Thursday, October 27, 2011

just being honest.

So, my friend Brian posted about discouragement a couple days ago, and that's exactly what this post is going to be about.

To be honest with you guys, I have not been okay the last few days. I've been more sad than I probably have been in a while, and I don't like it. For those of you that know me, I'm not a sad person! But lately all I feel like doing is sleeping and running. Some people eat, some people watch endless movies, some people work work work. I run. I could probably run myself into the ground if I had the time to keep going.

I watch my friends work on projects and complete their assignments and I just can't do it. I've stayed caught up with everything, but I have a couple huge projects that are due in December and for some reason I can't wrap my mind around them. Sometimes I wonder if some things are difficult for me now because school used to come really easy for me. I didn't really used to have to actually work on stuff, and now that I do it's just super overwhelming.

And they're pushing for us to start job searching, and I honestly have no clue what to do. I want to end up somewhere in Texas, but there's jobs all over the United States and the world. (Not quite ready to take the international leap yet). My cover letter and resume sit unfinished on the desktop of my computer, because I'm not quite sure what to write about myself.

Lately I feel like Satan has just been shoving things in my face. Things like, "You'll never make it. You're gonna be a sucky teacher. Why aren't you prettier, funnier, more outgoing?"

And I honestly know that these things aren't true. I know that if I desire to be a good teacher, I will be. And Tuesday in class I had to write a rap about boys and do it in front of the entire class and, well, everyone laughed, so I guess I'm funny at times.

The point is, like Brian says in his post, we all are dealing with discouragement at some point in our lives. And God has put amazing people in our lives to help us with that. I called my mom yesterday and basically bawled my eyes out to her. She's the best at listening, and sometimes that's what you need.

I want out of this rut, and I know it will happen. December will come, I will survive, and I will turn in all my projects, and I'll pass just like every semester before. Part of me wishes it would hurry up, but part of me is like, "Whoa! Slow down!"

Please don't think this is me writing about my pity party....this post is my honest prayer request. Please pray that I will be a good teacher, a good student, and even better, a friend and example of Christ to those in need. Because I haven't been doing well at that lately.

My favorite rapper Lecrae said, "Can they tell you value Jesus by the way you rep his name?"

I sure hope so. I really do.

Sunday, October 23, 2011


This weekend I've had a lot of time on my hands and I've been spending a lot of time thinking. My friends and I have been trying to live it up this year because we know that the end of college is right around the corner.

So right now four of us are planning this huge road trip to Cocoa Beach for a week. I want to Google all of the "Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives" for each city that we drive through so that when we get hungry we can eat somewhere totally awesome. I think it's going to be a cheap trip, which is what all of us need! It looks like we'll be stopping in places like Fayetteville, Memphis, Birmingham, Albany, and Orlando on the way there....I can say that I'm PUMPED for this trip and that I hope it works out! We aren't going until after graduation in May, soooo we've got a while to think about it.

I've been in "teacher mode" lately because, well, that's what I've been doing. I am now officially working in the schools more than I am attending school myself. I haven't really gotten to teach yet, but I love just being there and learning from my cooperating teachers.

But you know, sometimes I am just SO overwhelmed. Today I have sat here for 3 hours and I feel like I really didn't accomplish much. Teaching does that to you sometimes. You can work on something for hours, decide you hate it, erase it, start over, and three hours later you still have almost nothing done. Sometimes it's really discouraging. I look ahead of me and see ALL the work I have to do over the next six months until I graduate...and it's so much.

Portfolios and lesson plans consume my life.

Right now I'm trying to plan a two week unit for Spanish I. A lot harder than I thought it would be, especially trying to make it flow well between the days.

And as an ESL teacher I am realizing that I need to start learning some other content areas. I have had high school students bring me their AP biology homework and asking me questions that I just don't have the answers to. I was not the best at math and science in high school...but now that my students are coming to me with questions about it, I finally feel like I want to learn more about it.

The past few days I have felt really at peace with he has this huge plan for my life that is slowly unfolding, I can feel it. I have no clue where to go after I graduate...but I'm excited about wherever I'm going to end up. I have this crazy idea...but I'm not quite ready to share it with the world.

I have an amazing family and it was a blessing getting to go home and see them this weekend. And I have felt so loved and taken care of by my friends who are my constant support and chocolate suppliers.

We sang this song at church this morning, so I thought I'd share it with you. It is one of my new favorites.

Friday, October 14, 2011

james banks.

I really was meaning to write this earlier, but life has of course been crazy and I never got around to it.

For those of you who don't know, because I am going to be a Spanish/ESL teacher it is almost a given that I am really into multicultural education. I like studying about things like racism, sexism, discrimination and its effects, and learning how we as teachers can change things like this.

Dr. James Banks, one of the most renowned educators/researchers/speakers in multicultural ed from the University of Washington, came to K-State last week to talk about many things related to these topics. I wasn't sure if I wanted to go, but I'm glad I did. This man has got to be one of the most influential people in education today, and I got to listen to him for an hour and a half. So I guess this is my review and thoughts on what he had to say.

He opened with the fact that our schools in the United States are often more focused on testing and scores than on teaching our students to be humane and to treat one another well. He read this letter that a certain principal wrote to his new teachers every year. This is what it said:

"Dear Teacher,
I am a survivor of a concentration camp. My eyes saw what no man should witness:
Gas chambers built by learned engineers. Children poisoned by educated physicians. Infants killed by trained nurses. Women and babies shot and burned by high school and college graduates. So I am suspicious of education. My request is: Help your students become human. Your efforts must never produce learned monsters, skilled psychopaths, educated Eichmanns.
Reading, writing, arithmetic are important only if they serve to make our children more human."

Even in the elementary classroom I am working in now, I see the beginnings of stereotypes, discrimination, and bullying. And some teachers do nothing to stop it. I won't be that teacher.

He also talked about cosmopolitanism. Now, honestly the first thing that came to my mind was Cosmopolitan magazine (which I don't read and could probably write a whole 'nother blog about). I had no idea what this word meant, but I like his thoughts. We need to educate our children to have allegiance to all people as humans. His example was mourning the loss of men and women in other countries to things like war, famine, and disease, like we mourn the loss of our own people due to these things (and other things).

The last thing he said that hit me was this:

***note: I was really unsure whether I should post this, because, well, me and Dante probably don't agree on everything, and I don't take this quote literally. But I get what he's trying to say.***

"Dante said the worst place in hell is reserved for those who, in times of crisis, were neutral. If this room were on fire, would you sit here and be neutral?" We need to educate our students to be people who stand up for others. Too many students are bullied constantly and people (students and teachers alike) stand by and watch it happen. I realize that Dante was not talking about bullying, but one thing that Dr. Banks said was that the world's most momentous problems come from people who don't know how to get along.

What if our students graduated from high school and knew how to love one another, how to really think through and solve social problems, how to become "world-changers"? Many students are just passed along and never cared about, never invested in, and never taught anything outside the curriculum. I know, I'm not a teacher yet, and I don't know everything. I know there'll be days when I'm fed up and tired and I don't want to teach anymore. But until a day like that comes, I want to be the best teacher I can be, and I think that includes so much more than just the curriculum. I have been blessed to have some pretty great teachers in my life who are now my friends, and I hope that is what I can become to my future students.

"Be ashamed to die until you've won some victory for human kind." - Horace Mann

You can listen to Dr. Banks HERE.