30 May, 2009

This isn't the original article, but the responses are interesting. 

25 May, 2009

Maybe I'm not 5 years older

This week I decided that my students' behavior is definitely karmic retribution for some of my fine performances in high school.   I tried to figure out if I still do things like that now, and the answer is definitely yes. 
Well, it's been a while since I (with help!) changed all of the definitions on a vocabulary list to inappropriate words, snuck into the office to make photocopies of it, and distributed it (twice, we made extra photocopies knowing the first set would get confiscated). But I still have a lot of trouble focusing in grad school and in meetings at work. At work I know better than to act like I'm 17, but in grad school no one seems to mind.  

In my AP English class in 11th grade, we read Love Medicine by Louise Erdrich.  I really didn't like it but her books have gotten so much praise I recently decided to try another one. I just finished Tracks, which I liked a little better, but not enough that I would recommend it to anyone. My little ikea bookshelf is overflowing and I didn't appreciate this book enough to give it any space there.  The chapters could almost be short stories independent of the rest of the book, which I usually like because of my attention span issues. But there is something about her writing that I  can't access.  The imagery in some chapters is exceptional, maybe it's the characters? Maybe it's that I read Tracks as if I were still in high school, except without the helpful study guides my amazing teacher gave us. So I still don't like this writer, which is really a trivial discovery. I think that my attempt to read her again did help me understand what is happening with some of my students- the ones who are fully capable of the mathematical part of Spanish, but can't apply that ability to reading or speaking (without a script).  I think what I'll be working on the last few weeks, besides Regents Prep, will be talking about how all of the things we've studied this year (grammar, cultural traditions, art, geography) can be accessed. 

18 May, 2009

Some things are too easy to spend time on

James Harrison declines an invitation to the White House. One of my sort-of students (one who goes to my school but isn't in any of my classes) fails advisory.  I no longer feel guilty for being lazy or unmotivated. 

17 May, 2009

"Sin prisa, sin pausa"

All year I thought I didn't want it to be summer, because I would miss working all the time. Now that there are something like 5 weeks left, I'm ready for the unlimited free time. (Even though I'm sure I'll be bored after a week.) 
But there is so much left to do! Getting ready for Regents, covering everything that (I think) needs to be covered in each level, writing a curriculum for foreign language at my school so that next year we know what needs to be covered in each level, observations by 5 different people at least, etc. And a new semester of grad school starting in a week. There aren't enough verbs in this paragraph, but I'm just going to admit that and accept it.  I know that everyone in New York is moving now, but I just renewed my lease for another year because I love this apartment, my rent is way lower than it should be, and I just can't fathom finding time to look for an apartment and move into it. This will be the first time since high school that I've lived in the same place for an entire year (hopefully 2 years), it's kind of an achievement I think, for me at least. 

As far as the last few weeks go, I have no idea what to expect. My students have been twice as crazy as at any other point in the year. The heat in my room sporadically comes on in the afternoons and I can't teach with my door open because of the craziness in my room and the students from other schools in the building who wander in to say hi. It's hard to keep track of who is suspended, who is on vacation, and who argued during math class and will fight in my class if given the opportunity. And, as the one who is supposed to be calm despite the students being insane, I am so ready to be done with the stress. My classroom faces a park and every time the weather is nice I'm ready to climb out the window as much as my students are. 

I feel guilty because I am running out of the energy to plan lessons and grade work. I guess after a few years this gets easier, but it seems like a lot of people at my school are feeling this way. Lately I've been spending as much time talking to students about their grades or their problems or why they just got kicked out of class/in a fight/etc as I've been spending planning and grading. That's where the guilt comes from, but as much as I know my extra-peppy professors from last summer would hate it, I think I just have to do what I can to not go crazy in the next few weeks. 

02 May, 2009

Pensamos con la boca a veces

"Miss, when they cremate people, do they burn the eyes too? "
"But Miss, you're the only girl in New York who likes basketball."
"It's like he cares so much about his job, that if he doesn't do it, he'll die."
"I don't need to go to that class, I already know everything." 
"So, in Ecuador there are are zombies all over the place, right?"