in theory…

So we are aware that I am officially an ED major now, and as such am beginning to realize there are more questions than answers when thinking about education policy and procedure in our fine country… (snort).

Teachers and even professors are bound by myriad rules put in place not to harm but to ensure the leveling of a playing field as crooked as a politician during election season. Unfortunately, plans that often are sublime on paper fail miserably when one adds the imperfect human element to the mix.

SO… there are rules and regulations, and there are humans with many different levels of education and experience interpreting them. Add to the mix each instructor’s input, desires, quirks, and ulterior motives, and one sees it is damn near impossible to actually create any semblance​ of fairness or equitability in a single classroom, let alone when multiplying by each school district times county times state… gulp. A formidable​ task to say the least.

So how does a neophyte address these issues? I have been gleaning small tidbits of how and why to do things based on my own classroom experiences. Sadly, I report that I have more items listed in the “NEVER, EVER DO” column than in the “OOH, GREAT IDEA” one. But it is a start, and we must start somewhere…

One thing I am thinking of doing for “warm-up,” which we have as allocated time for our own resources, is 4 level sentence diagramming. One interesting sentence on the board, from classic literature, pertainings somehow to our daily work. We discuss, and if they write it in their comp book, which I supply, then the next day when we discuss another sentence, I walk around and put smiles or checks on the previous page. Simple way to motivate, and no actual grading. Can be added as points toward final grade, and has the added bonus​ of… wait for it… actually encouraging deeper reading and explication skills!!! In an ENGLISH class!! WOOT! =) =) I am learning it does not take moving mountains, but rather small insights, to create a better and more inclusive classroom. Thoughts by my more illustrious​ betters? Gotta go study not, peeps. Namaste, and thanks for being here. =)

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day 1…

Ok, actually, day 3, but I do not think anyone is counting. Or if they are, they are probably counting hours until we get an extra hour of sleep​ this Sunday, and not about my piddly little blog here. =)

I am in the process of setting up a new account for my school adventures (read: fkn kill me moments)and cannot figure out how to post an “about” page, or get anything to stick. WordPress​ used to be easier. Sighs pitifully.

At any rate, good news to report. I was dreading my group peer review Thursday morning, during which I thought I would have my ass shredded and summarily handed back to me. Surprisingly, after many midnight fits of typing, and many apologies to my team, my research was welcomed with open arms, and I was praised​. WTF just happened…?

Fast forward to today, moments ago. Sitting here, surrounded by my research packets, pages of notes, and a second computer with around 37 open windows, I go thru, line by line, and realize there are far fewer errors that I anticipated. Utilizing the formulaic approach my professor insists upon is a pain in my ass, to be sure. It limits my perspective, stifles my creativity, and does not blend well with my style or expressing myself. But… she may be on to something​.

I have some​ revisions to improve the flow toward another point I want to include. I need to format my Works Cited page. I need to remove any dangling modifiers or misplaced​ semicolons with the real thing, but all in all, things are looking pretty good.

In other news, Alice’s words must have reached the powers that be, as I am finally on the mend and can breathe. Mostly. Time to focus on death and maths. Which are interchangeable​ in my mind, truth be told. I feel quite grown up and proper now that I am focusing on my career here. Ooh… career. =) Nanaste, peeps, old and new. Have a lovely!

true story…

2 inhalers, 2 antibiotics, a shot, steroids, and a medicated gargle. After 5 days of sick, Nyquil-induced, hallucinating-but-mostly-sleepless nights, had 2 Dr. appointments, blood work, and a chest x-ray, leading to the list that began this post. Just so you know I am really sick, and not just taking a day off to bask in the sun…

Emailed a professor to ask for a 24-hour extension on ONE of the papers due in her class this week.  Got a terse “no, but thanks for asking” reply, and was told if she had been “in bed” all week, she certainly would have had time to not only finish paper but email copies to and from the peer review group to which I belong…

Am going to assume the following:

  1. She is an ass.
  2. She has never had simultaneous bronchitis, sinus infection, full body rash due to allergy to first antibiotic.
  3. She has never spent 2 days shaking from the inhalers and steroids, trying to keep car on road without maiming beast or human…
  4. She has never checked out http://www.ratemyprofesor.com

That is all, for I have a paper to write. 2 years down, 3 1/2 to go. Pray for me.

considering a new venue…

You couldn’t think I actually would leave for reals? I am the queen of back and forth here, as you know so well. SO…

I am thinking of starting a new blog. Or rather, changing this one perhaps, or something like that. With a change of scenery and subject matter, as I have beyond used up any interest in oversharing about my ex monster-in-law, Hubby-no-more, privacy driven teen, or sex life. Gee, sounds downright boring when I put it that way. =)

So, am thinking of turning this place into an english major’s journey along the path to her secondary education grad degree, and all the insanity THAT is sure to involve. Such as… have been in the pre-program at a new Uni for exactly 10 weeks and already working on my transfer essay to another Uni for next fall… but I am getting ahead of myself here.

If I have any followers left, or there is anyone new exploring the dusty corners, let me know if this change of topic would be of interest. If so, will work next weekend on updating the space! Namaste, peeps old and new. =)

 

i’m gonna write this…

Ah, August… almost half over already… wtf??!! I need to accomplish SO MUCH more before Uni starts again on the 29th. Trying to cram in another few chapters of the “last maths class you will ever have to take,” but hmm… you know I’ve heard THAT before. Technology for the Educator text is 600 pages without binding… sigh. Comparative Lit and History all good, so there’s that. No new computer as of yet, but plenty of post it notes and highlighters. Not so bad after all, I suppose. Just wish there was more time…

So, I am going to write THAT post. You know the one, in which loyal readers disappear as fast as ice cream at a Weight Watchers meet and greet, else they eviscerate you and leave you for dead, gleefully shouting around your larger than desired crumpled form.

As an eventual Professor who needs to feed herself in the interim, I am also a Secondary Education major, doubling in English/Comp Lit and Sociology. This means I will likely spend a few years teaching at the high school level until I can get enough of the PhD completed to warrant a faculty position at an institution of higher learning. This means young adults. With me. In a classroom. Gods help me… how anyone can NOT grasp literature and comprehensively read anything thrown their way at that age escapes me, but THAT conversation is one for another day. I will be in the weeds enough here shortly without opening that can of worms…

So, young adult literature. In my day, when the earth was new and I had to fight dinosaurs to walk to school, uphill, both ways mind you, there was no such genre. We read Dickens, Dumas, Melville, Dickinson, the Bronte sisters, and all manner of others, from Vonnegut to Cather, Hughes to Kerouac and pretty much anything classical or intriguing in between. Sure, we sometimes had to battle the librarian and the principal in order to check out those books if not being read in class, but they only had our best and innocent interests at heart, you remember…?

Now we are inundated with not 1 or 2 or even 4, but 6 shelves of these brightly colored (or vampire and wraith adorned) books in the local library. Out of necessity, I checked out a slew of them, in preparation for the YA Lit class I will be taking this coming January. Anticipating a glimpse into the inner workings of the adolescents I know, you can imagine my surprise at content, story line, and vocabulary level staring back up at me in defiance…

I KNOW, many of you love this genre. I KNOW, many of you would rather your kid read these books rather than comics. I KNOW, some of you are secretly applauding your suspicions that I was an elitist all along, but just listen for a sec, please. I chose them completely randomly, simply by shelf and alphabet, bottom to top. I came away with 14, and have gotten through 8 of them. I may be making correlations where none exist, but I was left a little stunned. Has anyone else noticed that a large percentage of the subject matter seems to romanticize problems such as cutting, anorexia, or pregnancy? One could offer that these books provide a safe space for a child to feel not alone, and to gain hope for themselves. BUT… I saw some alarming trends toward the reinforcement of the “Broken is Best” ideal that this generation seems to be clinging desperately to. One book in particular read like an instruction manual for eating disorders, including calorie counts and purging cycles that best help one attain one’s goals. WTF??!!!

I am also deeply disturbed by the racial implications, surely picked up by this impressionable age group. In three, yes, THREE of these random books, middle class white girls binge and purge, slice happily away at their taut skin, proving to the world, and therefore themselves, their inner strength is immense. The books I read by African American, Latina, and Native American authors had no such subplots. Including the 16 books I read last semester for SOC class on this exact topic, not one eating disorder to the bunch… maybe that is because for the most part, in the books I have read, they are already hungry. Sherman Alexi famously says, and I paraphrase here, that “Indians already have eating disorders… that’s what happens when you can’t afford food.”

So White Privilege rears its ugly head once again… and yes, I am aware that people who scream “ALL Lives Matter, not just BLACK” will take me to task over this. I am just wondering why, when from a cognition standpoint, morality is a social construct and we literally and collectively create the world around us and what we deem acceptable, WHY these themes persist to SUCH a degree in the literature designed for an age group who already is struggling to develop their own identity? WHY does it seem** that we are encouraging our kids to embrace the nasty bits of life, where I was encouraged to break the chains that bound me and FIGHT for every shred of self respect, decency, and moxy I could muster so I could just fucking get on with my life already??!!

**seem to me, and several educators I know, who are of varied racial identities**

I feel the need here to iterate that this post is NOT meant to marginalize anyone struggling with anything I mentioned above, or any other issues. I have my own child who is struggling greatly with identity, and I found out recently that a specific behavior that he and 3 close friends were exhibiting last year came directly out of a book they had to read for health class. Upon reporting that to the principal, I was told that this is “what kids do at this age, they copy behavior that is interesting to them.” Sigh.

I have spent 2 weeks debating the posting of this one, and discussed with 5 professors in 2 countries the trends of what we purposefully expose out youngsters to. Additionally, that is NOT to say there are not great series and single books out there for this demographic. The “Wrinkle in Time” series, for example, or even Harry Potter, that flawed and still great Boy Who Lived. Betsy’s Wedding, To Kill a Mockingbird, Flowers for Algernon, The Book Thief, and Thirteen Reasons Why specifically come to mind. Don’t forget anything by Tolkien, John Green, Douglas Adams, S. E. Hinton, L. M. Montgomery, and Scott Westerfeld, off the top of my head. So why on earth am I even writing this, if there is so much else out there? Because you know as well as I that flash is what gets the attention of adolescents today. And If one small group of girls whisper that this or that certain book “srsly changed my life, kwim?!” and sends the title to a couple thousand of their twitter BFF’s, then by next week Facebook and Instagram will have exploded under their praises…

But I digress. All I wanted to say is that this genre has a collective power rivaled only by the GOP’s. And if we want our young adults to know there is more out there, we have to find a way to entice them with it. And I don’t think Charlie and the wonder-mouse will stand a chance against ways to exert power over adults, get away with bullying, or even how to lie more creatively. Thoughts, peeps? Thanks as always for keeping it real, and if you have a series or book that is exemplary within the YA genre, please chime in… I am already creating my Grade 10 Eng/Comp book list. =)

tupac and mis-education…

Yes, I realize I am a white female, formerly of upper-middle class means. Yes, I realize some of you may dismiss my words because of the aforementioned niche I find myself in. But I have eyes and ears, I have used that past money to travel and volunteer, and I have seen and heard things that made my blood boil, and made me fear for those of you not protected by the insulating layer of white privilege I have spent much of my life under, until I stood alongside those of you of richer colors, fighting for change, and your glorious shades began to bleed over onto my embarrassingly pale flesh…

He was by no means a saint, but he was not all sinner either. Tupac was a man of complex ideals, a poet and a provider, an activist yet also someone who spent more than a few nights behind bars, often admitting to the 9 kinds of wrong he had been up to, and often not, as the case may be. But do the negative aspects of his life necessarily negate the man’s entire existence? I think not, and hope for my own sake that I am correct, or we all will be in for a world of hurt in the afterlife…

I re-read Woodson’s “The mis-education of The Negro” recently, and the words seeped into my soul as they did dozens of years ago, in becoming aware that what African American children were being taught later “crystalized into deep-seated insecurities, intra-racial cleavages, and interracial antagonisms.” How can a book written in 1933 be so relevant today, heartbreakingly correct STILL in the admonishment that we are literally forcing a sub-par life onto some of our nation’s best and brightest?! How can race STILL be an issue, in the year 2016CE??!!

So while I finished up another paper detailing another painting of white people by even more white people, I am listening to Mary J and Tupac and Erykah and thinking how different my life would be were I born in Color… I am wondering why we insist on white-washing our history, our nation, our children, and yet, millions are spent at tanning salons every year in the good ol’ US of A, presumably to make us white ones darker… anyone else see the fucked-upped-ness of that situation, folks?! This still feels dangerous to me, this intolerance that has not for one second let up. Rev Dr. Martin Luther King, Malcom X, Dubois and Washington and Haley and Hurston and Hughes and Ellison… all dead and gone, and everything they stood for and stood against, namely the uplifting of the African American and the defeat of bigotry, people, is still a struggle here and now, today, right this second on our collective experience. Isn’t it about damned time we let all this hatred and fear go, and embrace the possibility that we can be great together? She sighs and heads into the kitchen to make popcorn and coffee, too upset to eat a real dinner, and realizes she will not let her child relax with friend this evening, but will lecture them and get them to embrace their inner activist, in the hopes of a brighter and more colorful future… exit stage left, cue curtain.

 

i’m doing this to save me…

Sometimes, the universe listens… I mean, really takes listening to the next level, you know? I have been struggling this summer… well this year, to be precise. Struggling may be too mild a word… think plate tectonics meeting in Hulk fashion… like Pompeii, but more so. Got that hellish picture in your noggin? Yup, welcome to my life since xmas…

Since my divorce (read:since ex walked out on us while sleeping with the girl he made fun of for being gay), I have re-learned to listen to my body. Hell, she knows what she’s talking about, and if I listen to her, things generally go pretty well. But something happened before the holidays to throw me out of whack, and with finals, the next semester, my knee injury, and changing colleges with all the sheer insanity THAT entails, I did not take the time to pay attention to it much. I hesitate to admit… but I self medicated. Ibuprofen, acetaminophen, caffeine, OTC sleeping pills… you name it, all the modern fix-it-quick crap one can buy at the grocers. I even stopped drinking my health shake and buying the best probiotic to afford all that crap. My face broke out, my knee got more and more swollen and immobile, and I gained weight. Just, yuck. A total shit-storm of a season, and yet I pushed thru, popping more pain relievers and maintaining that 3.94 GPA. I win, right? Not so much…

What was the catalyst for all this insanity? I thought it was my knee, but realize, belatedly, it was all a stress reaction to the direction my life was taking. To me giving in, if you will, and just doing what I thought was best. Of not living authentically, listening to my newly-grown-back muchness, of being afraid and of feeling like a failure. For some reason, I stopped listening to me, and started paying attention to my doubts, and to the feeling of shame that I am decidedly NOT where I want to be at this point in my life. Reading blogs by you all helped me realize that we ALL have regrets, we ALL struggle, and for the most part, adults are just faking it, doing their best, putting one foot forward in an attempt to reach their destination before they croak. Hmm…

What made me finally remove my head from my ass and take a good and hard look around me was the UTI I got a week ago. I am NOT one to suffer from those type maladies, and “women’s problems” for me have always been only heavy moon times and cramps. What your vajayjay starts acting up, either you have been letting too many people play in the sandbox, or something is out of whack, girlfriend. Taking the antibiotics and changing my diet this week have helped immeasurably. I also have cut WAY down on the coffee, as if I drink more that a cup now, I barf like Linda Blair at a frat party… wtf is THAT all about?! Just so damned out of sync…

My body, my soul, even my girl-bits were trying to tell me something, and I realized it was time to seriously listen. So I have been tidying up here and there, drinking water like its going out of style, reading books and just thinking about everything in general. Times are a-changin’, and I need to get with the program.

I have recently acquired a few more things than I am comfortable with, and am planning on giving the fish tank to my kiddo when they more into the house her dad and his MFEO BGF just bought together… save that discussion for another lifetime. I am sucking it up and getting a kayak rack for the back area, so I can not worry about salt residue, which covers everything no matter how much one scrubs! I am thinking of moving the telly into my bedroom and getting a larger couch and desk for the living room. In short, I am making plans, I am buckling down for the season, and that season is school and grad school. I have a very arduous 4 years ahead of me and want to make my little house in The Big Wood as comfortable and suitable as possible. We always tell our children they need the best tools to do the best job, but always skimp when it comes to our own needs. But since I am going to be working SO HARD to achieve my goals, and enter directly into the PhD/EdD program, I am going to be schooling for the long haul, folks. Time to batten down the hatches, get all the supplies, and set sail…

I have not fully embraced my path until recently, for personal reasons, but suffice it to say that a goodly part of my angst came from the judgement of others. “Uconn is just BETTER than Eastern, you know… Why don’t you leave your kid and partner and just enroll at UH Manoa… Just get a job, already… Wait, you don’t even LIKE kids…” and the list goes on. The derision I have met with as of late is disgusting, plain and simple. BUT… there’s always tomorrow, always a silver lining, always a rainbow. =)

BUT… then I went to the mandated transfer orientation, met my advisor, met a few professors, all of whom have multiple PhD’s as well as teach their classes without the help from TA’s (woot-woot, a rarity in a good school!) I was welcomed, asked to explain further, given a few numbers. I have a mentor, I have my Master’s advisor already, and I am officially networking. Even though we are all different colors, ages, and backgrounds, it seems I may have finally stumbled upon my tribe, thank ALL in the universe that is light and holy. The form is no matter, I have been given that life-force we all need but are afraid to admit to… acceptance. And sweet baby jesus in the manger, does it feel FANTASTIC!

I also am able to verbalize, for the first time ever and in Technicolor, peeps, exactly WHY I am doing the MA and 7-12 Teaching Certification when I eventually want to be a college professor. This is not just a whimsical pitstop in order to secure employment, but I have been struggling with the reason to add another year of school to go down a related but not same career path. It’s because I need to save myself.

Yeah, I know it is a little obvious, maybe a little trite, but I want to step into a severely under-represented and failing system and make meaningful changes so the kids at least have a fighting chance. I have decided to focus my energies on the Board of Indian Education, as well as schools in rural Appalachia. If even one child can escape poverty, teen parenting, or abuse, it will all be worth it. Come on, this cannot shock you, everyone knows how much I love the underdog. =) Idealism appears to be my middle name. Sigh. So I am happily embracing the who and what and why of it, telling any naysayers to fuck themselves (except for ex who pays my rent), and when I can no longer deal with the reality of such a social experiment, will retire exhaustedly to a position at a small college to publish and lick my wounds. Gender and income disparity have always been my sociological interests, so this goes hand in hand with my experience and drive.

And there you have it, peeps. Tish in a nutshell, and tmi, so ops norm. =) Slowly weaning myself off the anti-inflammatories, slowly adding in more raw veggies and long, slow walks to get the knee back up to par. Slowly but surely, I am taking myself back, yet again. I am healing from within, and changes are afoot, big and small, and for the first time in a long time, that is exciting rather than exhausting. Much love to you all, and may whatever you are going through be happy, or at the very least, temporary. Again, many thanks to all of you all who keep it real and allow me to do the same. Namaste!

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