Saturday, June 23, 2012

Happy Anniversary!

Summer Ball 8th Grade
Happy 40th Birthday Title IX! You are only two years younger than me, but your birth has impacted not only my life, but all women in this country. The passage of this law is one of the most beneficial lasting acts of the Nixon presidency in 1972. I was 2 when it was born. I have been actively involved in sports since I first played soccer on boys' team when I was in 5th grade over 32 years ago. To give younger readers' perspective, I played sports before sports bras were sold. Note: Active women through-out history have sought different ways to bind themselves. Women were always active and playing sports before Title IX, but they didn't receive the support on an equal basis as men. Names such as Babe Didrikson and Wilma Rudolph are celebrated female athletes who persevered in sports before the passage of Title IX, but lesser known females paved the way for all of us as well.

My grandmother was a competitive swimmer and she was unable to continue at college since the predominant belief during that time was that women didn't need a college degree. In fact, she had to give up her job with AT&T due to the company policy's about married women. My mom played basketball and volleyball. When my mom talked to me about playing basketball, she often talked about how some positions on the court weren't allowed to cross the half-court line. The rules were different and they didn't need to be. My mom still was a fit-role model my entire life by jogging, taking aerobics, and roller-blading. Now in her sixties she swims and bikes. My aunt played basketball and tennis in college. Scholarships didn't exist and her team was lucky to have funding. Later she coached women's basketball and I remember traveling with her basketball team when I was little. Her players managed a dual role of cheerleader for the boys and then played basketball themselves. She too has stayed active her entire life as well. She hikes, bikes, and walks a tenacious 6-8 mile trek almost daily.

I played basketball, soccer, volleyball, and softball growing up. Later I played ultimate Frisbee and still do recreationally on a co-ed team. I work on strength training in gladiator camp and on my cardio by walking\running 3-5 miles as often as possible. Female athletics matters, not just for the competition, but by developing women who will engage in activities toward the pursuit of life-long fitness. It matters. This pursuit is something I hope to pass to my daughter as she swims and dances. Movement matters.

Women's athletics is only one of the ares that Title IX covers. Its reach extends to higher education, employment and other aspects of life. The greatest impact on my life with Title IX is that it has allowed me to to play sports. In the long run, the passage of Title IX is about staying active for as long as possible and the friendships I have that were deepened by our experiences playing together on a team. Everyone knows that support matters.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Vacation At Last!

I will be jumping into the springs as often as I can!
Vacation at last!  Technically I didn't have to work today and I don't for the rest of the summer!  Those of you who aren't teachers are thinking enviously that teachers have the summer off!  If you live with an educator, you know that isn't true.  If you don't, you should know that most educators will be working for free for many days this summer. If you are a teacher, you already know you do.  

My summer to-do list includes designing the schedule for the 1500 students who must take reading.  This monumental task involves determining their placement as well as ensuring that the each reading teacher will have a decent schedule. I don't want to estimate the days it will take. It also includes facilitating a two-day reading retreat for teachers at my school.  They have decided to come together before school starts to plan our year and improve our understanding  of the small group infrastructure that our district is mandating for all secondary reading classrooms.  Previously I have been able to pay them; in these fiscal times it is not an option.  We have discovered that teaching is easier when we can do this summer work together for pay or no-pay.  It matters.  I will spend at least 2-3 days planning the retreat for my teachers.

The district also requires the reading coach to attend Common Core training for 4 days and I may have to pay for it, a mere $25 dollars, quite cheap compared to other professional learning opportunities that are paid from my pocket.  Of course, I have the added price tag of the childcare that I will actually need for those 4 days.  Maybe I will take her with me.  As the new instructional management system champion, I will also be required to go to training for a day in August. I will be paid, not at my hourly rate, but it should cover daycare.  As I consider this and understand that many people work outside their contractual hours in many fields, I can't help but wonder what is the price tag of this free labor?  We often place the value of mothers who stay at home in the six-figure range.  I am too busy doing the work to take the time to calculate.

In your mind, you are probably saying don't do it.  I can't. I know the impact and the havoc unscheduled kids and unhappy teachers will wreck in the fall.  Struggling readers and their hard-working teachers need to have smooth start to their academic year; they need the least chaos attached to their academic lives.

The good news is that I will do the work on my terms. I will, however, continue to be a truth-teller. If we don't open our classroom doors and our ever-busy teaching lives to the public, no one will be the wiser.