Futures W.A.G (Week at a Glance)

11.17.14

On Teaching the Truth and Being Genuine

As an educator who grew up just a few miles from Plymouth Rock, I was quite horrified to find out that the real story of Thanksgiving involved a lot of suffering. In college I also read Howard Zinn's account of Christopher Columbus, which was also a tale of misery. Again, what I had learned in elementary school was not true.


It takes a delicate touch, especially with younger students, to teach the facts about what happened in history. When you have taught an age group for a while, you know their capacity for difficult information. If you are not sure you can ask a colleague or do a little research.


You have the right to teach the truth. It isn't always easy. In Daly City I did a lesson on human evolution. Students and parents were angry with me. I had to face some very religious parents who thought I was wrong to teach their children "something that goes against the bible." In graduate school, most of my colleagues were from Georgia. Probably 90% of the class were Southern Baptists. When the professor asked about evolution, only me and one other student said we would teach it. My classmates insulted me. "I don't come from a monkey" one told me.


It takes a lot of courage to stand up for the truth. As educators, we have an obligation to teach whatever the standards and content are at our level.


This year was the first time I ever answered "no" to a student who asked me if I believed in God. I have stopped making excuses for how other people might react. It isn't easy though. This is why I have always wondered how difficult it must be for gay teachers to come out to their community, although that situation has been improving.



Where I came from In New England, it is still widely practiced to have students dress up as Pilgrims and Indians on Thanksgiving . This is not an acceptable way to celebrate. The real story is rather bleak, so it is important to present it with accuracy. Presenting it as a "time when everybody became friends and helped each other " is not the whole story. Presenting it as a time to give thanks in your own life is always a nice way, but once you are referring to what happened specifically in Massachusetts in 1620, you should have some facts. Here is a link to one article that may help:


http://www.huffingtonpost.com/richard-schiffman/the-thanksgiving-truth_b_1105181.html


As you continue in your career you will have to make decisions about what you share about your own life. But I do think you have to teach the truth when it comes to content. If it is appropriate at the age level, that is.


As we go forward to Thanksgiving I want to say thank you for being such a kind group of educators. You are respectful, calm, and you all have my utmost respect. This has been a year so far where I really do feel thankful. I hope you feel the same. Brian


A Definition: The "Futures Way" :

The "Futures Way" is to do whatever it takes to build up our students and their families for academic and social success.

The Events of the Week


Monday, November 17


3:05pm

Behavior Response Alignment @ Futures (not for whole staff, invite already went out) (See note inside invite) Portable C






Tuesday, November 18


David on Campus with Phil (math manager)


First Grade: Oakland Zoo Field Trip


8:30am

Intercom: Every Tuesday: Meet Mr. Purcell in the Garden.


12:50pm

Kinder/First Physical Fitness (Coach gets students from class, teacher meets outside at 1:45)


3:15pm

Culture and Climate Meets Portable Mr. Gonzalez room





Wednesday, November 19

Farmer Market On Campus: Classes welcome


Minimum Day

10:15am

Tanton - MLK Library


2:00pm David Math Wednesday PD @ portable C : Bring Laptop



Thursday, November 20


8:30am

Colleen Cover Leesa until lunch : Instructional Rounds


9:00am

Rounds: 10 minutes each visiting : Leah, Heather, Keya, Kawthar, Michael. See an email to you about the focus. DO not change your schedule. Purpose of walk is very general. (Walking: me, David Rosenthal, Rachel, Leesa, Principal from TCN, and a couple people from district)


10:00am

NO COST this week



12:50pm

Grades two /Three Physical Fitness (Coach gets students from class, teacher meets outside at 1:45 )


2:30pm

Iep Ms. Wegner student regarding Colleen Sanford services last year( Evodia translate)



4:00pm

Community Festive Circle Parent Event






Friday, November 21


Minimum Day (Special today)


  • All SRI done by end of day. Scantron to Rachel
  • Math assessment window closes today


Cookie Orders due in office. DO NOT allow students to transport money.


8:30am

Parent Cafe Port A


9:00am

Futures Awards and Appreciation Assembly (times TBD auditorium is reserved) )






Next week: no school