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This morning was one of those model teaching days

Friday, November 20, 2009

My first two classes are a joy most of the time - my Advanced Art class is, of course, full of students who are artistically talented and who love the subject. They are also from the accelerated learner team (we call it pre-advanced placement) or are at least the right age for the grade - meaning they have not been held back or retained, they care about school, they come from families where school is a priority. My second class is comprised of similar students, although it's a mix of Basic and Advanced students, and most of them are also in music classes - so it's a different dynamic, but still students interested in the world around them.

Every other Friday I like to use the computer and projector to show artwork - we've been focusing on murals and mosaics, but today I asked if they'd prefer to see travel pictures. The vote was a unanimous yes. They had a choice of Spain, Italy, Costa Rica, or South America - the only digital travel pictures I have. (And I probably should scan in the rest of my travels, so I can share that with the students.)

They voted for Italy. Perfect. So we looked at pictures, they asked questions, I explained about medieval art and architecture, the rise of the Renaissance and how it changed not only our thinking but how that was portrayed in the art and architecture, why the Renaissance artists celebrated the human form (nude sculpture) and why the women look like men (male models), we talked about the medieval hill towns and how that impacts urban planning today, on and on. And after the explanation of why there were so many nude sculptures, the giggling stopped and the understanding of art and culture began.

It was great! It was effortless! It was a travelogue and art history lesson combined. Students learned about buttressing as an architectural necessity, while learning a new vocabulary word. They marvelled over the cathedrals of central Italy, oohed over the pictures of food, laughed at pictures of me posing with a stuffed wild boar, asked tons of questions about life in Italy. (I spent a month travelling and attending an art class with a friend; we also spent a week with her family.)

It was everything learning should be. Fun for the students, fun for me, and just one of those days when I remember exactly why I love my job.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JLPNURSE 11/21/2009 8:14AM

    Fun class. I love Italy and I love your pix.

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SHORTY20 11/20/2009 12:22PM

    Sounds like a great morning!

Italy is definitely on my life list of places to visit. I'll get there someday!

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PHEBESS 11/20/2009 11:04AM

    As I told my class, I don't think I had a bad meal in Italy. And one student, who had gone on a tour there, complained about all the walking - until I said that with all that walking, you can eat twice as much food - she giggled and readily agreed.

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SAPNA. 11/20/2009 10:32AM

    Sounds like a brilliant lesson. I really love Italy. I have very fond memories of a trip to Rome and Sorrento when I was 17. Gosh those were the days!
Myrna.

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National Education Week

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Did you know that this is National Education Week? Why is this so under-advertised? Why isn't this a big deal, with national events, bonuses, special assemblies, gift bags for teachers from local businesses, donations to schools?

Why is this kept so quiet?

I'm a teacher in a public school - a public middle school - the grade level that is known among educators as being THE worst group to work with. Yet every day, myself and 100 other colleagues try to teach these 700 students entrusted to us by society - the same society that ignores National Education Week, gives us a barely-livable salary, doesn't provide needed materials/supplies/equipment, and expects us to perform miracles.

We teach - the accelerated learner, the gifted and talented student, the student with special needs, the average student, the student who barely reads, the student who doesn't care, the student who was molested or stoned or babysitting or committing a criminal act the night before.

We nurture - we care about our students, we try to find special services or support systems when needed, we provide hugs and encouragement and advice, we come early and stay late and work through lunch with students who need extra help to keep up with their peers.

We arbitrate, we discipline, we teach morals and proper behavior and conflict resolution. All while keeping our personal beliefs to ourselves, because we try to maintain the separation of church and state. We model appropriate behavior and how to be a law-abiding citizen.

We inspire students to do more than they thought possible. We compliment achievements, no matter how small. We try to build character and self-esteem in children from broken homes, broken communities, toxic environments. At my school, we provide breakfast and lunch, and look the other way when students suspended from school come over for lunch, because there is no food at home.

We spend money out of our own pockets, so that we can have supplies and materials we need. We work overtime, and don't get paid. We scrounge, we beg, we learn to make due - and then we go to a meeting and notice all the state-of-the-art gadgets that the administrators have. We try to prepare students for the ever-changing technological world, while we make due with obsolete equipment.

We make a difference in people's lives.

It's National Education Week. If you have children in school, thank their teacher. If you are still in touch with your former teachers, thank them too. Because that thank you means more to us than the paycheck, or the occasional extra pad of paper we're given to celebrate National Education Week. That thank you means that you noticed what we do, and that you, like us, think it's important.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JLPNURSE 11/20/2009 6:39AM

    Thank you teachers everywhere!

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SAPNA. 11/20/2009 4:01AM

    You already know how much I wish you had been my teacher. I would have brought you a bright red rosy apple every day.
Myrna.

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LSCHULER72 11/19/2009 10:37AM

    You make a difference! As a teacher (music) I respect and admire you for your inspiring post today!

Here's how our "administration" helps us celebrate Nat. Ed Week:

Monday-Cookies and Bars
Wednesday-Giant Cinnamon Rolls
Thursday-Pizza brought in for lunch
Friday-Free Soda from the machine all day.

Do you think they might just believe we need all that sugar and fat to get through our day????? It's kind of a nightmare during the waking hours of the day!

Have a wonderful week!
Laura

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ROCKYCPA 11/19/2009 9:51AM

    I applaud you. I have numerous friends who are teachers and work really hard to make sure that their students learn. It takes a special person to teach and care and your blog shows how you feel. I always went to American Education week at the school until my children were in High School. Then it wasn't cool but I always communicated and worked with my children's teachers to keep up with what was going.

Again, Kudos to you and all the other teachers.

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Today, the focus is on the upper back/neck

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

I haven't seen the chiropractor in a week - this is the longest I've gone without an adjustment since the accident. I'm really feeling it - no matter how I position my head, I can't get comfortable, my neck and upper back ache. I've iced every night, but I need to get the bones put back into alignment, the muscles need the electro-stimulation machine, and everything probably would feel better with some heat and rest.

So my chiro is back on island, and I have a 2:45 appt.

Then I have a 4:30 massage appointment - I am so looking forward to that. Help those muscles relax and stretch and stop protesting.

I'll be a puddle of relaxation tonight.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JLPNURSE 11/19/2009 6:42AM

    I'm glad the chiro is back!

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SAPNA. 11/18/2009 1:47PM

    Why did you wait so long to get some help? I hope you feel much better after both your treatments today. Try and relax tonight and have a good rest.
Myrna.

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Comfort food

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Yesterday was one of those horrible days we get sometimes, when it's cold (for us) and wet and rainy and windy - when we wear long sleeves and huddle under quilts and shut all the windows. We had flash flood warnings (meaning don't just watch, but they will happen so be prepared) and the entire government closed down at noon.

I got home before 11 AM, and was snug in DH's long-sleeved T shirt by the time he got home, wet and soaked because he drives a Jeep with a canvas top and no side windows.

So I made him Jewish comfort food - matzah ball soup. Steaming hot, big fluffy matzah balls, rich broth - all from a box. Took about 45 minutes to prepare and cook. Low cal (9 servings in the box, 40 calories each, I figure we each had about 1/3 of the package so 120 cals for 3 matzah balls and broth). Low fat. Horrendously high sodium, we both could taste it. But oh so good.

Followed, of course, by tiny slices of the anniversary chocolate decadence torte sitting in the fridge - we finally are halfway through it, three days later, with DH having eaten 75% of what's gone. This is also comfort food, at least for us. Chocolate is so soothing and comforting and just makes the world a better place.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JLPNURSE 11/18/2009 6:47AM

    A comfort food that's low calorie! Now that's the ticket

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IFDEEVARUNS2 11/17/2009 2:08PM

    For me, a nice bagel with smoked whitefish salad!

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PHEBESS 11/17/2009 1:19PM

    LOL Myrna!! It's why DH and I will never be thin thin. I'm just aiming for less than zoftig!



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SAPNA. 11/17/2009 12:27PM

    Kneidlach and soup plus chocolate cake. My idea of heaven.
Myrna.

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Rain - torrential tropical rain - wow!

Monday, November 16, 2009

www.wunderground.com/radar/radblast.
asp?ID=JUA&lat=18.34782982&lon=-64.933
33435&label=Charlotte%20Amalie%2c%20VI


100% chance of rain. Flash flood warnings. Huge yellow and red areas on the doppler radar, over us and to the east, with the trade winds coming from the east. We're in for a wet wet wet day. So dark outside at 9:30 AM, the outdoor lights are still on (even though they're controlled by light-sensors).

Thunder and lightning. Power has been on and off this morning - we're at school, the principal announced to keep students in class instead of switching classes if it's pouring or lightning when the period ends.

If water starts coming in under my door, I'm outta here!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JLPNURSE 11/17/2009 6:51AM

    Ah, the rainy season.

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PHEBESS 11/16/2009 5:04PM

    School (and all gov't offices) were closed by noon - I have early morning and afternoon classes, so I left about 10 AM and drove home. It was a little scary - one area floods badly and I drive a Yaris, so I can hear the water hitting the chassis as I go through - but I made it home, DH came home too, and I made matzah ball soup for us (Jewish comfort food).

We're staying high and dry.

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CAROLINE1000 11/16/2009 4:37PM

    I'm in a desert climate after growing up where it wasn't. Want to get on some cute galoshes and slash around with you! Sounds exciting!

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SAPNA. 11/16/2009 3:51PM

    You should all go home. That sounds so dangerous. Please take care.
Myrna.

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LSCHULER72 11/16/2009 11:58AM

    Oh my gosh!! Hope you brought your boat and paddle!

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