Saturday, August 30, 2003

Well, as it turns out, being a teacher means that everything becomes a luxury. Suddenly, you no longer have time to be bothered with those little things like personal hygiene, using the bathroom, having an anxiety issue, eating, sleeping, etc. In a way, it's rather liberating for a girl who always priortized those things. It's complete focus on everything other than YOU. Which is kind of nice, for a change.
I love being in the city on holiday weekends, especially this one because if folks are not out of town for labor day, they are out in the desert staying up all night and looking at art. me? i'm just enjoying hanging around the abode, walking the pup, getting to eat out at restaurants without fear of crowding, easy parking. life is good in the city on holiday weekends. one thing that i notice though- nobody seemed to let the homeless folks know that it is the weekend to get out of town! take a vacation, man...

Wednesday, August 27, 2003

Just FYI, don't ever listen to all this bullshit about how urgent it is that we get technology, of all things, into the classroom. I honestly can't even believe people are arguing this when THERE ARE NOT EVEN FREAKIN BOOKS IN THE CLASSROOM! THERE ARE NOT PAPER CLIPS! THERE ARE NOT STAPLES! THERE ARE NOT POSTERS! Teachers are meant to purchase all of these things, and they are talking about computers. For the love of god, get your priorities straight. You are putting the cart before the horse there!

Monday, August 25, 2003

Today was my first day as a middle school teacher. It went sooooo much smoother than I had anticipated. Apparently this is the "honeymoon" stage- the kids are on their best behavior and I am full of energy.
The hour-long commute each way is going to be the death of me, but we'll see how it goes. 95 degrees without a/c is a little rough to handle. If there is one thing I have learned from TFA, however, it is relentless pursuit of goals. I barely even notice bodily discomfort anymore, and if you know me, you know this is an amazing turnaround. I still don't know if this is good or bad, but it is me right now. Might as well celebrate it!

Saturday, August 23, 2003

in the delicious tartine bakery the other day, i noticed the cutest girl. of course, i felt the need to gush at exactly how cute she was, since i was with my mother and together we get a little gushy. well, as it turns out, cute girl is a designer. and she gave me her website, which i hate her for. so now you can all hate me for giving it to you. the hats are something else.

use with caution:
Miss Fitt

Thursday, August 21, 2003

today i signed up to work in a district where 75% of students or more are english language learners. i do not speak spanish.
i also signed up to have two classrooms in which to make lovely, even though one is a closet.
i signed up for two hours per day in the car, and thousands of hours of work that will keep me busy until june of next year.
i am so fucking excited there are not even words.
see you in june : )
Recent conversations between me (phc) and the lovely beau (lb) of late:

phc: i can't stand this disorganization anymore! i'm going crazy.
lb (an hour later): i found this organizational plan to help us. we can buy x, y, and z and our problem will be solved.
phc: i can't believe you're still thinking about that!

phc: i neeeeed to talk to you. i'm losing my shit here.
lb: sure, hon. what do you want to talk about?
phc: i can't EXPLAIN what i'm feeling.

yup, i'm a real party right now. aren't you jealous?

Wednesday, August 20, 2003

when you are trying to gain weight, you make the following as a snack:
whip together mascarpone cheese, rasberries, and powdered sugar
stuff in wonton wrappers
deep fry

dust with powdered sugar and enjoy. YUM!
you want pictures of the belle? i'll give you pictures of the belle!
Doggie Love
Talk about things you should worry about happening on a random Tuesday afternoon... Yesterday, my lovely downstairs was out walking the dogs when he ran into a used needle on the street. Being the lovely guy that he is, he went to go pick it up and save any small children or animals the danger of running into it when he got pricked. He now has to be on HIV medication for a month, won't know anything fully conclusive for six months, etc. Did I mention he's getting married in a month? We're all sure he's ok, but in the meantime, it's very stressful.

Not to be too blase here, but have you noticed I posted 100 things about me?

ps. Trust me, I feel as scattered and manic as my writing reflects.

Monday, August 18, 2003

i've really got to calm the fuck down, because just now i fell off the bed while merely sitting there. i'm all wacked out and frantic and feel that all i can do is smoke & wait for the phone to ring. maybe being involved in teach for america is like having a really bad relationship with a boy.

Sunday, August 17, 2003

would you commute an hour per day (one hour there, one hour back) for $6,000 more per year? is it worth it?
ok, who can direct me to the site that gives me the html that allows me to view how people end up here? i already have sitemeter, which lets me see where people come from (& you thought you were being sneaky- you know who you are), but i'd like to add that fun feature. help a fellow blogger out here.

Saturday, August 16, 2003

Who's that girl?

...with the recurring abscesses?
...who is hosting a staph infection?
...whose nose is swollen up from yet another abscess?
...with that cute heating pad on her face?
...who is on that lovely smelling vitamin/ cleansing fast?
...who is 5'9 and weighs 118 lbs?
...whose body defies antibiotics?

ah, yes. i have NEVER been so healthy!
i would like to send out a challange to everyone out there. spend one month in a low-performing, low-income, public school classroom and tell me you could do anything else with your life. it's that life-altering.

Thursday, August 14, 2003

my two new favorite bumper stickers:

1. lord, please help me be the person my dog thinks i am
2. if you can read this, thank a teacher

Wednesday, August 13, 2003

happy two-year anniversary to my babylove. hands down, he has made the last two years the best of my life. xoxo

well friends, it's been decided. i am going to be teaching in alum rock, in lovely san jose. who knew? i have been filled with dread and depression and fear and confusion since returning home, not having any sort of security and feeling like everything i have done all summer is for not. but once i decided to do this- and be willing to sacrifice more than i thought i could, i am extremely excited and relieved. i am going to be a teacher! it is decided. i get to be in the classroom, change student's lives, and love what i do. it's more than most people get, and i am eternally grateful.

Saturday, August 09, 2003

As a perfect end to a perfect summer spent in this institution, our roof collapsed this morning and flooding proceeded all over the building. we were forced to quickly pack up all of our belongings. many people's stuff was ruined, but my wing managed to avoid the flooding. i cannot wait to get the FUCK out of this nightmare.
home late, late sunday night.

Wednesday, August 06, 2003

if i've said it once, i've said it a million times

i am fucking SICK of this place. i am sick of being tired, hungry, working constantly, etc. however, a lot has changed for me during my time here. the first is that i feel i must re-write my whole personal history. i always believed i grew up poor. i was in a single-mother household, we struggled financially quite a bit, there was drama and trauma and all the rest of that good stuff. but now i realize how far from poor we really were. i grew up in suburbia, and i grew up white, and these two things change absolutely everything about your perception of the world. i can honestly say i had no idea. sure, i've read the theory bullshit- but it is NOTHING that is even comparable to seeing kids who are struggling against everything.

I know, enough pontificating. On to the good and the funny of my day:
1. A child that is in my class that has not eaten A SINGLE THING in 5 weeks, who is clearly malnourished, who is constantly exhausted from being kept up at all hours, ate my pb&j sandwich today. what sounds like a small feat to you, my friends, is an incredible obstacle i have been attempting to attend to for weeks. after eating, he was actually able to participate in class and did an excellent job. afterwards, the head teacher in my class asked him to stay behind and i got to witness something that literally broke me. the teacher (an african-american male) lifted this small, scrawny child up waaaaay over his head and said "look what you can do! look how big you can be when you are learning!" the child just glowed from way up there. i sat there and cried.
2. I'm teaching my kids about slam poetry (which is great, but i think only about half the class gets it). we've talked about it, watched it, had guest speakers, and are now writing it. to demonstrate to them some topics to write about, today we were writing a slam poem about me, the teacher, on the board. i was asking for some adjectives to describe me and i got the expected "white", "female", "tall", etc. but one girl raised her hand and when i called on her, she very seriously said "skanky".
i'm in my teacher clothes, for the love of god. skanky?
by the way, when questioned, she chaned it to "nice". hmmmm....
i miss you all. home in 4 days.

Friday, August 01, 2003

i have one more week of institute. again, i am at a loss for words to describe exactly what i'm going through here. beyond being exhausted beyond any reasonable point for far too long, and starving for food with any sort of flavor, and missing everything about my own life so terribly, i am also working day in and day out with kids whose lives make mine look like a fantasy life (& you can trust me, i have never had a fantasy life). there are moments when it all rushes to my head exactly what i'm doing- these kids are so vulnerable and often at such a disadvantage that i sometimes feel there is nothing i can do. for instance, we have one student who has been a behavior problem since day 1 of school. nothing terrible, just a constant ignoring of directions, calling out in class, mild misbehavior, etc. i have called home a few times and finally had a long conversation with his grandfather who informed me that this child was born addicted to drugs. he's never even known his parents. the whole time, i thought i was dealing with a student who was choosing to act out for reasons that were completely in his control. it suddenly hit me that i have no real clue what i'm dealing with when i deal with my students. it's overwhelming, to say the least.
however, on a bright note, today i taught them a bit about slam poetry. we talked about the history of slam poetry and spoken word and i asked them if they knew what "marginalized" means. one of them guessed that it was "staring at someone", which was mesmerized, a vocab word from earlier this week. i then asked if they knew who runs the country, to which they dutifully responded "THE PRESIDENT". i said correct and asked for character traits (a lesson from earlier this week) of the president. nobody knew anything except that he was "bad", so i was quick to inform them that the president, who runs this country, is a STRAIGHT WHITE MALE (written on the board just like that) and that everyone else is "MARGINALIZED". it's pretty tough to explain these ideas to 11-year olds, but i figure it's never too early to try. might as well throw a little political agenda into teaching writing, don't you think?
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