Thursday, April 26, 2007

My First Teacher Interview


My name is TP and I am writing a story on Student Teacher's at AI for the AI High School Newspaper. It can be as little as ONE sentence. Whatever you want to say, I don't want to leave you out of the story. Please give me a quote or fill out the info below (Also can be as little as one sentence). THANKS!

Why did you choose secondary education (grades 7-12)?

For one, I like the stuff we get to teach. I'm a huge nerd, and I love literature, stories, words. More importantly, I love the way secondary age brains work -- students this age are learning so much and turning into the people they're going to be as grown folks. I'm honored to be part of that.

What is your favorite part about being at AI?
The students. I swear on my grade book, I mean that. All of them, even the ones I spend half the class yelling at for one reason or another, have helped convince me this really is what I want to do. Y'all are amazing.

What is your least favorite part about being at AI?
I'm sure this is an issue everywhere, not just at AI, but it's probably the most baffling thing about student teaching for me. I see a wide-spread belief that "quiet" means "talk more", and "no" means "ask me again". Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to clarify: that is woefully incorrect.

Do you have any advice for aspiring teachers at AI?
You want the neophyte to give advice? Well, I guess I'd say that (any profession, but especially) teachers really need to understand why they want to do this job. You can't do it just to do it, because it's convenient, or because it seems easy. There are a million great reasons to be a teacher; have one, know what it is, and remind yourself of it everyday.

As I was composing the above responses to a girl I've probably seen in the halls fifty times, it occurred to me again: I love these kids. Everyday, they blow me away. These quasi-children/pseudo-adults will talk in my class, watch me walk over to their desk and stand over them, and then tell everyone else to be quiet. This, somehow, charms me, even as I whap them with rolled-up papers. And I get so excited when they get where I wanted them to get or when they come up with their own spin on something; they don't even notice their little epiphanies, but I do, and I rejoice in them.

One of my students told me one day last week I reminded him of Dr. House because I was playing with an orange after lunch. Today, another student in that class brought me a ball just like House's. Some of the kids in that class are in the middle of cranking out some really brilliant projects on The Great Gatsby. And I think I'm in love.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

My Reputation, Apparently

Reported to me by a student and later corroborated by my fellow student teacher:

KG: Miss Palmer [afore mentioned cohort], can I stay this period to finish my story [for journalism class]?
Miss Palmer: Who do you have this period?
KG: Miss C.
Miss Palmer: Oh, I don't know. You better ask her, Miss C. is hard-core.
KG: Oh my gosh, I know!

...Well, alright!


And then there's this:

Me: J, why are you so antagonistic towards him?
JE: Why ya gotta use big English words on us?
Me: Because I'm a big English teacher.
JE: You're not big. You're actually quite slender, if I do say so.
Me: (Pause) Thanks...?

The same student in the same study hall as the DS/bribery incident. I also have him for class. He's one of the more... challenging children.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Salsa night

This keeps me sane.

The above is an experimental post using Blogger's mobile blogging. I sent the above picture, subject, and text from my cell phone. I may have an even bigger problem on my hands...

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

"Today, we are all Hokies."

The students of the University of Delaware join the rest of the country in supporting and praying for the students and families of Virginia Tech. We're with you.

The Thought I Keep Coming Back To

"Service before self is that virtue within us all which elevates the human spirit, compels us to reach beyond our meager selves to attach our spirit to something bigger than we are."
-Gen. John P. Jumper, 17th Chief of Staff, USAF

Monday, April 16, 2007

Integrity. Really.

An exchange with a student, who I'll call by his initials:

JE: Miss C, Miss Doe took my DS [game boy] away last class.
Me: That's a shame, J. Why did you have it in school?
JE: We were watching an episode of The West Wing. It didn't even relate at all to what we're doing. And I've seen it before! I was playing wireless with the kid two seats behind me and she took it... Can you go get it for me?
Me: What??
JE: Just be like, "Hey, I'm going to take this to the office for you, I got it," and then give it to me instead.
Me: No, J.
JE: C'mon, Miss C. I'll pay you.
Me: Hmm... still no.
JE: I'll give you a crisp new twenty.
Me: Nope.
JE: How 'bout my good friend Mr Benjamin?
Me: Franklin? Nah.
JE: You don't take bribes?
Me: No, actually, I don't.
JE: Man, that's severe.

I don't know if this encourages or deters me from my chosen profession.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Pope Beer?

Pope Benny XVI museum: "Be still my heart..."

I don't think I really need to comment on this, except to admit aloud what you're all thinking: nerd!

(Aside: Shrine of the Holy Whapping is yet another great Catholic blog I suddenly find myself preoccupied by. God help me. At least it's a holy and edifying addiction.)

Tuesday, April 10, 2007


I just got an e-mail from Sr Mary of VIDES USA informing me that placements are still available in Texas, a state that's been calling my name for at least a year now. This is exciting for several reasons.

One, I was really excited about it, something I couldn't say about some of the other options I was looking at. I've always relied pretty heavily on my gut (and 97.6% of the times don't, I wish I had), and my gut told me I needed to be more excited about where ever I go. So, this is a good sign.

Two, I still have what looks like a fair shot of getting on board with some one exciting, whether it's VIDES, the Ursuline Companions, or the Dominican Volunteers. When my gut started yelling at me last week, I scrapped pretty much all of the programs I had been looking at and jumped head first into the Last Minute game. The risk there, obviously, was that it was too late for me to apply anywhere. So far VIDES and the Dominicans still look like real possibilities.

Three, it makes this pipe dream I've had for a solid three years more concrete. It looks like it might actually materialize into something tangible, and that's so exciting. It's also rather terrifying, but I'll deal with that.

In other news, I'm starting to think about how much stuff I'm going to have to chunk to be able to move anywhere, especially if the family goes Saxon. Visions of yard sales and Franciscan asceticism swirl in my head, but I know I will never be able to rid myself of my lust for all things photographic and/or musical. I suspect, were he a modern fellow, St Francis would have allowed himself an iPod, if only of Latin chant, and a photo key chain.

Sunday, April 8, 2007


This is just the best day of the year. Not even of the year, of all eternity. Is there anything better than this? No. I could go on for a long time about how awesome (truly) Eater is, but I will spare you my neophyte drivel and refer you to the new section of links to Catholic blogs to the right.

What is not awesome is that I have to go back to Newark tomorrow and back to getting up at 5:30 on Tuesday. Frankly, I'm not excited. Being home has been, as always, a blessing.

Melissa and Charlie, D.C. Metro

Wood carving, Madonna and Child; Marble statue and stained glass. Both National Gallery of Art

From Pope Benedict's Easter Vigil homily:

"This is the joy of the Easter Vigil: we are free. In the resurrection of Jesus, love has been shown to be stronger than death, stronger than evil. Love made Christ descend, and love is also the power by which he ascends. The power by which he brings us with him. In union with his love, borne aloft on the wings of love, as persons of love, let us descend with him into the world’s darkness, knowing that in this way we will also rise up with him. On this night, then, let us pray: Lord, show us that love is stronger than hatred, that love is stronger than death. Descend into the darkness and the abyss of our modern age, and take by the hand those who await you. Bring them to the light! In my own dark nights, be with me to bring me forth! Help me, help all of us, to descend with you into the darkness of all those people who are still waiting for you, who out of the depths cry unto you! Help us to bring them your light! Help us to say the “yes” of love, the love that makes us descend with you and, in so doing, also to rise with you. Alleluia. Amen!"