Thursday, April 14, 2011

It's a lightening bolt of hearts.

I want to talk about Ty, a student who was defiant from the moment he walked into my classroom. He came to class high. I made him focus. He tried to talk the entire class period. I made him move. He yelled at me. I kept him after class. I set up a meeting with his father. His father never showed. These interactions, seemingly meaningless, demonstrated my desire for Ty to be successful and he began to rise to my high expectations. Ty came to class on time and wasn't even high most days. He actually let me see how smart he was and really caught on to inequalities.

(Example of Inequality Ty can solve: -3x + 8 < 17)

The only inequality he's going to see now will be from inside his jail cell... for at least 4 years longer than the white kid.

(Example of Inequality Ty won't have to solve to understand: 10 > 6)

They were both caught stealing while possessing drugs. My second hour informed me that it's just different if you're black. I felt as helpless as when a kid asked me if I could braid his fro. My skills are severely lacking in many capacities. Luckily, one of those lacking skills is crying in public.

I have such a fleeting amount of time with my students. Today I was organizing archived folders of class work. I threw away 15 students' folders because I know I'll never see the people they belong to again due to expulsion, drop outs, or jail sentencing.

Watching this Oklahoma storm makes me realize what a brief flash I will be in most of these students lives. The most pressing issue on my mind is the approach I can take to really change trajectories for my students and help them find their path to the life they deserve.

I want to make my flash last longer.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

I smashed my glass slipper to build a stained glass window.

I don't get a fairy tale, but I get a beautiful pane with which to view the world.

Flashbacks to Freshman Year

I had lunch today with my, (get ready for a removed sequence), roommate's sister's three-year-old son. He was so legit! He loves spider man, eats fruit, and can tell you the exact life cycle of frogs and caterpillars and which animals are herbivores and carnivores - he also knows he's an omnivore.

Me: "Give me a high-five. Isaac, you're SO awesome."
Isaac: "You're so a... cute. And awesome."
Me: "Well, aren't you precious."
Issac: "And you're tease."
Me: "A tease?!"
Internal Conversation: Dear Lord, did this child just call me a tease? Where did he learn that? Man... that's not the first time I've heard that...
Isaac: "Yes. Tease. And your eyes."
Internal Conversation: Whew. He was trying to point out features of my face, not accuse me of turning him on and not fulfilling my 'womanly duty.'

I Promise I Don't Shower.

I wrote the curriculum for our advisory class last week. Generally there is a counselor who does the lesson plans; however, I offered to help her. The lesson was on resumes and I've had some experience entering resume and interview competitions back in the day. I supplied the counselor with a two-page lesson plan, PowerPoint, and a copy of my resume (with my address, phone number, and e-mail blacked out), to use as resources for planning the lesson. She handed out all materials - including a copy of my resume for every student in the school - to all of the teachers. I gave her the items hoping for an edit, but I think she thought the material sufficient.

My colleague, (who I had taken to the hospital last semester), had an advisory class that was actually holding my resume up to the light to see if they could see through the blacked out parts to get my number. What the?

Malfunctions: Round 3.

I had blood work, x-rays, and an ultrasound taken last week. 2 years ago it was kidney failure and an intestinal infection. Last year it was Pancreatitits. This year they thought it was Gallbladder disease, which was infuriating as the disease is usually a result of poor diet. I can't eat without it hurting. After the ultrasound of my gallbladder showed no signs of malfunction, the doctor took more blood. Currently I can't eat gluten or dairy. I'm just going to be vegan with the exception of honey... I'm still not sure how I feel about agave nectar.