Archive for the ‘impatient of no child’ Category

1 empty nest, 1 heating pad

August 25, 2008

I take this opportunity to submit my interpretation of the many “What to expect on college move in day” articles I’ve read –

Drink plenty of water. It will be hot.

There may be tears as your daughter adjusts to living away from home.   It will rain.

Get plenty of rest. You will strain your back.

Have the “hook-up” talk with your daughter before move in day. Guys will be checking out your daughter before you’ve even unloaded the car.

Be open minded. You will see students carrying televisions to their dorm rooms that are much nicer than yours and you will envy them and their youthful sense of entitlement.

Don’t forget the cleaning supplies.  The shower might smell gross.

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fear failure much?

June 19, 2008

I had the MOTHER of all TEST dreams this morning. Summary: College algebra, haven’t studied, haven’t done assignments, no idea when class is – oh it’s in  20 minutes, no book, no pencil, find a pencil w/no eraser, find another pencil- it’s dull, can’t find classroom, can’t see teacher through window to see if it’s my class, listen for teacher’s voice to see if it’s my class (apparently I’m a dog?), end up outside and unable get back in building, stop to talk to a random black man (not Obama), get back in the building and still can’t find class, discover a new corridor and see teacher, explain that I’m not a fuck-up, I’m usually a good student but I’ve gotten sidetracked – then I say I don’t know why I care, I’ve been through college already and I start to tell him about the jobs I’ve had, he gives me the raised eyebrow & walks away. I try to read classmates’ notes as they study in the hall, some girl says she studied EWR (Newark?) and I’m like -shit what is that, how am I going to pull this off, I have no clue, I’m going to fucking utterly fail and I say to dreamself “I know, I’ll wake up” – and I do. It’s 6 am. I force myself to write the dream down in my journal because it’s so filled with insecurities and fear of failure that it’s actually funny. I should win a prize.

Dreaming is creepy.

Neo-luddite

September 13, 2007

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Apparently I am a neo-Luddite.

 

I discovered this after reading an interesting article by Lowell Monke in Orion Magazine the other day. In the article, “Unplugged Schools” Monke suggests the need to ensure that we don’t substitute technology for personal interaction in the classroom. Since schools are one of the main institutions that influence a child’s social development it seems clear to me that they have a responsibility to provide a balanced curriculum which allows time for real experiences and social skill building.

 

Monke said “Compensation for an overheated technological culture should not be mistaken for rejection of it.” Even so, a couple of readers jumped on him for being a neo-Luddite, ignoring the bit about Monke being a technology teacher for the past 15 years.

 

The Luddite movement which began in the early 1800’s was a response to industrialization in the textile industry. I imagine them meeting secretly in dark barns, plotting the destruction of looms and knitting machines between swigs of strong ale. Luddism wasn’t fueled by fear but by pure economics. People were losing their livelihood to machines which couldn’t produce the quality of craftsmanship that the artisans could.

 

The label “Luddite” is now commonly used by people who neither understand the history behind the movement nor identify with those of us who do attempt a conscious approach to living. It’s just another derogatory label used by pseudointellectuals. (The irony here was intentional.) 

 

“Life without industry is guilt, and industry without art is brutality.” John Ruskin

Government jobs

August 9, 2007

A while back, I registered to receive email alerts about education jobs with the State of Florida. Not sure why I did that, but it provides fodder for both my amusement and pissiness.

Today I had an email alert for an opening as a Program Specialist, salary range $23,645.18 – $61,448.66.

Here is the description:

The employee must be productive under tight timeframes, balance multiple and competing priorities and maintain goal-directed behavior and performance sometimes under stressful conditions.  The employee must interact courteously with others.  The employee’s performance and behavior must demonstrate consideration of the workload concerns of others and must not negatively affect productivity and morale of the unit.  Am I wrong, or isn’t that a requirement in any job?

 Here is an example they’ve listed under Examples of Work:

Attendance at work is an essential job function.

How is that an Example of Work? Who is writing this shit?Here are some things listed under Examples of Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

Speaking: Talking to others to effectively convey information

Active listening:  Listening to what other people are saying and asking questions as appropriate

Instructing: Teaching others how to do something

I hereby bestow upon the State of Florida the Supreme Redundancy & Bullshit Award for Writing and Communicating Ineffectively in Written Language…

 

These bureaucratic douchebags, shitheads, assholes are designing, writing and evaluating our kids’ FCAT Writing Tests.

collage

June 19, 2007

I’ve been inspired to make smallish collages this past week. I  stumbled upon some cool, helpful artists online at http://www.aisling.net/ and http://www.teeshamoore.com/. I’m following their suggestions and keeping my little gems in an “art” journal. The chopping, trimming, painting, coloring, pasting and arranging are oddly compelling. When I’ve finished it feels like a real accomplishment. I am the best kindergartener around! I could have colored and pasted my way to a fulfilling career as a preschool teacher if I didn’t need to pay for food, housing, insurance and all the other adult necesseties.

I was an assistant teacher at a Montessori school in Rochester when I was a Senior in college. It was for a survey of education class I was taking. (I realized too late, that I was interested in learning theories and styles and child advocacy.)  The director of the school was an Indian or Pakistani woman. She was such a calm, elegant and soft-spoken woman.  I loved listening to her soothing voice when she read the children stories and she taught me that you don’t have to raise your voice to get children to pay attention. The Montessori environment allowed the children to explore their interests on any particular day but in an orderly, respectful environment. Everyone had a responsibility to care for the materials and classroom.

I love the way kids create art without self-conciousness and without an inner critic that says “that’s not good enough to show anyone.” There were a couple of kids in the office a few months back and I got them to draw little pictures for me. The 5 year old drew a figure that can only be described as a  potato man. His 8 year old sister drew a sun with lots of rays, a dog, a cat, and some kind of ball. Her dog has a speech bubble that says “ror”.

I fussed over their pictures and hung them up at my desk and they didn’t think anything of it. They still believe that whatever they create is good enough to display.

I just love that!

steak night

June 8, 2007

Last night I dreamed about this guy in college we called “Steak night”. I had stupid code names for everyone. This one was because he worked in the dining hall checking ID cards, usually on Saturday night – steak night.

 Steak night was supposed to be a big treat, with thick slabs of tough steak, mashed potatoes and some other cruddy vegetable. Since I never liked steak or meat I would often get pb& j and give my steak to one of the boys.

Steak night was a treat because he was handsome and popular even though I think he may have briefly sported a mustache and sometimes wore a pink LaCoste shirt.

 In my dream, I came out of some sort of terminal type building on the top of a hill, saw Steak night and asked him how to get back to campus. He laughed like I was only trying to think of a way to chat with him and I said “No seriously, I have no sense of direction.” In the stupid way that dreams make no sense, Jeff Laben was half hanging out of a car window, waiting to give Steak night a ride. Steak night sort of nodded to him like he was going to hang with me instead and they laughed. Then he walked with me a while, jingling his keys, and I babbled about being born with no sense of direction. Then I woke up and tried to get back to the dream to see what would happen but I couldn’t.

Obviously the dream means that I feel I have no sense of direction in the professional and personal sense as well as in the practical map reading, following driving directions sense. It also means that I would like to find my way back to college when life held promise and adventure. Midlife crisis much?

I’m glad I’m so adept at analyzing my stupid dreams.

Among Schoolchildren

May 23, 2007

I finished Among Schoolchildren (Tracy Kidder) this week.  As much as I have acknowledged how difficult a teacher’s job is, and how much of emotional investment and hard work is involved, I think I still picture the classroom of the 1950’s – the teacher at the blackboard, with well-groomed, well-behaved children who sit in rows of tiny, clean desks, their hands folded and eagerly awaiting directions. And this is my image even though I was observing 8th graders in the Alternative Certification program last year at this time, even though I have 2 kids of my own and even though I can’t even manage to teach my non-native speaking student to say “I can’t come to the library tonight.” (she couldn’t make it last night and still had to have prompting from one of her kids when she called). I like to think of teachers being like Miss Honey in “Matilda” or Anne Shirley in “Anne of Green Gables” a real literary representation of the “school teacher.”

Mrs. Zajac’s students came to school with big problems and she wasn’t able to help them all. But she was able to inspire and teach quite a few to enjoy learning. Her preoccupation outside of school with the kids’ problems was touching. It must be emotionally exhausting to have all those kids’ problems running through your head all the time. She referred to herself in the third person like, “Mrs. Zajac is giving you back your homework. It’s not the best you could do.” It’s bizarre when people do that. M doesn’t like it.