Today, I am guest teaching at Palm Desert High School. Palm Desert High School has some unique programs, not unlike Palm Desert Charter Middle School. The Middle School, which is geographically located in reasonable proximity to the high school, has, in my opinion, some of the most unique programs. While I was guest teaching a math class in Palm Desert Middle School, a number of students brought in flags that are used in Marching Band. When I asked about the club, they told me that it was a class. Where I taught before, you can’t find a high school with such a class.
While at Palm Desert High School yesterday, I ran into a student who shouldn’t be here based on geography. He said he came for baseball. He makes the trip for baseball. I had noticed the baseball field outside of my classroom yesterday. I remarked to myself that it was amazingly manicured. At the end of the day, when I left, there was a baseball practice underway. This practice had to be underway before the end of the day as the students were already in uniform.
It dawned on me how different this school and it’s middle school are from the average school and yet how much of it is the same. The students are still required to do the work of the curriculum, yet there are these extras. I am inside a class of computer science students. It has been said that this field is dominated by men in the workplace. Out of a class of 24 students, there are 2 girls. The previous class had 21 students and only 2 girls. In truth, if a tech company was looking for the best candidate for a job without regard to race, gender, or anything other than the qualifications of the individual that might make them a “rock star” in their industry, the numbers are skewed in favor of the males.
The entire class quickly finishes their assignment of what they are required to do and moves on to what they want to do. I should probably be a little scared about this, but, they are using school machines through wired into the school network, so they are precluded from doing any damage as a result of juvenile mischief…I hope.
I really wish that their work that they did everyday had a relevance to their interests or their lives. Some of their conversations about the “gaming” that they are involved in certainly lend themselves to the creativity necessary to come up with the next big thing. I guess it is hard to gauge this when you are a guest teacher and a little out of your field. Still the energy is palpable and you want to catch the energy. This should be the true art of teaching.