This morning I dreamed by colleagues and I were trying to hash out a lesson plan about St. Jeremy. We had not arrived at a solid lesson plan by the time I woke up, but we were all in agreement that we should include St. Jeremy in our unit on Medieval Europe. As always, there was a great deal of debate over how much religion we should include in our history class, but I held fast to the position that one cannot understand Medieval Europe, or really any culture in human history, without a thorough understanding of religions role in the culture.
So first thing this morning, I went to Wikipedia to look up St. Jeremy. Turns out there was a St. Jeremy. He is one of St Elias’s four companions. There five early Christian martyrs visited Christians who had been condemned to a life of slavery in the quarries of Egypt by then Roman emperor Maximinus. Accused of being Christians themselves they were tortured and beheaded in A.D. 309.
You’re supposed to have anxiety dreams before the first day of school, not during the weekend after it, but there you are.
School started this week; so far things look pretty good. I don’t see any red flags among any of the students in my three classes at this point. A bit of minor rambunctiousness, but that’s to be expected and is usually part of the fun. Of the three the class with the most potential for behavior issues is also the nicest group of kids. So things should be good.
The new superintendent has already paid a visit to the school. The previous one visited the school three times in four years, so this one is already on track to break her record. We have 14 campuses in my district. (I think, please don’t hold me to that.) The new guy seems nice enough and comes highly recommended by everyone I know who knows him. I’m reserving judgement but I’m keeping an open mind. Let’s hope the new superintendent is doing the same.
The only real downside to starting up the school year this time around, beside loss of reading time which may keep me from completing the 20 Books of Summer Reading Challenge, has been the return of my back pain. Last year, after 15 years of the same commute, I developed several pains which were cured after my physical therapist gave me a set of exercises to do each day. I was pain-free for the last three months of school as well as all summer.
But after just three days of commuting, all the pain came back in spades. So, I’m doing my exercises again and starting to get better.
I’ve also, so of, started doing Tai Chi. I attended a demonstration of Tai Chi as part of a program for teachers at Standford. I’ve been going to semi-monthly seminars on Asia with a couple of colleagues at Stanford’s SPICE program. One of the meetings included a demonstration of Tai Chi which we all really enjoyed doing. I’ve been following a couple of You Tube Tai Chi videos several times a week this summer while I look for a real life group I can join. It’s a lot harder to find one than I thought it would be in the Bay Area.
Finally, I learned how to make a new book this week. Though it was only offered on the evening of the first day of school, I took a class on how to make a miniature pop-up theatre book at the San Francisco Center of the Book. I thought the product was so cool, as did my colleagues, that I’m going to adapt it for use with our unit on the decline of Rome this week. Imagine the sample book, pictured above, featuring Roman columns instead of curtain shapes, and the illustrations featuring images of Roman legacies instead of fish or flowers. That’s our goal. I’m making a new template for the students to use today.