Monday, August 29, 2011

First Day and Floods

I live in Richmond, Vermont which is around 15 miles down I89 from St. Mike's and it usually takes me 15 minutes to drive. This morning I left my house around 7:30 to get to my 9:50 class on time. I didn't make it. 3 of the 4 routes out of Richmond were flooded. This meant a long diversion north and then through Essex. I finally arrived in Essex only to be met by a parking-lot on Route 15. I returned home and sadly canceled my first class.

I later made it in to my 1:20-4:20 class after rush hour had died down. This was my Elementary Math and Science class and it was great to see many of the students I had in Schools and Society last Fall or Spring. I joked with several of them that they sat in the same seats as they had in the earlier class. The first class is always a time of nervousness and excitement for me. I'm never sure that they will get my somewhat droll British sense of humor ("We've got a lot to get through today so we may have to keep going until 6pm" said with a straight face). I also wonder whether I can convince them that math really can be user-friendly, interesting, relevant and aesthetic, and , most importantly, understandable. This usually takes quite a few classes but it's so important to start the course in the right direction.

I did miss meeting my first Schools and Society class but I will see them on Wednesday when we'll finalize the details for the interviews I have set up for them with a visiting group of Japanese students. We interview the students in small groups to find out what schools and education are like in Japan. Later in the semester we do this with students from a wide variety of countries. This helps my students get a better perspective on Education in the US as well as the type of schools immigrant children in the Burlington Schools might have attended before coming to the US. The global differences in K-12 education are sometimes quite unbelievable.

The picture is of Bridge Street in Richmond. The road continues a further 200 yards before it crosses the Winooski river.

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