wraps
  2. Vegan Lentil Sloppy Joes
  3. 2 Bean Vegan Vegetable Chili
  4. Vegan Skyline Chili
  5. Pan Fried Fish Tacos
  6. Homemade Pizza
  7. Bread (Honey Wheat and Brioche)
  8. Pancakes
  9. Impossible Meat Bolognese Sauce

Why does the world seem so angry? How can history help me understand this? – I turned to podcasts this year to help me understand the world. Understanding history help us all understand that these problems aren’t new. Everything has a history, and I wanted to know more. I thought I knew a lot, but I quickly realized, and fully admitted that I didn’t know much. As a result, I found a great NPR podcast called Throughline which connects history to today. A great podcast that ranges in topics from electricity to racial injustice to elections. A new episode is released every Thursday.

How can I make my class more engaging for students? – Everyday I’m committed to making class more engaging for students. I’m learning some new questioning strategies to use in class. I’m using some new technology to help relate social studies to today’s mainstream world. Eduprotocols is a major part of 505, but I’m learning how to better stack the frameworks and combine them with new lessons to make class engaging.

I Learned Who People Truly Are

2020 sucked. Social media made it suck even worse. Between protests and the election, the posts of disinformation from both sides was staggering. It really opened my eyes and made me truly see who people were. People I thought I knew. Family members. Everyone made me scratch my head and shake my head in disbelief. In a time of so much confusion and anger, most people seemed to add fuel to the fire. They double downed on their opinions. As for me, I took the opportunity to ask why and apply history to understand situations. I feel better because of it. I feel more educated because of it. I deleted Facebook because of it.

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