Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Ten Fun Facts About Teaching

Everything green and growing Mekong Delta, Vietnam
Korean Word: 연필(pencil)
Spanish Word: lápiz (pencil)

I was sitting in the third grade classroom I volunteer in/will student teach in and I began thinking about some elements of classroom culture that not only seem to consistent in this classroom but seem universal, whether because I've observed them elsewhere or because I remember them from my own school days.

Five Things You Can Expect from Third Graders

1. When the teacher says, "You have ten seconds to put away your *insert item(s) here* and sit down at your desk!" and begins a countdown from ten, she will have to add at least three minutes to her countdown via creative fractions such as "three and two thirds, three and three eights, three and one sixteenth" in order to ensure that everyone makes it back to their seats by zero
2. If once you start down the "what-ifs" path, forever will it dominate your emergency evacuation drill Q&A (which was only meant to take ten minutes but has gone on so long that there's no time for math anymore because the drill has officially started)
3. No matter how many sharpened pencils the students each have in their chair pockets or in the pencil holder on their table, every time the teacher introduces a new subject, half the class will need the pencil sharpener
4. Despite the fact that you both know she went five minutes ago, Allie will insist she has to go to the bathroom "real bad!" and will do a special dance to prove it. Expect to see her and the dance again five minutes after she gets back.
5. No matter how strict the teacher has had to be during the last two weeks and no matter how many minutes of recess have been lost as a result, every single student will beg her not to leave them to get married (even if she promises she will be back by Tuesday)

Today I was reminded of why I want to be a teacher. I owe a huge thank you to my cooperating teacher and my wonderful students!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Goings-on by the Charles

Jaws! Diving in Busan, South Korea
Spanish Word: Esperanza (wish)

Korean Word: 뉴질랜드 (New Zealand - notice how well these two words go together!)

I've really got to work on posting consistently. Sometimes I think, "But I have nothing interesting to say!" Who cares! Write something anyway and hopefully it will be interesting and/or a nice post to reflect back on some time down the road.

Since I'm hesitant to harp on about my life unless something truly remarkable is happening, I would instead like to share some links to events in the near future that relate to me and about which I am extremely excited. I admit, this post will probably feel like an on-going non sequitur but bear with me!

  • Team Starkid's SPACE (Starkid Precarious Auditory Concert Experience) Tour - These are the fantastic people who brought the world "A Harry Potter Musical" and "A Harry Potter Sequel," among other fabulous things! And miraculously, they're coming to Boston and I have tickets! This theater group is fantastically talented and their other plays are worth checking out, especially "Me and My Dick," which shocked me with how awesome and surprisingly insightful it was. 
    • NOTE: Darren Criss wrote the music and lyrics for all four plays - interested yet?
  • Occupy Boston! (or the 99% Rally) - This is actually in conjunction with Occupy Wall Street, which began the first weekend of October and has spread from New York to Chicago, LA, and Boston. It's an inspiring protest against removal of government regulations that monitor and restrict the operations of corporations (and, at the same time, an objection to the terrifying power those businesses already have over our government). One of the highlights of this event was an informal concert by the fantastic band Harry and the Potters. They sang some of their fantastic Harry Potter-themed music and tied it all into their take on Occupy Boston, which sums it up perfectly, as far as I'm concerned: "Please ignore the Fox News spin. These protests are not about liberal or conservative values. They’re about the very basic idea that government should serve the people (and not the corporations). It’s about the hope that we can continue to be a “government of the people, by the people, for the people.” 
  •  Two upcoming book publications!
    • The Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare (Dec. 6) - For one thing, I really enjoyed the first book, "The Clockwork Angel." I do enjoy her other series, The Mortal Instruments, but if I have to hear one more angsty teenage sigh .... The Infernal Devices, to which "The Clockwork Prince" belongs, has less of the angsty romance and more of the fantastic and depthful character development. For another thing, the main character's name is Tessa. I had a brief discussion about this name with Sarah Rees Brennan last May and I'm shamelessly glad to say that she also uses the name "Tess" in her novel, Demon's Surrender and that it seems to be a name more authors are picking. I don't know, it's nice to see your name in a novel sometimes!
    • Team Human by Sarah Rees Brennan and Justine Larbalestier (Spring 2012) - Let's just say I will read anything SRB writes and I admire the talents of JL enough to try anything of hers! This is their "friendship" novel, a reaction to the over-dramatic teen fantasy romances flooding the current market. It may also be a slight mockery of the vampire novel, not sure yet!
  • NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) - This November, I will (in theory) participant in my third NaNoWriMo experience. I may also be bringing parts of it into the elementary classroom in which I student teach. I'm not really sure yet. Basically, NaNo a contest with yourself to see if you can write a 50,000 word novel in a month. Authors like John Green and Tamora Pierce have been past participants and it's truly an awesome way to meet other writers and jump-start your writing. I've "won" NaNo (meaning achieving a 50,000 word-count novel) the last two years. My school/life plate is so full this fall and yet, I seem to do best at NaNo under pressure ....
  • OnStage Dance Company, Season Two - I'm so honored to be a part of this company. This season's pieces are even more spectacularly awesome and I'm thrilled that I'm in two of them! One is a jazz piece to the song "Fever" by Pegge Lee (my favorite jazz standard of all time!) and the other is a tango/contemporary piece to the song "Libertango" by Bond. We perform December 3 which is coming up fast!
This is it for now but I'm having a fantastic time being way the heck too busy and spending a lot of time with a lot of really amazing people.

Maybe Boston isn't so bad after all ...