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The endeavor to walk in the world: Overcoming

The endeavor to walk in the world: Overcoming

HEALING

Through a variety of ways, I have healed internally much faster than anticipated.  Mostly, through determination to not stay stuck in a place of fear.  However, there have been some other wonderful helps along the way. That is not to say I am through with the process.  Hell no.   But I’m farther along than I thought I would be right now.  Much farther.

My journey through becoming a shaman is slower than I expected, but far more powerfully healing than I anticipated.  It packs a punch and then I need time to process it all.   But, I am.  AND THAT IS AWESOME.  I am reaching and stretching and seeing life in bigger and better ways.  I am definitely more confident in my own abilities to trust my journey and its processes.  I am more confident in my spiritual strength and ability to follow my own path no matter who says what about it.

I have had to stare down my childhood and many of the ways that my parents, but specifically my father at this point, primed me for abuse in my future, albeit mostly unknowingly.  And I have had to work through the fear, very real and serious fear of confronting him about it.  But I’ve done it.  And he’s listened.  And though it was incredibly scary, it has been equally freeing since.

I am sifting through the book of my life and placing bookmarks between the pages I need to work on.  I am unfolding the page corners that I had dog-eared for quick reference; the stories I keep thinking back on, that keep me from growing.  I am going back and making new notes on the memories to remind little me that we figured out that problem.  And I am holding my book with newfound love, wrapped in my arms, against my chest; whereas before I held it at arms length, always afraid it would open to the wrong page when I wasn’t looking.

I am ready to travel and teach again.  I am ready to meet new people and find more joy.  I’m ready to start being me again.  And it feels pretty damn good.

RESEARCH

My research and discovery process is and has been enlightening to both the awareness that is already out there and to the still greater amount of awareness and education that is needed.  I have discovered terms I had never heard of, yet know the details of intimately, like Gaslighting.

Unless you know the term, you can’t find it as a form of abuse.  There’s no Google lookup for the individual terms within the forms of abuse, that I’ve found anyway.  It takes looking through hundreds of other avenues to find the term, then start looking that up. I’m working on changing that.  I’m collecting terms.  In fact, if you know of any, please comment, I need the help.

Boy have I had my fair share of gaslighting!  Look it up, you’ll be amazed, enlightened, and hopefully strengthened in your understanding of abuse, how to spot it and stop it.  And I’m starting my own new term, Halfening, the victim-blaming coddling of an abuser for fear of repercussion, after those that did it to me.

FEAR

I don’t like to think that I’m afraid of the unknown.  I actually like heading off into some new adventure, not sure what to expect or how things will turn out, who I will meet along the way, but ready to find out.

However, the unknown of where and when my next adventure begins…….   I am not liking this unknown at all.  I actually pretty much hate the interim.  It causes me panic and to make decisions too fast in order to at least be headed in a certain direction.

BUT HEY, I am in learning mode.  So, even though I’ve had a couple different opportunities to just head into the crazy wild blue, I haven’t taken them.  I’ve given more thought, I’ve taken more time.  I am learning.

LEARNING

I’m still working through the fear of trusting myself.  It is frustrating because I know that I made a fast decision to head off to Mozambique, but I also know that I was guided there.  I trusted my guide and I am actually coming out of this far stronger than even I would have guessed.  But, I am keenly aware that I was guided there to find out that I don’t know how to see the signs of abusers.

I asked for understanding of what happened with Sven.  I thought I had figured out my confidence, my refusal to put up with abuse, my love of self.  And then bam, confidence shaken.  And on the heels of that, Willem Johannes Goosen, aka John Goosen, of South Africa, happened.

This lack of confidence is a layer of the thick blanket of victim blaming that we hold onto.  It is both safe and suffocating.  I need to trust my gut and the results of following my gut.  Sven went against what my gut told me, but he worked until he convinced me.  Mozambique was completely following my gut.  Bad things happen no matter what.  Great things happen no matter what.

During the time I thought Sven and I were moving forward, I was so happy. I was so in love.  I had a great time, and I don’t regret one minute of it.  People ask me if I ever think of revenge; plot for someone to beat him up or something.  I don’t.  Truthfully, the best revenge is that he lost me.  I’m pretty awesome.  Don’t abuse me, and I’m top freaking notch.  That’s his loss not mine.

Mozambicans are wonderful people.  The local people amazed me in so many ways.  The scenery was wonderful and I am so grateful to have been to Africa.  And because of what happened in Mozambique, I have learned what happened with Sven, and what happened with the ex-husband and the few other ex relationships along the way.

I need to trust my gut and press forward with the decisions I make based on my instinct, without fear.  That blanket makes it safe to say, “if only”, “why didn’t I”, “I can’t”, “I shouldn’t”.  Those things feel safe, like they will keep me safe, but bad things happen no matter what.  Hiding from my path doesn’t keep me safe.  Running into or away from, doesn’t guarantee safety.

Just like I keep telling my little step-neice, it’s ok to make mistakes, that’s how we learn.

and

GREAT THINGS HAPPEN NO MATTER WHAT

ANOTHER DREAM

I need to stop worrying about safe and put my focus on non-abusive.  I had a dream last night.  I was swimming deep in the ocean with a group of whales.  They kept coming over to me and then going up to get air.  Somehow I was not needing to go get air, yet they kept insisting I should.  After I did, they showed me where land was and so I went up.

Everywhere I walked there were snakes. They were mostly out in the open, yet all of them had only their head and part body showing, the rest curled up in their hiding places.  A few were slinked back inside their hideout.  There was a child with me, and we were walking together.

I was not afraid of the snakes, but I knew I couldn’t give them any energy/ acknowledgement/ attention or they would bite.  I had to teach the child to see without giving acknowledgement, to not be afraid, not be curious or get too close.  The scenery was varied as we walked, rocky, grassy, outside, inside, and there were snakes in a snack booth and a book case.  They were talking to us, some trying to be helpful, give advice, offer to get things for us, but we had to remember they were still snakes.  If we gave them any acknowledgement, they would bite us.

There were many blue things as well, blue was a significant color.  There were people, men, women, children all around us, some talking to the snakes, some not.  Some were holding the snakes, some were collecting them, but many just ignored them.

Snakes and whales have interesting meanings in dreams and as power animals.  I’m curious to see what comes of this.  But I woke up feeling very good.

That’s all for now follks.  I’m doing really well.  I’m looking forward to my next adventure.  I’m singing, crying, laughing, and otherwise feeling the feels of life and loving it.   Go be awesome today, I plan to.

 

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12 Ways to Move From Powerless to Powerful

As I read this I realized that I am trying to do the things that good leaders do while feeling completely powerless…..   So I’m going to really work harder on numbers 3 and 4 especially.

 

And realize that those things the weak people are doing are not in my control.  It’s a good read from one of my favorite bloggers and something I really needed to read this morning.

 

Thanks Dan for yet another great post.

12 Ways to Move From Powerless to Powerful.

 

^^^  Yeah click there to read it  ^^^ up there  ^^^

 

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Thinking through my decisions – An education rant of a blog

This is going to be a random stream of my thoughts….. no real symmetry will happen, and I probably won’t connect one thought to the next with precision, but….I need to write this out as I think it out.

One life is not enough to learn – not even to learn what we don’t know or still need to learn, but if we build each other up with what we have learned,  – we can make a better dent in the whole affair.

Why do we as humans persist in believing that power can only be grown if it is taken from others?

It’s just not true – light is more powerful as it is multiplied, energy is more powerful as it is amplified, strength comes from adding muscle – everything we know tells us that we must “add to” in order to gain.

But still we insist on reducing the power of others in order to feel more powerful.

I am a mother – I am a teacher – I am a woman – I am educated enough to know I need more.  As I think through my decision to become not just a teacher of English in other countries, but an aspiring change in the world of education, I am consistently reinforced by the amazing, near-cruel stories of bigotry and racism that are actually denying the children of our country an education that is effective in creating a desire to learn.

Though it creates an austere reflection that defies any way of making it sound better – I must recognize that I may do my all-out best to create something that does effectively create a desire to learn in children, but that I will only be able to make as much progress as the general population can stop taking power away from children.

Throughout time, from Aristotle to Skinner, we are warned that we need to educate our children or face certain calamity.  History tells us that those in power keep the masses only educated enough to make the people feel as though they are making informed decisions, but uneducated enough to not know what’s really driving the decisions.

Those in power propagate the idea that education is not that important and make it too expensive for the larger underclass.  Why?  Because educated constituents will have more opinions, look more closely, and expect comparable treatment.  I may be putting myself into a world of chaos by choosing this path.

Am I going to create real change or do I have my head in clouds that they don’t belong in?  I feel it’s right.  I feel so powerfully motivated to get out there and research the hell out of teaching, learning, and creating desire to learn.  I worry that I’m going to get out there and find nothing better than what I just got at UNM.  I don’t believe that is true, but I worry about it.  (No slam against UNM intended, merely noting that it’s the only education on being a teacher that I have, so far).

At work today I have met 6 different families from 6 different countries.  As I generically chat with them we discuss why they are visiting Albuquerque, what they do back home, and what they plan to do with their lives.  It’s a small, highly packed store.  That gives them tons of browsing to do, all in conversation keeping locations.  When I told them I am going to teach out-of-country they have been excited and each asked if I was going to teach English when I get back home.

Of course, yes, it’s even the reason I am going to teach out of country.  I want to find a way to teach our many English Language Learners more effectively.   Then I get wonderful stories about their experiences in learning English, but then the same – “I’m glad I didn’t have to learn it in the US.”

We can’t keep taking away the power of our children.  No matter what language they speak as a baby, no matter what culture they are raised in at home, if their home is in the US, we need to allow them to keep their power as humans, not strip them of dignity, not enslave them through racism, not keep them in a state of without through social propaganda, and certainly not deny them education.  They are kids, children.  We become stronger as we educate ALL of our children.

What do you think?

 

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The Surreal moment I just had

I just had a beautiful but surreal moment.  I went to the Washington Middle School 8th grade Graduation.  I was able to witness every one of the students I’ve been working with walk across the stage that not only completes their Middle School education but begins their High School career.

Only 12 days after my own graduation, it came at me like a wave of surrealist paint.  Like Paul Fleet’s An Eye With A View, I felt like I was looking at a scene of looking at a scene.  Another UNM graduate spoke at the ceremony, a UNM graduate who had once attended WMS.  She spoke to them of trying circumstances and not being asked to join groups during High School, but rather having to take a leap of faith, put the goal in front and just go join the Honor Societies, the soccer team, the academic clubs.  She had to take the initiative and because she did, she’s now a college graduate.

She spoke of the statistics these kids are bombarded with from every direction.  Half will drop out, 1/3 will become unwed parents, 2/3 will be arrested for something before 18.  I saw many not so dry eyes, because some of these kids are the first in their family to make it this far.  Some are the first to be headed to High School in America, the land of opportunity, as long as you’re not Mexican.  These kids are fighting the odds put against them, and winning it right now.

It made me think of all the things people said to me when they first found out I was going to teach at Washington, largely known as one of the toughest schools.  Wow, really, are you scared?  Oh my gawd are you trying to change placement?  Make sure and bring a whistle, it startles them.   These children are pre-teens, barely teenagers, and they are faced with obstacles that would make a lot of different people drop out, but they are doing it through those circumstances.

I know students who live with distant relatives because those relatives live in the US.  Their parents still live in a different country; Cuba, Mexico, Chile.  I know students whose parents are in jail, dead, or not part of their lives for various reasons.  These kids are just kids.  The various reasons they are in the situations they are in are not their fault.  But they are dealing with the stereotypes, the people telling them they can’t, the biased tests telling them their not smart enough to, the families that can only offer so much, and making their education important for themselves at the same time.

I see my own Middle School experiences, my lack of High School, and now my struggle and triumph with college.  It was hard, really hard for me.  I had to fight for every moment in College.  But I did it in a society that accepts me simply because of the color of skin I was born into.  I can’t help the skin I was born into any more than they can.  I can’t change the fact that there are privileges I have, that they will rarely have, for no other reason than being born with fair skin.

I too was born into a low income home.  I too dealt with abuses.  I rarely found moments in which I felt supported.  I often raised my siblings.  I didn’t finish High School, dropped out in 10th grade.  I was married too young, had children too young.  I connect to these kids on more levels than they will ever understand and fewer levels than I can understand.

It was surreal, these many thoughts running through my mind as I hugged every one of my students after they received their diploma.  I don’t know if I was technically allowed to, but I stood at the foot of the stage stairs like one of the faculty and hugged them all as they came down the stairs.  I know that life is about to hit them harder than they’ve ever known.  BUT I also know that this group has an outstanding chance.  Maybe it’s my bias because I taught them, talked with them and learned from them, but I feel like this group is really going to go somewhere amazing. They are fighters for their own education.

 
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Posted by on 24/05/2012 in art, being a student, teaching

 

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Thank you – the touchy-feelyness of graduation

My first real weekend in so long.  I worked in the garden, threw away lots of papers, organized my desk, drank a beer in the middle of the day, bought Rubbermaid “easy find lids” containers, and watched a solar eclipse.  I wrote some thank you cards for graduation gifts, made a real dinner, went to the movies, rode the motorcycle, put away my clothes that had been in a basket for over a week now, put together a day/ trundle bed, and ate another piece of cake.

I have to be prepared if I get called in to substitute teach, but I am absolutely in summer mode.  How am I going to convince myself to get a summer job now? Aagh.

I am so lucky to have such good friends and relatives, I am closer to my goal for necessary funds for the school in Prague and have new beautiful accessories for while I’m there.  Most importantly I have their support and care – that knowledge is more important than money or things!!

This blog is dedicated to each and every person that has been part of my life.  Good or bad I have learned so many things along this path.  There are parts of where I’m at now, that I always knew would happen.  I knew I would travel across the planet, I just didn’t know for sure how.  In September that dream will begin being fulfilled.  I knew that I would be a teacher, I just didn’t know I’d be a real teacher.  I thought I’d teach people the things I’ve been learning, but now… now I’m a real honest to goodness teacher.  It was the people in my life that have helped me take the path – the direction that I have been on to get where I am and to go where I’m going.

I made friends along the way that have influenced me long past the time that I’ve been able to hang out with them in person: Tahirih and Brett, Jennifer T, Jennifer E, Dawn K.  And new friends that I am so glad for.  I hope that I give them as much as they’ve given me.  It’s been a long road.  Too much of it painful, but because of friends, I’ve made it.

I can honestly say that I now have teachers that have made a difference in my education.  It may have taken until college to be able to say that, but now I can say it with full meaning:  Lois M., G. Martinez, Kent B., Mel S., both Szasz’s, Alice W., these are incredible teachers, incredible human beings.  I feel lucky to have been taught by them.

I know, I know… this is the touchy-feely blog, but I needed to put it out there into the universe that I am grateful.  Grateful for the path I’m on and for the people that supported me along the way.

My promise is that I will do my best to support those around me, to encourage and uplift, to learn from and teach.

 
 

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Oh goodness, it’s a freak out week

So, here it is the day I’ve been dreading.  The day that the initial momentum lost its stride, and tripped.   I know that this is partially because we’ve been interrupted twice now by school-wide things that are unavoidable. Between the two events we lost 6 days over two weeks.  It is far more difficult to start and stop than to keep plugging along.

That time did give me some much needed time to get all the grades into the computer and off of my clipboard.  My Master Teacher looked over the grades.  The students dropped from a turn-in rate of 95% to 90% and she wanted a better idea of the quality of work.  Generally speaking, their doing fantastically.  But, there are a few that have fizzled out in quality as well as quantity.  I lost 2-4 students from each of my classes.  I started with 58 students working with me and as of today, I’m down to 50.

“This is called differentiation”, I’m reminded.  If they need to work on something else to help keep their grades up, then we have them work on something else.  It feels disheartening in some ways, but I want them to get the best grades possible, so….. It’s for the best.

50 students who are now in freakout mode for finishing their testing and trying to make sure they have  their homework done well and on-time.  Realistically I only have about 10 students in freakout mode, the rest are keeping up and there is about 15 doing really well.  I have a beautiful front-loaded bell curve happening. I’ll take that.

To have 50 students that are each taking a personal interest in their education for the sake of being educated is an amazing thing.

These students are writing things like,

“I can relate to Cosette because I know what it’s like to be in the low class and not have my mother.  I know how she feels that she wants her mother.”

“This book is like a reality show that was written way back in the day but is just like what is happening now-a-days.”

“It talks about characters that are good but are seen as bad because of what class they come from.  We are having the same thing now.”

“Jean Valjean chose to get his education when he was in the galleys.  I can connect to Jean Valjean in that I am choosing to get my education, and I will be in a higher class than my parents, like Javert did.”

I have another day before I can begin again, but there are no foreseeable interruptions for the rest of the time.  I am changing a few things I do to change the layout of the classroom.  Hopefully that will help the students get another surge as we head into the second half of Les Miserables.

And hopefully no more freak out weeks, that have to do with my students anyway!  Ha, I still have to finish my portfolio, turn it in, get an evaluation, apply for me teaching license.  That is a whole other blog  ):(

Until next time……

 

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Teaching Les Miserables

It has to be one of the most rewarding experiences to work through an idea and then watch it unfold even better than you thought!  I am experiencing that right now, and I can’t be happier about it!

It is a lot of work and I’m pretty sure my family thinks I’m nuts, but I am actually getting through to my students and they are absolutely loving it.  I was told at the beginning of this that there was no way I was going to get them to do homework every night, I was making a mistake by not showing the whole movie and for using older versions of the movie.  I was actually laughed at when I said that we were going to have tests every week, and looked at it with dumbfounded exasperation when I said that I had purchased 3 tickets to go see the play when it comes to town in June.

But….  The students, my 8th grade ESL, underpriviliged students are “getting it”.  They are doing the homework, learning words like culpable, formidable, malady, suffrage and renounce, and watching movie versions from 1937 and 1952 in black and white with complete attention.  I have them writing in Dialogue Journals every day and am reading entries that show an incredible depth of understanding.  I knew these kids were awesome, but they are even blowing me away.

I think that this will become a foundational lesson in any classroom I’m in.  I can connect almost anything to it because of its universiality.

SO I’ve been riding the motorcycle again now that the weather is good.  Well, really the weather has been beautiful lately.  I’m still not ready to drive it, but I’m good with riding on the back for the time being.  Besides it’s helping to build up those neck muscles that you don’t realize are there until they are keeping your head from bouncing all over the place with the weight of a helmet. 

Does anyone have a suggestion for a helmet brand/type that isn’t heavy?  I have a full, shielded, 7# helmet right now, and it is a difficult choice between wearing it or not because of the extra strain on my neck vs, the death blow of pavement.  I know, that doesn’t sound like a real choice, but I don’t plan on crashing but I do have to deal with the neck pain each time.  It’s a real choice.

 

 

 
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Posted by on 14/04/2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Trying to raise funds

Hi everyone,

So, I am so close to graduation now!  My Les Mis Unit has begun with a fantastic success!  The drill team I began coaching in February had their first school performance and it was amazing.  They were asked to dance in the National Train Day event here in Albuquerque as well.  I’m so proud of them.  The after-school tutoring program I’ve been working with has its final days next week, so I’m going to finally have a little extra time to finish my portfolio for graduation.

Then, I begin the fund-raising process for creating the book I plan to write during my travels as an international teacher.  Those of you who know me, know the reason I began working towards my endorsement in TESOL and have really pushed myself for my teaching degrees, is because I really want to help create a change in the way we educate; especially our ESL students.  The way we currently teach ESL students, more often than not, inhibits their ability to succeed.  I plan to teach in several countries that have high International testing scores to learn what, how and why their systems are successful.

As I teach and learn, I will be writing a book that analyzes what I am learning about these systems and comparing them to what I’ve learned about how we teach here in America.  Hopefully finding a way to connect these systems in a way that I can instigate some real, positive, and empowering changes in the way we educate ESL students.

Much wonderful and amazing work is and has been done in this field already.  I hope to be able to add to this.

Beginning is always the hardest part.  Being realistic about the process is sobering, but important.

On this note, I plan to begin fundraising through a site called KickStarter.com.  I will be giving photo cards, hand-sculpting and painting several different items, giving free copies of the book, and other prizes for your contributions to my project.

I am attaching photos of Fairie Doors that I have sculpted and painted in the past to give an idea of my work.

Dragon Guarded door

Thanks for reading my blog and for any contributions you may give.  Once I graduate (!) and don’t have 4-5 classes I take on top of classes I teach, I will be able to allot more time for my writing.  I’m pretty excited to spend a summer working on art.

Have a great weekend everyone!

 
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Posted by on 06/04/2012 in art, being a student, teaching, travel

 

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