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|Sunday, November 2nd, 2008|
Well, I think we can say that I have officially become one of the "Twilight" obsessed. I finally got around to starting the books last Sunday night and in less than a week I've read the first 3--and reread large quantities of the first 2. I'm not a fast reader, and I've still been working my normal, crazy hours so basically all waking, non-work hours have been spent reading. The last time I read a book I was really into it took me 3 weeks to get through it. It's actually kind of amazing that I wasn't fired for my lack of planning and/or inattentive teaching while I was daydreaming about these books. What the hell is it about them that makes them so addicting? And why the hell did I wait so long to get around to reading them?
I've been sitting here for the past 8 hours employing all my powers of self control in an attempt to do my planning and other chores before starting the 4th book. It feels like it's taunting me, but I know that once I start I won't be able to focus on anything else at all--and I'm already way behind because of last week's reading binge. If I could just wait until next week's long weekend I could really enjoy it more...but I think that that might be too much to ask of myself. Guess we'll see.
|Wednesday, June 18th, 2008|
|Wow, I must be getting old!
Last Wednesday, after a goodbye breakfast with my kids, I missed the rest of my last day of school to go to the 5th grade graduation of my first class ever. Hard to believe I've been at this for 5 years now.
Every time I visit the campus of my old school I am torn between complete and total sadness that I am no longer a part of such an amazing and nurturing community, and gratitude that I was able to start my teaching career in just such a place. I am a better teacher and a better person because of the two years I spent there, at the same time, I can't even imagine where I’d be now if I were still working there.
Just setting foot on the grounds is an immediately calming experience. Being on both campuses on the same day brought the differences into the glaring light of day. It's upsetting to say the least.
About three minutes into the graduation one of my all time favorite students from a family that I love gave a speech. He's student body president and he said a little bit about each one of his teachers. My part went like this, "In First grade I had Shalea. I can describe her in two ways: strict and nice. She believed that all students could do the work." I pretty much can't thing of a better way to be described by a student. I was crying right off the bat.
And for the record, that kid doesn’t know strict—he should see me now!
The rest of the graduation was pretty much just as cool. There were 13 of my 20 first graders still there graduating. That’s pretty amazing! At my new school we loose about that many every year. They looked great, all grown up. Two of them are almost as tall as me! Some of them played instruments, one sang, a couple gave speeches--it was fabulous!
Afterwards I went to visit see other teachers and such on the playground and then up to visit my last class there who were finish up their fourth grade year. It was a little awkward to see them in their classroom with a teacher I didn’t know, but we got a few minutes to chat.
I was amazed by how much they remember about first grade. I think that maybe these kids remember more than most because they stay together, they have a sort of group memory of shared experiences going on, but wow! They remembered some things that even I hadn’t. Like how I used to wear these huge crazy sunglasses and play a different character during English time—I used to be such a fun teacher. There was something about a spider in my hair that I still don’t understand. But, best of all, was when they were like “remember how in circle time that one time E was like ‘I went to Oakland.’” And then they all burst into laughter. Which is a memory of this: http://purple-equator.livejournal.com/14188.html
. I was so excited that they could not only remember that, but also still find it funny. They were such an incredible class, one with such a solid sense of right and wrong and little activists through and through—even at just six years old.
I love them and miss them greatly. Also O (who’s still a tiny little goofball) insisted over and over again that I was the nicest teacher he’d ever had. Which I happen to know isn’t true as their second grade teacher is a saint and then some. But the sentiment was appreciated anyway especially since he seemed really genuine (and upset when, at first, I sort of blew him off.)
It was a great day and I’m so glad I went. And I’ll be sure not to miss it next year either. It was awesome to see the families and kids and to be reminded of what is possible in public schools.
|Friday, July 20th, 2007|
I had given up all hope of getting the book before I got to Quito on Sunday, but due to a series of very fortunate events I got a copy at the release here in Cuenca at 6:01 pm Ecuadorian time. I´ve been reading over dinner and now I had planned to spend the evening updating my blog and uploading photos, but somehow I don´t see that happening anymore. I think I will work on photos as long as I can read at the same time.
I´m way too excited about this!
|Monday, March 12th, 2007|
|She's almost vegan...
After almost 10 years of being a vegetarian I have finally decided to take it a step further and make an attempt at giving up dairy. I have spent years sort of feeling like I should—animal treatment is just as bad for diary animals after all. But it’s always felt like such an impossible task.
Recently another teacher at school lent me a book that finally convinced me it was time to make an honest attempt at it. At this point I’m not completely giving up dairy because I can’t deal with worrying about what’s in my bread and such, but I am giving up all major sources of it. This includes all my favorites: cheese, milk, ice cream, dressing, cottage cheese and sour cream (yeah, that’s like arrow in my heart right there.)
I’ve been doing this for 2 weeks yesterday and so far so good. In fact, so far I feel really good both physically and emotionally. And it’s even seeming like something I might be able to do long term. Who knows…for now it’s really just an experiment. If I go back that’s fine, at least I know I really tried hard to do it.
The added benefit is that between this and the no chocolate for Lent there is basically nothing desirable to eat when I’m out and about so I’ve even managed to lose a couple of pounds.
So far I’ve discovered: soy ice cream, cheese, sour cream, and butter are all fantastic. Soy yogurt--not so much!
In other news, my two favorite students are still trying kill me on a daily basis, but it doesn’t really matter anymore because I’ve now paid my deposit for my Machu Picchu Inca Trail Trek this summer.
On July 4th, instead of watching fireworks here, I will be beginning a 4day/3night hike up to MP over crazy mountains, and at a ridiculous altitude. And yes, I’ve officially stepped up the workout routine because otherwise I would have NO shot at surviving this.
I’m so excited!
|Monday, October 9th, 2006|
I'm a "fat" "stupid" "bitch." Or, at least, so say my students. Yeah, they're a great class, why do you ask? Only 152 days to go.
|Thursday, September 28th, 2006|
I've suspended two first graders in as many days. Well, technically I in-school suspended one, and the office suspended the other, but either way it just flat out sucks. I've also written at least four citations (to the same children.) I just don't know what to do. I know that citations and suspensions don't change behavior, which is why I've never gone that route before (last year I only wrote 2 citations to homeroom kids all year) but on the other hand, when things are happening where other children could be hurt--not to mention the effect it has on learning-- it feels like I need to be doing more than just talking about it. There needs to be proof that I've done more so when somebody really does get hurt I can show I did something beyond make a behavior plan and call parents every other day.
I'm feeling so discouraged that kids can have this much anger and aggression at such a young age. I really can't wrap my brain around it, much less figure out how to help them cope with it. And, I don't know how to deal with going to work with this every day.
|Nature’s way of saying, “Shut the hell up already!!!”
I went to work yesterday with pretty much no voice. I was sure it would be gone by the end of the day, but miraculously, and in contrast to the other years this has happened (every year I’ve taught) it seemed to make a come back over the course of a day.
When my reading class came in I whispered the same announcement I made to my homeroom about my cold and lack of voice and, in turn, my need for their complete attention and quiet for the time they were with me. The exact phrase might have been, “I can’t talk over you so don’t let me catch you talking.”
One of the students asked if it was kind of like those “white things they put on dogs so they can’t bark?”
I don’t know if he was talking about those hoods (which I thought were for biting) or a muzzle, which I suppose is for both, but which ever it was if he thought it was for barking he was making an interesting connection. All I could really say was “I suppose it is sort of like that, it’s nature’s way of muzzling me so I have to stop talking.”
And let’s just not get into my students comparing me to dogs.
|Friday, March 31st, 2006|
You know you’re in trouble when you inner dialogue starts being voiced, verbatim, by six-year-olds.
The other day my students came in from morning recess really upset because, “someone’s broken the slide.” As I stood there totally confused trying to picture a broken slide I heard FM behind me ask loudly, “How the hell do you break a slide?”
Which is EXACTLY what I was thinking—word for word!
It turns out that someone had written on the slide, which is a lot easier to picture.
|Saturday, October 22nd, 2005|
|Religion in the Classroom
We’ve begun our study of the weather. We started the unit by brainstorming what we already know about he weather. That was followed up by recording some questions we have about the weather. Of course, lots of kids feel the need to try and answer others’ questions. The general idea was that God is pretty much in charge of the weather—all kinds. Except snow…Jesus is in charge of that.
I think it is awfully nice of God to give up such a beautiful kind of weather to teach is son a little responsibility.
I was at least glad that no one suggested that the rain is God’s tears when kids are bad. That’s what I got last time I talked about weather. But, later in the day, when, in the process of defending a child who was being made fun of, I actually said out loud and with a straight face, “I love Barney, I watch him all the time!” I couldn’t help but wonder if the wind outside was from God’s laugh as he took a break from all the other stuff to watch me losing my mind in Room 19.
Yesterday, one of my students called out, “J just said the ‘N word.’” I took some deep breaths, told them we’d talk about it in a sec., finished my math lesson, and sent the other students off to work before calling those two students up. Now, I’ve been through this before and despite the fact that a 6 year old has to learn something like that from home or music and generally has no clue what it means it’s still a disturbing and time consuming situation to deal with. Not something I was looking forward to.
But, I’ve also been around kids long enough to know that sometimes things aren’t what they seem. Last year the “S word “ turned out to be “so”. So, I ask first these days.
The three of us in our private conversation:
Me: “What word did you hear J say?”
SA: “You know that word you say when…”(insert very bizarre explanation that I couldn’t follow but didn’t seem like any “N word” I can think of.)
Me: “Can you tell me the word?”
SA: Shakes head, eyes wide.
Me: “Why don’t you whisper it in my ear?”
SA: Steels himself and whispers… “Shit. “
Me: I try to keep a straight face, I really do, but eventually burst out in uncontrollable laughter as I shoo him back to his desk.
JG: Looks at me in fear, knowing he shouldn’t have said the word, and not understanding why I’m laughing.
Me (2 mins later after mostly getting it together): “Don’t say that word again, go do your math.”
The sad part is that it could have been a great phonics lesson, but I can’t imagine what the outside world would think if I’d taught the /sh/ sound with the word ‘shit’ as an example. It probably wouldn’t look so good….
“Listen, the word ‘shit’ isn’t referred to as ‘the N word’ because it doesn’t start with the letter ‘N’. What sound do you hear in the beginning of the word ‘shit’? Say it slowly with me /shhhhhh/…./iiiiii/…/tttt/. Good job, the first sound is /sh/ so you could call it ‘the s-h word’ that’s much more accurate.”
I was sad to see such a great opportunity for a lesson to pass me by, but I figure at least every once and awhile I get to take a break from losing my mind and laugh a little too.
|Saturday, September 24th, 2005|
|Working with children is like working with disease carrying rodents
Yep, you read that right, let me repeat myself: Working with children is like working with disease carrying rodents, but without the benefit of gloves.
I’ve been sick with an icky cold for over a week now. Colds are irritating, but I’ve long since accepted it as a hazard of my job that I get a couple extra stuffy noses, and sore throats a year. Pink eye, on the other hand, is NOT a part of my job I’m just willing to accept. It is gross and disgusting and I am not happy about its contribution to my misery over the past week.
Last Friday I sent a student home who obviously had a very bad case. Then Monday I woke up with sticky eyes that got pinker and itchier as the day went on. The Doctor banned me from school for 48 hours including back to school night. What a mess! I was pissed and going to ignore doctor’s orders but even after I started the antibiotic drops it continued to get worse and worse for over a day. I could barely keep my eyes open. They itched and hurt, like they were bruised. I my vision was screwed up if there was too much light, and they were literally stuck shut when I woke up in the mornings, not to mention swollen and bright red. I ended up missing two days of school and back to school night, except I went in in the mornings to set up sub plans and now I have to meet with the parents this next week. I was feeling good enough to go to school on Thursday where, first thing in the morning, I was met with a child wondering why my eyes weren’t purple.
Heather got married yesterday. It was beautiful and fun and great to be a part of it. I was seriously not looking forward to missing another day of school in the same week, or being in like a billion wedding pictures with swollen pink eyes, but in the end it was nice to go to the wedding and still have a whole weekend, and my eyes looked pretty good by yesterday.
Heather stayed with me in my hotel the night before the wedding. By the time we got there she was quite buzzed and we had a blast talking. The last many times I’ve seen her we’ve been around other people and I forgot just how much I love her sense of humor and crazy antics when it’s just the two of us.
On a completely unrelated note, I went to my favorite Taqueria tonight and got horchata for the first time in like a year (I banned it because I stopped working out.) Yum! It was so good, and made my burrito taste so much better.
|Wednesday, September 14th, 2005|
tagged by poozer
The rules to this meme, list 20 random facts about yourself then tag as many people as it takes minutes to write them down.
I’ve never been tagged for a meme before so I really wanted to try to do it, but it took me forever to think of 20 things. Luckily it doesn’t matter because I don’t know anyone else to tag.
This is as far as I got last night before I fell asleep on the couch:
1. I am really, really, ridiculously tired.
2. I love green olives—they’re my favorite food.
Here are today’s additions:
3. So far, I love my new principal.
4. I’m addicted to “So You Think You Can Dance”
5. I wish I could dance.
6. I often have to turn off sitcoms because I get too embarrassed for the characters.
7. I wish I had the energy to work on my Italian.
8. As long as we’re there, I wish I had the energy to work on my Spanish. Or, at least, finish reading “El amor en los tiempos del cólera”
9. I hate the colors red and green together.
10. My dress for the wedding next Friday just got here, two months late and, due to a manufacturing error, 3 inches too small. Can we say “Crisis!”
11. I really miss teaching in Spanish. Who would have thunk it?
12. Right now I have space and materials (and the patience) for 20 students but 25 actual little beings.
13. I put sour cream on almost everything I eat.
14. I am getting sick, and possibly losing my voice.
15. This year I finally have a table squatter. Oh, how I’ve longed for one of them.
16. I set four alarms every morning.
17. I unplug almost everything in my apartment whenever I leave.
18. My old school district owes me quite a bit of money and, I’d like it. Now. Thank you.
19. I wish I was as good as I used to be at keeping in touch with people.
20. I really want to read all the books on my shelves (especially the 1/2 finished ones) but I am really, really, ridiculously tired.
|Wednesday, August 17th, 2005|
I don't know at what point I started actually making entries in this journal. I don't know when I did or why I did, but, let's face it, at some point--I did. I suspect it was a combo of it being easier to write on the computer where I always am anyway, and being a way to have some contact with a friend who I never talk to on the phone anymore. It seems innocent enough since only me and a few other people have ever seen it and it's not really linked to anything for people to wander in.
I started an entry the other day (it's now on the computer with the burned power cord) about my father finding my journal while searching for a website about that town we were in in Italy. It doesn't really matter since there's nothing on here I don't want him to read, but it did earn me a warning lecture (admittedly minor for him) about the dangers of the internet.
Dad: "You know, people have been fired, in more than one case, for the things they have posted on those blog things."
Me: "Don't worry, I lock anything about work. Besides, no one but friends go there."
I don't come to my journal often, and I don't usually check the email account comments get sent to unless I have recently posted. So, when I saw on here the other day that someone had made rude comments, in response to someone else, I was a little bit confused. It must have taken quite some time snooping around to even find the entry/comment. What kind of person has that kind of time or initiative?
I was going to respond, but I figured what's the point? It's anonymous so the comment won't arrive in her inbox as an email and I'm sure she won't actually come back here to check. Again, who would have that kind of time or initiative? But she did. Go figure. And then, again, there was another. Five in all--really, that little to do in the real world?
The thing is, I teach 6 year olds. All year I have to put up idiotic bickering and immature insults, I really don't think I should have to deal with during my summer.
So, here's the deal. From now on, if you have somehow managed to track down your mortal enemy making comments in my journal, feel free to insult them all you want. I will let all insults stand untouched under one condition: they are more creative than what I hear during the school year. If you can't beat what I hear from my 6 year olds, I will be force to remove it. And yes, I'm sure somehow I'll manage to figure out how to do that.
I don't often admit to my father being right. But, tonight I will call and congratulate him on being correct. There are, in fact, crazies on the internet and they can apparently find their way to my "blog thing."
|Sunday, July 24th, 2005|
Well, we are in Venice. I haven't really made it to internet for any length of time to be able to update as I had planned.
We had a great time in V. S. Not nearly as calm and relaxing as we had planned, but fun in a whole different way. When we pulled into town I spotted Uliviero right away. He was sitting on the town "piazza"--if one can call a widened street with a few parking places (if they're not playing hand ball) a piazza. As he put it later he didn't recognize me right away but he did remember me. My Italian is seriously lacking these days so I pretty much introduced him to the rest of the gang and we headed off.
We were shown to our apartment by Alba a little old lady who insisted on carrying one of dad's bags--up and down and all over town. On the last day in town we found out she is also related to grandpa in the same way Uliviero is but on the complete opposite side of the family. Pretty much the whole town is related in one way or another as far as we can tell.
That night when we were on our way back from dinner at the only restaurant in town (and where mom and Jen had stolen a reserved table from the nice Berchelli family of 5) there was a woman with a man looking at us strangely in the piazza. Soon enough Alba came up to facilitate the situation and explain that the woman was Luigina, a relative, a much closer relation than we thought would be around (mom's 3rd cousin by our count, 2nd by their's.)
Eventually we managed to fill up pretty much all our days hanging out with Luigina and her sister Stella and their significant others. They took such good care of us and were truly some of the sweetest people I've ever met. They showed us around, and helped explain the family tree, and of course, fed us until were were on the verge of bursting--over and over again. It was nice to be taken in by Italians, and to get to learn a bit more about the people of Italy. They had apparently heard from Uliviero that I had been there 5 years ago and were waiting for us to show up again.
In the end it was actually really sad to leave, but really my brain couldn't have handled too much more translating English <--> Italian. After each time we hung out with them I felt like someone had stuck a fork in my brain and scrambled it. It was definitely worth it, but I was exhausted. Dad comes up with some pretty crazy stuff for me to translate, even though I tried to explain I can really only even attempt 1.5 verb tenses. It got to be pretty funny because it drove him crazy that he couldn't talk like he normally would. When he got an idea in his head that he knew I would struggle with he would get a very specific look on his face and put his hand on the table fingers pointed down, and I just had to take a deep breath and try to prepare for whatever insanely difficult thing was coming next.
Wow, there is so much more to say, but I'm out of time for now.
|Tuesday, February 15th, 2005|
I'm sitting here watching a segment about T.V. remotes and how we can hardly imagine life without them. I really don't want to watch it but I don't actually own a remote...and I'm lazy.
I'm cranky about my life in general but I can't really complain too much about valentine's day since i got more chocolate, stuffed animals and musical/flashing roses than probably any other girl in the world. I had 20 valentines and i'll try not to whine too much that none of them are even 4 feet tall. One of the stuffed animals was GIANT and the parent who gave it me thought it was perfect for me to sleep with since I'm single. Um...thanks? I almost forgot about the 2 cryptic notes from LC decorated extensively with both hearts and money signs. Seriously, who could want more than that?
|Tuesday, January 11th, 2005|
This conversation took place in my classroom today after someone’s shoes squeaked together sounding like a fart and everyone burst into giggles:
RN very matter of factly: Everybody eats, so everybody farts.
LC: Yep! And that’s called flatulence.
Me: How (the hell) do you know that?
RN: From T.V.
LC: It’s on a commercial on Nick at Nite.
|Thursday, January 6th, 2005|
|Dear Italy, Bring it on!!!
I just got back from my first Italian class. I love learning a new (or, in this case, forgotten) language. It's always so invigorating. Also, it's nice to do something completely unrelated to work. Aunt Jen is in the same class and that makes it extra fun.
|Thursday, December 16th, 2004|
Things at school are awful on many, many levels. I feel like we’ve traded in the devil’s twin brother (who was just as evil but too stupid to do the job) for the devil himself, or herself as the case may be. It’s BAD and I can’t even begin to get into it. I’ve never ever felt this pessimistic about people in general as I do now, and that’s saying a lot cause I’ve never really liked people all that much.
The good news is that I got my evaluation and, while certainly not good, it wasn’t as bad as expected and the box for continuing employment was check so that’s a load off my shoulders. Plus, everybody else’s evaluations sucked as well. So, basically we are all shitty teachers. Also, we are defiant, don’t listen, and pretty much suck all around. At least it’s not just me.
We had our winter celebration today. I got home after 8:00pm and am exhausted, but it was incredible! Watching the second graders sing (my class from last year) made me cry. We have amazingly beautiful, talented, wonderful kids and I am so proud of all of them. It was really fun.
|Sunday, December 12th, 2004|
|Why I'll continue to be a hermit
W called today we talked forever and it was really nice. She told me this story about waking up last night to a friend of a housemate who's staying with them sleep walking and peeing in the hallway outside her bedroom. I laughed so hard I almost wet my pants. It felt good to laugh. Plus I've found another reason (along with no prostitutes, and no one doing coke off my kitchen table) to really appreciate living alone.
|Sunday, December 5th, 2004|
So, last night I couldn’t go to sleep when I had planned so I stayed up watching T.V. and doing a puzzle. I don’t know why I felt the need to do a puzzle but I brought one home from school, it’s way way too hard for my students anyway. I thought I should add a new activity to my weekend if I was going to spend it locked in my apartment like I always do.
The thing is, I fell asleep doing the puzzle. I often fall asleep on the couch, watching T.V., or reading a book, or on the computer. It’s not at all unusual for me to drift off while on the couch, but doing a puzzle? One minute I was sitting there doing a puzzle and the next I was waking up a 7:38 this morning. I must have been really tired after all.
In other news I was playing a flag game online (sometimes I get carried away with kids games when I’m researching things for school) and I’ve just found out that there is a little tiny country of 28, 000 people and 61 sq km in the middle of Italy. It’s called San Marino. Where have I been? Seriously, how could I not know this? Weird.
Also, I have no electricity. It would seem like at 1:37am with nothing to do and no electricity it would be a good time to go to bed, but no, not for me it seems. Too bad there’s not enough light to work on my puzzle, no doubt that’d but me right to sleep.
|Friday, December 3rd, 2004|
I was just woken up by a phone call from one of my student’s parents. Um, too bad for him I was a bit disoriented. Luckily it was in English. Though, I find myself a bit irritated that I never knew he speaks PERFECT fluent English, I think that irritation is probably due to being woken up, hopefully.
I was up all night doing report cards. I slept from 6-8 pm yesterday when I got home, and 5-6 am this morning before going to school. It turns out it’s harder to teach on no sleep than it used to be to sit in class. Funny that. I had coffee to get me through.
I’ve been meaning to write about Thanksgiving in Mexico. I think that I can safely say that it was the most interesting Thanksgivings I’ve ever had. We invited a bunch of J’s friends from all over the world, from Mexico to Australia. There were 11 of us in all and only me and J from the U.S.
There was no turkey involved since they don’t have a functioning oven so we took a page out of my mom’s side’s Thanksgiving and had raviolis and then we added gnocchi to the mix. We provided the pasta and sauces (red and pesto homemade by J--I chopped) and others brought what they wanted so we also had salad, bread, cheese, olives, chocolate cake, and lots and lots of wine. We were going to have pisco but the store was out so we decided on grappa instead. It’s probably just as well since me and the French guy who grew up mostly in Peru disagreed a bit on where the pisco was going to come from.
It was good fun and involved a lot more drinking than most my Thanksgivings do. A friend of E’s from when she lived there came so we could meet him. He came a bit late (and by that I mean really late as everyone else was, of course, late to start with) so by the time he arrived everyone was several glasses of wine down and me and Jenne were locked away in the kitchen with a ravioli disaster. I think that maybe we scared him a bit, and once the grappa came out things got even less coherent. I’m surprised it took him a good while before he ran for the hills.
Luckily for me I’ve drunk enough grappa in my life to know when to stop (which is not very far in) and was up the next day in time to get to the airport hangover free with no problem. Others kept going with the grappa and ended up puking it up all over their housemate’s shoes on the patio. That’s a Thanksgiving first for me as well.
There were so many things to say about my trip to Mexico but I’ll have to stop here for now. Overall it was really really great.
Now I'm going to bed.