Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Pet Peeve

I will write a real post about my first week with my new kiddos soon. As for now, I'm up way past my bedtime, so I'll just say what's on my mind.

I am so fucking sick of ignorant, racist, privileged shit-for-brains people criticizing bilingual education. They see brown children with vowels on the end of their names and all the sudden they start howling about how Learning English Must Be Mandatory Because THIS IS AMERICA!!11eleventyone! "Bi" means "two." Two languages. In this district, English and Spanish. If a bilingual program is properly instructed, students exit the program fluent in BOTH languages. My current students are almost all fluent in both. Those who are less fluent are at least conversational enough to hold their own with a native speaker. Every single child wants to learn English, and every single child IS learning English.

If you can't discuss at least three variations on the bilingual model of education, then don't fucking comment on the subject at all. You obviously have no idea what you're talking about.

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Sunday, August 26, 2007

Kids and Laptops

There is an update on 60 Minutes right now about the One Laptop Per Child program. I am a big ol' sap (and a geek) because watching it makes me just a teensy bit teary-eyed. I wish that the kiddos at my former campus could be a part of this project.

They just said that next year the program will be available in the US! The caveat is that when you buy one, you have to buy two. One for your kid, and one for a child in a poor country. I wonder if there will be exceptions for US children attending Title I schools. I hope so.

I know there are cricitisms regarding the project, but I'm having trouble being critical, for once. I know what it's like to grow up thinking that the world is passing you by, and that by the time you are grown up enough to leave your homeland, you'll be so hopelessly behind that catching up won't ever be possible. I'll be watching how this goes, and maybe a kiddo will be getting a new laptop. From me.

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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Countdown: 6 Days

School starts for the kiddos in less than a week and I am completely unprepared. I know, you're shocked. I'm still loving my new campus. I hope the honeymoon is never over. But, seriously, teachers at this school actually read. Books. If I mention an article on education I read, a lot of times someone else has read it too! Same with children's books! I feel like I'm on a campus where I can learn things from other people. The last campus... not so much.

On a unrelated note (well, maybe related, I was shopping for school clothes), I set foot into a Gap store for the first time in my entire life last weekend. My friend looked at me funny today when I said that.


Thursday, August 09, 2007

I am practically peeing my pants here

... with glee, that is. GLEE.

My new campus is a whole slew of adjectives that boil down to awesomeness. I haven't seen a single rat! Or cockroach!

Okay, y'all. I am really excited about the new school year. Yesterday, two things happened. I will call them Happy Event A and Happy Event B.

Happy Event A: I saw my new classroom. I had to struggle not to bounce up and down while anyone was looking. Our grade levels are organized into clusters. So to get to 4th grade you open a door and enter a large common area. It has big benches, a TV, nice bulletin boards, etc. The classroom doors all open to the grade level common area. It's bright, spacious, and just really friendly looking. The classes all have reading lofts! Big ones! They also have counter space with an industrial double sink. Anyone who has ever taught kiddos will understand the GLEE factor here. GLEE. And my bulletin boards have already been covered with fabric and borders and stuff. That saves me hours of being annoyed! GLEE!

Happy Event B: I went through training with a woman I like very much. She has the same intellectual capacity and many of the same leanings as I do, but is completely different in personality. This, of course, means I really, really like talking to her. She went through a terrible year last year as she is an immigrant and, like most immigrants in the certification program, could not get a fucking work visa. A process that should have taken a couple weeks took an entire year for her. But she persevered and went through the program courses, even though she couldn't teach. She got her visa a couple weeks ago, finally, and has been feeling kind of frantic about finding a position so late in the summer. A position opened suddenly and unexpectedly in my cluster when the person I was to be teaming with decided not to return this year. I gave the administration her name, she interviewed, and she's in. She's going to be teaching math and science, and I'll be doing reading, writing, and social studies, while we rotate between two groups of kiddos. I am now extra super happy.

This school differs fundamentally from my campus last year in that it is a magnet school. That means students have to apply to get in, and are selected via lottery. They are there because they want to be there. From what one of my co-workers says, some of these kids and their families resort to staggering measures to get to school every day. So, while it's still a school that serves high poverty students, it's a school for kids who really, really want to be there.

Did I mention that the building is beautiful?