Thursday, May 31, 2012


Seventeen days left in my career as a teacher.

Only seventeen kids in class today, wow. Three were absent. The dynamics of what you're able to do change so dramatically when the number gets that low. Everything seems so much more personal, each child stands out a little more. It is a wonderful group I have this year.

I spent a couple of hours after school writing an impassioned email to some of my colleagues. It sits in my drafts folder right now. How many of those have I written over the years? The ones written, and not sent...

Not wanting to unnecessarily burn bridges, and yet wanting to speak my mind, this is where I am right now. I have to ask myself what the net effect will be. This one is for the good of the school, I know it. Still I waver.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012


Today we came the closest to a lock-down that I have seen at Arbor Heights in the past 21 years. It's a very Sleepy Hollow school, both in nature and in location. Everyone was fine.

After a very intense school day, we had a staff meeting - where we spent over two hours trying to plan the calendar of special events for NEXT YEAR. Ugh. I actually voted on a couple of items, even though I won't be there. I was not voting for what I wanted. I voted for what I thought would be best for the kids of the school. Very interesting experience.

The attitude was very positive. Lots of laughter, actually. Sometimes this task has been really painful. But the meeting today was different, sort of like there was an admitted dysfunction that we could deal with - and even look back at with a smile.

I kept watching my colleagues, trying to visualize them in a meeting there next year. I left feeling good, positive, even a little hopeful about the future of the school.

But there is this nagging sadness over the erosion of, and in some cases disappearance of, events that we have done just for fun with the kids.

Looking to ramp up the fun factor over the next few days, 18 to go as a teacher.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012


Today 30 Google Chromebooks arrived at our school, as part of a proposal I developed for how to spend 10K raised at our PTA's auction last year - for technology. It's been a long process, and my neck is still out there on this one, but it is extremely exciting.

Except I won't be back to really participate in the experience.

Because I have nineteen days left as a public school teacher.

A month or so ago we got a brand new computer lab, full of really slick and fast iMacs. Here's a staff training session:
Staff intro 3
And here's my classroom of third graders up there:
Room twelve visits the new lab

Next year each classroom will have at least four of them.

It is ironic, to say the least, to see this huge infusion of money and technology into our school just as I retire. I'm happy for the kids. I hope they get to use the new technologies in ways that will encourage creativity, self expression, and exploration.

My worry is they will end up being little more than test taking devices, and used primarily for preparing the kids to get higher test scores. I really, really hope I'm wrong.


Sunday, May 27, 2012


About three months ago I bought this sweet bike. After a dozen or so years commuting to school on old, used, or even free bikes, I thought I needed - and deserved - something easier to ride, and safer.
Ready for the home stretch, last time.
Then about a month later, I decided to retire.

Go figure. Maybe I had my mind on my retirement, who knows what was going through my mind at the time?

So I have 20 working days left - after which I will no longer be Biking to School. Maybe I'll try to chronicle those days here. But I know very well the toll the end of the year takes on my time, so I won't make any promises.

It's the Memorial Day weekend  - my 31st as a public school teacher. This weekend has always been a serious benchmark in the school year. If you make it to Memorial Day, hey, you're almost there, it's homestretch time.

It's been a good, good ride. I plan on savoring every piece of my final homestretch.