A small town girl takes on the world

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

...On Feeling Rejuvenated (and some "good stuff")

Right now, I'm at Zoka working on this scholarship application. It's the first real day of fall weather (true fall weather) in Seattle. Pouring rain, thunder, and cold. There's a little boy outside the coffee shop, dancing in the rain for his mom, who is sitting inside by the fire. It's pretty cute, and I'm glad to see someone else enjoying the rain instead of complaining about it. I'm sure I'll change my mind, since my school is mostly outside (trips to the copy machine will be miserable), but I still appreciate the green.

The middle of the third week has come, and it's time for me to go back to UW for classes. This is the last scholarship I will ever write, and I can really feel my entire journey of college coming to an end. Although I'll still be in classes, what's most important now is the field experience. It's making me nostalgic!

Last weekend, I was feeling like I needed to get out, so I went out to Rattlesnake Ledge, which is a short hike (2.0 miles) up to a fantastic viewpoint. I wanted some solitude, so I went for a sunrise hike. I wasn't alone on that ledge though, there was a mountain goat! It was on a ledge next to me, but didn't seem bothered by my presence at all. Lots of animals were out, since it was so early, and the sunrise was brilliant. I'll try to upload some pictures and add them to the blog later tonight when I'm home. It was only ~2 hours of my life, but it made all the difference. It reminded me how beautiful life really is, and how important it is to pass on that sentiment to young people (well, younger than me). It's easy to forget the beauty when you're surrounded by ugly situations...perhaps I can help some of my students see the real beauty of life, especially of the natural really set up my week nicely!

I've had a great week so far with the students, too. I feel that I've really reached and found ways to make sure they see that I mean that I care about them. I've been trying to make leaps and bounds with certain students, and I've made an effort to say something to every kid in every period, no matter how small. I've been working on framing everything I say in a positive light, whether it's behavioral, academic, or just personal. I've never believed it more that students can see your genuine nature and intention, and that they feed off that. I think that my efforts are making a difference, and it really motivates me. Too bad this feeling is coming right when my days at the school are cut in half....

I'd like to start sharing some "good stuff" each entry. This is something that my good friend, Rebecca, does when she sends updates on her teaching in Berkeley, CA. She taught 2nd graders last year, and is a Teach for America starlet. :)

So, in true Becca nature, here is some good stuff:

A student, Lawrence, was talking about how dumb Homecoming is and how he isn't going. I said, "Lawrence, I'll be at Homecoming!" He slowly, deliberately replied: "No offense, Ms. Kramer, but that doesn't change my opinion...."

In Advisory, discussions about babies came up when Gala, who is pregnant, shared her first ultrasound with us. Bisart, a particularly vocal student, said loudly, "Man, when I have babies, I'm going to get me some twins!" As if he could just go pick them out?!

Our classroom has a gas leak (science classroom, hence the gas), so after we figured out there was one and turned OFF the gas with the main shut off switch, we needed to get the kids out of the room because it smelled awful. We walked around campus for a few minutes, chatting and letting them feel free and happy. It was fun, but frustrating because it reminds me how old our building is...not sure why this counts as "good stuff"???? :)

Another student, Daniel, has been impossible in terms of sitting down and doing work. Today, for the first time, he sat down and took his work seriously because BOTH me and my teacher were PUSHING and PUSHING him to get something done. Instead of grumbling through it, a sparkling little scientist emerged! It was incredible. He was asking questions of other students, of us, and they were great questions! I was was a great way to leave the day.

And so, I'll leave you with a good feeling that I have:

"Teach for the pleasure of doing something you are good at, not out of a sense of duty. Teach for the satisfaction you feel at seeing others succeed, not out of a desire to 'help' them. Teach for the joy of the subject matter you are discussing, not to attain 'standards' deļ¬ned by others. Teach out of the love you feel for students, not out of some larger mission of social transformation."

This quote is ringing true for me this week. I am acutely aware of myself, my successes, my failures, and how all of those things, no matter how glorious or painful, have brought me to right here. And it feels GOOD.

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