Weekly Wonderings – June 1st, 2021

June is set to be a busy month for us. We’re waiting for the announcement from the European Union on Americans entering the region so we can arrange a move date (likely in July). This month I turn 40, which means I have some special blog series coming. Starting tomorrow, I will be doing a Flashback to 1981, rewatching and reviewing movies that came out the year of my birth. Starting on the 21st, my birthday, I will be doing a four-part “My 40 Favorite Movies” series. This was pretty difficult because my first draft of the list had over 200 films on it, so I had to spend May paring that down to the top 40.

Here’s this week’s Spotify playlist:

Also, I have added two new pages in the main header. One is a Digest Archive so you can look at the monthly collections I post in one spot. Additionally I have created a film series index so those can be perused more easily.

My wife used vacation days to take last week off from work, which was a much-needed battery recharging time. We just hung out, watched movies, got to visit with my sister and her kids, not feeling like each day had to be worked to the bone. We also took advantage and have recorded the next two episodes of the podcast. The newest episode went up Sunday (May 30th), and you can listen to it here.
The next episode will be up on June 13th and feature our Top 5 Movies of 1996 & a review of Disney’s Cruella.
The following episode will be up on June 27th and have our Top 5 Actors/Actresses We Would Never Cast & a review of Barry Jenkins’s The Underground Railroad mini-series.
We’re also planning on doing some mini-episodes in the off weeks between the full episodes so for the first of those near the end of the month.

Speaking of the podcast, I will update and rewrite my Patreon tiers & rewards this month to reflect that we’re making a podcast. Levels will get access to some exclusive podcast content Ariana & I are figuring out at the moment. We’re also looking at possibly doing Watch Parties open to our patrons. Additionally, we might put out some commentary tracks for movies that will only be available through Patreon. We’re definitely playing around with it in the hopes of attracting interested people.

I’ve been continuing to make money through creating & selling items through Teachers Pay Teachers and hit my highest income yet in May. With a cluster of schools getting out before Memorial Day regionally, there must have been many teachers who saw my materials as suitable end-of-the-year activities. Here’s hoping the schools that get out in June have teachers that think the same way.

I’ve also been teaching over Outschool and have met some fantastic students through that platform. I’m teaching some fun creative writing-oriented classes and have requested to be approved for a movie-themed class. It is all about marketing and growing your ratings & followers to attract more students with that platform. I love the creative freedom I have, not bound by the strict standards of a regular classroom & school district. It’s enjoyable because I’m getting kids to engage in writing by meeting them where they are with their interests rather than force them to create an interest in some topic disconnected from their schema.

With reading and other subjects, you should push students with content they might not otherwise gravitate towards. However, with writing, the push is coming in developing the writing skills initially, not in understanding the topic they are writing about. Using things like video games, food, etc., as your topic encourages the student to engage because they are already interested. I had a student today who I could tell was naturally shy, and thankfully it was just her and myself. I just focused on getting to know her in the first 5-10 minutes before getting into the work, and by the end, I could see a lot more of her personality coming through.

As much as I have been so frustrated by the American education system, these moments remind me that this is what I love doing. I like when I can take time to ask questions and listen. The parent sent me a message saying how much their child loved my class and even cited me taking time to get to know her as what helped her feel comfortable. She’s signed up for another lesson tomorrow and a second in a couple weeks. I think America has poisoned education by turning it into a commodity. Students are meant to be processed for labor extraction as adults. Therefore, any social-emotional work is focused around the student is wholly responsible for their behavior/actions rather than taking time (because it takes time) to develop ways to love themselves and learn how to understand their emotions. We were encouraged to do social-emotional lessons at my previous school with no place built-in for them into the daily/weekly schedule. When your school’s financial status depends on standardized test performance, then the unspoken message is that rote academics take precedent. As things worsen here, I don’t think education will get better; it’s simply going to become more corporatized and slick in how it reduces children into a skillset that future employers can exploit.

I’m a big fan of education writer Peter Greene aka Curmudgucation and his take on education. This recent post about his problem with the word “scholar” is a perfect example of the very subtle ways bad reformers are trying to turn school into work for children.

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