Remember how I wrote that preposterous list of resolutions back at the end of the school year?
Even if I know this year won’t be perfect, the other day I went back to look at it and realized I’m actually pretty happy with how I’m doing on a lot of them.
I’m succeeding pretty well with #2 (I will put in place a strict point penalty schedule for late work), and along the same lines #9 (I will require all homework to be done all the time and give detentions if it isn’t); I did #5 over the summer (I will put in place an entirely coherent yearly progression for all my classes); I am actually doing #10 (I will regularly check the notebooks of my students in collège); having a wild time with #11 (I will use my iPad as much as possible and not my super slow netbook. In general, I’ll use awesome technology all the time); sort of pulling off # 12 (I will grade harder) and definitely # 13 (I will correct all papers within a reasonable amount of time and return every single one to every single student regardless of continual absences on their part); I did # 14 at the beginning of the year and am updating it from time to time (I will give my netvibes address to the students at the beginning of the year and use it constantly all year long); and have been much better about #15 (I will never allow any student ever to go to the bathroom or get a drink of water ever. Except in grave cases of emergency).
But the most fun one has been #7: I will work on interdisciplinary projects with teachers in other subjects.
One of the themes in the history/geography curriculum for the 2e class is European emigration, and the teachers at my school this year chose to talk about Irish emigration during the potato famine.
One of them was doing research and ran across the name Fitzpatrick. So she came to me to ask if I knew anything about my Irish roots. I asked my mom, and then her cousin, who sent me some information about her side of the family.
She sent me a hand-written letter by a great-great-uncle who explained where the Rohans came from (my mom’s dad’s mom’s side), with dates (1840, 1848) and details and places of birth (County Mayo, County Clare, County Galway). He wrote about how my great-great-great-grandmother had to arrive at New Orleans because the east coast ports were closed for an epidemic.
So I translated it all, made a simple little family tree from County Mayo to me, and went into two of the 2e classes to explain it to them and read them the letter. One of the teachers had them listen to Sinead O’Connor singing Skibbereen (with a translation), which is a horribly sad song.
In short, three of my eight great-grandparents are of direct Irish origin, and this presentation was just about one of them. The Sextons we know to have come from Templeglantine, County Limerick, Ireland, though not necessarily during the famine; and the Fitzpatricks are a mystery to us. We lost the thread and can’t find it again because there are too many of them!