I had not heard of Dan Habib’s new documentary Including Samuel, which chronicles the Habib family’s efforts to include son Samuel, who has cerebral palsy, in all parts of their lives. I like what Phelps Sprinkle from Topics Education wrote about it and his own family at the blog Three Sticks: “If we could create the perfect learning environment for each kid, yet in a fully inclusive setting, each child could/would reach her potential. The reality, though, is that very few fully inclusive school settings exist.”
Just posted on the Post’s website: Jay Mathews talks with Randi Weingarten about the AFT’s approach to education reform. See also his latest blog post: “The biggest time wasters [during the school year]…are days just before holidays. Not much gets done. Students and teachers tend to fidget and watch the clock. Why not turn those empty hours into reading and writing days?”
Lastly, I had lunch this Monday with one of my former students – he works in LA, in the film industry after graduating from UCLA’s film school – and it was a joy. I know that I should’ve realized it before he and I sat down to nosh, but the students that I remember as being the most interesting, the most wonderfully outspoken and good humored, the sharpest – well, they still are. Just ’cause I haven’t seen them for some ten, 15, 20 years doesn’t mean that those qualities have changed or that they have lost them. For the most part they’re still the way they were when we discussed Macbeth or watched the shower scene from Psycho as the start to a film unit or road-tripped to a local theater to see An Asian Jockey in Our Midst – only more so, the years seasoning and exploring and expanding their sharpness, good humor, thoughtfulness, etc. I’d like to think that my English class added something to this mix – but, no, they were this way already, now that I think back, their former selves an initial iteration of what they would become.
I wonder what my middle and high school teachers would say about me if we had the chance to eat lunch and talk – Mr. Mungiguerra, my chemistry teacher, Mr. Pfeffer, who taught me social studies, Mrs. Drazba, in whose class I first read Shakespeare, Mrs. Fox, who introduced me to Flannery O’Connor. I do know what I would tell them – and thank them for: That their collective work with me sent me on my path to be a teacher. That would be a great start to our conversation.