I retired in June 2010. I miss the kids and I miss my colleagues. I do not miss the bureaucracy. Over the past months I have heard from former students, many on Facebook -- my first class turned fifty this year -- and I have to tell you, it has been AWESOME to renew acquaintance with them as adults. It has also been affirming to listen to their memories. As you may well expect, those memories have absolutely nothing to do with test prep or statewide report cards.
I was hired as a new teacher into a district where textbooks had largely been eliminated. Project based learning was emphasized. Cooperative learning and differentiated instruction were expected. Students were offered choices as a matter of course. Field trips and other forms of hands-on learning were important aspects of our students' learning.
I have had experience with many of the 'newest' ideas that are being touted today. I am excited to see that, at least in some places, the 'good stuff' is finding its way back into the schools. And I feel that I may be able to share what worked (and what didn't) in my experience -- maybe save some grief, maybe save some worthwhile programs.