Top 10 Memories of the 2009-10 School Year

Along with two other teachers at my school, I’m putting together a professional development portfolio for the year, which we will present to the staff. We hope this will expand for next year.  I’ll be posting different parts of the portfolio in the coming days as I complete it.

10) Catching my favorite junior couple studying notecards for the US Regents at 4pm in the hall outside of my classroom, over three hours after dismissal that day.
9) Having my usually very rough senior seminar be perfect angels for my friend Scott’s lesson on research at the Columbia University Butler Library.
8) Senior seminar students’ shockingly and brutally honest self-reflections at our end of quarter seminar Exhibitions.
7) Writing a letter that got a student out of jail.
6) Having my advisees over for a nice, sit-down pasta lunch in my apartment on our first Advisory Day; almost finishing a Vermonster on our last one.
5) A seminar student making the comment at our seminar’s first quarter ice skating celebration, “This seminar isn’t about changing the world, it’s about changing ourselves.”
4) In my US CTT section, a game developed out of an exercise I use with my students where I ask them to connect different vocabulary terms, where they tried to find two US terms that I couldn’t connect.  On our last day, one student challenged me to connect “The Beatles influence on America” and Abraham Lincoln, and I made the following connection: Beatles -> Rock & Roll -> Heavy Metal -> The Wild Stallions in Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure -> Bill and Ted going in a time machine to kidnap Abraham Lincoln for their history project.  Shockingly, almost a third of my students got the reference.
3) One senior’s amazing transformation from my biggest pain in 11th grade US History  last year to without a doubt my best senior seminar student.
2) Taking two advisees as my guests to my National Board awards ceremony, then treating them to lunch at Lupa, where I got one, who is one of the pickiest eaters I have ever met, to try and like tongue.
1) That same advisee’s speech for me at Senior Dinner, highlighted by: “Steve can always be a pain and there were always the small things I didn’t agree with that have benefited me today, like reading EVERY SINGLE TUESDAY AND THURSDAY up until last month for the past four years while other [advisories] would fool in the hallways and converse about what they pleased.  Or like having to carry the pass EVERY SINGLE TIME we left the classroom, and if not, when we returned we’d get the ‘step outside’ followed by the 5 minute speech about having serious consequences, and [the behavior] not happening again.”