Monday, June 29, 2009

academic papers, gone.

well, we're back again. Monday morning bright and early, actually it wasn't even bright and early (because it was 420AM when i got up), started the week off just right. I woke up to my lovely alarm, snoozed it twice and rolled out about 20 minutes later then planned.

And why you ask? Why was I awake at 420 AM this fateful Monday? Because I, the luckiest person on earth, have a broken computer here at Institute. Yesterday I came home after a relaxing few hours at the pool (thanks mary!) thinking about that sweet tan I was going to get (not), and tried to turn the power on my computer. And when I tried to do just that...there was nothing. nothing, nothing, nothing. this is my life.

alas, i have now purchased a new computer. so, i am going to try and not focus on all of the pictures i have lost, the music, the college work/publications I have made, or anything else of significant value, and instead think about the fact that i was lucky enough to be able to replace the computer immediately. moving on.

Ah, such is life here at Institute. Just keep trucking. Well, the computer's pretty sweet, so hopefully I'll eventually have some time to check that out. I'm not touching it until I have a case though...and i am NOT bringing it to school. we've got some sticky fingers here in Houston.

i hope everyone is having a good week/had a good weekend. I had a bit of homesickness this weekend, thinking aobut my family and friends and the nice weather/lakes up north. Houston has not quite caught my eye for best in class yet. ;)

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Suddenly My Name is Miss?

So today was a ROUGH WEEK!! R-O-U-G-H. Let's spell it out...

Monday: Normal, one student moved down the consequences chart
Tuesday: HORRIBLE PRE HUMP DAY. Man that day was rough. The students were CRAZY. I had to move four of them to chairs without pencils or paper. They stole my pencil sharpener (the second one) and unscrewed the screw so they could steal the blades out of it. Then they return it to me and say "oooh Miss this is broken I can not write anymore." Really? Then, I had my two lovely ladies cause oh so much trouble. One throws pencils across the room while yelling at other students and me. Then she proceeded to crumble up not only her paper, but two people's paper around her. Lovely. The young man sitting in front of her decided to swear at her in Spanish (They don't know I speak Spanish!) and started flashing gang symbols. Even better. After a brief few moments of calm, they began to act up again. The pencil-thrower started reading the paragraph out loud without my solicitation and continued to read the entire paper over me telling her to start. Anyway, I told them they would stay after into their lunch period 2 minutes. Well this just pushed her and the young man OVER the edge. When the bell rang, they decided they were leaving, not matter what. So pencil-thrower pushed passed me into the hallway (shouldering me on the way--btw she is bigger and taller than me ahhhhhhh!) and the rest of the class began to follow. I announced that for whoever left the classroom they could walk straight to the Principal's office and get suspended, because they do not have permission to leave my classroom. So, only one other left -- the boy who was swearing in Spanish. He said that he would "jump any teacher after school" who gave him extra work or tried to keep him after. This is my life? hahaha

YUCK!! Who wants to deal with this? Ew.

Wednesday: Not much better. Both students were back (and I was being observed by a bunch of people to monitor their behavior -- our way of intimidation!). It went allright, not too much better but I didn't get threatened or pushed! (Small victories, people)

Thursday (today): GREAT. It's amazing what one night away can do right? My three major trouble makers were taking their TAKS tests today (so they can pass onto 8th grade) so my happy and committed students were there today. We played Jeopardy and the competition was great! Students were invested and wanted to know the answers. I loved the team work and the focus on the task. I wish that was everyday! I never realized how much one person can change the attitude or atmosphere of the classroom. I really hope I was never that person in school, although I kind of think I might have been! Haha

Friday: FREEEDOOOMMMMM, wooot woooot!! I can taste it. only 85 minutes of class time and 8 more hours of sessions and I am free for two and 1/2 days.

Two more weeks here in Houston, it's been an interesting ride!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


If you get the chance, watch this video. It's a great commentary on life and what it means to so many different people. At least skip to the middle if you only have a few minutes:

p.s. today was the MAJOR HUMP day of institute!! Not only was it hump day (wednesday--half way done with the week) it was also a MASSIVE hump (the halfway point of institute!). Only a few short weeks left here to make a difference! :)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Good morning everyone! So, really, I am NOT going to be this committed to the blogosphere after a few weeks, but I am so excited right now!

Well, yesterday a few kids got kicked out of my school. I am working in Houston at a middle school. The students here for summer school either failed the TAKS (a state-wide test), failed their grade/subject, were kicked out and attended alternative school, or had disciplinary/attendance problems. Now these kids must pass these classes, our diagnostic test, and the TAKS in the coming weeks to move onto 8th grade(for my class).

It's really interesting to be in a system that completely depends on test scores to determine if students are up to par. I have never felt the pressure to pass this and that test, nor as a teacher would I want to always be teaching to a impending test. It just seems that one thing should not completely own a person's education, right? And wow, the test anxiety must be beyond high for some of these kids! Doesn't sound like fun to me at all.

Anyway, a lot of the students are not having fun. Haha lets be honest, I am trying to make games and all of that kind of stuff, which works for about 20 minutes each time. I am going to keep trying, but when you have four 80 minute classes, a 20 minute lunch, and you're in 7th grade summer school during your SUMMER, you're not happy. (to say the least)

They are pretty badass kids, btw. I have three 15 year olds, two of which have had children. They all talk about drinking and smoking in their journals. I think back to when I was that age...playing laser tag and ghost in the graveyard (if i was lucky, right mom?). It's kind of sad to see how much they grow up and just lose what I loved about childhood. But I realized last night that really, that would have happened to me too had I had a bunch of 15-16 year olds in my classes too. I would have been friends with them, hung out with them, and eventually participated in activities they did too. So, if the high school students are doing it, then the middle schoolers will too...the trickle down effect. Which is too bad, in my opinion. Laser tag is pretty fun...

On a lighter note, I am going to New Orleans for the 4th of July weekend!! About 12-15 of us are staying in a hostel right by the French Quarter for what is sure to be a crazy weekend! My hostel:

Monday, June 22, 2009


I've got a HOME! Well, at least a city.

I got placed this week!!! I have a JOB!!!!

I will be working in Arkansas teaching high school journalism and English! I am so excited to teach journalism!!!!!!!!!!! (and a little English maybe). My favorite class in high school is now the subject I get to teach to other people, what great luck!

My site is a town of about 2,000 people. It's right in the middle of Little Rock, Memphis, and Helena, so I should have friends around the area. Overall, the site has one high school, is predominantly rural, and doesn't have a school website. SO, that means, hopefully, that I can work on that next year! I am pumped!

I feel so lucky to have been placed. The wait is over, now I can prepare for my students and all of the things we are going to rock this year!

Now, only three weeks of Institute left...the next hurdle.

And so began...

Hello friends!

So, here we are. I have officially moved out of the Midwest! Mississippi Delta here I come! I will be living in Houston for the next five weeks, then officially moving to my final placement in the Delta!

For those of you that don't know, I am participating the Teach for America. I will be teaching high school English and Journalism in a rural community (in either Arkansas or Mississippi) for the next two years! YIKES!

I thought I'd start this to keep ya'll up to date on the ridiculousness that is my next few years. Big changes coming soon...

Thanks for visiting!