Sunday, January 29, 2012

some helpful reminders

This weekend has been hard for me, student teaching-wise.  I'll most likely be the only one in the classroom tomorrow.  Plus, we planned to try a new kind of lesson and aren't sure how it'll work.  Plus, I'm getting observed tomorrow.  During my hardest class.

So, needless to say, there's been some overwhelm-age and some nervousness in our house today.  But tonight I was reading a blog I really like and found some great reminders.  Here they are, just in case you need some, too.

1. You are what you are and you have what you have, right now.  [Including knowledge.]

2. It's healthy to shed your tears.  The sooner you do, the sooner you will be able to smile again.  And a smile doesn't always mean someone is happy.  Sometimes it simply means they are strong enough to face their problems [or hard things].  [I haven't been crying all over the place today, just so you know.  I just liked that quote:)]

3. Get out there and try!  Either you succeed or you learn a vital lesson.  Win-win.

4. You have the capacity to create your own happiness.  A smile is a choice, not a miracle.  [Although it is my opinion that sometimes it's both.]

5. Emotionally separate yourself from your problems.  You are far greater than your problems.  And that means you’re more powerful than them – you have the ability to change them, and to change the way you feel about them.

6. Don't let others make decisions for you.  Sometimes you just have to live not caring what they think of you and prove to YOURSELF that you’re better than they think you are.

7. You're not alone.  Everyone has problems.

8.  Mistakes are important to make. 

9.  What others think and say about you isn’t all that important.  What is important is how you feel about yourself. 

10.  You are ONLY competing against yourself.  When you catch yourself comparing yourself to a colleague, neighbor, friend, or someone famous, stop!  Realize that you are different, with different strengths – strengths these other people don’t possess.  Take a moment to reflect on all the awesome abilities you have and to be grateful for all the good things in your life.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Latinos are awesome.

One thing I absolutely fell in love with in Mexico was the Latino hospitality/friendliness.  It's not just that they're hospitable - it's that, as soon as they meet you, they instantly want to help you with everything you have going on.  They remember you and love you, and that attitude never ceased to make me feel special. 

At my high school, there are more than 1,000 students but only about 100 Latinos.  It's interesting, though - due to our class schedule, my mentor and I have almost all of them in our classes.  I actually thought the school was majority Latino until last week.  As you might imagine, there are some who have lived in the U.S. their entire lives and there are others who have been here for less than a year.  Jacobo (name has been changed) is one such student.  But listen to how awesome this is.  So, Jacobo is a real social butterfly - loves to talk and gets along with everyone.  Today was his birthday, and guess what his Latino friends did!  They invited a bunch of his Latino friends and one brought a cake, someone brought pop or something, someone brought chocoflan, there were balloons, ice cream - the whole deal - and they gave him a big surprise party for lunch.  One of them even got special permission to leave school during the day to get some of the stuff.  How many people would do that?  They're an awesome group of kids.  They've proved to me once again how awesome Latinos are. :) 

a real live Corner Gas

Okay, so it's not quite as cool as Corner Gas, but it is pretty cool.

I discovered the coolness of Tesoro gas stations a couple of weeks ago as I was driving home from my student teaching.  Not only do they tend to have cheaper gas than all surrounding gas stations, but they also pump the gas for you!  And clean the front and back windows (and other ones, too, if you ask them to) while it's pumping!  It's kind of fun, especially because they offer and think you're crazy if you say no - you don't have to ask.  And because it's nice when it's freezing cold outside.  I always am left with one question, though.

What are you supposed to do in the car while they're working on the outside?
"A single executive is the fetus of a monarchy."

We watched a video in ESL History that said that.
It was definitely an unexpected use of the word fetus. 
I think that word is so weird.
I don't think anyone else noticed. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

let down - and I gave you such a good chance!

Well, I obviously spoke too soon.

Dear ABC + writers of Once Upon A Time,
You are dumb.  And also, potential babies are NOT the only reason to keep a marriage together, contrary to apparently popular belief.  The whole problem would've been solved if she'd just let him run out of the cafe.  Why did she decide to chase him anyway? 


Saturday, January 21, 2012

Once Upon A Time

There's not as much respect for marriage as there used to be, but I've been pleasantly surprised a new favorite show!

A year or so ago, we found a show we loved called "Flash Forward."  There was a part that was disappointing, though.  (Quick premise: Everyone in the world saw 2 minutes of their futures.)  One of the characters in the show saw herself having an affair and was shocked and horrified, so she did everything she could to avoid the man in real life because she wanted to be faithful to her husband.  Sadly, the man did not have the same values and tried multiple times to convince her that it wasn't bad because they loved each other.  In the end, her husband did a few things (including giving in a couple of times to alcoholic tendencies) that caused her to decide perhaps the other man was right. As if to say, if your spouse messes up, it's okay to stop being faithful.  Ridiculous.

A couple of months ago, a new show started called "Suburgatory."  It's kind of an odd show, and we were trying to decide if we liked it.  A little while in, they decided to have a married woman develop a crush on a single dad.  He opposes it, which was good, but the worst part was that the woman is pretty likeable + her husband is always out of town and you kind of even forget that she has one because he's never on the show.  I was freaked out when I found myself almost wishing it would work out between the single dad and the married lady, so we stopped watching it. 

A couple of weeks ago, we decided to start watching ABC's "Once Upon A Time."  Premise: A town is comprised of fairy tale characters, but a witch put a curse on them & none of them remember their fairy tale lives.  Snow White (Mary Margaret in the normal world) and Prince Charming (James) were married and had a baby in the fairy tale world before the curse came.  Well, in the real world, James is recovering after being in a coma and MM is the hospital volunteer helping him.  They fall in love and then find out James was married before going in the coma.  He doesn't remember his wife, and part of him remembers Snow White, which is why he loves MM.  He keeps trying to get her to date him.  It's interesting because he is married and should be faithful to his wife, but he was married to MM first!  Later in the show, he leaves his wife because he doesn't love her, and on the way to meeting MM to see if she wants to date, his memories all come back.  When he gets there to meet her, he says, "I still like you a lot, but now I remember loving [my wife], and I have to honor that.  I'm sorry."

During the entire show, MM and her friend emphasize that he is married and it would be wrong for her to interfere.  She firmly decides not to do anything to come between him and his wife, even though she loves him. Anyway, to make a long story a tiny bit shorter, thank you, ABC, for giving proper respect to the sanctity of marriage and the importance of honoring that commitment.  Not many shows or characters do that these days.  I am very impressed.

student teaching

Yes, it has begun.  Student teaching.  It's fun but also exhausting, which is the reason for not having posted lately.  I've been taking notes, though, because there have been some cool experiences.  My goal is to post them as they come so I can be more on top of record-/journal-keeping, but here's a collection from the past couple of weeks.

I've been trying hard to learn my students' names, since there is friendship (and also teacher authority) in knowing people's names.  Cool experience #1 was a girl making the comment to someone at her table that "she's really good with names."  I had, in fact, hardly learned any names from her particular class - she heard me say the one or two that I either knew or had looked at off people's papers on their desks.  I think it still does something for the class environment, though, if everyone thinks you know their names.  :)

There was a test right before I started at the school.  Almost every person failed that test - as in, like, 20%'s and such.  I was the one who graded those tests.  Unfortunately for me, one particularly interesting and (at the the time) vindictive girl found out and wasted no time in making sure people knew that I was the one who had graded them.  Nevertheless, I was not too worried, because to be honest, I'm not terribly worried about being popular here, but I was a little nervous - I didn't know how much damage she could cause for me.  And as much as I didn't care if people loved me, I also didn't especially want her making enemies everywhere for me.  The next day, though, she came to the classroom after school and asked for help in preparing to retake the test.  A minute later, as another girl got up to ask my mentor teacher for help with her retake, Girl 1 said to "ask her for help instead.  She's better at explaining it, trust me."  Now, I'm not saying I'm better than my mentor, although I may have been for that particular girl.  The point is that she didn't hate me, now we're friends, and that was a somewhat monumental moment for me - the moment my students started to see me as a competent teacher.

Two students that are cousins were in after school making sure they were ready for the end of the term.  Because it was after school, when they talked to me, I spoke to them some in English.  We talked about getting married, what school to go to, how one of the cousins is brilliant.... just generally got to know each other.  It's fun when they start to see you as a real person instead of just a teacher :)

I saw one of my students at the grocery store! She's a bagger there. And she recognized me! I felt kind of bad because I didn't recognize her at all - it was just after a couple of days of student teaching and she sits in the back.  But it was still fun.

Yesterday we introduced a Powerpoint assignment that they'll be doing about families.  My mentor gave them an example using her family, and afterwards, they all also wanted to see mine.  Proving my theory once again that it's good to use examples from your own life - it's fun to see evidence of teachers' lives outside of school!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Christmas break

Well, I'm back from Christmas break!  And it was most excellent.  So excellent, in fact, that I never even broke out the camera.  Sometimes life is too good to take pictures.  As a result, I have none of...

- coincidentally sitting right in front of one of my best friends and his sister on the flight home
- any of the tasty food we ate (including homemade pizza, macaroni and cheese, Cafe Río, sausage rolls, wheat chili with cornbread, etc.)
- the excitement that was Christmas Day
- my entire family being together!
- driving around the hometown that I love
- seeing a best friend for the first time (in real life) in way too long
- playing the newest Harry Potter SceneIt? and being pleasantly surprised by the challenge
- playing Minute To Win It and watching people do crazy and difficult stunts
- playing Nertz, a family classic
- Rachel's 16th (!) birthday
- Joel in his new footie pajamas :)
- Dad's new surround sound system
- scanning my great-grandma's recipes to put into a family history book
- Michael, Kelli, Rachel, Joel, and I running after Brooke and Jon's car as they left - twice
- having dinner with my fourth grade teacher
- surprise meeting with one of my great friends/seminary teachers and his wife
- seeing another of my seminary teachers that I love
- going through boxes of my old things and finding some real treasures
- playing air hockey and soundly whipping Joel's booty (hey, I need one game I can beat him in! :)
- etc.

Such a fun break! and a much-needed one.  It was so nice to be home - and not just the house part of home, but the city and family parts, too.  A huge shout-out to Joel for letting me be home for almost two weeks and to my parents for doing so much for all of us while we were there!  It was an excellent Christmas :)