Hi, everyone! I'm Leslie Wolfe-Cundiff and I teach at Centennial H.S. in Roswell, GA, a suburb about 20 miles north of Atlanta. I feel like I'm a bit late to the blog party, especially considering that many of you are still in school and I've been out for two weeks. However, there is truly no rest for the weary, is there? Post-planning was hectic and stressful (glad I have a job) and was immediately followed by a long-scheduled trip to NYC with 9 Girl Scouts, two of whom belong to me. Tomorrow we're off on two college visits (my twin girls are rising seniors) and will arrive home just in time to attend a mandatory teacher academy the day before heading to Phoenix.
I'm still quite new to teaching high school -- just completed my third year. If you count the two years I taught freshmen comp at Kennesaw State as an adjunct, that gives me a couple more -- but those classes were mostly deer-in-the-headlight experiences (for me, not the students. Adjunct training is nonexistent. I don't recommend going into it cold.). At any rate, I came to teaching quite late in life, having switched back and forth between broadcast news (mostly radio, some TV) and public relations (college, hospital, event, mega-church) since the mid-70's. A real checkered past. However, now that I have three years of high school teaching under my belt, I'm in love with it the way I haven't loved anything since my reporting days.
I'm even more in love with the idea of advising our school newspaper next year. It's another new gig for me; the teacher who handed the job off had the paper for six years and was, admittedly, burned out. Last year the paper published two issues and was so deep in the financial hole that the principal forbade any more published issues until inroads in the debt were made. Fortunately for me, he may (fingers crossed) forgive the debt, giving me and my staff a clean slate and a fresh start. In addition to the newspaper class, I teach 9th lit/comp and senior Brit lit.
In addition to getting the staff off to a good start next year, I hope to learn enough at the institute to:
-- Get our newspaper online and get a system in place so we can update regularly
-- Figure out a way to keep the hard copy presence as a supplement/newsmagazine or some other iteration, so it doesn't just disappear but isn't a repeat of the online pub
-- Instill a sense of journalistic integrity in the students
-- Figure out how to teach the newbies the basics while helping the senior staff hone their skills
-- Assess fairly, given time constraints and expertise limitations
-- Help them learn to write better!
I am sure that list barely scratches the surface of what I need to know to advise a successful school newspaper. Regardless, I'm very excited about getting to know everyone and learning as much as possible during the upcoming two weeks. See you next Sunday!