"Education is not a product: mark, diploma, job, money; It is a process, a never-ending one." -bel kaufman

Monday, May 17, 2004



my bicycle ride home from school no longer requires four layers and a hat. you have to admit: riding in a t-shirt is heavenly.

my moments in the classroom are still both uplifting and devastating. it just depends on the day. the difficult days, however, are becoming fewer and fewer. perhaps it has to do with my relaxed attitude (am i letting them get away with too much?), or maybe it could be contributed to my sharper planning skills and improved abilities to teach "off the cuff." the only scary part is the warm weather. is it impossible to resist the lax nature of summer time? everything moves slower. i hope i can keep on task...

Monday, May 10, 2004


sixth period interuption

our attendence was so low today (perhaps having something to do with the weather--79 degrees outside) that the principal burst into each classroom to tranfer all students into the lunchroom for a STD & abstinence presentation (originally it was only to be 7th period for juniors and seniors). "always engage each one of your students," she reminds us during faculty meetings. when the attendence is low, it's so much easier to actually engage them--fewer distractions, more one-on-one attention. today in sixth period, we postponed the vocabulary quiz till tomorrow and i handed out photocopies of an article from today's New York Times: "U.S. to Reopen Investigation of Emmett Till's Murder in 1955." i even had Salvidor reading out loud. i was excited to discuss this article because it is a perfect primer to the two books we'll be reading from this quarter, Division Street: America by Studs Terkel, and Native Son by Richard Wright. I am currently doing preparation work for teaching with the book Native Son, but i decided (just this morning) to dive right into Studs Terkel's oral history of chicago. the book was published in 1967 and will be an interesting look into the past of the urban jungle that my students have known for only a short 10 to 15 years. i hope it will provide new perspectives, entertaining stories, and, maybe if i'm lucky, the inspiration for a few oral histories from the students themselves.

i did head into the lunchroom later... and the presentation was good, definitely worth interupting my class. we always have tomorrow.

in other news:
classes now begin at 8:30am, and teachers have an hour of prep time to work before school. i usually arrive sometime between 7 and 7:30, and since i still wake up at 5:30, i have plenty of time to wander sleepily around the house in the morning. granola, almond milk, and toast fill my stomach and a shower wakes me up. i also have a smooth new laptop to use for my lessons and school work. it doubles nicely as a boombox to play streaming hiphop radio off of the internet in my first and second periods (beatbasement.com).

some of you may have already heard my wavering back and forth between remaining a teacher at Antonia Pantoja or taking a break for other projects. and it's still a battle trying to figure out this quandry. on the weekends, i am positive i will take off this summer and travel, then return to start up a non-profit community organization and work on my artistic endevors. but then i return to school on monday and see one hundred faces laughing and joking, pulling me back into teaching. this job is difficult, no doubt, but it's not impossible. and everyday i get better at it.

the compromise might be this: take the summer off (a leave of absence) and return in the fall as a part-time teacher, enabling me to return to college and work on my credits towards a teaching certificate while still getting classroom time with the students. further on down the line is a master's degree. in my spare time i will travel, work with the community, and create art. i can do it all, but i just can't do it all at once. my life is a expanse of decades and decades, almost infinite and certainly out of sight.

things to focus on now: teaching to empower my students with knowledge; reading, reading, reading; and falling for that girl with the curly brown hair.


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