Monthly Archives: February 2009

Day 107 AIM: How can I relax this weekend?

Do Now: What a week. Just back from break, still in the midst of winter, and in the longest stretch of the semester. It’s nothing but open ocean for a long time. So take a moment this weekend to enjoy yourself. Do something nice for you. Splurge on something you wouldn’t normally splurge on. Buy a new outfit. Eat something awful for you. Gamble. Fornicate. Consume questionable substances. Stay out late. Watch good tv. Watch bad tv. Don’t watch tv. Read a good book. Read US Weekly. Go to the mall. Go to the Cloisters. Do anything you want. Just please, please, please do not think about school for at least 24 hours. For your sake.

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Day 106 AIM: What should a teacher give up for Lent?

Do Now: Think about something that you cannot live without. No, not oxygen or water—you need that shit. Think more like non-essentials that have become essential because of your shallow materialism. These should be the targets of your Lent holiday, the things that’ll really get the message of the month across straight. 

For those of you still deciding and wanting a few suggestions, here are a few to consider:

1) Facebook: yes, it might seem rather tacky to give up Facebook, but really, if you think about it, how long have you recently gone without checking Facebook? Right, we know that it’s just pictures and status updates, but come on: when you get that message in your email saying so-and-so tagged 11 pictures of you, that tingling sensation in your brain ticks off. It’s the same one that slows down drivers as they pass by an accident on the road, and you know how intriguing those are.

2) The Microwave: there’s something unsettling about putting cold food into a box that uses nuclear technology to create a warm meal. It’s certainly not home made, and it seems unsettlingly un-American. Go a month by using the stove top, or order a lot of pizza.

3) Beer ScotchTabloid Magazines: these are, in our opinion, the worst vices out there, and they should certainly be given up for at least a month. There are much more interesting things out there than US Weekly. Come on, how many times do you really need to read about Rihanna getting beat up by her fella-ella-ella…

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Telling it Like it Is

So after a nice break, including another successful round of regents and an end of a semester, it’s time to start bringing the heat once again. We’ve only got a few months left in our second year of teaching, and somebody has to tell you like it is from the view of a young educator in New York City.

In my years studying Political Science at Whitworth University, I stood strongly against the entrenched powers of government. It was a very simple thing: those in power were Republican, and I more firmly identified with Democrats, and as such I utilized my education to critique the stance of those in power. However, as a student of Political Science, my interests moved farther and farther away from ideological positions to the position of effective government. I don’t care about Republicans or Democrats; I care about a government that adheres to the principles of good government. In the case of the United States I care about a government that is responsive to the Constitution and the interests and will of the people. As such, my criticism now turns to our new administration. I guess I’m destined to always be part of the counter-culture, even when counter culture is the culture.

Today Barack Obama addressed Congress. He stood before the lawmaking body and eloquently laid out his plans for economic reform. Speaking without pause, without stumble, and with passion, Obama laid out his views on what our nation needs. This charisma and call for change helped Barack Obama to conduct what we might soon call the most effective campaign in history. However, it’s no longer campaign season. Barack Obama has shown himself to be an excellent politician. The question now is can he go beyond the political grandstanding of Congressional speeches and actually lead our nation towards an effective government?

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Day 105 AIM: How can I tell a student they smell bad?

Do Now: Look, everyone has the smelly kid in class. You know, the little fucker who cannot wash themselves on a regular basis or the kid who thinks that socks are clean if they are “white” and not “worn.” But if classroom management is an important issue, then so is hygiene management. You are a mandated reporter, so remember that a stinky kid is a kid in distress. 

Tact, with a certain amount of forwardness, is what you ultimately need to get your point across. There’s no good way to tell someone they’re dirty, just like there’s no good way to tell someone they have lupus, but the hope is that candor—while biting—can have the affect that we want. Assuming our students aren’t incorrigible, the momentary discomfort should be eventually overtaken by the same gratification that a teacher gets when their students face light up with the realization we all know: deodorant goes a long way, and a shower should be a daily event.

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Day 104 AIM: How can I poetically express the thrill of the open sea?

Do Now: Just watch as you’re at Kinko’s flippin’ copies…

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Day 100 AIM: How do I celebrate the 100th day of school?

Do Now: Teach. Teach like your hair is on fire. Teach the shit out of your kids. Yes, it’s 100 days down, but it’s also 80 more to go. Give yourself a pat on the back, bud, and get back to the trenches. If you were expecting more of a hug or a pinata party, you’re in the wrong profession.

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Day 99 AIM: What’s a good way to put my frustrating life in perspective?

Do Now: Go to Fuck My Life, a hilarious website that pokes fun at life’s infinite shittyness. For example, here’s my favorite:

Today, at the elementary school where I teach, the kids all voted for their favorite teacher. I was the only one to receive zero votes. When I asked a small group of students why no one voted for me, one boy replied “because you’re the ugliest”. FML.

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