Hello Parents, Families and Caretakers,
I would like to sincerely welcome you to the 2020-2021 school year. Before our year starts in earnest, I would like to take some time to introduce myself and my class to you. I'm Carlynn Ferguson (first name pronounced CAR-LIN), your student's 8th grade Science teacher. I'm a bit weird, often awkward, and I will spend most of my time and energy over the next year caring about your kid.
I have things I like to do, and lots of things planned out and ready to go if I need them. But I really want to listen to you, to your students, to their peers, and develop a class with and for them. I also want to be as open as possible to what that may be. I don't know exactly what will happen when we mix all of us together, but I will do my absolute best to teach to the students I have, to recognize the best parts of their potential, and to give them a year that is engaging and relevant and, if I'm lucky, occasionally fun.
This doesn't mean it will be all fun and games. We have a lot of important work ahead of us, and I take the work we do seriously. And so, rather than a list of units we will work through, let me share what I know will be true about this year and this class:
- We will be talking about the world we are in, and it will challenge us, because we live in a challenging world.
- We will build a climate in our room that is safe for the sharing of stories and perspectives, for playing with, testing, and evolving ideas.
- We will focus on empathy and cultural competency as essential components to understanding and engaging productively with our world, as foundational academic and social skills.
- We will discover as much as we can about the world around us and learn to appreciate how it works and why it does.
- We will search for and indulge topics and tasks that make us excited to read and write and make things.
If you're concerned about my role in these conversations, you should know that I take my role as a teacher very seriously. Though of course I have many thoughts and feelings about the way the world works, I do believe it is not my job to teach my perspective in class. I will not seek to change the minds or beliefs of any of my students. I will seek to help them understand the experiences of others and to become an objective thinker themselves. More than that, we will work on the developing the muscles to understand difference and disagreement in a productive way.
Oh, and you should know I'm not really big on homework. We will be working hard every day in class, and as long as your student is using their time well, they likely won't be bringing a lot of stuff home. If they need more than that, have them read a book. Have them write a story or start a blog. Have them build something or take something apart, or learn to code or write music. Inspiration is better than worksheets. Promise.
Please reach out to me absolutely any time you have any questions, suggestions, concerns, or observations. I work for you.