Sunday, September 26, 2010

Juices Flowing

Sometimes I get creative when I watch Titanic:

‎"I saw my whole life as if I had already lived it. An endless parade of lesson planning and parent nights, grading papers and monitoring lunches. Always the same rowdy children, the same mindless chatter. I felt like I was standing at a great precipice, with no one to pull me back, no one who cared... or even noticed."

I don't actually feel this way, but I thought it was funny nonetheless. Actually, I'm really enjoying work. Sure it's difficult and my life is non-stop, but I think deep down I like it that way. Idle time always makes me feel like I should be doing something. Although I could do without all the grey hairs I've been finding! But I wish I were just a third grade teacher - the fifth graders are not as fun as the third graders and they seem to be more of a thorn in my side.

On the bright side, I can't even believe I've gotten down all the names of my students in only than three weeks. All 150 of 'em.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Disarray

I was a little stunned the other day when I opened the BBC News webpage on my computer and saw this news story headlined on their home page. When the page loaded, this is exactly what I saw:


It just shocked me to see this "one in seven living in poverty in the US" headline, especially with the choice of images they choose to stick with it. I guess what I was feeling was a mix of uncertainty, sadness, and in a way, fright? Maybe. It just seemed strange to see such deplorable statistics splashed on the web by the media for one of the "strongest" and most influential countries in the world.

It saddens me to see that there are so many living in this country that are below the poverty line, and struggling day to day with their living standards. We are a country that is so wealthy and butting their nose all over the globe, yet we fail to look to our neighbors to help those who are struggling. Our priorities don't seem to be in line.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Jeepers Creepers

Thanks Oprah for both the recognition, and for the cash for our schools! 

Funny that when I was in third grade, my favorite book series was the Baily School Kids, and my favorite of their books was the first one, Vampires Don't Wear Polka Dots. Little did I ever know that I would later become the main character, Ms. Jeepers, the students' teacher and vampire.


It all happened last week. To start this off, I bring a water bottle filled with red Kool-Aid to class every day because for one thing, I need to drink a lot or else I start to get a sore throat from all the "shushing" all day. Second, I need to sugar to keep up with some of these kids. The students often see me take sips from my bottle as I keep it with me near the front of the classroom. 

Well, at the end of class one day a student came up to me and asked me if I'm a vampire because I always drink red juice and she said my two incisor teeth are very sharp and pointy. All I could think to say after being so surprised by this (and holding back a laugh) was "you better watch out then" and she quickly got into line. 

I only wish I were as enigmatic and mysterious as my fictional role-model Ms. Jeepers. 

"Everybody Gets...$1 Million?"

Oprah grants Mastery Charter Schools $1 million from her Angel Network.
Thanks Oprah :)

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Falling For You

Today was the first day that felt like fall: the weather was cool, the air was crisp, and all of my day's activities reminded me of the fall. All of them except for the fact that I'm not returning to UMass this fall to begin the semester. Instead, I'm in the real world. Working. Being an adult. Regardless, I had a great day in Winthrop and this four day vacation from Philly is really bringing my energy back, and I was so glad to see all of my amazing friends this evening :)

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Routine

Making a bajillion photocopies.
Orientation lessons.
Handing out demerits to 5C.
Proctoring diagnostic assessments.
Grade level team meetings.
Riding the bus home with students.
Decorating my classroom.

I'm loving my job, but I am so excited for this four-day weekend and my Boston visit - although I'm a bit skeptical to take the midnight to 5am Megabus tomorrow night. And I'll need it to prepare myself for the coming week:
Monday is the beginning of REAL instruction - history style!
Tuesday is my first UPenn grad course...

Oh, did I mention my sister is having her baby tonight, right as I am typing this actually? I'm going to wake up in the morning as Uncle Vinny :S

Monday, September 6, 2010

Mass Appeal

Oh Boston Globe, how you disappoint me lately. In the past two days there have been two Boston.com front page stories bashing UMass Amherst, our state's flagship state university. One of the posts was legitimate, published in the Sunday Globe, while the other was a sad excuse for a "news blog" or something ridiculous of that nature.

As a graduate of this school, I am proud to have attended UMass. I feel I got a solid education there while not having to pay out of the nose like others I know. Furthermore, I collaborated with some amazing faculty members, met amazing people, and I loved the Amherst area. Compared to a lot of other state schools across the country, UMass doesn't lack that much.

In the first article, it seems like that "platinum blonde" bimbo solely wanted to go to a bigger party school than UMass. First of all, it's not hard at all to get a 4.0 GPA in high school, so to call her the state's "best and brightest" is a long shot. My favorite section:
“I wanted to go to a school with the best name, the best national recognition to get the best job,’’ said Davis, who is considering majoring in international business or communications at Michigan, which will cost her parents $45,200 a year for tuition, room, and board, compared with $20,500 they would pay at UMass. “People work really hard in high school, and they just want something to show for it.’’
Okay missy, first of all, enjoy coming out of college with an assload of debt. She's going to school set to major in international business/communications, but doesn't she know she'll most likely fall into the high majority of students who end up changing majors? And undergrad is what you make of it! You can go to Bunker Hill and if you work hard enough, get enough experience, and put yourself out there, you could go on to go to Harvard or elsewhere. UMass prepared me: I got accepted to Teach for America, and I'm getting a Master's from an Ivy League school, all with under $20,000 in undergrad loans, which is less than one year for this blonde tween.

But why blame UMass when the state's funding is failing our schools?

The second "sushi" article is even more ridiculous. The "writer" turns some event UMass Dining just hosted (making the longest sushi roll or something of the sorts) into a plea attempt to get students interested in the school. No, woman, those two don't go together, even if you were trying to be witty. Get a real job.

(eh, I was bored...and a little annoyed)

What I don't understand is how can these "writers" continually bash the school? First of all, if you keep giving the school bad publicity, then how can it ever improve in the eyes of incoming students? Keep posting "negative" things about it and soon no one will want to attend.

Mega Busted

I've been hearing from various sources that Megabus is cheap, but I didn't know how cheap until I just booked a round-trip bus ride to Boston from this weekend and the total cost was only $15.50. Not to mention it is an estimated six hours each way, same as Amtrak, and yet at a tiny fraction of the cost. And with the times I'm taking it (midnight on Wednesday and early morning on Sunday) I don't foresee too much traffic in either direction.

In other news, I blew through my first paycheck like it was nothing. I can't believe how much money I've spent the past three days - damn! I don't even have enough to pay my cable bill now :S

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Pobrecita

I get it Philadelphia, you have a lot of poor, homeless people getting all nice and comfortable on your streets. I'm down with that. But do they have to come up to me asking me for money EVERY time I head into Center City? Do they have to talk about how cracked out they are when I am trying to mind my own business on the trolley? Do they have to recommend to me their favorite beer when I'm trying to buy a six pack at the local corner store? I've done my share of good deeds this past month for some of your brethren but enough is enough!