Like John Steinbeck, I see myself as a "lumbering soul but trying to fly".Just trying to see the poetry in everyday things.Striving to live a good life despite my frailties. Ad Astra Per Alia Porci..."To the stars on the wings of a pig."

Location: Soledad, California, United States

Friday, July 22, 2005

Hello Summer

today's officially my last day of teaching summer school.YAY!kids don't know but teachers are more ecstatic than them to leave the school. i hav 27 days left before the new schoolyear starts:-(

today went well. i taught in the morning;it was tougher than usual bec. their minds were elsewhere;excitement and restlessness clouding their concentration. they're sensing their impending freedom. we had a fire drill, then another torturous hour of lessons and finally had our class party. I brought juice and some students brought food. i had a check-off list of things to do so i was multi-tasking. pouring juice, writing report cards, stowing unused supplies, putting down displays,readying my stuff for evacuation, passing out student work. before lunch i caved in and had a basketball game with them, something i've been promising for a while but always can't find the time to do.

overall, i'm very pleased with my class. most of them performed better in their posttests.they hav made friends among themselves plus we all learned how to bowl bec. i took them bowling for a walking field trip.

at the end of the day, what surprised me were these small but thoughtful expressions of gratitude: a vase of roses from the 1:1 aide of my visually impaired student, one hug, a thank you note from another and one heartfelt goodbye from a usually grumpy kid. those moments make all the hard work worth it. since teaching in a public school (my 4th year now), I've learned not to expect any token or grand gestures of appreciation from my students & their parents which make these simple gestures all the more meaningful because of their rarity. but come to think of it, i was also that kind of a student who cannot wait to leave when school ends(karma). so i kind of regret not really thanking my teachers for their herculean efforts to educate me. oh well, kids will be kids.

When I left the school and got home , I was so relieved to be freed from work and also satisfied with the work I've done. I'm free! This is the first summer that I won't be going home to the Philippines and now this whole free time privilege looms large before me. Do I still know how to relax and hav fun? Its weird that now I'm stressing on needing to squeeze every bit of fun I can get from the remaining days of my break. What to do? First thing is I slept like a baby. My brother Ronnie has said that I am one of the most hardworking people he knows, but when I get lazy, I can also do super-lazy. which is true. i can be an expert on time suckage. the tv can be very hypnotic. i'm discovering all these cool shows but then a whole day has passed & i did nothing. so here's to hoping that i find a balance between resting/fun AND getting personal matters done. like i have to prepare for this RICA test, another requirement for renewing my credential and i hav been postponing my application for transfer to this university, again for my credential. but the immediate plan is to spend time with my friends in San Jose then head to LA in August to meet my cousin and some close friends. We might go see the theme parks(hard to resist those ) and visit San Diego.

i think its vital for someone who lives away from family to be self-sufficient and know how to entertain herself. That's one thing I've learned from all those long, lazy summers growing up and having to be creative in fighting boredom.

Summer. Bring it on!

Saturday, July 09, 2005

It is love that fashions us into the fullness of our being -- not our looks,not our work, not our wants, not our achievements, not our parents, not our status, not our dreams. These are all the fodder and the filler, the navigating fuels of our lives, but it is love : who we love, how we love, why we love and that we love which ultimately shapes us. - - Daphne Rose Kingma

Attending Isabel's wedding at Sanborn Park, Saratoga, CA.
very romantic... amidst tall redwood trees, violin music...

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Thursday, July 07, 2005

Ad Astra Per Alia Porci Posted by Picasa

Iskul Bukol

i finally hav time to sit down & write.may mini-break ako dito ryt now. that's one of the perks of being a teacher. however, may summer school rin para sa mga bopols. can u imagine? hindi kasi nagsipag sa regular schoolyear so they have to work for another month. i remember yung mga summer days natin e puro laro,lamyerda tulog at tv lang d ba ang saya. tama si bugs bunny na dapat pag summer no more teachers' dirty looks.

but the class i have, its called 5th grade "at risk" . mga ireretain sana pero pinagsummer school na lang. i have some characters in my class. ang sched ko ay from 8-12:50 . its not that long so it's not so bad. yun lang ang daming ituturo with just that limited time. vocabulary, reading,math, writing. so i just try to be flexible. parang school of rock nga kami kasi i brought my cd player & after recess i would give out lyrics of a song & then we listen to music. hindi sila palakanta parang shy when its in school. wala kasing music subject sa public school dito. i can't imagine a life without music.

yung mga girls mejo nagwawarm-up na and they would mouth the lyrics, but u can't hear them sing yet. yung mga chicano boys ko(pa-macho kasi) they're listening pero nagdrodrowing, naghi-highlight or whatever. nababakla na yata sila sa selection of music ko.(Heal the World, Gotta Be, Walking in Sunshine) after the song i tell them to bring their own cds to share a song to the class. at first NR pero later, they brought cds. so nalalaman ko ang uso. ewan lang kung uso nga yun kasi nasa ENDORA a.k.a. soledad ako at wala namang top 10 hits dito d ba kagaya ng pinas where laging may countdown . but if u think about it sino bang nagdedecide ng countdown na yun, madalas naman pinipilit lang nila pausuhin ang certain songs. so dito, to each his own, very individualistic. d masyado malakas ang pull ng mainstream culture. ang gusto ko lang after the song, kalmado na sila & ready to listen.

anyways my chicano boys brought "50 cent" cds. langya e gangsta rap yun. or may double meaning na bastos or may cuss words. sabi ko na lang, i'll check out the lyrics. mahilig ang chicanos dun , while they drive around in their low rider cars they play that music full blast.

yung mga girls naman ang cds nila ay dixie chicks, destiny's child, britney. yung isa ko namang white boy na tahimik at mejo dinidig na rin yung mga girls' music mahilig sa goo-goo dolls.lalaking bading yata ito.

kktuwa sila kasi ang babait nila considering na at-risk kids sila. we get along real well. meron akong makulit na student si tyler. hindi nagtratrabaho at laging asa sa iba. but i know he's smart.kapag tinanong mo laging i don't know. when i take roll i ask them simple questions like what's you favorite color?what's ur dream job? i don't know. laging ganun. or laging what? nagbibingibingihan. pero pag math trabaho sya. i guess ganun ang strategy nya para d na sya tatawagin. invisibility by feigned stupidity. style ko rin yun noon!pero i call on him a lot. one time he got 3 warnings & i had to call home. aba , nakipagnegotiate. 1 warning=conference with me( pa-guilt trip),2 warnings =loss of recess(they hate that),3 warnings = phone call home, 4=referral(with principal) ganun ang discipline plan ko. e takot sa tatay. sabi, teacher can u just keep me during recess twice or talk to me 3 times(?), i won't do it again. then he said u can't call home, my dad's in reno. then i'll talk to ur mom. uh, ok. wala syang nasabi dun.nung nakausap ko na yung nanay, sabi , tyler will have an apology for u tomorrow. he was scared kasi this is the 2nd time he got in trouble. the 1st one was he wrote on another kid' s sweater. the next day wala naman syang sinabi. but he behaved better. then dismissal. they go home @ 12:30. teachers go home @ 12:50. paglabas ko ng room at 1:15, may narinig akong sumigaw from outside the school fence "TEACHER, I'M SORRY ABOUT MY BEHAVIOR YESTERDAY!!!" nagulat ako so i just said ok, bye tyler.he probably waited a long time out in the sun.

nakakatawa itong mga bata. kaya pala sila at-risk e mejo delayed ang thinking.this is also why i think i made the right choice in moving to soledad. mababait pa yung mga tao. kung sa oakland ako, baka nadrive-by shooting na ko o vinandalize na ang sasakyan ko or nanakawan ng cell phone like lia.

this is also the first time na may visually impaired kid ako sa class. he'll b in my regular class in the fall so ok na rin makikita ko how he works. practicum ko sa teaching with a visually impaired class sa cubao pero binarkada ko lang yung teacher dun kaya mataas ang grade ko pero d ako masyadong nakapagturo so kabado ako with this one. he's luis and he walks with a cane. kaawa kasi he has another brother who's blind. & luis' vision is deteriorating too. so he's now learning braille. kklungkot d ba. he's losing the residual vision that he has.wala sa grado ng lens yung makaka-correct sa vision nya, so text has to be enlarged for him. mga 36 or more na font, makikita nya but he also has nystagmus where his eyes move involuntarily & he has tunnel vision, so if he wants to read something, he has to steady his eyes and focus kaya super bagal. makes me feel guilty that I complain about wearing glasses. e lalo naman sarap sapakin yung ok yung vision pero tamad magbasa.

anyways i talked to the class about it & i told him his condition, and sabi ko na lang let's be sensitive by not moving furniture around, cleaning up around the room so luis won't trip & talking using inside voices so he can just focus on one voice. most of the time they remember this. & u can see the really sensitive ones. like leslie, she goes out of her way to put things away like mga nakakalat na hula hoops after recess, & nkktuwa kapag may group games & they consult luis about the answers so he feels included. but i'm foreseeing maraming trabaho once he gets in the regular 6th grade class in the fall where the teachers are set in their ways & do not accommodate special students.plus the pace is really fast.

may mga naririnig akong fireworks. pero konti lang. kapag july 4 they can do that.pero walang panama sa mga paputok ng noy-pi kapag new year.

i have to still unpack boxes & boxes of stuff. wala na ang aking dakilang helper si mrs. solis so hav to do this by myself. itapon ko na lang kaya lahat? i wish i can live with just "a song , a cloak & the sky" but I have become a pack rat & clutter queen. ganun yata pag teacher, we r the biggest junk collectors...


i am usually even-keeled & rational but there are moments when i just do very stupid & impulsive things. i was driving at the fast lane in the freeway when a police car merged and moved to my lane. it moved so slowly. the officer chose that moment to demonstrate what 65 mph, the legal limit looks like. nobody follows that speed when the cops aren't around. i was in such a rush to return to my school at 1 pm as i promised coming from a dental appointment so i got restless. i was imagining my students loitering in front of my room, exposing my lateness. without thinking i swerved to the right lane and speeded up. of course i got pulled over, and the bewildered cop kept asking , "why did you do that?" and i was more surprised myself. the song in that reality show, "cops" started playing in my head..."bad boys, bad boys, what you gonna do?" i just apologized & told her that i wasn't thinking. i wasn't thinking.

so i got fined. & had to do traffic school. again. i remember when i got my first ticket. i went to this classroom for the exam and it was full of the "bad drivers". men were represented as much as women. the races were also diverse. but the common thing was an underlying feeling of shame. because driving seems so basic. i was thinking i hope i won't meet any of these people out in public or worse, see someone i know.

this time, i took the "take home" traffic school program. its on dvd & after every section i have to call a 1-800 number and be tested. it was disconcerting bec. i am very visual& i need to SEE the test & not just hear it. i thought i could finish it in one day but they're not going to let u off that easily. DAMN the man! every section was about 2 hours and there were 6 sections. then,u hav to wait 15 minutes before u can call in to take the test. i called 5 min. earlier and i was asked to call again. very annoying. plus they tried to make it funny by having this comic in between the lessons to make lame jokes. they also have some celebs make some comments. i like the one with scott bakula (quantum leap) .can't remember what he said, but he looks hot.

still, i have to admit, i did learn some new things. like what to do when ur car skids. (steer towards the direction of the skid). moving side view mirrors outwards so u can lessen blind spots & see more cars from the back. i have mine positioned wer i can see the rear of my car. & there's no surprise there, better to see other cars. maintain a safe "space cushion" around u. its also good to scan far ahead to anticipate the worst so u can act, & not be forced to react. like my brother said part of driving is guessing at what other drivers are trying to do. kinda applies to life too. u can't be short-sighted & not have a plan for worst-case scenarios. being courteous at all times. communicating to others by waving when they yield to u or as a gesture for apology when u made a mistake. steering clear of swerving and speeding cars and tailgaters. their main thing is not drinking & driving. there's this whole guilt-inducing section about families of victims of drunk driving. mothers being missed by sons, daughters,husbands, grand kids; paralyzed victims trying to get on with their shattered lives. they tried to show the void created in poeple's lives by another's carelessness or just one wrong choice. one of the convicted drunk drivers said, he wished he did not survive bec. he has guilt to live with, his freedom taken away, he doesn't have a lot going for him coz the crime is on his permanent record, and he has physical impairments too. another one has nightmares of the kids she had killed. and so hell carried on for these people.

it boils down to mental alertness, courtesy to others, defensive driving, good car maintenance and quick reflexes. my main problem is not giving myself enough time for my trips so that i end up stressed & speeding. attitudes do impact not just driving but how we live. i hope i do take these lessons to heart.