Sunday, November 29, 2009

Jaded: Adj., Worn out. Dulled. Callous.

Oh my gosh. Today I realised something. I am not jaded. Ha! Cool.

Equality = The state of being equal.

=equality, what a concept

I have been doing research into my comparison period in history class where I will compare my assigned period of 'The Colonies and American Revolution' with that of another period of my choice, in this case, 'TheCold War, Suburnisation and the Sixties' , and came upon this primary source again:

History and Politics Out Loud

It is really cool to listen to some of those audio files.

I could not help but noting the only woman's voice was this entry:

Eileen McCann, Canadian Folksinger

Her song, "Too Stupid For Democracy" is quite amusing. If you are in the mood, take a listen.

I know why women are missing from this audio history site, I do. But it is still disturbing. Disturbing. And I think it is further testiment to the lack of voice given to women historically.

Recently I watched a program called "The World Debate" on BBC World entitled 'Women, The Boost Business Needs?'

The panel discussed the value of women in positions of power in government and business and the importance of investing in education and health care for women around the world. Indra Nooyi, the President of PepsiCo, USA (an Indian woman) said that when government gives opportunity to only 50% of the population, it is like a car that only uses two wheels instead of four- it doesn't run well and never reaches its potential.

Something to think about.


Friday, November 27, 2009

Hero: One who is endowed with great courage and strength.

Heros are everywhere. In your neighbourhood. In the mirror.

Creative solutions. Amen.

The New York Times is a COOL PLACE to find COOL STUFF

Thanksgiving in the time of Love and Crisis

My dear friends,
Please go to this link and see the hands that plant and the children's faces and the fast food stands and George Washington and the fastness of the city street and the slowness of the country and the sweetness of narly carrots and the festive redchecktablecloth and the cow in the field and shoes in the street and the clearest sky. And think about happiness. I am studying happiness. I am studying America and america. I am a student of life. I am thankful for all of you and the freedom I was born into and the freedom I created for myself and the freedom that I was given by others that went before. So, from The Walls of Lucca to Macy's, from a garden in Brooklyn to a garden in Northern California, from the garden that is my life to the garden that is yours, Happy Thanksgiving. P.S. Be kind to each other. Even the stinky people that make your life difficult.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Teacher: One who teaches.

Maya Angelou says that we are all teachers, that someone is always watching how we respond to kindness, to cruelty, to life's challenges. And, that we inspire with a smile or a truth, with the way we carry ourselves into a room or prepare a meal, touch the head of a child or hold a cat to our chest.

Yesterday I went back to high school for the first of two courses I will be teaching this year. The kids were engaging, bright, curious and lovely, really lovely. I still have no voice, so I wrote everything on the big scruffy blackboard in a cold room of a three hundred year old building. There are sideboard cabinets lining the the walls and filled with school records and taxidermy geese and lizards and drawers with Latin labeling, taped shut with wrapping tape. (I plan on asking them what the heck that is all about when I get my voice back!)

I gave them a questionnaire about their plans and dreams and later, reading their words, I was filled with hope. Youthful hope is a contagious thing.

I like my job so much.

Last night I met a student for coffee to try to convince him to stay in a course where he is the weakest student and doubts his ability to catch up; doubts his capacity to keep up. Teaching is asking someone to believe in themselves. Teaching is giving someone a tool and watching them use it. A teacher is a person who watches and learns what the student needs and then tries to find a way to help them discover how to get it.

At ESC I can navigate the course to my degree in a very personal way and this week I laid out the academic path to my B.A. and here are some of the courses I have chosen.

Reflective Learning
Proposal Writing
Intro to Religious Studies
Intro to Ethics
Exploring Place: History (The study of how 'place' and community have shaped civilisation)
Thinking about Race, Class and Gender
The Development of Gender Identity
Adolescence and Identity: Home, School and Community
Intro to Sex and Gender - Cross-Cultural Perspective
Stress and Coping
Adults as Learners: Theories and Strategies
Family and Society
Schooling in America
Analysing Behavioural Choices
Women, Girls in Media
Images of Women in Western Civilisation
Artistic Expression in Multicultural America
The Future of Being Human
Contemporary Mathematics
Spanish Language and Culture

A rich selection, and there were so many other courses in Latino culture and African American culture that I did not choose, but was curious about.

I am trying to layout a foundation of knowledge and consciousness that will make me a better teacher, critcal thinker and more balanced human being. My challenge is to leave behind my prejudices and take up the cause for a clearer mind and an open heart.

I send a shout out to Gessica and tell her to be strong, Einat who is cleaning her stuff out, to Francesca who is living her dream in London, to Kenzie who is harvesting (better late than never), to my sister who is in the middle of change, to Lynn who is healing, to Veronica who is a rock, to Kari who is swimming in her own poetry, to my mom and dad who are navigating illness, to Dorene who is living at home again, to Rita who is planning her course, and, to Isabella who is negotiating her future. And to my students, tiny and old, who are courageous enough to learn a new language.

Maya says, teach on and continue to inspire.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Sick: Suffering from or affected with a physical illness; ailing.

Here are the things I like about being sick:
Staying in bed with a dog who can hold his pee an incredibly long time.
Being warm in bed.
Watching movies in bed.
Studying in bed.
Sending text messages cancelling lessons from bed.
Knowing that the grocer downstairs delivers food.
Nodding off...

I lost my voice.