Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Why I want to be a teacher

This got a little derailed, and it's a little scattered, but this is the first creative thing I've written for months, really, and since I'm very short on time and pretty short on blog post topics, here is the first journal entry for one of my education classes.

Why do you want to become a teacher? What’s your story?

I have wanted to be a teacher for as long as I can remember. There were brief periods where I wanted to be an optometrist, an orthodontist, or a botanist, but never very seriously. Since I started playing school with my dolls and stuffies, I knew I wanted to teach.

Did I always want to teach middle school? Heck no! My first two years here at M___ State were spent as a secondary education major, emphasis in English with the intent to teach high school. However, I then decided to get my BA in English Writing instead, then go on to graduate school for my masters (or maybe doctorate) and teach college writing classes. I thought that was the place to be; the students want to be there (they’re paying for it, after all, or at least mom and dad are!) , and once I had some seniority and got “dibs” on the upper-division classes, I would be teaching my kind of people: English freaks. The kind of people who get really excited about word origins and semicolons, and who have conniptions when a sign in a store is misspelled or improperly punctuated.

However, I didn’t go to graduate school the year after I graduated from M___, nor did I go the next year. (Long stories.) Totally bummed and not wanting to work in retail the rest of my life, I started looking at *PBL programs on the Eastern Slope, since M___ no longer had one for secondary, just elementary. However, with the current economy and difficulty in finding jobs, my husband, Matt, and I were a little scared to move to Fort Collins/Boulder/Denver/wherever with nothing to move to but college and more student loan debt.

Serendipitously, a man from the PBL program came through my checkout line at work one day last winter and we got to talking about teaching, teaching programs, and PBLs. I found out he worked in the PBL program at M___, and said, “Well geeze, I wish you guys had it for secondary. I have to move all the way to Denver next fall!”

“We do,” he replied. “We’ll be starting it back up this coming year.”

That changed everything! Matt and I could stay here at the jobs we knew and tolerated; he could work while I did this “intensive” program (and is it ever!) and in one calendar year, I would be a certified teacher!

When I got my placement for my pre-internship and internship, I made a face like I’d just tasted rotten lemons. Seventh grade? Twelve-year olds five days a week for nine months? Really? I wanted high school students! Since I wouldn’t be teaching at the college level, they were the next best thing, I thought. More mature, and developed enough that they didn’t need to be babysat like the junior high kids.

The more I thought about it and talked about it, though, the more I chatted with the principal at W___ Middle School and my mentor teacher, K__ D____, and the more I started reading the novels 7th-graders read and thinking about the sorts of things they do, the more excited I got! I couldn’t wait for my online summer classes to be over, as interesting as they were, in order to get to the good stuff. I can’t explain it; it’s like this desire to be with middle school kids suddenly welled up in my heart and flowed throughout my whole life.

The kids are awesome. They’re hilarious and gross, and the boys have that just-becoming-teenagers-and-not-used-to-sweating-so-they-don’t-shower-much boy smell, and the girls are all about lip gloss and Twilight books, but I love them all. Standing at the doors every morning, watching them rush past me yelling, jostling, and giggling, watching them slam their lockers and then open them right back up to get the pencil they forgot… I just want to hug them all! They’re these little miniature people (though some are bigger than me!) who are learning who they are, who they want to be, what they want to do. My husband refers to them as “larval humans,” and while he doesn’t mean it in a nice way, I think that’s a fairly accurate description. Not to get all gooey-sentimental, but they’re still inside their comfy being-a-kid shell. They’re mushy and awkward and messy, growing into someday butterflies. And I love that I’m a part of their lives right now, that I get to watch them metamorphose into beautiful, brilliant, unique creatures.

God bless the elementary teachers. They do more babysitting even than I do (which is still a lot!), and they have kids in the “caterpillar” stage—worming their way through letters, sounds, words, through addition and subtraction, through lining up for recess and tying their shoes. I’d be fine doing daycare for the littles, but trying to do that and teach them stuff? No thank you. And I’m sure they feel the same way about middle school teachers—they wouldn’t want to touch those kids with a ten foot pole. (Sometimes, neither do I, so I can’t blame them.) But this is where I’m supposed to be. I can feel it. And hopefully, this is where I’ll be next year when it’s time to get a real teaching job, and the year after that, and the year after that.

*PBL: Post-Baccalaureate Licensure; basically you have your Bachelor's in something, then add the education credits on to become licensed to teach in that content area.

Friday, August 21, 2009

8 Things Friday

1. It's been a little while since I've done one of these! Over a month, actually; not since July 17th. I'm hoping to get back into it now that I'm more on a schedule.

2. Didja see the new banner? I think it's very fitting to where I am in my life right now. (Actually if I was being more accurate, it would also have a picture of the college, the middle school, and a huge stack of books and homework, but I thought three pictures was enough.)

3. I'm finally learning where all the light switches in this house are, and which lights they turn on. For the living room, the stairway, and the loft, there are two each, which is helpful, but was also a little confusing. And so far I haven't turned on the garbage disposal when I meant to get the kitchen light, so that's good.

4. This has been a long, long week, but at the same time, it's flown by! I've done SO MUCH, and I'm SO TIRED in the evenings even with going to bed early (since I wake up at freakin 5:20am). I'm going to enjoy my college classes, and all but one are Tuesday-Thursday, which I like. There are only two classes a week, but longer ones so it seems I get more out of them; also, more days in between (on the weekends) to do homework! I have a 1-hour class on Wednesdays only because it's the content part (English) of my "Methodology Practicum" class. There's also "Integrating Literacy in the Classroom," and "Teaching Speech and Drama" (which is taught by one of the drama profs, and is therefore wacky and different from a "normal" class).

5. Kitsune had her first bath (from me) the other night.

Kitsune's first bath

It was a very sad, sad thing.

Kitsune in a towel

She shivered and was generally a total Pomhuahua. (Pomeranian+Chihuahua=Pomhuahua.)

However, after the bath when she was all fluffy and slightly damp, she went CRAZY! She ran laps around the coffee table, panting, and she chased the heck out of her tail! I laughed so hard and so long my stomach was sore!

6. This is all out of order, but as I said (and will be saying for the next year), I'm tired. Here is my "first day of student teaching" outfit:

1st day of student teaching

The curious doggie was not part of the look, though I think it really adds a little extra something.

7. 7th-graders are INSANE. I swear. They're crazy and funny and gross and silly and immature, and their little brains do not quite work the way adults' do. Something that seems so simple (fill out this worksheet about where stuff is in your geography book) is really NOT. It takes 45 minutes and still only a few kids out of 25 get it all the way done because of all the "I don't know"s and the screwing around. I knew this already, but I didn't really know it. Now I do.

8. I'm not whining, I'm really not. I wasn't actually that frustrated at them today, it was just... a learning experience. They can't help it; they're twelve years old! It's not like they go to school every day thinking, "I'm going to be really difficult, and not follow instructions, and not listen to anything in order to annoy the crud out of my teachers." They're just... twelve years old. They're still trying to turn into real people and they don't think about things like getting their pencils from their lockers, or staying in their seat for a whole hour, or putting their names on their papers.

But they're amazing kids. Just reading through some of the "All About Me" papers (just what it sounds like, but for the teachers only, and it's also used as a writing assessment to see where everyone is at) was so cool. Friends are very important to the girls; food is very important to the boys. Pets are important to everyone. It was interesting to read their descriptions of their families; how they said their parents were divorced, how they told about their siblings. I'm looking forward to reading them all, if I can.


Monday, August 17, 2009

San Diego 2009 - Part 2

We left off on Tuesday evening at Croce's Jazz Bar, and now resume our tale Wednesday morning.


Pretty flowers outside yet another thrift store.

After that, we went to Hillcrest, off of University Avenue (oddly enough, it's near the college) for another "famous" thrift store (or at least it got good reviews online). We parked just outside "Wear it Again, Sam," a vintage clothing store. (That's not the one we were looking for, but it was a fortuitous parking place, since we got to check it out!) I stepped inside and I swear, it was like I Love Lucy all around, from the men's shirts to the purses and hats to the bathing suits to the dresses. Sooooo much prettiness and cuteness! Unfortunately everything was overpriced, even the things that were in bad condition, i.e. had rips or runs or broken zippers. *Sigh* But very fun to look.

We had lunch at Pizza Fusion, and everything there is eco-friendly, biodegradable, free-range, and organic. Our waitress was covered in tattoos and was kind of a friendly, dippy hippie sort of person. Here is the bathroom sink:


(I took a picture of the nifty bathroom sinks at Quarter Kitchen, too, but they turned out bad so I didn't post them. I'm weird, I know.) I'm pretty sure it was made from bamboo, and at the bottom of the mirror, it says "This person is helping to change the world." Awww.

We hit Buffalo Exchange after that, and if we weren't so tired and footsore at that point, we could've spent a lot longer inside. I tried on a ton of stuff but everything either didn't fit, or was ugly on me. All except a cute black pencil skirt, yay! I'd been wanting one for teaching this fall.

If you've met my mom, this will come as little surprise to you: we went and got her nose pierced that afternoon. :D We punched "tattoo" into the GPS to find a place and drove just a little ways, went in and met a hairy, tattoo'd dude, and were told to come back in half an hour. After having a coffee and pastry at a cute French place, we returned to Swell Tattoo Co.



:D Didn't hurt, didn't bleed, she didn't even tear up.

After that, we went home, exhausted.

Thursday was our last day in San Diego. We hit Ikea in the morning, wheeeeeee! I love love love that store! I'd never been in one before, but everything in it was just like our house is decorated. I wanted to buy all of it! And so cheap, too! Eventually, when (if) we have money, we might be ordering some smaller things from the website.


Brittany, this is for you and your Ikea food pictures! We split a chicken wrap and an order of French fries. I had apple juice and Mom had some sort of sparkling peach stuff. Yum!

After lunch, we drove to the Natural History Museum for the Body Worlds exhibit. It was very cool and I'm very glad we went! It was like walking through a giant science lesson, but in a good way. I went back and forth between, "Oh my gosh, these are real people. Ew. Dang." and "Wow, this is so awsome! Look at that heart cross section/those blood vessels/that embryo/those muscles!" If you have a chance to go, I recommend it.


Lovely avenue between the science building and the museum proper. Don't know what was down it, but it was sure a photo opportunity!

Thursday after work, Lori drove us an hour and a half-ish back to Jenna's apartment. We watched What Happens in Vegas, which was better than I'd thought it would be: hilarious and cute. Lori then drove home since she had work the next morning, and Mom and I slept on the hideaway in the spare room, and the couch in the living room, respectively.

The whole trip, Mom and I had been dying for El Pollo Loco. (Oh my gosh, that website just made me so hungry for it! It's soooo good!) It had been years since either of us had had it, since there aren't any in Colorado. So on the way to the airport (Jen came back on her lunch break to take us), we drove through and got combo meals. Deciding it would be too messy to eat them in the car, and thinking it was only a half hour, anyway, we waited til we got to the airport. After checking our bag and getting our tickets, we started toward... well, a freaking huge line. And at the end of that line was the security checkpoint, past which you cannot take food. So yes, we scarfed down as much as we could, since we had to get in that line and we couldn't be late for our flight.


(Good grief, I really needed to cut my bangs that whole time we were there, they looked like crud!) (And I like Mr. "I'm not paying attention to the silly tourists taking pictures of their chicken" behind me.) Here I am with our carry-on junk on a cart, eating grilled chicken, tortillas, beans, and rice, as fast as possible without getting sick.

And then, finally, we were on the plane home. After the stress of the huge airport, both of us just read and dozed a little. However, I had to take one more picture.


I think our carry-on bags are so indicative of our personalities. Heather's is handmade, vintage-looking, pink, and comfy. Donna's is patent-leather, zebra striped, and accented with lipstick-red and silver chains.

Good trip.

Friday, August 14, 2009

San Diego 2009 - Part 1

The trip immortalized forever in a wholllle lot of pictures! Oddly enough, a lot of them are of food, but I'll only show you a couple of those. (We did a lot of eating. It was great.) I took about 80 pictures and whittled them down to 21.

Mom and I left here about 9:30 on Friday night and the two-hour flight got into LAX about 10:45--California time. (The trip home was "three hours" long because of the time change.) My cousin, Jennifer, picked us up at the airport since she lives about half an hour away, then we drove straight down to my Aunt Lori's house in San Diego, about another hour and a half. We arrived at Lori's about 1am and promptly crashed into our respective beds. Mom and I had their toy hauler/trailer in the driveway to ourselves, which was super nice.


Here is the view from their huge picture window in the living room. Across the bay you can see the Sea World fireworks go off about 10 every night.


This is how we spent the first half of Saturday. It was amazing. Once we were finally dressed, we went to CostCo, since we'd made great plans of wonderful things to cook and eat that week. After dropping all that off at the house, Mom and I took Lori's car to the beach for a couple hours while Lori and Jen (who can go to the beach whenever they want since they live there) hit another grocery store for a couple more things. We came back and had a yummy dinner: a salad of greens with grilled chicken, fresh raspberries, carmelized walnuts, and raspberry vinagrette. Uncle Jeff was on a boat fishing with friends, and my other cousin, Curtis, was at his cousin's house, so we could have a super-girly dinner.

Sunday we had a "tea party" breakfast with orange-chocolate-chip scones, two kinds of tea, and yogurt-fruit-granola "parfaits" in martini glasses, then the four of us went to the swap meet. Sooooooo much shopping, and all for super cheap! I got a top and a dress for $12, the parasol for $2, a bunch of earrings for $5, a purse and matching wallet (the same exact set I'd been pining for from Icing, but I paid $8 for the set instead of $30!), lots of hair stuff, new sunglasses... I don't know what all else. Jenna also got a big rug for her new apartment for just $40, and Mom got two pair of shoes, a hat... Yeah, there was major shopping.



Snack time! (Jenna and Lori)

That night we had a nice dinner with the whole family, as well as Curtis' really sweet girlfriend, Sarah. We watched Holes, which I hadn't seen in forever. It's still wonderful! :) (Please read the book first if you haven't seen the movie! They're both great, but of course the book is better.) Then Curtis played a new song he'd learned on his 12-string. He has a minor guitar addiction, and by "minor" I mean he has about 6 all over his room.


Jenna got up early Monday morning to head back to Orange County and work, booo. Mom drove Lori to work so we'd have the use of her car all day (and she caught a ride back with Jeff). Then we hit the thrift stores--hard! One called "The Buff" was supposed to be awesome, but was mostly full of cheap-o Halloween costumes and castoff 90's clothes, though I did find some dark turquoise, velvet, high-heeled shoes with rhinestone buckles on them! Up the street was "Thrift Trader," where everything in the store--t-shirts, skirts, movies, CDs, jackets, everything--was either $5.99 or 4 items for $20. We made out good there!


I got this top, as well as a bunch of cute WWF t-shirts and a black cropped jacket that will be good for teaching. Mom got a bunch of CDs.


We then made our second Starbucks stop of the day for a little pick-me-up before heading to AmVets, a huuuuge thrift store the size of a warehouse. (All the proceeds went to support veterans, yay.)


Mom did not get the overalls, I just wanted a picture of her in a thrift store, too. She did get a tablecloth, and I got a couple of dresses and a pair of brown patent-leather peep-toe heels. I've been needing good brown shoes!

Exhausted, we returned to Lori and Jeff's and put our feet up!

The next day we went to the Gaslamp District, which is full of historic buildings such as:


Pretty, huh? Also, gas lamps! Although of course they're electric now. We spent pretty much that whole day in the Horton Plaza Mall, again, shopping til we dropped. (Why I kept wearing high heels, I do not know. Oh right, cuz they're cute. Beauty is pain.) We finally rested our feet at Quarter Kitchen, the restaurant of the Ivy, a fancy-ish hotel. There I met, in person, Jen from Somewhere Knitting! We've been internet friends for around three years now, I think! She lived about two hours south of San Diego, and since she would be moving back east a couple of weeks after and we would likely never get the chance to meet again, we decided to have dinner that night!


It was really great to talk to her face-to-face, and I'm so glad my mom could meet her, too! (They'd been Facebook friends for a while; somehow they remind me of the other.) Jen, thanks again so much for driving all that way to see us!


This is the most amazing braised beef I've ever had, it just fell apart in your mouth! Tiny carrots, tiny potatoes. The restaurant was so fancy that the portions were leeetle, but we got two appetizer-entree-dessert orders and shared between the three of us; it was just right.


Like I said, Mom has fond memories of Jim Croce and his music from her high school days, so we went to his restaurant and jazz bar to check it out and buy a souvenier. (He died in a plane crash years ago, so it's not really his restaurant, but anyway.) It wasn't quite what we were expecting; there was a very loud band in one corner (good, though!) and the "gift shop" was a locked glass case in the back by the restrooms which contained a few box sets, some DVDs, and some t-shirts. Oh well. Mom got the 30th anniversary box set of two CDs and a DVD of live stuff, and took a picture with the bouncer! Then we took the trolley back to the depot (we'd taken the bus into the District, so we got both experiences--the trolley was a lot faster--in order to not mess with and pay for parking downtown) and drove a couple of miles home!

This is a very long post with a lot lot of pictures, so I'll wrap it up for now. Part 2 coming soon! (Hopefully tomorrow.)

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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Meet Kitsune



Hi hi! I'm Kitsune but Mommy and Daddy call me Sune, it sounds like Sooooni. They say "Sooni Sooni Sooni!" to try and get me to come to them, but I don't pay very much attention to them sometimes. But sometimes I do, and then they get really happy and pet me and say "Good dog" and "Good girl" a lot, and I like that, especially when they scratch my back. You know what else is really good? When Mommy scratches the back of my neck under my collar and gets underneath all my long hair, that's reeeeeally good, yeah. I almost fall asleep sometimes when she does that.


This was me the first day at my home. Mommy and Daddy took me from my other Mommy. She was a nice old lady in a little house, and I had FOUR other little dogs to play with! Wow, it was really fun! Other Mommy loved me and petted me, and she fed me canned food with real chicken in it, and it was soooo yummy. So yummy! Mommy now and Daddy, they only feed me dry chunks of food and I don't like it that much, but I guess if I get hungry enough I'll eat it. Mommy gets mad at Daddy sometimes for feeding me too much of the canned food. She says it's a treat--oh, I know that word!--and it's expensive, whatever that means. I think I should get canned food all the time, but I guess I'm not going to.

Anyway, Other Mommy took me away from some people who weren't very nice. I was in a cage a lot of the time, and there were other big dogs that made me nervous, and no one took me out and played with me, or brushed my pretty hair, or fed me very much. They made me shy and scared, and I don't really like to be picked up or left by myself, but I'm getting lots better every day! Mommy and Daddy love me sooo much and they cuddle me and tell me how pretty I am!


I like to lay with my legs stuck out behind me, and it makes Mommy laugh but it's comfy! But I don't lay down for very long. There are sounds, and I have to see what the sounds are, and sometimes there are food sounds and I reeeeally want to see what THOSE sounds are! And then I lay down again. Sometimes I think I smell something, but then I don't. I snuffle all around the whollllle house, but I hardly ever find anything good. That's okay. I lay down some more, until I get up again.

I have a little toy, it's soft and Mommy calls it a giraffe, whatever that is, and it squeaks when she squeezes it, but I don't make it squeak. I like to pounce on it, pounce pounce pounce! When Mommy hops it around on the carpet. And I fetch the giraffe too, but I'm only sort of good at that. Mommy says we'll work on it. She also says we'll work on "sit" and "stay" and "lay down," but I'm not so sure about that.

Oh I forgot to say, my name means "fox" in Japanese! I guess Mommy and Daddy really like Japanese stuff. They say I look like a little fox when I'm snuffling around in the tall weeds in the backyard. It's fun! There are lots of smells out there. There is a big dog on the other side of the fence, but I haven't met it yet, and it never barks at me, which is good, because I would bark at it! Bark and bark! But I don't.

I forgot to say I'm a mix! One of my doggy parents was a Pomeranian and the other was a Chihuahua, I don't remember which is which. Oh well. I am soooo pretty! And also I am two years old, so I am not a tiny baby puppy anymore, no, I am very big and grown up! But sometimes it's fun to still act like a puppy. That's okay too.

When new people come into my home, I bark at them too! And I shiver and sit on Mommy or Daddy's lap, and they pet me and tell me to be nice. And after a while I sniff the new people and they try and pet me and I run away, but a while after that I walk across their laps on the sofa or come and lick their fingers, and it's okay. Sometimes they give me TREATS! That's really good.

Well, I'm gonna go cuddle with Daddy for a while. I sit on Daddy's lap and watch the big boxes he looks at, they have neat pictures and the pictures move and that's fun! Mommy watches boxes with pictures, too, and it's fun to sit on her lap and watch the pictures! And lots of times she takes out a very little box and it makes clicking noises while she looks at it, and it looks at me. It's weird. She says I move too fast. Oh well.

Okay byyyyyyeeeeeee! It was nice to meet you!


Oh hi! Hi! It's me again. Mommy says she is posting a video, and she hopes it works, and it "takes a while to load." Okay, sure Mommy. Here is a video of me being cute, which is what I do all the time! Also, there is sound. Also, it's not a very good video. Mommy needs more practice.

Thursday, August 06, 2009


I'm back! I'm here! Home, my very own home! It's full of boxes and bags of STUFF (man, we have a lot of stuff) but it is ours.

San Diego was great! I'll make a post soonish with lots of pictures and tell you all about it. I got a ton of stuff from the swap meet and various thrift stores, and great memories with my mom.

We are all moved in, totally and completely. The carpets in the old apartment have been cleaned, and we turned in our keys. Hopefully we'll get our deposit back soon. :)

There is a scratch on the inside of this mug that looks just like a smiley face. =) Like that.

My head is full of so many things right now (one of them being caffienated iced tea) that I'm a little ADD.

Off to visit family for the weekend; it's my grandma's birthday, and my mom's two sisters are coming out as well. Monday is new teacher orientation, as is Tuesday, then Wednesday starts the teacher work days. By the 19th, I will be with students in "my" classroom! AAAAAAAAAAAACK!

I mean YAAAAAAAAY! Yes, that's what I meant.