Exciting News!!

April 1, 2008 at 7:42 am 1 comment

We’ve been sitting on this a while because we wanted to make sure it was going to pan out before sharing… but I think employment is on the horizon!!

Mr. Bees and I have both taken a couple of education classes from Dr. P. He is on the board of a new charter school that operates under an exciting educational philosophy – or at least we think it’s exciting, because it closely approximates a teaching system that Mr. and I have thought about ourselves. Among other cool things, this new school incorporates grade-level teams at the junior high level and colloquium-style team teaching at the senior high level. Teachers for younger students work together as a cohesive unit: one social studies, one language arts, one math, one science, all of whom teach the same core group of students. It’s a powerful and effective organization, and not especially revolutionary. The senior high system, however, is pretty unusual. Basically, most of the classes are taught by two teachers at the same time. You might have two English teachers in a class, or two math teachers. Sounds like a recipe for disaster, right? Well, not necessarily – not the way this school has figured it. They go through this extensive interviewing, screening, and shuffling process to match up teachers who actually like and work well together. It’s pretty complicated, but the end result is that you have two compatible teachers sharing classroom duties and complementing one another’s teaching styles.

They’ve discovered that this does extraordinary things, not only for students but for the teachers. Teaching is a pretty lonely job, on an “adult” level, and one of the biggest reasons for teacher turnover isn’t pay but the feeling that they are isolated or underappreciated. This system promotes collaboration between colleagues and a lot of support. Being in a similar position as a student teacher with an awesome mentor teacher, I can attest to the fact that teaching with a compatible partner is a BLAST.

Doubly interesting is the fact that they have colloquium classes. If I am understanding this correctly, they have classes where two teachers from different disciplines work together to teach a broader subject. For example, this year they are teaching a class about Harlem – by a music teacher and an English teacher. They’ve done a biology+history class, a music+science “physics of sound” class – stuff like that. (I guess last year there was an English+”community sciences” class where they wrote and read about food!) Some of these classes are electives, and some are alternative core classes.
Next year they are looking to implement an alternative core for seniors, a colloquium taught by a history and/or civics teacher and an English teacher. It covers a lot of the same themes from a senior government class, only using historical fiction as a base rather than textbooks. Basically, it’s your senior government class and your senior English class all rolled into one. And it’s not a cupcake class – because this isn’t a cupcake school. Apparently the kids really have to jump through hoops to get in…

The pay is amazing, easily twice what we’d make in a local public school – to start. I guess that’s what happens when interested parents are behind the funding. We’ve seen interactive video of the facilities and are really impressed; the school is (obviously) new, with lots of state-of-the-art technology. Beautiful community. They’ve got a strong music program – I mean, obviously it’s small at this point, but growing rapidly. They even think they’ll have a football team next year! There’s an in-school (well, it’s just barely off-school, like a seminary building) day care facility for teachers (and, I suppose, students) who have young children, which is something I’ve always thought needed doing in schools.

Most exciting for us, I guess, is the fact that they are committed to hiring progressive young teachers that will bring energy to the school (while, no doubt, being more easily molded to the school’s vision). They’ve been having on-site interviews at our college, and they spoke to Mr. and I in January and again early last month. This morning I received an email from Dr. P. Basically it said that the other Board members and the hiring administrator were SUPER impressed with Mr. and I, and thought it was so cool that we were married and both teachers. They really liked our vision and teaching philosophy, thought we interviewed really well, liked the way we looked on paper. And I guess they just happen to be looking for compatible pairs to teach that new English/government class next year… and apparently, they’re going to offer us both positions for the 2008 academic year!! (They’re even going to work with Mr. on the alternative certification program – it’s a pretty common problem what with NCLB; basically they go ahead and hire you, and you have three years to complete the certification process.)

There is only one down side to the entire thing, which is why I’ve saved the bad news for the end of this email. The problem with the school (it’s called the Zomboski Academy, by the way, not sure if I’d mentioned that) is that it is located in a town in southern Alaska. That kind of scares us, to be honest, but then again… Mr. and I kind of figure we are young and relatively unencumbered, and while we’re not really in a position to go do Peace Corps or something, we should do crazy adventurous stuff now while we can, right? The school offers a heavily discounted travel plan so that out-of-staters can visit home frequently, and they pay to move people to the area. Plus… if we end up teaching there a while, we will qualify as Alaska citizens – which means that we’ll get in on that oil stipend. Neat, huh?
Anyway, we are SO excited. A little scared, yes, but… I mean, seriously. Could it be any better? An amazing new school that teaches right to our interests and philosophy, AMAZING pay, terrific benefits, great administration – wow. I’m practically beside myself with excitement.

PS Oops, I meant to give you the school’s website. They are in the process of getting accreditation (which allows you to get a .edu URL) so for now their address is www.zombo.com. Make sure and turn on your speakers to hear their fight song! It is located in a smallish town called Cicely, AK. This year there are 300 students in the senior high school; they expect a total enrollment of 1,000, from all the neighboring areas, next year.)

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Entry filed under: FUN STUFF, MR. BEES. Tags: .

Look, a Meme! Pay No Attention to the Teacher Behind the Curtain

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. April Fools « Full of Bees!  |  April 1, 2010 at 12:19 pm

    […] I’m remembering, though, with fondness, the epic April Fools’ Day joke I pulled two years ago. […]

    Reply

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The Bee’s Knees

This is the teaching journal of a student first-year second-year THIRD-YEAR (!!!) English teacher. I am writing this blog as a reflection for myself, a way to keep friends and family updated, and a sharing-ground between other educators online. I love comments!

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