Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Like a record, right round

McCartney has a new album out. I, however, am listening to Rubber Soul on record. It's swirling around two feet from me and playing through the very laptop on which I am typing. How amazing. The turntable converts music to digital. It's Will's Christmas present from his parents. They bequeathed us their record collection early.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Holidays

It's still holiday time, but I'm anxious to move on. Is it too early to take the tree down? I know I shouldn't rush it, but I'm like, let's just get on with the next year already. I have things to do. So, rather than wish away the holiday season, I started back to work this evening. I got one application for a Baltimore city charter school ready to go out in the mail tomorrow. I have applied to three counties surrounding Baltimore and Baltimore City, so now I'm applying to many of the charter schools in the city. Will was not accepted into the BCTR program. There were sooo many people with graduate degrees applying and he won't be finished his B.S. until the spring, so that pretty much explains it and makes us feel better. It's a really bad time for us to be trying to find jobs. We're up against people who wouldn't normally be looking to the teaching field. In applying to the city I'm up against the BCTR folk who would will actually get paid three steps higher than I would!

Every time Will and I talk about it we start fighting. It means the move. He wants to make at least 40,000 and says we both have to or it's not worth it. I would go down to 38,000 because we need to have jobs to get anywhere and there is NOTHING here in this part of NC. Will is going to look in southern VA though for a job he can commute to. Maybe I'll get a job for next year here or substitute teach and we can stay another year. Fine. That's fine if that happens. But it's not looking good right now for me to get a job here and I really want to move back to MD.

Will is annoying the frick out of me right now. He keeps saying these little attack phrases like, "I don't know why you decided to shower this morning when we don't have much time" and "You don't know the directions by now?" So then I snap back at him and he calls me a bitch under his breath. WTF. I ask him how he would feel if a man, or boy, called his daughters that. Would he want them to be with that man? Now, don't get all pious and tell me your husband/significant other would never be so mean. Understand it's a defence mechanism he, and most of us, have to just say the other person is the big meanie and that's the word he uses. Fortunately it is under his breath or just mouthed or even just implied by his expression. And I do call him a dick, so it goes both ways. I know he doesn't even realize he's communicating in such a negative fashion and I need to tell him so it can stop. It's also only in times of stress that we get like that. But also, in times of stress we tend to communicate better in the end and get ourselves through it without damaging our relationship.

Anyway. It's his final semester of school, I just graduated, we have 2 kids, we need health benefits and a home of our own and we want to move, so it's fucking stressful.


Moving on. The coolest gift we got was from my inlaws who gave us a framed copy of the Baltimore Sun front page announcing Obama's victory. How cool is that? My parents got us a Garmin which is also really cool. Will also got a record player that changes the music into MP3 format. And I got an anniversary edition GOLD etch-a-sketch! I love it! Both our parents spoiled us ALL this year, not just the little kids! It was a rockin Christmas.

Monday, December 15, 2008

I'm a graduate


Sunday December 13, 2008 I graduated with a B.A. in Art with a minor in Education. I wish it were a B.A. in Art Education as it would have been at my previous university, but regardless, I have my diploma. Now I just need an art teaching position. I'm subbing in the mean time.

Son of a Witch

Great book. Have you read Wicked? You should. There is another book from Gregory Maguire I have not read: A Lion Among Men. It's the third in his Oz series and seems to be a flashback story. But Son of a Witch also lends itself to another book about the witch, so I hope he's writing it!
Now I want to read L. Frank Baum's books of Oz, because I 've only seen the movies and Maguire references lots of things from Baum's world of Oz. Has anyone read these books?

What do you think of when you see the Confederate Flag?

The Stars and Bars. What does it mean to us now? I'm from Maryland, a split state in the Civil War, and grew up thinking the "good guys" won. During a school field trip, I don't remember wear, a friend bought a Confederate cap at a souvenir shop. I was shocked! I asked him why he bought it and he said his ancestors were confederate. That was my first introduction to confederate pride. This same person was also part of a Native American tribe, which just shows how far back his heritage goes.

My husband is good at pointing out the real reasons for the civil war, not slavery, and says the South had the right to try to succeed. He understands Southern pride and feels a connection to the south since he is from here and has ancestors dating back who knows how long. I understand it as best I can. The high school where I student taught had issues with Dixie Outfitters. No where in the handbook does it say the Confederate flag cannot be worn and halfway through the semester students told me a teacher was telling them not to wear their Dixie Outfitter shirts to school. When they asked the principle about it he told them it's true, they shouldn't, because it's a public school. However, nothing more was done with it. Rumor flew and more students than before wore shirts with big Confederate flag prints. One student in my class wore a mardi gras style necklace with 1"x2" flags all around it. Nothing was done about it. He made a point of telling me the black vice principle even saw it and said nothing. This student used the confederate flag in every piece of artwork he did, until I said he had exhausted the subject and needed to show more creativity and branch out. He was understanding as I was about his desire to use it.

I did see black students react negatively to this student's use of the Confederate flag in his art and on his clothing and accessories. One black guy who sat near him asked to talk to me and said he had to move because he just couldn't stand the guy. It could have had to do with the kid's obnoxious personality, but mostly I believe it was because of his obnoxious use of Confederate pride symbols.

One girl explained it to me saying, "Dixie Outfitters is just what rednecks wear." She started sporting a Confederate flag belt buckle everyday after the ban was known. Redneck pride. That I cannot understand. The term comes from miners in West Virginia, but now it represents people who are full of Southern Pride. In all honesty, when I think of a redneck I think of a disheveled looking white person who is uneducated, doesn't value education, hunts, talks with poor grammar, is overly Christian, is prejudiced against people who are different-especially gays and immigrants who don't speak English, wears cartoon character, John Deer and Dixie Outfitters t-shirts, and much more. Why would someone be proud of that? So, I'm going to try to understand what they think of with Redneck pride. They might feel it means they are hardworking, provide for their family, care for their kids, value their heritage, love their God, support their Country and President. Those are all positive things.

When I was a kid I did not like going to school with disadvantaged kids. They had street-knowledge that scared me, wore clothes that were tattered and dirty, were mean, disrupted class, didn't care about school, were disrespectful to teachers. I got tired of it and went to private school after eighth grade. Now I want to work in public school education. Now I understand the issues these kids face and why some acted out. Now I understand that they can be helped and should be helped and not written off as bad apples.

This is quite rambling I think and I was interrupted half-way through to put on a movie for the kids, but basically I'm just trying to understand groups of people and see them as individuals as well.

What do you think about the Confederate Flag and banning Dixie Outfitters from school?

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Confession


Here's what I did. I found this blog by a new teacher. I'll not link it. She has listed every student's name in her class. Now, maybe she changed the names you might think. Well, she named her school as well and the title of the blog is her classroom number. Her first name is on the blog. So here's what I did: nothing, for months. She doesn't post often, but then I was thinking about it and looked back at the posts and thought, what she is doing is illegal. Teachers aren't allowed to talk to parents about what a child did unless it is their child. And here this teacher is saying what school these students are in and what they are doing and what their room number is. So, I searched the school, as she had talked about the city in which she teaches, and found the number and called it.
When the secretary answered I told her I was calling because I found a blog online from one of the teachers at her school. She stopped me there. She didn't know what a blog was. I explained. I continued: I'm calling from NC, I found the blog searching the blog site and the teacher has listed information about her class and I thought you should know. The secretary asked for the teacher's name and when I told her the teacher's name, grade, and room number, she sighed and said "oh, she's a new teacher. I may have to refer you to someone else, hold on." She talked to other people I could hear in the background, came back and and asked for my name and phone number, changed her mind before I could give it, not that I really wanted to, and asked for the website instead. That was yesterday and nothing has changed on the blog. Was it weird for me to call? Would it be wrong to print out the blog posts, highlight the confidential information such as the school and student's names, and mail a copy to the school and the board of Ed?
I read other teacher's blogs. While they give the city in which they teach, they change student's names and do not tell what school they teach in. People involved with the school could probably figure out who it is, but outsiders can't, not easily. So, what do you think?