Wednesday, February 28, 2007

"This is not about being open to gay, lesbian, and trans-gender students. This is about being open to people... Every single one of your students has a story." -Sylvia Aquino

I hear an alarming number of my colleagues say, "I'm just not sure why I'm here or if this is what I want to do" or (my personal favorite) "I just really don't like my students" during the course of the typical "So, how are your classes going?" discussions. Holy cow, this irritates me.

I realize that the purpose of student teaching and the credential program is to help us discover our strengths and weaknesses as teachers and, essentially, find our niche in education. And I realize that, undoubtedly, some people are going to discover that they aren't good teachers (I can pick out several right now...). But what I really can't fathom is why you would even consider the teaching profession if you don't, oh I don't know, like kids? Or believe in the worth and validity of adolescents?

I have a lot more to say, but I'm in the middle of a lecture about Title IX and am simultaneously taking notes, finishing lesson plans, researching the concept of a classroom blog, and looking up YA titles for this summer. And blogging.

Did I mention PACT? Yeah, that's due soon too...

the way home

I have a job for the summer! Today I was hired by LASD to teach an Upper Grade Enrichment class this summer, which means I get to develop my own curriculum and teach junior high for a month this summer. I'm really excited and will hopefully get to create a Young Adult Fiction course. Hooray for employment! Now, for fall '07....

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

all on my own

Daniel and I caught NBC's new series The Black Donnellys last night. It was, in a word, incredible. Not surprising, considering Haggis and Moresco's work on Crash, one of my favorite movies of all time. Check it out.

And speaking of great writing, we saw Pan's Labyrinth this weekend as well. Gorgeous! Thought-provoking! Amazing! I could watch it a million times. Thank you Guillermo, you are my hero.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

maybe you need her

Best thing about this week? 3 hours at Sudwerk with Nick. It's nice to remember how great my friends are.

Friday, February 23, 2007

light my fire

Amazingly, the annual February 19th birthday countdown kick-off came and went and I didn't even realize it. I've been stressed lately (could you guess?) and actually just gave up this morning and let my ESL class watch "Shrek" for the last half hour of class.

What? You would do it too.

I'm having a really hard time believing that I'll be 23 in (hold on....) 55 days. I don't particularly want to be 23, mostly because I associate 23 with officially being an adult and have this irrational fear that as soon as April 19 rolls around this year, I'll suddenly become boring and practical.

This is, as usual, probably just a product of grad school, which has made me feel very boring and practical for the last six months. After all, part of being a teacher is justifying every single thing you do in the classroom. I don't do much adventuring and staying up late and, dare I say it, even as much laughing as I used to. This makes me sad and I hope it's just a phase, that as soon as PACT is turned in, I settle on a research topic, and I get hired somewhere, I can relax a little and loosen up some.

And for anyone who's wondering, I hated Grey's Anatomy last night. Hated it.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

wouldnt that be sweet

Today was the greatest day of my teaching career.

Let's back up. Today was the dreaded "filming day". I slept horribly and had nightmares about forgetting my tape, the battery on my camera dieing, and none of my students showing up, just to screw me over. Fortunately, none of those terrible things happened, class went smoothly, and we had a rousing Reader's Theatre of Act 3, Scene 1. Thank you, English 9.

About halfway through the class, one of my students asked if there were any theatre companies that perform Romeo & Juliet anymore. I explained that lots of companies still perform works of Shakespeare, it's just a matter of finding one in your area that is playing the show that you want to see. I have been looking for a local company who is doing R&J so I can invite my students to check it out, but aside from a one-night showing by Aquila and Mondavi, there's not a lot of Romeo & Juliet happening right now.

This student in particular is one of my favorites. Not because he's well-behaved, or does his homework, or comes to class on time everyday. In fact, he does none of those things. He never stops talking, never turns in any work, and routinely walks in 15 minutes after the bell. However, he's got such spirit. And he tries really hard. And he's funny and charismatic and encourages the rest of the class to participate. And, for whatever reason, he has really latched onto Romeo & Juliet.

So, I accidentally left my camera running as class ended and my students started packing up. As I was reviewing the film this afternoon, I could hear this student in particular talking to my master teacher in the back of the classroom. I had noticed him speaking with her that morning, but didn't think much of it. I can't catch some of the dialogue because of all the other noise in the room, but as far as I can tell, he was asking her about their senior projects (big research projects they must complete and present to a panel in order to graduate) and, get this, if he could incorporate some sort of production of Romeo & Juliet into his senior project.

This is a kid who got a 13% in English last semester. This is a kid in danger of getting kicked out of school for whole host of issues. This is a kid who, in his first written assignment, said that he has been told "you'll never make it" his entire life. This is a kid I believe in because, underneath the beanies and baggy pants and gang symbols, he is passionate about Romeo & Juliet, of all things!

This is why I want to be a teacher.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

the fear you wont fall

So I have a lot of work due in the next week, specifically Task 2 of my PACT which involves a lot of extensive lesson plans and getting filmed (again? seriously?) while I teach. Boo.

I'm home for the long weekend and find that I simply can't motivate myself to get anything done. I really just want to sit on the couch with my dog and read Zadie Smith's On Beauty, eat purple grapes, and drink lattes.

The whole "get a job for next year" thing is a little stressful as well, but again, I can't bring myself to do much about it. Basically, I want to teach in a Davis junior high or at my old high school. These are two very different schools in two very different locations and the constant mental comparisons I keep making are beginning to make my head hurt. I just want a job. And for this academic year to be over. I freaking hate grad school.

Winter Camp was awesome as usual, even with my ex-boyfriend in attendance and his random, weird comments about coffee and my nose ring. My pictures are up here and everyone else's will be here soon enough.

OK, back to work. Maybe.

Friday, February 16, 2007

wherever we go

Well, I personally am devastated. Cafe Roma is, by far, my favorite coffee shop in Davis. And they definitely have the best lattes in town.

And to replace Downtown Roma with a Peet's? Seriously? It's better than replacing it with a Starbucks, but still... What a bummer.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

like a weathervane

Last night, I had a horrible and frightening dream that 10 new students were added to my ELD class, taking the class size up to 35 and requiring me to learn 10 new and totally unpronouncable names. Yikes!

I'm chaining myself to my laptop all day long today, so I can finish my PACT context, WARP 1, Informant Interviews, and lesson plans for next week so I don't stress out while I'm at Winter Camp this weekend.

In other news, MTV's Engaged and Underage is pretty much the most depressing show I've ever seen. While the weddings are always sweet and whatnot, the most horrible part is when they fast-forward to one month later and the newlyweds are living in trailers on their parents' property or something sad like that.

Conversely, MTV's True Life: I Have Gay Parents always makes my heart swell a little bit because it's done so well. Then it makes my heart break a little bit too, because people can be so mean.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

i turn my camera on

I finally bought a new digital camera. And just in time for Winter Camp!

Let the photo-blogging commence!