Thursday, July 15, 2010

20 semi-random reasons i heart portland (oregon)

20. it snows and we have all 4 seasons
19. no sales tax!
18. saburo's sushi house
17. MANY, MANY happy hour places
16. rose festival every june
15. sushiland
14. saturday market + elephant ears
13. zajiang mein
12. gas is $0.25 cheaper per gallon even though someone else pumps it for you
11. traffic isn't that bad
10. when traffic is bad, alternate/local routes exist to save time
9. fabric depot
8. breakfast places and interesting eateries
7. both the beach and the mountains are 1.5 hours away
6. street food carts/stalls all over the place
5. MAX lightrail system
4. watching blazers games on TV without forking over $168 for NBA league pass
3. going to the rose garden to see the blazers
2. awesome summer weather
1. family - i guess they kind of have to be #1, no? :)

Thursday, June 10, 2010

near the end of another school year

i've almost finished my 4th year of teaching. if i get past 5 years, i'll have beaten the statistic that says most new teachers quit within 3-5 years. before i started working, i thought, "wow, that's such a short time! how come people quit so early on in their career?" during my first year, i'm pretty sure i thought about quitting every day for the first month. as the year progressed, it was every other day, and by the end, i was mostly ok. the second and third year were totally fine. nothing like year 1. enter my 4th year, where i switched from teaching 4th graders to 2nd graders. the jury is still out on whether this past year was worse than my first year. after this year, i'm not sure if i'll make it past the 5 year mark.

let me say that for the most part, it's really not the kids. though if you've heard my rants, you might be inclined to think i hate some of my kids. i really don't. i would like to shake some sense into 5 of them...and their parents. i know i'm not good with change, but this year was more change than i deal with. i switched to younger kids, so i wasn't prepared for them as an age group. there was a lot they didn't know yet, and yet so many things they wanted to talk about that there just wasn't time for. sigh.

i wasn't ready for how involved and hands-on (read: needy) their parents were. i'm all for parent involvement, but in healthy ways, where they help (not hinder) the kids and me. actually, the kids were more needy too. if you know me, you know i don't do well with needy - as a general rule of thumb. so, that was hard. the parent factor was REALLY BAD. as a school, we had a dictator as a principal and it took us half the year to get rid of him. he was all about micromanaging and he was incompetent. and, 12 of us were laid off again and we didn't find out if it would be rescinded until the end of may. so, that was stressful. good news, the lay offs were rescinded. we're all hoping this doesn't happen for a third year in a row next year.

summer vacation will be good for some reflection. TEP was all about self-reflection as an educator and i know i haven't done it much. to prevent a repeat of this meltdown year, i need to take time to figure out what went wrong, what went right, and how it can all be better. i'm looking forward to going back up to 4th grade, staying in the spanish dual language program, and teaching content in both languages by myself. and bonus, alicia is going back to 4th with me. our dream team is partially united. all we need is heidi and we're set. but since i have a smaller class and alicia only has 12 kids, we're thinking about combining them for a lot of the extras - science, PE, health, and social studies. even though i raged about this year and couldn't wait for the end of day bell to ring, i'm looking forward to next september already. teachers must be masochists; we yell, complain, cry, and can't wait for the year to end and then we can't wait to jump into the mess all over again. but only after a 2 month recovery time. :)

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

asian pop stars

i'm watching the results show for "so you think you can dance" and the wondergirls are performing "nobody", which is still pretty darn catchy.

the only reason this merits a blog post was that on monday, i was walking by one of my 2nd graders and he was singing "i don't want nobody, nobody but you..." he's my super high functioning filipino austistic student and it was super cute and funny. then today, he's sitting in his square on the rug and punching the air declaring, "i'm manny" (pacquiao) in case you weren't sure who he was talking about. how much do i love that there's a filipino athlete for him to look up to? i just had his conference with his mom today and she was telling me how the night before, he was asking his dad who was better, manny pacquiao or john cena.

totally unrelated - the same student's mom was telling me that when he was little, he couldn't handle being out and around people, so they enrolled him in a social skills therapy class to help him. so now, they have the opposite problem. he talks to everybody. i guess his mom has a ton of relatives and so they were at the mall recently, and the kid walked up to some random vietnamese lady who he thought looked filipino and took her hand and greeted her (in some traditional filipino way, according to his mom). she had to apologize to the lady who was confused about why a random child grabbed her hand. his explanation, "i thought she was family."

going back to asian pop stars, specifically korean pop stars, i found out that one of my 4th grade students from last year was just signed to some 5 year recording contract with a korean record label. they're grooming her and sending her to tumbling classes, vocal classes, etc. and, in the contract, there's a surgery clause, as in if they want you to get some kind of plastic surgery, you have to do it. umm...she's 10 right now. so while it's awesome that she's so talented, i'm horrified at the thought that when she's deemed old enough, some person will tell her that she's not pretty enough and will then proceed to dictate that she must have plastic surgery. that is so disturbing.

t-minus 7 school days and counting until i am officially on vacation. vacation cannot come soon enough.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

carwash calamity and bad words and jokes

i think i need to sleep more than 5 hours a night. i got gas yesterday and then drove into the carwash near my apartment. the directions said to turn the side view mirrors inward and to put the car antenna down. i turned my side view mirrors in, and then wasn't really thinking about my antenna being up, even though my radio was on. total brain fart. i drove home and parked in my garage and while i was getting teacher junk out of my car, i noticed my antenna was bent in a 90 degree angle. crap. and in trying to bend it back, the metal snapped! arg. it was hanging by the cord inside. luckily i had just gone to the 99 cent depot in culver city and had packaging tape in the car (i should probably get some electrical tape until i get it fixed) and taped it up and tried to give it some stability so it wouldn't go flying off while i drive around. it looks so GHETTO.

after lunch today, a couple of the kids had issues they needed to tell me. AR told me that AM hit the playground ball that was in his hands while they were waiting in line and he was really upset by it. and AM said that while they were in line, AR said a bad word to her. i heard the story about the ball, and then made AM apologize to AR. then i asked AR if he said a bad word. he said no, AM said he did...back and forth a couple of times. i asked AR again, if he said a bad word, and he said, "i didn't say a bad word; i said f--k." my response: "..." "so AR, that is a bad word, a very bad word. it is a word we never use at school because it is inappropriate and rude. it is not the kind, polite, and respectful language we are supposed to use with one another. i'll call your mom after school to discuss this." omg.

yesterday, one of the sweetest boys in my class told me "knock knock" jokes at recess and lunch and said he had more jokes. i told him to save it for after school because i just don't have time to hear all the things they want to share during teaching time. so after school, he started telling me the joke very innocently, and it turned out to be a totally racist joke involving the "n" word as a sound effect. how do you start telling a 6/7 year old why that joke is so not ok to ever repeat because it's racist? i didn't have a chance to really get into my spiel because his dad came. i explained to dad and dad was totally sorry and explained that RG hangs out in south LA with his abuela on the weekends and gets exposed to the african-american/latino racial tension that hasn't fully moved up to k-town. or at least, it's not as intense...yet. sweet kid. broke my heart that his world is a little more tainted with exposure to those kinds of jokes. i'm pretty sure he felt terrible. sigh.

Monday, September 14, 2009

my dad e-mails!

a few weeks ago, i sent my dad an e-mail just for kicks because i set up an email account for him and he was starting to learn how to use a computer at a class with other chinese folks. just today, he sent this back to me:

"The computer class is very good. I am still learning."

i am impressed with the pops.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

first day of school

posts have been few and far between. with the start of a new school year, it seemed like a good time to try to blog more regularly.

this morning, i woke up early and felt panicky - almost like i was a first year teacher again. i switched from fourth grade to second grade and so it sort of does feel like starting all over again. i had a brief moment this morning where i kind of wanted to throw up - from nerves, not from being sick while in tokyo.

so, i met my new class today - 18 second graders and 1 more coming tomorrow for a grand total of far. it can pretty much change day to day for the next few weeks. the kids short and cute. they talk a lot and have to go to the bathroom...A LOT. and while they are cute, i'm oddly afraid of them. i have no idea what to expect from them and what they're supposed to be able to do. for example, i gave them a math pre-test today, and the first question had 8 discs and the kids just had to bubble in the number 8 to show how many discs were pictured. uh...what? i guess i'm tripping out because i'm used to teaching linear algebra, long division, integers, and multi-digit subtraction/addition/multiplication. so questions like "how many ducks are pictured?" (7, in case you're wondering) are throwing me off. i kept going, "why don't they know 11-6?! is it because we only have 10 fingers so the 11 throws them off?" i bet the kid with 11 fingers is thinking, "this is so easy!" just kidding, none of the kids have 11 fingers, i don't think.

i'm going to work up to just treating second graders just like i treated fourth graders. hopefully, they won't start crying. that would be bad.

1 day down, 179 days to go...

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

pseudo re-tweet

via taylor swift's twitter...i really, REALLY like this quote.

"I kind of like it when the guy has the upper hand. I have so many upper hands in my life... If you're a strong female, it can get old. You get to the point where you don't want to wear the pants. I just want to wear a really nice dress." - Katy Perry