Wednesday, October 29, 2008

the one with the dominics

Last night was the annual "costumes and tacos" night. It was awesome. A bunch of us dressed up as x-men, which was great, because I am trying to get as much use out of that Rogue costume as I can.

One of the great things about the costumes and tacos night is the creativity of the costumes. This year was not a disappointment.

When we showed up, we saw that one of our friends dressed up as Dominic, one of the high schoolers. Then, another Dominic showed up. I think by the end of the night, there were at least 6 Dominics walking around the party, each one bringing a unique set of the quintessential characteristics of the real Dom.

I'd love to see them all walking down the street or going out in public like that. :)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

the woes of unemployment

Is it just me or does it seem like it's more difficult and stressful to live off of unemployment than to work for a living? I swear, I put just as much time into filling out the paperwork, handing out resumes, researching ANYONE that might have the budget to be hiring, vying for interviews, getting turned down because I either have too little experience or too much experience, and trying to get ahold of someone at the unemployment office every few weeks because they have once again messed up my check?

But, alas, the school districts are still not hiring, the economy is as bad as it has been, and there are no jobs in site that will pay what my unemployment does.

I wish I had a job.

Thursday, July 10, 2008


It's amazing to me the innocence a child has. There is no fear of all the bad things that could happen, no timidity.

We took the kids swimming today.

There was no check to see how deep that water was, how warm or cold it was, whether we'd be there to make sure he came up out of the water; just that initial excitement and...the jump. He had so much fun showing us all the cool things he knew how to do, and testing out the belly flops, cannonballs, and handstands we showed him. It was a great day.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

the one with the wedding

orton kiss

Well, my sister is a married woman

What a crazy, hectic weekend! The weekend went by so quickly, what with frantically jetting relatives around, calming the bride's nerves, getting nails/makeup/hair done. It was a frantic and wonderful experience.

Then the day arrived. The bride was there, the groom was there, and the whole event went as perfectly as one could expect. She was radiant, they said "I do," and now my baby sister has joined the world of the "grown-ups." She's married. She's moving to another state to start her career.

When did time start moving so fast?

All my dad could say was, "Two down, one to go."

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

the one with the...

So you might know that I'm pretty much obsessed with Friends. It's one of those shows you can just watch over and over. It's funny enough that it never gets boring, but not so in-depth that you have to pay close attention to it. It's my "watch-it-while-I'm-cleaning" or "watch-it-while-I'm-sick" or "watch-it-while-I-grade-a-huge-stack-of-papers" show.

Lately, I've discovered that two of my close friends also enjoy the show to the same extent. So much so that we have started naming the events that go on in our lives after Friends episodes. Such as "The One With The... blah blah blah". It's pretty much amazing. We can name it and then reminisce about "the one with the wall" or "the one with the iron will" or "the one with the stalker" at a later date and know exactly which memory is being recalled. (PS maybe I'll write about the above mentioned "ones" later on).

Good times, indeed.

Monday, June 2, 2008

a time to move on

School is over. My first year of teaching has come to an end. It's been the most difficult and rewarding experience I've ever gone through. These kids who I spent my time with, trying to make an impression on, have left quite the impression on me.

On one hand, I couldn't wait to get rid of them. They drove me crazy, with their bickering and interrupting, their fifth grade attitudes coming into play every five minutes. On the other, I miss them already. I won't be the one they come to with their failures, accomplishments, jokes, and hand-picked flowers anymore.

They graduated last week. I cried. Yeah, I'll admit it. Knowing that they're moving on to junior high in a few months (yea! they made it!!) and that I won't be at the same school next year for them to come visit me and let me know how it's difficult.

Teaching is difficult (and amazing) on so many levels.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

to the governator

Our governor has decided that, in response to our state’s $6 billion deficit, he wants to cut the budget in several areas, including education. Now, obviously I’m biased in this area, being a teacher, but this is an outrage and shows little care in the raising of a new generation. Most teachers (and parents) would agree that education is already under-funded. (The statistics also agree, putting California number at 46 in per-student spending. There are only four states below us, with New York spending more than 75% more than California on education.) With No Child Left Behind making it law to provide quality programs to any student who is below grade level, schools are spending that valuable money to hire more teachers, student aides, and materials which will assist teachers in better educating their students. This, in itself, causes problems, because there is often no money left for the purchasing of school supplies, computer programs, technology and teaching tools, which are necessary in running a classroom in this day and age. So, in turn, the educator has to supply these things him or herself.

I work in a school that is in a low socio-economic community. With this kind of environment, comes a special type of student. This is the kind of student who is often the child of a single-parent household, where the parent works several jobs, is undereducated, and is not around most of the time, leaving the student responsible for much more than an elementary child should be. Many of these kids are abused, many of them are already in gangs, and many of them live with other relatives, because CPS has removed them from their homes. Therefore, it is easy to see that these kids have a lot of struggles that the average middle-class children do not need to deal with. Education for these kids is not the main focus; the main focus is safety. When these children are dealing with all they have on their plates, it is difficult to put focus on what they are learning in the classroom.

Many of these schools, most of them protected and funded as Title 1, have ample programs to further assist these students, in addition to what they have in the classroom. Programs like this include interventions in certain subjects, before and after school programs, and even counseling programs. These programs are necessary in the growing of students in Title 1 schools, and are known to increase grades and test scores.

I can tell you that in my school, we have a wonderful staff who is dedicated to helping students by running these programs. I can also tell you, though, that there is not enough time in the day or money in the budget to give the necessary amount of extra instruction to our kids. I could work a 24 hour day every day, and still feel like something more could have been done.

If the budget is cut, this will take away not only smaller class sizes and teachers, but it will also cut the programs and aides designed to help our students succeed. If we feel we are barely reaching the surface with what we have, what will happen when what we have is taken from us? We will NOT be able to sufficiently support our children and help them to become lifelong learners. With larger class sizes, teachers will not be able to have small group or one-on-one time with struggling students. And students will no longer have a place to go when they do not understand a concept.

I fully believe that further cutting of the budge will lead to more children dropping out of school, because they are so far behind and do not understand any of the concepts they are supposed to be learning. Rather than becoming lifelong learners, they will grow frustrated and disoriented, and finally give up on the education system as a whole.

Another part of the legislation the government is trying to propose is called the “merit pay” system, under which educators only receive raises based on student achievement and test scores. How does this sound to the teacher who has CHOSEN to work in a low socio-economic setting, where the students often have NO background knowledge, have NO access to books and other learning tools, and have family lives that keep them moving from caregiver to caregiver or at least from apartment to apartment every few months? This is the setting I have chosen to teach in, because it is where I believe I can make the most impact, not only being a teacher, but being a positive role model in lives that have none. Many of my kids have such turmoil in their home lives that I’m surprised they are able to focus on anything we are learning in the classroom. These kids, though I do my best to ensure they receive the best education possible, will never score as high as the average middle-class student will on the tests. They will never achieve the same grades, because they come from completely different backgrounds. So based on this, if I choose to remain in the area I have chosen, I will never receive a pay raise, even though I’m working harder than the average teacher to ensure my students a quality education. I put in more hours than most teachers, acting as a private tutor, a listening ear, an advisor of sorts. I give up my lunch hours to assist my students in understanding the principles that flew over their heads during class. I give up my time before and after school to allow my students a quiet place to work (or to talk), because they don’t have that at home. I believe that teachers in schools like this should be compensated even MORE, not less for this hard work and determination, though the governments seems to think we should be punished for this. If this legislation goes into play, it will be harder than ever to convince teachers to take positions in low socio-economic schools; therefore, certain teachers will be “stuck” there, for lack of a better term, unwillingly, and will not put in the time and effort needed to reach this special group of students.

With all that said, please support your California teacher, by signing a petition against the upcoming legislation. Click here or here to save our students, and stand up to the government!

Monday, February 25, 2008

30 seconds of your day to change a life forever

Hey guys...Most of you know that my mom was diagnosed with colon cancer last summer. Well...recently my sister entered her into a "total makeover" type contest, that will pay for the winner to have Lasik surgery, dental work, and thousands of dollars of pure pampering.My mom has been through hell this year, and she could REALLY use this! She was selected to be in the top 5, and now it's up to voters to choose the winner.

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE go to the website, sign up (you can always just unsubscribe later) and vote for her!


Her name is Leesa Mischke (she is the third candidate).

Thank you SO MUCH for taking a few minutes to change her life! I'll update you as far as whether she wins or not.Thanks again.