Saturday, April 29, 2006

Ghetto Fishing

Ok, so this is in the textbook we use in my Spanish 3 class.Thursday afternoon, I am blithely trying to teach my students the new "beach" vocabulary. You know- towel, wave, shore, sand, shell, etc... The book is accompanied by nice photos that are labelled with the new words. We're doing well until we reach exhibit C. I say "clase, repitan: el pescador", anticipating their usual half-hearted repetition of the word I just modeled for them. Instead, I get "Mrs. T- how he fishin without no pole?" I hadn't really thought about it, not having examined all the pictures that closely. I was going to go into some lame-o explanation about that must be how some of the fisherman do it in Puerto Rico, but was beaten to the punch by C - "Oh, that's ghetto fishin". I lost it- I got a RAGING case of the giggles, which of course fueled their fire-leading into the question of what he is holding in his other hand and what kind of fish one catches while ghetto fishing. Is there such thing as a gangsta fish? The kids told me there is actually a dogfish, but that could be urban legend. THEN we watched the accompanying video that featured el pescador swinging his line over his head like a cowboy. We HAD to rewind it and watch it again. It was better than Mystery Science Theater- TRULY. My Inner Priss was just shaking her head. Sometimes I stray far from the path of being a Model of Appropriate Behavior. (and is it ever fun.)
Lesson Plans for that day? Totally shot. Sometimes, ya just gotta go with the flow.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

My observations of my students today:

Why do all students everywhere use the bookshelves in their classrooms to stuff wads of paper into? I don't get it. What is so appealing about using a shelf as opposed to a wastebasket? Is it like peeing outside? Eating dinner in front of the television? Brushing your teeth in the shower?

Just wondering.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Ok, I know my children are nowhere near perfect (bo-ring!), and I am quite sure that we have been guilty of annoying other patrons while dining in a restaurant, but I am certain that my children have never, at any given moment, produced the high, whiny, incessant fake cry reminiscent of a wounded coyote that I just had to withstand while trying to dine with my family just now. Any remaining hormonal pangs of perhaps wanting another baby just shriveled up and died. Yep- just dried up and flew away. My usually mellow husband kept making audible comments about the poor tike- to the point where I had to intervene and tell him, "Honey. You're being kind of an asshole." He somehow found humor in the whole situation, while I had a physical reaction to the torture. I actually had to shudder so as not to beat the kid about the head and neck with his own corndog.

My Claire is going to make her First Communion next week and we are all about the white dress and veil chez nous. She is not a "girly-girl", so it's some feat that she will actually don this apparrel. When she first tried it on in the JC Penney's dressing room, I got all verklempt- she looked like a little shrunken bride. I know it's old fashioned, but I just love this tradition. We go her shoes tonight and tried on the ensemble again. And she looked so pretty and sweet and I was loving it and then it happened. She said the "f" word. Oh, it's not THE f-word, it's actually much worse than that for a young girl. She said she looked fat in her dress. She's 8. She is not skinny- doesn't have that coltish look little girls sometimes have, but, fat? I think not. The part that breaks my heart is that I know exactly how she feels- not being metabollically inclined myself. I pressed her a little bit and she said that "everyone" says she's fat. She's 8. "Everyone" consists of 2 mean boys that have no friends. My mama bear instinct kicked in and my immediate reaction was to hunt the little shits down and tell them how mean and horrible they are. That they will never have a mature relationship with a woman because they are wrapped up in shallow, surface perceptions of what women should look like perpetuated by the media. That they have no soul.

I once asked a group of friends what they thought was more difficult: to be the parent of a bully or or of the one being bullied. At the time, I really thought bully- hands down. But now? I don't know.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Ok, I really need to get my head in the game. I need to be the grown-up, or as our fearless leader likes to say, "The Decider", and set the tone in my classroom. It's sooo beautiful outside- I know I'm going to hear an endless chorus of "can we have class outside?" for the next 6 weeks. Oy. Who started this Class Outside business, anyway? Probably some hippy in a corduroy blazer with elbow pads who wanted the kids to go and commune with nature. Damn him. In my younger days, I totally bought into it and took my class outside "if you guys promise you'll work". Not so much anymore- we are usually so crunched for time, it just doesn't seem to happen. Maybe I'll make it a goal this spring to have a Hippy Moment and take the buggers outside to do some awesome grammar exercises. Double object pronouns and Nature: the Ultimate Fusion.

I have one more Peep thing, and then I swear I will be done with the Peep Talk until next Easter. I just need to figure out how to add a link to this. I know, you're all on pins and needles, aren't you?

Here's my latest Mother of the Year moment: older daughter Claire frequently shrieking "Moooo-om! Lydia's going to (hit, punch, pinch, kick, smack, etc,....)me!" Here's what a good mother would say: " You two need to use your words and work it out." Here's what I say: "Tell me when she does (hit, punch, pinch, kick, smack, etc.) you." Who raised me? Doesn't that sound like the response from some crusty sitcom mom? I swear I'm really a midwesterner, but sometimes this woman from the Bronx channels through me and the strangest things come out my mouth!

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Am enjoying the post Easter Peep fix- but we only eat them after they've "seasoned" in the basket for a few days. Much like fine wine, Peeps should never be consumed before their time.
Recently, the teachers at my school all received a "vocabulary" quiz in their mailboxes. This consisted of 20 words and phrases used by some of the more, shall we say, urban youth at my school. Here is a sampling:
1. rollers (I'm assuming they don't mean the pink foamy ones we used to sport at slumber parties)
2.geeked (probably not like Punk'd, maybe the same, only it's from your companies IT department?)
3. nice platinum piece (our guess is the "grill" of shiny teeth so popular these days)

4. racks (Pamela Anderson, anyone?)

5. airin' out ( what we do with our sweaters at the end of the season before putting them in the cedar closet? )
6. sideways (over-rated movie that ended up being less about wine and more about this guys total loser of a friend...)
7. exclusifs (hey, this looks French- could it be? )

I'll share the real answers tomorrow- this stuff I just love.

My Book Club is reading 1000 White Women, by Jim Fergus- a very interesting book- great "what if" premise. B asically, it's about a treaty between a Native American chief and President Grant in which the chief said that in order for their people to assimilate to the white-man's culture (the horror, I know!), they would need to marry our women, since it's the women who perpetuate the customs and traditions and religion of a culture. So, he requested that he be granted 1000 (white) women to wed 1000 men of his nation. The notes to this book state that this is actually based on a real treaty, but the request was of course denied. The book is about what would have happened. They emptied the insane asylums and put the BFI (brides for Indians, they were called) on trains and shipped them West.

Here's what I'm NOT doing right now: grading quizzes over imperatives with pronoun placement.

Monday, April 17, 2006

And Peeps to His People on Earth

Above quote uttered by my 5 year old Lydia yesterday. She is also the one who has repeatedly and with a straight face referred to my husband's dearly departed Aunt Vivian as "Amphibian". Never a dull moment with this one.

Am having internal struggle over Easter hoopla. "Here, kids. Have a bunch of brightly colored, foil -wrapped candy that I purchased. But don't eat it!!!!" I like it when they get tired of it and it becomes less of an issue. And really, who cares if they eat a chocolate bunny before breakfast on Easter Sunday. I frequently tell them, "ok, but if you barf, you're cleaning it up." I am mother of the year, I tell ya.

Tomorrow I return to school and have a small case of "Sunday-itis" to prove it. Since it's Monday and I had Thursday and Friday off, it's not soo bad. Summer is calling me, though. I gave a bag of papers to correct a ride home, where they have sat, taunting me. Grrrr.

But, today, I play! I pretend that I'm a stay at home mom and go with my children to a friend's house to play. The kids run around, the mom's drink coffee and laugh and talk. Oh, the life!

Friday, April 14, 2006

100 things about me

Check out "my complete profile". There you will see 100 things about me.

Welcome to my blog

Well, after many weeks of telling my friends and colleagues "I think I'm going to start my own blog.", I've started my own blog. After indulging my voyeuristic side by reading many others' blogs and not leaving a comment or signing their "guestbook", I've joined their ranks. Some advice I've read on blogging included picking a theme and sticking to it. Well, I generally don't like to pigeonhole myself too much, but if I HAVE to, then I guess this is a teacher/mommy/struggling to eke out some creativity blog. If you have stumbled upon this because of its very latino-centric sounding name, well I am sorry to disappoint, because I'm about as ethnic as Funions and Mountain Dew. I'm just a little ol' white girl a-livin here in the Heartland, teaching Spanish to high schoolers who are eager to broaden their horizons, open their hearts and minds to another culture and learn to speak Spanish like a native. Oops, I mean, fulfill their foreign language requirements to get into college whilst putting forth the least amount of work possible.

At this moment, I am enjoying a long weekend and NOT thinking about what my first block students are going to do on Tuesday when we go back. I know, soooo professional. As we go along, I'll share some other professional secrets- tricks of the trade, shall we say.

I am damn glad to be here, and hope you'll indulge me with a comment or two. Be nice, I'm the new kid.