Got a call during lunch to see if I wanted to sub last night. As my car has recently developed expensive habits, I said yes. Fortunately, it was at one of the CC campuses near me. Rushed home to feed/water my cat and myself and then onwards to class. To my horror, I walked in to discover it was a geometry class. For THREE hours.
The best teacher trick I've learned is that when one is flailing--for any reason--make the students do the work. So, I did. Luckily there were enough markers for the white boards, so I drew groups of problems on the board.
In every group--no matter the age, language, subject--you will find a smart-ass. This is your Special Helper. Last night, Calvin was mine. He was brilliant--all shrieking about right angles, square roots, and hypotenuse. The class turned into such an exuberant session that we had the next door teacher coming to check on us.
The only down side to having such wonderful classes at night is that I'm wired up and writing lesson plans until late.
Well, that, and the enormous contrast in my day. Mornings find me on the west side, watching students get dropped off in Escalades and Hummers and Jaguars. Usually with mommy or nanny gushing over precious little so-and-so. I feel sorry for this student body--they're already jaded with their weekends jaunts to Vail and Manhattan and summers in Europe. They're lazy and disrespectful and entitled. And they all have special little educational plans which the counselor has to go over. (This is not to disparage children who actually need some kind of accommodation, but IMO, laziness and self-indulgence are not things which need an IEP.)
Oh, and they're all under 14.
By evening, I am in run-down classrooms that have broken desks and few amenities that we consider basic. The students are dropped off by friends/family, walk or hop off the bus. They've come from work and/or raising their kids. And here they are. Polite. Funny. And I haven't found the right word for the spirit of adults who are willing to learn--either the scariness/frustration of English or coming back to get their GED.
I hope it doesn't come across as condescending when I say I am humbled and inspired by the second group of students. Yes, this population of the educational world has challenges, but for now? It is giving me courage to get up in the morning and to stay in the classroom.
Despite the 50 mph winds blasting through our town and electricity being on/off, my first ESL subbing class occurred tonight. I had forgotten how much I actually like teaching. What a difference a room full of kind and respectful students had on the learning process and my soul.
“Singers and Musicians are some of the most driven, courageous people on the face of the earth. They deal with more day-to-day rejection in one year than most people do in a lifetime. Every day, they face the financial challenge of living a freelance lifestyle, the disrespect of people who think they should get real jobs, and their own fear that they'll never work again. Every day, they have to ignore the possibility that the vision they have dedicated their lives to is a pipe dream. With every note, they stretch themselves, emotionally and physically, risking criticism and judgment. With every passing year, many of them watch as the other people their age achieve the predictable milestones of normal life - the car, the family, the house, the nest egg. Why? Because musicians and singers are willing to give their entire lives to a moment - to that melody, that lyric, that chord, or that interpretation that will stir the audience's soul. Singers and Musicians are beings who have tasted life's nectar in that crystal moment when they poured out their creative spirit and touched another's heart. In that instant, they were as close to magic, God, and perfection as anyone could ever be. And in their own hearts, they know that to dedicate oneself to that moment is worth a thousand lifetimes.
The capacity for delight
is the gift of paying attention.'
a sweet card from a grad school classmate.
penny found on a trash dumping trek
A newspaper-clipped recipe fell out of a book this morning and I took it for a sign that I ought to see if my torch still worked after the move. Am happy to report that it does. Not so happy to report that ground almonds catch fire rather dramatically.
From an 8th grader as an apology for talking too much in my class.
Oddest thing ever--my celery-loving 6th grader came in to swap candy for veg.
A gemstone tiger.
And I neglected to take a photo of my favorite gift of the day. A student walked by with his overflowing Valentine bag o' goodies and plopped down on the ground and dug through everything to find me something 'magical' [I think I overuse that particular adjective in class] from Willy Wonka. So while it wasn't particularly bought/designed for me, thought it was very sweet that he would part with some of his treasured sugar.
Friday! Don't know of another word that brings such delight at present.
Some--what do you call a Shrove Tuesday magical person?--elf created a festive table in the staff work room this morning. And all the faithful children were running around cramming in as much Valentine sugar as possible before tomorrow's ashes. Clickety beads were everywhere today and lots of sparkles as the sun returned this afternoon.
Despite the challenges of this particular posting, I am so very glad to be living in sunshine.
Very fun to live around the corner from the Asian Market as I've gotten to hear those little firecrackers and during my market run, saw the dragon dancers.
Forgive the horrid shot, but it was the only one I grabbed from last night's Zydeco festivities. Lovely live band with a French singer,lots of people practicing their swing steps and many sparkly purple/gold/green hats everywhere. I had yummy tofu and enjoyed my dual culture celebration.
And in the spirit of the skin-shedding snake, decided it was time for a spring wallet. Dithered about in the palace to accessories that is called Charming Charlie's and came home with purple chiffon roses. Tres chic! And I'm hoping that today's fortune is true.
I would love to live a car-less life; especially after this week of transmission scares and clutches beginning to fail. Some sensor is off on my left wheel and the a/c doesn't work anymore. I hate to even allow the thought to gain entrance into my life, but it may be time to consider replacing my faithful 2004 Honda.
An 8th grader wanted to get something from his locker during 6th period today. I told him that it was fine with me, but then he declined saying that the principal would leap out and get him in trouble. I told him that was because the rooms & hallways were monitored.
That got the entire room's attention. I said 'you only think Jesus is watching you, but all these crucifixes (i?) are cameras and the principals have apps on their phones to watch what's going on over the entire campus.'
Still snickering over this. If I'm fired over my flippant sacralige? It would be worth it.
Early Valentine from a jr. high student's mother with the words: "I know you guys get tired of sugary treats." Amen and thank you!
The traffic gods smiled upon me and I was able to zip across the city at 4 p.m. and was able to get both my faculty parking permit and my ID badge (the photo is beyond hideous, so it will remain hidden). I know they're just pieces of plastic and I'm only an on-call sub, but I'm still jazzed about being officially being on college staff!
Then I popped down to BookPeople to take more blurry author photos. Tonight's treat was Dave Barry. While he did give a synopsis of his latest book, he mostly just ad-libbed and took audience questions. It was lovely to laugh to tears. He has perfected dead-pan delivery.
At the end, I happened to see the hosts of the Superbowl party I attended--not only are they fun & globe-trotting/living people, it is nice to have been in town long enough to begin to recognize people while out/about.
A high school classmate in Portland connected me to her Austin friend via facebook, upon which we (the Austinites) discovered that we were on the same undergrad campus at the same time. It's been a fun connection as she and her husband are foodies.
While it's perhaps not the most appetizing thing in a bowl, this broccoli divinity is what I'll be living on for the next month.
I remember the days of just keeping time,
of hanging around in sleepy towns forever.
Back roads empty for miles.
Well, you can't have a dream and cut it to fit,
but when I saw you, I knew
we'd go together like a wink & a smile.
Leave your old jalopy by the railroad track.
We'll get a hip double-dip tip-toppy two-seat Cadillac.
So you can rev her up; and don't go slow,
it's only green lights and all rights.
Let's go together with a wink & a smile.
Now my heart hearts music; such a simple song.
Sing it again; the notes never end.
This is where I belong.
(dramatic key change)
Just the sound of your voice, the light in your eyes,
we're so far away from yesterday, together,
with a wink & a smile.
Weeeeee go together
Like a wink & a smile.
(if you've clicked on the title, the song ought to be stuck in your head for the rest of the day. You're welcome.)