Archive for the ‘people’ Category

The Dichotomy of School

I get asked often how school is going and, to be perfectly frank, it’s a pretty distinct dichotomy. I go between it being amazing and being defeating.

I LOVE that I’m doing what I need to become a teacher…something I’ve wanted to do for years. I get shots of joy and happiness even from just realizing that fact. The second placement is coming up in March and I’m really excited about that! I’ve met a handful of people who I know are “my people” and who I know I will keep in touch with after this whole thing is done. A few of the courses are really enjoyable, and I get a lot out of them – be it resources, or ideas for teaching methods/techniques, or even some “ah-hah” and navel-gazing moments about my own thoughts or opinions of things. Some of the classes aren’t that great, but I’m still able to get tidbits here and there that I know I’ll put to good use.

On the extreme other hand, I find this school is like a cesspool of negativity. It’s like walking into a pit of anger/fear/uncertainty/insecurity all balled into one. I can practically feel the toxicity seep into me slowly as I walk through the door and hallways. There is so much talk about job potential worries, the amount of work (which is really not that much), what’s to hate, what’s unfair, who’s too busy and who’s too tired. It can be hard to hear (or be involved) with the same negative conversations day after day and NOT let it rub off or affect me in some way.

"I read an article"

Is it me, or are more and more people using “I read an article about X” to “prove” their point in an argument?

This DRIVES me crazy! Where? What article? Who was it written by? Where was the funding (if any) from?

Just because you read some blog on the internet that agrees with your stance on a subject, or (gag) saw something mentioned by that crack Dr. Oz, does NOT give it more credence.

Kudos for reading, but please do your research before you start calling people out on their actions or getting into non-arguments that just piss people off. You’re entitled to have your opinions and don’t need to back them up with “things you read” — just own them for yourself instead of trying to make them look more valid by trying to prove that someone important (must be, if they’ve WRITTEN something, right?) has them too.

Actions are not Judgements

I think as a general rule, we (myself included) need to remember that someone’s actions are not judgement of our own.

Here are some personal examples that have come up in my life:

– Just because I had a natural home birth, doesn’t mean I think anyone who had an epidural or a c-section is weak.

– Just because I had a stroke doesn’t mean I’ll minimize your health issues or concerns.

– Just because I hated my PhD and left academia and speak of the “hazards”, doesn’t mean it won’t work for others.

– Just because I have 2 children, doesn’t mean I judge you for having a different number (including zero)

– Just because I like to dress up for work/school, doesn’t mean I judge your preferred style.

– Just because I eat meat, doesn’t mean I think vegans/vegetarians/etc are crazy.

– Just because I don’t believe in God or pray, doesn’t mean I don’t value other belief systems.

What it comes down to is we each have our own set of experiences and values, and we make decisions based on what’s best for us. If it works, that’s all that matters!

What are some examples that you’ve been accused of, or have witnessed?

Happy Friday!!!

Just the Pants, Thanks

When did clothes shopping start to feel like running through an up-sale obstacle course?
I was recently shopping for some pants in a store I regularly shop in:
“Hi! Can I help you find anything?”
“No, thanks…I’m just looking right now.”
“Well, if you haven’t been in for a while, here’s a HUGE LONG EXPLANATION of our store layout and our current sales which are posted obviously all over the place.”
“Great, thanks”. Goes over to the jeans to pick out some to try on.
“Did you need any help with sizes? Sometimes different styles fit different ways and other obvious things that people who have shopped for their own clothing for 20+ years know already.”
“Yes – it looks like all these come in my size. Thanks!” Heads to dressing room.
“How are the sizes? Sometimes your size will change depending on the fit….yadda, yadda, yadda…”
“Everything fits fine, thanks”. Tries on 4 pairs of pants and a skirt, decides 3 pants work very well. Comes out of the changing room.
“How did everything go? Do you need tops too? How are you doing for bras and panties (??)?”
“I’ll take these three and these didn’t work. I don’t need anything else.”
“Oh – was it the size or the style? Is there something I can magically do to those garments to make you want to plunk down cash on them needlessly? Or something else I can do to make you spend money on other things you don’t want?”
“They just didn’t work. I’ll take these.”
“Do you have our uber-duber special membership card that gets you 1% off with every $3456 you spend in the month of May every second year?”
“I might…I don’t carry cards though.”
Looks me up in the system using my phone number and makes sure every single bit of contact information is still current.
“I assume you’ve started your spring time skin rejuvenating regime?”
“Um, no…I don’t even know what that means. No thanks.”
“What?? But you don’t want your skin to look horrible once sandals and shorts season is here!!!”
Just give me the pants. Just give me the pants. JUST GIVE ME THE FUCKING PANTS.
“So, you’re $2 short to get a $50 gift card…what would you like to buy? We have a giant list of useless things, these accessories, and OH YES, our amazing skin cream for the regime I was trying to sell you before.”
“Just give me one of those random accessories.” 
Idle conversation about the lack of a chip on my credit card, the weather, etc..
“Okay!! So, here’s a summary of your whole shopping experience. Here’s some other information that you will never use and is totally useless. Thanks for coming in, and remember, if you need tops, bras, panties, skin care, or ANYTHING else, come back! We’ll call you to remind you!!!”
“Thanks for your help – bye.”
Didn’t clothes shopping used to be simple?

The "Right" Way

The other day, we bought Evan a bunch of stickers from the dollar store. When we got home, we would give him a couple, he’d stick them together, then ask for more. In my head – and even out loud once – I said “but you’re not using them right!”. Apparently, in my head, there are only specific ways one can use stickers correctly.
I had to bite my tongue and just let him play how he wanted. After all, we always say how we want to foster his curiosity and experimental side, as long as it’s free from danger. Also, what harm does it do if he doesn’t play “the right way” with the stickers? 
It’s funny how doing things “right” is so engrained in us.
Take the cake decorating class I’m in, for example. Each week, we learn how to do new designs using the different tips. Often, when I feel I’ve had enough practice, I’ll start playing around, seeing what else I can do. Or, I’ll try a different technique to achieve the same look. The teacher will come over and either tell me I’m “doing it wrong”, that “it looks awful”, or ask me “what the heck are you doing?”. I usually reply with “just experimenting – it’s okay! The world won’t end!” and keep going. She doesn’t often interact with me anymore.
Now, in a community class like this one, I don’t expect a high level of teaching. I know she’s not trained and is doing this as something fun to do on the side. It doesn’t bother me, because I know how unimportant the class is in the scheme of things. And I can also learn all the things she’s teaching without positive interaction with her (however, it is making me NOT want to show her a photo of the cake I decorated for Evan’s birthday).
But…transfer those same words to an elementary science or writing class, and you’ve got a serious problem. All of a sudden, you’re squashing that innate curiosity and need for exploration we are all born with. Students start following and memorizing the instructions like a recipe, without knowing why, and stop experimenting and asking questions.
This is why we can’t say “you’re not doing it right” to our children at this stage. However they want to play is their “right” way (again, as long as there is no danger to themselves or others). It’s their way of learning about the world around them, and they need to do so in a safe environment free from ridicule and correction. 
If we can do this for them, then – at the very least- when they’re in their 30s they’ll feel confident with experimenting with the #13 tip even if their decorating teacher tells them to stop.

Disappointment

One annoying thing about blogging under my real name and sharing my posts to Facebook is that there are things I cannot write about without catching shit from someone.

There are some things going on right now that are making me very frustrated and disappointed. They are hard for me to deal with, because there is a possibility of confrontation, which (if you’re a long-time reader of my blog) is very scary for me. But, if I don’t do something about these things soon, I will continue to be taken advantage of.

Being an adult sucks sometimes.

News Flash: Catholics Learn Science!

Today I have a meeting with a few teachers from the local Catholic school board to chat about doing some workshops with their students on impact cratering. In the past two weeks, when I’ve told people about this meeting, I’ve been surprised by some of the responses:

That should be interesting” with a bit of a scoff.

“What are you even going to teach them?”

“How is that going to work?”

“Oh, good luck with that.”

Each time I heard a comment like this, I was taken aback. Really? Is it that weird to think that science is being taught in our Catholic schools? Do people really have such an issue with religion and science being taught in the same building, that someone who believes in one can’t learn about the other?

It boggles my mind that many people cannot fathom believing in both religion and science. I, myself, am not particularly religious (though I do believe there is some sort of higher being out there); however, I know many scientists that are very religious. In fact, a good friend of mine (who is Mormon) said she loves to study astronomy because she feels that’s where science and religion intersect. I also know many people who attended Catholic school and/or teach in a Catholic school. And guess what? They also – gasp! – learn and teach science.

There is always a lot of complaining in the science world about religious “fanatics” having little to no understanding of the creation and evolution of our universe, or of evolution, or climate change, but the intolerance is a two-way street: The number of times I’ve heard someone assume that someone who is religious could not be a scientist is too many to count. These belief systems are not mutually exclusive, and there are many people who have the ability to meld the two.

I’m very excited to work with the Catholic school board, and I know they’re excited about our programs. If we can help break this stereotype along the way, it’s another bonus of the work I get to do.

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