domingo, octubre 30, 2005


el destino

From Lemony Snicket's An Unfortunate Series of Events #12: The Penultimate Peril:

..."destiny" is a word that tends to cause arguments among the people who use it. Some people think destiny is something you cannot escape, such as death, or a cheesecake that has curdled, both of which always turn up sooner or later. Other people think destiny is a time in one's life, such as the moment one becomes an adult, or the instant it becomes necessary to construct a hiding place out of sofa cushions. And still other people think that destiny is an invisible force, like gravity, or a fear of paper cuts, that guides everyone throughout their lives, whether they are embarking on a mysterious errand, doing a treacherous deed, or deciding that a book they have begun reading is too dreadful to finish.

sábado, octubre 29, 2005



  • Andre Dubus III, House of Sand and Fog

  • Paolo Coelho, The Zahir

  • Naomi Shihab Nye, Habibi

  • Secuestro Express

  • hate:
  • Prussian Blue supremacist bullshit

  • deciding on Halloween costumes

  • Sandra Cisneros (still)

  • Currrently reading:
  • Lemony Snicket, An Unfortunate Series of Events #12: The Penultimate Peril

  • José Saramago, The Double

  • Augusten Burroughs, Running With Scissors

  • At a friend's insistence, I started Revolt of the Cockroach People to school myself in Chicano history. Also plan on buying the new Salman Rushdie book Shalimar the Clown. Time to get literate again!

    jueves, octubre 27, 2005


    nobody likes a smartass!

    this monday we will have our first of two permitted class parties. the class vetoed my idea of holding off on a full-fledged party and instead having a "Bat Fruit Feast." natural sugars, be damned! being the comilona that i am, i immediately started suggesting things their parents could bring: enchiladas, tacos al pastor, and of course my all-time favorite, pastel de tres leches. one kid's response to the latter request:

    "Te traigo TRES GALONES DE LECHE."

    martes, octubre 25, 2005



    i had an interesting night, that's for certain. i didn't get a lot of sleep and i got ready for school in less than 15 minutes. i put eyeshadow on in the car and lip gloss as a afterthought in the classroom. but i was nicely dressed and quite chipper, so i was a little peeved when a student walked in late, plopped herself on the carpet, cocked her said to one side and, with scrutinizing eyes, exlaimed,

    "You look weird. You need makeup!"

    later this morning, we read a book called "A Hug Is Warm." We discussed times when we might want to give someone a hug. One of my kids said, "I gave my dad a hug before he went to jail." Dad and Mom seem very nice if not a little strung out from time to time... sometimes being a teacher puts you in a weird place.

    miércoles, octubre 19, 2005



    this morning my kids saw a bigass cockroach. i asked one of my boys to step on it and instead he grabbed a pencil box. a PENCIL BOX. resourceful, eh?

    my pathological liar who had been doing so well flicked off two students this morning. so many stupid little things have happened that she got sent to pre-k today and the next step is suspension. i told mom and she seemed astonished that all this is happening. she's never been like this before.

    my unspoken response: my ASS.

    in the afternoon, my kids did a helluva job in math. they did centers quietly and stayed on-task the whole time. i asked them what was going on... was there something in the ketchup today? why were they being so incredibly well-behaved and productive? my kid with a driest, frankest sense of humor ever given to a six-year-old cocked his head and told it to me straight-up: "Because we're focusing on our work."


    martes, octubre 18, 2005



    reasons why i shouldn't complain so much:
    1. i am very much a morning person, but on the rare days when i wake up grumpy and mad at the world, i know that once i get to school my chamacos will make me feel better
    2. my kids are AMAZING writers!!!
    3. i no longer have jehovah's witnesses in my classroom who freak out at the mere possibility of celebration (i seriously had to force the "friendship week" i used to replace valentine's day) and we will be studying BATS, SCARY THINGS, Halloween AND Día de los muertos! i am a holiday FREAK this year, who knew?
    4. i got a lovely pumpkin mug =) my kids are painfully aware of my coffee addiction, it's quite sweet how they go searching for my mug when it is inevitably misplaced.
    5. Target's Halloween party favors are already discounted.
    6. of my three slight behavior problem students, one has chilled out, another is making much better decisions, and at least the one with the bad temper is very honest and up-front when he harasses other children. i hate the ¿me estás echando mentiras? speech.
    7. while one teammate is a certifiable pain in my ass these days, the others are still wonderful. and my other buddy was a great help around report card time. yay for pleasant co-workers! be continued.

    domingo, octubre 16, 2005


    oh bother

    it's the time of year when we complain about report cards and lesson plans. everybody does it, don't feel bad. but if i may preach to the choir briefly:

    don't come to work everyday full of piss and vinegar. don't yell at your kids because YOU are frustrated with teaching. don't be bitchy to your co-workers because you're dissatisfied with administrative decisions. don't act put out because you have to differentiate your teaching. don't neglect your lower students because they require more of your attention, and don't be resentful because of it. and definitely don't expect me to commiserate when i've got a full plate of my own and it's just my second year and you're on your fourth. i'm sorry, did you think teaching was a walk in the park? what planet did you just come from?

    and for the love of all things holy and good, don't make first grade all about worksheets. don't insult your students like that. a little effort won't kill you.

    ..stepping off soapbox.

    martes, octubre 11, 2005



    day 2 of online defensive driving. 8 sessions left. grr.

    i am seriously exhausted. i am at school for no less than 10 hours a day. i teach all day long then do after-school enrichment classes. i love the after-school classes because the kids ROCK and love being there (especially today's class, which consists almost exclusively of my former and current students), but after everyone clears out, i've got even more to clean up, plan and prep for. so i'm reminded why i love working with kids, but it's wearing me the hell out. i try to stay social, so i'll meet up with friends for drinks or dinner. i'm home past sunset and by that point all i can manage is some painting, tv, or maybe lesson planning or computer stuff. bedtime? between 10 and 11 pm.

    lord help me, i'm only 24!!!

    lunes, octubre 10, 2005


    don't stress and drive

    I have made the horrible mistake of taking defensive driving through an online course. But at least i'm "learning":

    Stress is something most everyone experiences as part of daily life. We have all felt the pressure of busy schedules, deadlines at work, problems at home, bills to pay, and so on. When stress reaches extreme levels, it can seriously affect our physical and emotional state. Stress can cause adrenaline rushes, muscle tension, increased breathing and heart rates, sweaty palms, headaches, and extreme fatigue. All of these effects can impair your ability to operate a motor vehicle. You should avoid driving anytime you feel you are under high levels of stress. Because driving itself can cause stress, you should plan ahead of time to minimize the chances of getting stuck in stressful driving conditions such as rush hour or adverse weather. If driving to an appointment, always give yourself enough time so you do not find yourself rushing to get there. If traveling to an unfamiliar area, get directions and plan your route ahead of time.

    Someone please forward the boldface sentence to my principal when i call in sick tomorrow because my driving to school is a public safety hazard.


    i say a little prayer for you

    federal holiday, HA. i called my parents' house at lunch and both of them were at home taking it easy. must be nice.

    i found that mr. tube top loves me so much, when he gets home he insists that his mother help him correctly spell my name on the drawings he makes of me. when they say their prayers at night, i'm the only non-family member he's ever mentioned. am i good or WHAT? it's kind of freaking me out.

    report card time is nigh. i've received 8 english-speaking students. my stress level increases daily and i have to force myself to leave before 6 pm. i need all the kids praying for me that i can get. does that sentence even make sense?

    jueves, octubre 06, 2005


    is the neighborhood or the culture?

    one of my students is leaving my class despite his and his family's wishes for him to stay. today he gave me a lovely card with a *real* rose taped to it (last year's class was very fond of giving me fake velvet roses), a huge photo of himself (with nunca me olvide written on the back), and a GIFT... in the morning, he told me that his mother had cut the tag off the shirt: "Qué camisa?" "Tu camisa!" "¿Esta?" (pointing to the shirt i was wearing and feeling very confused) "NO, ¡la que te di!" "Oh. ¿Me diste una camisa?" "Sí, ¡mira!" I didn't look other than a marginal glance that showed it to indeed be a black shirt of some sort. After school, I stopped by a friend's room and made him see the card that made me cry just a little bit... he wanted to see the shirt, so we pulled it out and lo and behold...



    martes, octubre 04, 2005


    on the ball

    tonight i met up with a couple co-workers to vent and lesson plan. one of my co-workers refers to herself as "word-retarded" in regard to her inability to effectively use "teacherese." not very PC, but whatever. in that spirit, i will confess that i am totally lesson plan-retarded. i am absolutely incapable of planning my lessons ahead of time in ALL subjects, writing it all down, and actually doing it all. i am a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants girl that keeps curriculum focus and themes in mind at all times. i am a leap-up-and-grab-a-book-that-has-to-do-with-a-kid's-random-anecdote kind of teacher that will completely rearrange my morning to accomodate a teachable moment. i base the following day's activities on the current day's performance. ALWAYS. sure, sometimes i do exactly what i plan to do in math or guided reading, but never never NEVER have i gone an entire day doing things as planned on paper.

    for some people, i'm sure it's just a matter of style. the ladies on my first grade team have a wide variety of styles, and mine happens to match that of the teacher next door who has been teaching for 8 years and is still in a perpetual state of open change* and paper craziness. our rooms aren't messy, per se, (some have even been so bold as to call me organized, although surely they are smoking crack and are therefore missing the multiple piles of random shit i have everywhere) they just seem... actively used. i'm an anal-retentive person, but teaching has made me realistic. and a bit lazy. i expect the students to consider the classroom theirs, from their stuff on every wall to the fact that they have access to all materials, books, etc.

    hmm, got a little lost there. my point is this: big changes are happening to my class (tiny perfect class, goodbye...) and i think it is imperative that i get my lesson plans (or lack thereof) in check. as soon as humanly possible. BUT... considering i am lesson plan-retarded, this will be quite a challenge. any advice???

    *she/we are constantly rearranging her room/student seating/organizational systems/behavior management approaches to best meet students' needs. she's rearranged her centers four times this year. and yes, it's only the first week of october.

    domingo, octubre 02, 2005


    2 more reasons to take the GRE ASAP

    1. you have to attend mind-numbing trainings "facilitated" by someone that attended summer trainings with you and spent the entire duration of that training reading a book and showing off her portfolio (i had a long post about her which paranoia will not allow me to link.. just think back to july when i bitched endlessly about annoying professional development). even worse, this person feels the need to circulate around the room making sure YOU are not lesson planning as they read things aloud to you verbatim... because we all know as teachers that the best method of instruction is pure regurgitation. furthermore, the training is drastically short of materials AND space, so you neither have access to any of the materials you are being trained to use nor can you see any of the video clips that are being shown. and of COURSE, the kicker: not a damned thing is in spanish, despite the fact that you certainly are not the only bilingual teacher in the room.

    2. after-hours/weekend calls from administration can NEVER be good. let's face it, administration never takes the time to call you up just to say "Great job! We LOVE you!"

    ...if i hadn't made my identity obvious enough, i just dug myself in a little deeper. ah well.

    and just to keep things R-rated:

    have a great week. i assure you that mine will be lousier than yours.



    old friends & readers: photos of literacy centers and student work have been uploaded. you know where to find them, and if you've forgotten, email me.

    This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?