September 27, 2011

Tribute Part 2

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , at 10:18 pm by a care in the world

I’ve already written about my teacher, Dan Dalke. I think of him often, and try to bring the same excitement into my classroom every day that he brought to his. I teach in North Carolina, but this year the sophomore class trip is to Atlanta, my home city. I’ve been in charge of planning our visits to various tourist attractions, but the one that stands out for me more than anything else is the GA Aquarium.

Photo from here.

Besides teaching me marine biology, Dan taught me to care about the world, the oceans, the environment… he taught me the excitement of learning something new and unexpected. Who imagines that they’ll learn or care about fish in high school? Certainly not me. I loved English and history, and science only ranked a little above math. However, when Dan walked in with those flippers and that cape, I was sold. Nothing like a nerd who knows what he loves and isn’t afraid to show it. That’s the kind of nerd I aspire to be.

So Dan, this trip is for you. My mother has agreed to help me chaperone, and we will say a little prayer for you in front of the big tank. Whale sharks and 16-year-olds beware!

Photo from here.

September 20, 2011

A Pedagogical Revolution from a High School Senior

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , at 6:13 pm by a care in the world

I only hope she goes on to become a teacher, y’all. I know this video is long, clocking in at over 9 minutes, but this high school valedictorian’s speech is an incredible indictment of our education system today. For those teachers out there busting their butts to answer the ever-present “Why are we studying this?” question, both for themselves and for their students, I hope you feel vindicated by this speech.

In other teacher news, I am seriously missing New York and its professional development opportunities for educators. Coming up the first weekend of October is the Preemptive Education Workshop put on by Michael Cirelli and crew from Urban Word NYC. I went to this last year and it’s an awesome opportunity to hear from multi-talented youth, speakers, and educators who working to make sure that every voice is heard and valued in our education system today. There are awesome ideas about incorporating hip hop, poetry, and multiculturalism into the classroom. And to make things extra exciting, Toni Blackman is gonna be there. If you’re around, go be inspired!

September 14, 2011

Rights is rights, y’all

Posted in Uncategorized at 9:44 pm by a care in the world

One of my NYC friends posted this status on Facebook yesterday in regards to North Carolina’s proposed Amendment One: “As grief and anger over my home state of NC build, I hear the voice of Union’s own James Cone saying, “What are you angry about?  What are you willing to risk everything for?  What is worth maybe even your life?”  I believe that righteous anger can fuel revolution or turn into ‘woe is me’ depression.  Which will it be NC, which will it be?”

North Carolina Voters to Decide on Same-Sex Marriage

We can do better than this. I don’t usually repeat the statuses of others, but this is too important not to. People are people and human rights are human rights. How many years did it take us to figure this out about race and religion? And we’re still way behind on equality in those arenas. Let’s not repeat history.

I’m teaching my 7th and 8th graders about South Africa and apartheid right now, and my 10th graders are about to begin their study of the slave trade. Though these are much more brutal and violent violations of human rights, the hatred of others that they were based on and that they fostered is still very palpable in today’s world. I can’t help but think that after centuries of injustice and baseless persecution, we are still denying people basic rights– in this case, the right to choose a partner. Marriage is something most people take so much for granted that divorce and second and third marriages are the norm now. I’m certainly not condeming anyone there– the point is we have the freedom and the choice to marry and divorce as many times as we want. How on earth can we deny that right to gay people?

I’ll tell you what though y’all– gay protestors and activists sure do have a good sense of humor. Protest signs from here.

September 10, 2011

The Privilege of Being a Southern Woman

Posted in Uncategorized at 11:52 pm by a care in the world

In the last 10 days or so, I’ve had the privilege of spending time with four generations of my family. Last weekend I was holding my baby nephew, and today I was looking through almost two centuries worth of family photos with my grandmother. My grandmother has always been careful to record and catalog every family event, using photographs, newspaper articles, birthday cards, postcards, letters, announcements, invitations, and so on. What has resulted is a large collections of photo albums rich with memories. I always love looking through them and reliving the moments I remember and pouring with fascination over the moments that happened decades before my time. I used my new iPhone to snap a quick picture of one of my favorite photographs in that house:

Personal photo

I’m not sure what event my grandparents are at in this photo, but I love how happy they seem to be 🙂 All this family history makes me think of an awesome article in Garden & Gun Magazine that my mother read to us last weekend and I read to my grandmother last night– it’s about southern women in all their glorious strengths and weaknesses. Enjoy the article here!

Photo from G&G website.

 

September 8, 2011

A New Life

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , at 11:13 pm by a care in the world

Time certainly flies at the beginning of the school year! I’m 4-5 weeks into teaching History, Social Studies and Economics at my new school in North Carolina, and I’m having SUCH a great time. True, I’m commuting at least 2 hours a day and working my butt off, but my students and colleagues are worth all the extra hours I put in. I feel valued and appreciated in a way that I haven’t felt in a job before, and I also feel committed to the job in a way I haven’t before. I think I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be– the hours I spend preparing for school are research hours that I might do for fun on a Friday night, being the nerd that I am, because I’m that interested in and passionate about the subjects. I only hope the kids are learning from me a fraction of what I’m learning myself.

Photo from here.

I could do without the stress of leading Yearbook, but maybe I just haven’t hit my stride there yet. I often regret that my lack of athletic background prevents me from coaching, because that seems to be the natural extracurricular partner for teaching. However, Yearbook with its photos and written articles certainly jive with my photography and English background, so I guess I shouldn’t complain that much 🙂

Our little NC town has lived up to its teeny status of having almost nothing in town and being pretty far away from everywhere. There are a couple of friend buffet restaurants, a Food Lion, and a handful of churches, but that’s about it. I don’t spend much of my time there, but I will say our church could not possibly be more warm and welcoming. We actually got an old-fashioned “pounding” at my first Wednesday Night Supper! The church members each brought us a pound of sugar, a pound of flour, a pound of cornmeal, etc.– as well as more paper goods than we could even count. I think it’s safe to safe we won’t run out of paper towels or toilet paper for the rest of the year.

Photo from here.

From my quiet town to wherever you are… good night!

personal photo