Thursday, February 14, 2013

Critters, Slightly Disappointed, Sorta Sad Story, My Principal, and Exercise Buddies

Critters: Before I talk about school I thought it would be fun and worldly to mention some of the critter encounters that happen regularly here. I've mentioned some before but decided a little summary would be nice. First, cockroaches in the bathroom. At least twice a week, I see a cockroach in the bathroom, usually climbing around the sink. I will more often see them in the middle of the night than during the day. There is always evidence that they are around as they leave little surprises around the sink basin and in the drawers. I don't try to smash them. Did a few times back at the beginning, but more always come back. It's normal to have cockroaches in the bathroom. Finally grossed me out one day when I found a cockroach present on the handle of my toothbrush. I've also seen one gnawing on my roommate's toothpaste and toothbrush before. Let's just say I've been keeping my toothbrush and toothpaste in a closed container for quite a while now in the drawer. haha

Second, there are little geckos all the time around the porch and sometimes even in my room. These remind me that I live in the rainforest, which is pretty cool. It was so cool for me to see them around when I spent time in the Amazon Rainforest in Ecuador the summer after my freshman year of college.

Third, so many frogs around. Not just hopping frogs on the road (mostly seen toward evening) but flattened out frogs all over the roads. Who needs skunks, opossums, and raccoons when you have flattened frogs on the road.

Fourth, we have spiders. Spiders in almsot every corner of the house with their webs set up to catch some food. They aren't really bothersome. One day I was taking my laundry off the clothesline and I felt something on my back. Then, here he comes around and over my shoulder. I just gently brushed him off and thought that was a little odd, but not really that odd.

Finally, ants. Ants, ants, and more ants. No matter how often I clean the kitchen counter there are ants crawling around. Not monstrous groups of them, just a few here and there, unless someone seriously leaves a big mess; then, you find a nice little line of them. There are ants crawling on my walls in my classroom, there are ants around the produce stands, and I often find ants crawling on me, who I simply grab or brush off and move on.

The little critters don't really bother me. They just are. We live together. 

Slightly disappointed: On my last post I talked about how I thought my lesson on water went well while working through a children's education book. I was looking forward to seeing what the students came up with for their homework. I had already predicted I would be lucky if half of them did it, but I didn't quite expect it to be this bad. Out of all 80 students I assigned only FIVE were turned in on time. One turned in a day late. I really appreciated those who put the time into the fun little project. There were some really nice ones, and each one was different. Not much I can do about the fact that no one else cared enough to even try, even when I gave the option to turn it in a day late for half credit. The rest are receiving zeros, and there is no making it up. Their choice. Have to learn some hard lessons some times.

I asked our principal to come in and speak with Hannah's and my classes to share her experience, and she only ended up making it for one. A meeting came up, which I had been prepared for. I had a feeling it might be difficult to keep her all morning. Anyways, her talk was fantastic. I enjoyed every minute of it, and the students all seemed pretty attentive... granted this was the principal in front of them. She told us things many people don't know about her and was very real with the kids. I went and talked to her during lunch and said how great I thought it was. She also thanked me for having her. She taught for a while before becoming principal, and it was cool to see her in front of the class doing her thing. She lived in Washington D.C 3rd-6th grade, was part of the first graduating class of a private school on island, has 14 siblings, is currently working on her Ph.D., and really cares about her family, life, and job. I love hearing people's stories, and it was fun to get to know my principal better. I really hope the students took some of what she said to heart. She is a great example and leader.

Sidenote: Being a teacher now myself makes me appreciate my own teachers even more than I did before. Teaching can be a tough job, and it can also be very rewarding. I am serving, and serving is my thing. Even if some students irritate me, disappoint me, or are driving me bonkers when they leave my classroom I have a smile on my face and say have a great day. Leading by example is a powerful form of leading although results are not always immediate.

Sorta Sad Story: I have this one senior student who played on the football team. He was one of the first players I met that hung out in my room that first day of school. He's a really nice kid, with a good heart, tries really hard in my class, does all his work, and is always thanking me. Back in November he talked to me a little about college, and I tried to get him to think about where he wants to go and how we should start applying then and do some research. Especially to get scholarships, those applications are early. We sent a few emails, but then he never really showed up to work on any of it.

His English writing skills aren't too good, he doesn't know much about the computer, and pokes on the keyboard. Lacking in some what I considered to be basic skills for school. I really wish I could help more. Now this week, he comes to me again about college. I've tried telling him before that I think with his current ACT and SAT scores and skill base that starting at community college might be a good option and much cheaper. Many schools don't really hand out scholarships anymore, but he is talking with his counselor and some others that might be able to help. He came back into my room after school to send an email (email which I helped him set up back in November), to one of the football coaches here that helps boys get to college on athletic scholarships through his Field House 100 project. It saddened me to watch him struggle to put complete sentences together and type so slow. I feel so nervous about sending him to college before he is truly ready, but I cannot make him fully ready in the 3 months I have left. I told him I will continue to be here for advice and try to help as I can. I might see if I can find some keyboarding activities to help him with those skills. He thinks it's amazing how quickly I type. We are going to wait and see what the football coach has to say, and we may come back to working on community college. I really want to help, but I have to hold his hand through so much of the process. He doesn't know where to start with the emails he writes, things to search online, and I'm not sure he fully grasps how college is going to be different. I told him I am trying to be real with him and as honest as possible. I want to help, and I can a little, but I can't wave my magic wand and have him in college in a day. I'm still voting for community college first. We shall see what happens.

Exercise buddies: My senior student Matane made it to Zumba class all three days this week, TWTh. I'm enjoying having that extra one in, although it felt a bit weird this week. I told her we could do some yoga in my classroom first after school, and then a few of her friends joined us as well. They proceeded to ask if I would be doing it tomorrow. Also, Nina (from our Samoan family) had said she might join me for Zumba sometime last time we were at their house. I told her at the beginning of the week how we had three classes a week now rather than just two at the same price. She was sick earlier this week, but made it Thursday. She gave Matane and I a ride home, and then said she could pick me up for the free Zumba class she knew about at ASCC. She had mentioned it one other time and sounds like it is with Teru, one of the instructors for the class I regularly attend. So, I'll be off to that tomorrow. I have some exercise buddies :-)

Hope you all have a nice weekend! I plan on enjoying breakfast at my favorite little cafe followed by soaking up some sun on the Westside on Saturday. Then, weather permitting, I will be doing a bigger hike on Monday (President's Day Holiday) with a few of my fellow volunteers. Three day weekends are always nice from time to time - for both students and teachers. :-)

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