Wednesday, 27 May 2009

A Victory of sorts!

Well, it has been decided! We are now the languages department! Not the World languages department! Now I would like to try and introduce Latin before I step down as head of department. It is a language...but unfortunately, MYP (Middle Years Programme of the IB) don't let you teach it because it is neither a language A (native languages) nor a language B (another language you are learning to speak). Alas!

Someone suggested that we consider text as a language. An interesting idea! Since we are trying to encourage students as mentors, we could have them mentor teachers. I am really warming to this idea.

Sunday, 24 May 2009

World Languages

I was walking with Naomi yesterday and told her about my department's impending name change.  We discussed 'World Languages' and she pointed out that some languages are not.  I hadn't thought that 'world' might suggest that a language was spoken all over the globe in which case that reduces the number of languages which might be taught in my department.  I hadn't considered introducing Icelandic but one never knows.  However, you couldn't consider it a language spoken world-wide.  The way things are going, French may be in that category one day, but not Spanish.   The rise in the Spanish speaking population in the United States for example is quite considerable.

Now this is something else to ponder and it will certainly become one of my arguments for leaving well enough alone!

Friday, 22 May 2009

A Week of Madness!

One of the lessons I have learned while working at my school is that some people have far too much time on their hands (obviously not the teachers) but that this time is in no way related to considered thought. If it were, no one would be able to come out with an email suggesting that we change the name of my department from modern languages to something else because they think that the word modern suggests that other languages may not be. Of course, it is true. Some languages are not. In fact, some are ancient or classical. Am I stating the obvious? I certainly feel that I am.

However, someone with too much time on their hands, thinks that because we only teach French and Spanish in grades 1 through 10 and that we call our department Modern languages that we are somehow suggesting that all the others aren't. Oh my! What sort of logic is that? Rather, we might want to consider why we only teach two of the thousands of modern languages that there are in the world.

So, what do they want to call the department? The World languages department, of course! Now, what I'm trying to work out is what non-world languages might there be? Do we have non-terrestrial languages? Klingon or Ferengi, perchance? Well, some say that math is a language and certainly, there are computer languages but is it likely that we will confuse French and Spanish with those if we don't use the word 'world'? Do I even need to answer that?

The silly season is upon us early this year and I expect more to come.

Sunday, 17 May 2009

A Truly Outstanding Performance!

What a weekend so far! It was a very rewarding Saturday! I swam, cleaned the house, sorted through CDs and books for the move this summer, did two loads of laundry, and watched football at the pub with Cliff (and prepared my writing exams for June on my laptop). To top it off, in the early evening I went to school to see a middle school (11-14 year olds) play set in a concentration camp during the war. It was one of the best (perhaps the best) plays I have ever seen from students of that age.

I'm struggling to find adjectives to describe it. In fact I cried at the end, and just thinking about it, brings the tears back. The play was shocking, surprising in so many ways, funny, and very moving. That young people of that age could carry such a play is truly amazing, but most especially amazing for our students who so often seem to lack the self discipline which is required. We gave them a standing ovation and they seemed truly surprised. I'm sure they knew that they had done well but I don't think they realized how much they had affected their audience.

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

A Long Time Since I Last Wrote...anything!

I am really enjoying all the work I'm doing at the moment for the library next year but I do regret that I haven't had the mental energy to write. I have lots of ideas, many of which I have been developing as I swim. In fact, today, I lost track of the number of laps I had done while working through a plot line. I'm sure that I did far more than a kilometer but by how much, I'm not sure.

The library plans are coming along in fits and starts. I have put together the plans for the physical layout and have made a request for assistance during the week after the end of school to carry out the changes. I have managed to forage for comfy furniture and have probably found a sofa and some arm chairs. Today, I think that I found a home for some of the wooden tables that I want to get rid of and found some small tables I need for individual work areas. I still haven't ordered any books but I'll get around to it eventually. I want to make sure that I don't make any mistakes. Well, I suppose one always makes mistakes but the fewer the better.

Back to my writing. I'm going to try and start to write for a half hour each day. About anything at all. It will get me back in the habit and then after a few weeks, perhaps I can extend it to an hour. Que sera, sera!