Friday, January 23, 2009

I Hate Teaching



"The truth is I hate teaching. But, there's nothing else that I can do. Look at you, little messenger of optimism. But how long will it last? Five, maybe ten years before you wither inside of this endless monotony. Prepare to join ranks of cold, uninteresting spinsters who have chosen a professional career, Anne Shirley. " - Cathrine Brooke

I know, this is definately not something I should admit... Because once I admit I hate teaching, a whole slew of sterotypes come crashing down.... I must be heartless, I must be a really crappy teacher, I must be hated by my students, and worst of all, I must be destend to the life of Cathrine Brooke.

I tried to be in denial. I tried to comfort myself while I was student teaching by saying, it will get better when I get paid. Then when I was got my first job I thought, it will be better when my students aren't sex offenders... Then when I got a real teaching job I thought, it will get better when I actually teach in a real classroom not an entry way of an office building.... Then my last hope for comfort was, "when I have administration with a college degree..."

But alas in my fourth year, I finally am willing to admit.... I Hate Teaching.

Kinda depressing. So why do I stick with it? Why do I keep going day after day after day, as Catherine Brooke would say, with the endless monotony. Because no matter how much I hate preparing lessons, no matter how much I hate disaplining students, no matter how much I hate subjectively dumping a student into an A,B,C,D or F category that will affect them for the rest of their lives... I want to believe. Every time I look into one of my students' eyes and see the light that shines when they recognize truth, I want to believe. I want to believe that people are good. I want to believe that people want to succeed. I want to believe that people want freedoms. I want to believe that people really have a mission in life that can help change the world. I want to believe that God has given each student gifts and talents. I want to believe that all students need is a few encouraging words from someone that believes... and more than anything I want to believe that I can help them change the world...
.
I am a teacher because I have hope in humanity. I am a teacher because on rare occasions I see that hope in a student's eyes. And those rare moments.... make it all worth it.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Wear Sunscreen

Advice is a funny thing. We are all so eager to give it, but how often do we actually listen to it? I stand in a classroom every day in front of a group of kids going through the easiest, most carefree time of their lives. I would say more than 80% of the problems faced by youth this age is mental. But how do you get that to sink into the heads of youth? Is there any possible thing that I can say that will make them change their perspective, attitude, or actions? Make them realize that in five years no one will care who was homecoming queen, star athlete, or student body president? Help them understand that the biggest drama soon enough will either be long forgotten or laughed about some day?
Well I was listening to this song that came out back in 1997. It gives all sorts of advice about life and how it should be lived. Once again I listen to the advice and wonder who much do we really use. I think it is the ironic thing about the whole song, for 7 minutes he goes on and on giving advice, but in the end he realizes no one is really going to use it, then says, "But trust me on the sunscreen."
One of my favorite lines in this speech says, "Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth; oh nevermind; you will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they have faded. But trust me, in 20 years you’ll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can’t grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked…." I'm trying to figure if like with those high schoolers is there any way for us to truly grasp the power and beauty that we have?
Some of my other favorite tips he gives:
Do NOT read beauty magazines, they will only make you feel ugly.
Understand that friends come and go,but for the precious few you should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle because the older you get, the more you need the people you knew when you were young.
Be careful whose advice you buy, but, be patient with those who supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia, dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it’s worth.
But trust me on the sunscreen.


Lyrics to "Everybody is free to wear sunscreen"
by Baz Luhrman
Ladies and Gentlemen of the class of '97,

Wear sunscreen. If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it. The long term
benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists, whereas the rest of my advice has no basis or
reliable then my own meandering experience. I will dispense this advice....now.

Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth. Oh, nevermind, you won't understand the power and
beauty of your youth until they've faded, but trust me in 20 years, you'll look back at photos of
yourself and recall in a way you can't grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous
you really looked. You are not as fat as you imagine.

Don't worry about the future, or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra
equation by chewing bubblegum.

The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind: the kind that blindsides
you at 4pm on some idle Tuesday.

Do one thing every day that scares you.

Sing.

Don't be reckless with other people's hearts; don't put up with people who are reckless with yours.

Floss.

Don't waste your time on jealousy. Sometimes you're ahead, sometimes you're behind. The race is
long, and in the end, it's only with yourself.

Remember compliments you receive; forget the insults. (if you succeed in doing this, tell me how).

Keep your old love letters; throw away your old bank statements.

Stretch.

Don't feel guilty if you don't know what you want to do with your life. The most interesting people
I know didn't know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives; some of the most interesting 40 year
olds I know still don't.

Get plenty of Calcium. Be kind to your knees -- you'll miss them when they're gone.

Maybe you'll marry, maybe you won't. Maybe you'll have children, maybe you won't. Maybe you'll
divorce at 40; maybe you'll dance the funky chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary.

Whatever you do, don't congratulate yourself too much or berate yourself, either. Your choices are half
chance, so are everybody else's.

Enjoy your body: use it every way you can. Don't be afraid of it or what other people think of it; it's the
greatest instrument you'll ever own.

Dance...even if you have no where to do it but in your own living room.

Read the directions (even if you don't follow them).

Do not read beauty magazines; they will only make you feel ugly.

Get to know your parents; you never know when they'll be gone for good.

Be nice to your siblings: they're your best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in
the future.

Understand that friends come and go, but what a precious few should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps
and geography and lifestyle, because the older you get, the more you need the people you knew when you
were young.

Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard.

Live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft.

Travel.

Accept certain inalienable truths: prices will rise, politicians will philander, you too will get old; and when you
do, you'll fantasize that when you were young, prices were reasonable, politicians were noble, and children
respected their elders.

Respect your elders.

Don't expect anyone else to support you. Maybe you have a trust fund, maybe you'll have a wealthy spouse,
but you never know when either one might run out.

Don't mess too much with your hair or by the time you are 40, it will look 85.

Be careful whose advice you buy, but be patient with those who supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia;
dispensing it is a way of wishing the past from the disposal--wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts, and
recycling it for more than it's worth.

But trust me, I'm the sunscreen.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

The Grass is Greener

My cousin has a painting. It’s an aerial shot of two cows. There is a fence separating the two fields. But don’t you worry, both cows found a way to stick their heads through the fence and eat the grass on the other side. Both fields have patches of green grass along with some brown areas, if the cows stepped back and looked around they would see they have access to a lot more luscious grass in their own pasture than constantly trying to reach for the grass in someone else’s pasture.
My New Year’s Resolution: Recognize and enjoy the green grass in my own field.
I had a wonderful Christmas Vacation spent with so many people that I love so dearly. Here are a few pictures of some of the wonderful people that I love so so so dearly. Sadly I didn't get pictures with many others that I had a wonderful time with.









After looking at these pictures I realize that many times I am so focused on the few brown areas in my field that I forget to look around and see that my pasture usually really looks like this....