Thursday, February 28, 2008

Through the looking glass...

This week and next, I am subbing at the school I student-taught at. I'm in a class with a student teacher who is into the full time teaching of her stay. She also happens to be going through the exact program I went through for my Masters last year! She also happens to have done her undergrad at the same school as me with an art degree just like I did.
It has been a surreal experience witnessing her and remembering my own experience. I basically sit in the back of the room all day since it is her time and I'm not to interfere. I don't mind. I've read a few books, done some word searches, corrected papers for her and listened.
Today all the painful flashbacks of student teaching came back during the math lesson. The students were out of control, the principal was observing and the lesson was rather confusing for everyone. I felt her pain. But like the strong teacher she is becoming, she got through it.
It's funny. Yesterday I felt all cool experienced teacher lady, imparting some wisdom to her and feeling confident. And yet, today, watching and remembering, I realized that I have so much to learn. When does it end? Do I even want it to end? And what does being a good teacher mean?
My first yoga class is tonight and I have a lot to think about. I'm not too satisfied that this post really expressed what I'm thinking. I might have to write more tomorrow...ta-ta!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Rob Breszny's Scoprio horoscope for this week.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Poet Sylvia Plath said she wasn't much impressed with the "photographic mind which paradoxically tells the truth, but the worthless truth, about the world." What she really loved was the "synthesizing spirit, that 'shaping' force, which prolifically sprouts and makes up its own worlds with more inventiveness than God." That's the aspect of your psyche I hope will be in full bloom during the coming weeks, Scorpio. It's a perfect time for you to enter into an unprecedented phase of building. You're ripe to dream up a host of creations for yourself -- to improvise and design and compose.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

I feel a bit like Carrie Bradshaw.

"As I reflected on the day's events, I couldn't help but wonder if substitute teaching is the key to understanding relationships?"

Yes, I did think that yesterday and let me tell you why. Due to the nature of my Master's program and the nature of myself, I am a reflective person. I think about stuff...a lot. And every night, after I've had a sub job, I rehash the events and ponder what lessons I've learned. Sometimes they are fun. ("Hannah Montana rules!") Sometimes they are not. ("You are ugly and I hate you!") Sometimes they are useful. ("Don't let a chatty class work in partners or groups.") Sometimes they are not. ("You have to hold some pencils at a slight degree when sharpening.") But the best lessons are ones that are about my own teaching and me. My strengths, my weaknesses, my obsession with walking down the hall quietly. These bits of insight can be amusing or sometimes painful.

For instance, I realized that I am not as consistent as I should be. While this is a great skill for improv jazz musicians or thieves eluding the cops, for a teacher, it is death. Students expect certain things. Their world at school has a rhythm and routine that just you being there is interrupted. To make up for this rudeness, you must be steady and somewhat predictable. You cannot let Jimmy sit at the back table but then tell Cindy she cannot. As a substitute teacher, you must be an equalizing force. Be Switzerland! Better yet, be the UN Council!

Secondly, I realized that I need to state my expectations at the get go. While being mysterious or holding back might get you a wink at the bar, in a class you will be called unfair and probably a picture of you with horns will be drawn. I have to be straight forward and unafraid of asking for what I want. I find this difficult since I could never do that with dates my own age but now am forced to do that with twenty or more 5-10 year olds.

The more I thought about these and other insights, the more I realized this was what I needed to improve any relationship I have or will have. It was quite strange and yet very exciting.

Does this mean the more I teach, the better I will become at other things? Are pencil sharpening and wood sculpture connected? After a day of standing in front of a tough crowd of 2nd graders, will I then be able to do stand-up comedy?
(Forgive any spelling errors, my blog's spell check is not working.)

Saturday, February 16, 2008

The cloud has lifted.

After a week long battle with flu and the depression, anxiety, insomnia that accompany it, I feel once more alive and refreshed. I spent the morning cleaning my room and making plans for this spring. And I must say that nothing makes me happier than a list and a project. Here is what I have so far:

1. start Hatha Yoga up in Graham with my mother.
2. finish a small painting.
3. buy a Holga camera.
4. visit out of state friends and reconnect with those nearby.
5. buy some new clothes.
6. find some sort of volunteer position for one day a week.
7. have Meredith, Zac, and Israel give me a cooking lesson.
8. go to Seattle a few times.
9. maybe do another issue of Magpie.
10. go to the ocean.

I can smell spring in the air, just around the corner here and it is beautiful. Make some spring goals of your own and don't forget #4 on my list! I miss a lot of you!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Do you ever have those days?

Where you can't really do anything productive or say anything meaningful? Where you just want to watch an "X-files" or "Law and Order: Criminal Intent" marathon and sit? Or what about when you feel down and alone and want someone to call or email you and nobody does? Or when you drive your brother to work and cry on the way home cause of some Pink Floyd song? What about that? Or when you are getting the flu and everything seems to bother you even more?

Sunday, February 10, 2008

And in the end...

The love you take
is equal to the love
you make...--The Beatles

My favorite holiday is Valentine's Day and I wish all of you a wonderful one. Love, hdt.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

The other H.T.

In honor of my best friend who happens to be my brother's 27th birthday, here are some facts about this elusive man.
1. His favorite color is blue
2. He can fall asleep in any vehicle including boats, planes, cars, and even golf carts. We haven't tested spaceships but give it time.
3. He knows a lot about history especially any war.
4. He owns nearly everything Johnny Cash ever recorded...still needs some of the albums with Rick Rubin but he's close.
5. He is fascinated by things like 401ks or investments or stocks.
6. He once went to culinary school and can cook very well.
7. He can eat anything he wants and not gain any weight and stays fit from his custodian job.
8. He is deathly afraid of snakes.
9. He will not sing or dance no matter how much you plead or offer to pay.
10. He loves cats.
11. Even though he likes their work, he refers to both Andy Warhol and David Bowie as "that freak."
12. He drinks his coffee black.
13. He is an Aquarius which supposedly means he is a great communicator. But really he is the strong but silent type.
14. He is the kindest and most generous person I know.
15. He would absolutely hate this list.
16. I love him.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

What the magpie found

Isn't he adorable? Don't be fooled by the sweet face!

Houston will be 27 on Thursday and it is quite the deal. I remember when he was 7. In honor of his growing old, I thought I'd share a story of when he was little. Apparently I used to torment him a lot. (I know! Me? Torment Houston, unbelievable!) And one day, when he was barely 2, he had had enough. My mom says that he leaned over like he was going to kiss me and instead he bit my cheek! My mother remembers me being completely shocked and silent. She tried not to laugh since I deserved it. I still tread a little lightly when harassing Houston.
Another week without a new makeup story. But in other girly news, I got this fantabulous new bag from Target. And I've lost a size!
Working out--I'm seriously addicted. I have to do something physical each day otherwise I have trouble sleeping and I get grouchy. I've never felt better.
The new Mary J. Blige album--She's awesome, tough, strong and has a killer voice. She is the Queen of Hip Hop after all.
Bath and Bodyworks "Sleep" Body wash and Foam Bath--It might just be a placebo but I think this stuff really helps lull me to sleep. It has lavendar and vanilla in it and a little bit goes a long way. Normally it is something like 13 dollars but recently they had a sale (5 bucks a pop) and I loaded up.