Friday, January 28, 2011

Oh what a day...

I need a little friendly advise, oh mighty blogosphere...

I had several...situations, we'll call them, arise this morning. All in all, it was a pretty good morning. I got some incredibly good feed back from a no nonsense, call it like it is, New Yorker professor, I nailed my lesson this morning, and I looked great when I ran into someone I haven't seen since high school. The balance of the day was great but...yeah.

I've posted previously about my program and some of the attitudes and people in the program. I struggle with this new cohort. A lot. There is a general attitude of pretentiousness and bitterness. On more than one occasion comments have been made that were insensitive and borderline offensive. There is a general attitude of self righteous arrogance. Most of it is directed towards the LDS Church and the resulting dominant culture. But there have also been comments made about Special Education students and culturally and linguistically diverse populations. It's been enough to get my blood boiling on more than one occasion or a frustration headache at their general insensitivity and sometimes blatant ignorance.

Today it reached new levels. I am actually considering going to the professor in question as well as the director of the program. We were presenting mini snippets of lessons just to have a sort of dry run before we get to the actual classrooms. Situation one. This girl is not my cup of tea. She's from Park City, drives an Audie her father bought for her. She giggles and laughs her way through difficult situations and hardly ever has anything constructive to contribute to any discussion. We were the first to arrive this morning and I'm getting ready for my lesson. She told me she is currently teaching at Park City High and an English TA had prepared a PowerPoint on Shakespeare that she decided to use for her assignment in this class. Through out the presentation it became blatantly obvious that she had not put the PowerPoint together and, most likely, had not even looked through it before getting up to present. Now, the lovely roommie told me that I should say something to the professor since Park City had no qualms telling me it wasn't her work. Part of me wants to but the other part feels bad...thoughts?

NOW...this one is a real winner. This particular student, lets call him Big Mouth Bass (BMB for short) has never been my favorite person and I rarely, if ever, agree with any statement that comes out of his mouth. Add in an obnoxious nickname that he insists going by and it's a win/win situation all around. During the course of his lesson on the Massacre of Wounded Knee and the Ghost Dance BMB referenced something incredibly sacred and personal to me, as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, in a way that made it blatantly apparent he had no understanding or respect for what he was so casually discussing. I almost walked out of the room I was so offended. After his presentation the professor told him, he can't go there...ever. I almost said something at that point. Everyone in the class knows I'm LDS and they kept looking at me, as I was clearly upset. I was on the verge of saying something but didn't in the end because if I had it probably wouldn't have been very constructive and probably would have done more damage that good.

BMB has always had an attitude when it comes to members of the LDS Church. I don't know what his history is with the Church but it's apparent that something has happened. He is constantly making thinly veiled comments about the culture and the conservative values shared by most Latter Day Saints. I haven't gotten too up in arms and I've tried not to get too offended. For most people, it's just ignorance but BMB seems to take pleasure in saying some of these things and takes every opportunity to do so. He even went so far as to say it is the "conservative culture" (aka the influence of Mormons) that is causing Utah's rising high school drop out rate. (completely and utterly false. there are a multitude of reasons that will affect the drop out rate. conservatism, isn't really high on that list - but that will be saved for another time). He seems to think that conservative people of faith, members of the LDS church in particular, are simply brainwashed sheep that can't think for themselves. He has no respect for our beliefs or our ability to make our own decisions.He made a comment today in class to the effect of he needs to "dumb himself down" to teach 7th grade - an incredibly worrying attitude to have going into the teaching profession.

Here's my major concern, aside from being incredibly offended by this incident, BMB is going to be teaching many, many students that are LDS. He is going to be in a position of authority over these students. If he can't respect their belief system and if can't treat them with dignity, should he be teaching them at all? I have a serious concern about him in a classroom full of impressionable kids. I am 26, almost 27 years old. I can separate myself and my beliefs from the insensitive, inappropriate and often times, offensive comments he makes. But will a 12 year old be able to do that? He didn't even realize that what he had done was problematic. He won't mention that particular aspect of the LDS faith again but what off hand comments will he make in class? He didn't see how what he had said was different from teaching Utah History. Students will pick up on that. If he can't put his own prejudice aside, should he be in a classroom in an environment where many, if not most, of his students will be of the LDS faith? I'm not saying that's good or bad, I'm simply stating the reality of the demographics of Utah public schools in most, not all, areas. I do know one thing, I wouldn't want my hypothetical child or any of my nieces or nephews in his classroom.

So here's my question(s) I tell my professor about Park City and her PowerPoint?

What do I do about Big Mouth Bass? I need to go talk to my professor about something else, anyway. I may simply thank her for what she said to him and possibly mention my concerns. What do you all think? Should I say something or just let it go?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

My blue suede shoes...

So these aren't blue shoes and they're technically boots but...what do you think? You think I could pull off these purple suede boots? doesn't quite have the same ring to it, does it?

My Peeps

No not the fluffy sugar covered kind...the real life totally awesome people kind! I don't know if people check the side bar linky thing to other blogs (I know I sometimes forget) but I've added a few in the past little while that I think you all should check out for various reasons. This one (Sara) is my dear friend from college. She was the very, absolutely first friend I made when I went to Scripps. We bonded over sleeping on the hard tile floor the night before Outdoor Orientation. And then some more over lack of hygiene and puking in tents. Seriously, if you can make it through a week of the outdoors, no showers, hairy legs and vomit, you can make it through anything. Her blog is mostly about food. She makes some pretty tasty stuff. So all you foodies out there will want to check it out.

And this one (Dad) is my dad. I know, shocking, my father has joined the blogosphere...what has the world come to!? Last fall he bought some property up north and has been having this Out of Africa in Idaho experience. So the blog is just his thoughts and adventures up there. So all you outdoorsy folks will probably like it.

This one (Abode) is one of my favorite consignment shops in the valley. It's stuffed to the rafters with cool and random stuff. Clothes, furniture, decor, jewelry, books...they've got it all. Many of you already know about the store but I wasn't sure if you knew about the blog. I know I didn't until recently.


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Oh grow up...

I was driving home from work, late as usual, last week. It had been a long day and I was tired and I sort of went into auto pilot. I was driving down 900 East and the road was pretty empty. I drove through a random burst of fog that lasted about two seconds and continued on towards home and my waiting, warm, welcoming bed. My mind started to wander and somewhere between 21st South and 13th South I had a rather existential moment. An epiphany, of sorts. I realized that I am an adult. Crazy, I know. But really, for most of my 20s I've felt like something of a poser. I may seem all mature and what not, or maybe not, but really underneath it all, I'm just an insecure, unsure 16 year old. I've been taking care of myself for years now. Paying rent, paying bills, working a 9-5 job...all very adult-y things. But I've never actually felt like an adult.

I guess somewhere in my mind I was still hanging on to my childhood version and perceptions of adulthood. Husband, 2.5 kids, a dog perhaps and a house. When I pictured "being an adult" that is what I saw. A self possessed, witty, woman that had all the answers, an incredibly handsome husband that adored her, had an immaculately clean house, cooked delicious meals, sewed her kids costumes and still had time to pursue her own interests.

Well, life didn't quite turn out that way and now at 26 and change...almost 27 years of life, I guess I've had to reevaluate my perception of what it means to be an adult.

  • I've been living on my own since college with a brief hiatus at my parent's house.
  • I have been able to always pay my rent, put gas in my car, pay my bills, clothe myself and put food in my fridge and lately a little put away for a rainy day.
  • I don't have all the answers but I've actually realized that's ok and not as terrifying as it sounds. I know how to find the answers I don't know and understand that maybe it's not as important that I know that right this second.
  • I don't have my own kids but I love being an aunt.
  • Not having kids also means I can buy that book or pair of shoes or whatnot because it's just me. I don't have to buy diapers or formula or any other baby specific paraphernalia.
  • Yet, I would give up the extra shoes and books and bags for a family in a heartbeat.
  • I know what I want to do with my life and even if a husband and family never enters the picture, which I seriously hope it does, I will live a happy and fulfilled life. I've found something I'm passionate about and for now, that's enough.
  • I have faith that everything will work out the way the Lord intends BUT I also know that I have to do my part.
  • Responsibility is a funny thing...

Moral of the story is, life didn't turn out the way that I anticipated but as I look back I'm not sure what experiences I would change or take out. Some were pretty horrific and unpleasant. Others were just down right heart breaking but I can trace some of my own beliefs, personality traits and self knowledge back to those events and I wouldn't be who I am without them. At 26 and change, I've least mostly...that my life and adulthood isn't what I expected and that's just fine with me.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

1:00 am...what...?

I went to Denver over New Years and stayed with the older brother and his cute family. It was freezing but we hunkered down in our blankets, built up the fire and walked around with our sweatshirts and slippers (in my case legwarmers and two pairs of socks) and had a good time. We stayed up until midnight or later every night and I slept in until 10:00 or even 11:00 one morning. It was deliciously extravagant seeing as how I hardly ever got to do that last semester having to be to work by 6:00am. That means I woke up at 4:30 to leave the house somewhere between 5:30 and 5:45 am. It's really dark.

So now you're probably asking yourself, why on earth is she blabbing about all this? Well, really the question you should be asking is now why am I blabbing about this, but rather, why are you still reading...? Chew on that for a while!

But seriously, I started my new semester and with it a new work schedule. I keep my days open for homework (supposedly when my three other roomies aren't home - this hasn't happened quite yet as we've been sick in rotation...just spreading the love, right?) and later field observations. I'm in class by 3:30 or 4:30 (depending on the day) and then I go right to work until 10:00 or 11:00 at night. My point is, it is amazing how quickly my body switched to late nights. I stayed up until 2:30 a couple of nights ago to finish a lesson plan because the "juices" just started to, that sounded wrong. In college my most productive hours where between midnight and 2am. It's amazing what one can accomplish when the rest of the house is sleeping. It also helps that I can sleep a little later.

I'm trying to get up by no later than 9:00 to at least attempt to structure my day. Some days are better than others...what can I say, I'm a work in progress.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Does this make me a snob?

I went to my Special Ed K-6 Methods class this afternoon/evening. The professor is a visiting professor that currently teaches at Murray High School and has done some semesters at SLCC. We spent almost an hour going over (word for word) the syllabus because she didn't write it and didn't know what it said. I'm sorry...even if you didn't write the syllabus, shouldn't you at least be clear on what is in said syllabus. If you're unclear about the objectives and/or the assignments of the class then you really should check with whoever it is you need to check with to get clarification...preferably BEFORE the first class...just sayin.

The class is about half graduate/half undergraduate students. The undergrads routinely got up and left the class or spent it chatting amongst each other. Then they had somewhat silly questions about the syllabus and needed her to tell them what the homework was for next week. Just look at the syllabus! I don't have a problem with them as people but I guess I'm just used to a certain amount of...professionalism? Educational experience/expectations...? I'm not sure but when they heard that the grad students taking GenEd Methods had to do 60 total hours of observations in addition to the 15 for this class they nearly had a conniption fit and they don't even have to do them!

The class is only three hours but it felt so much longer than my four hour class I had on Tuesday.

So here's the question: Does requiring my professor to be prepared for class and not wanting to have undergrads in my graduate class make me an educational snob?

Work it girl...

Well, today has been a good day. I didn't leave the house until about 3:00 (don't judge, I'm shifting my days about six hours later...) but in the intervening four hours I have been told in Spanish that I have beautiful eyes and a fantastic smile, that I look really good by three of my fellow classmates, I have cute dimples (I didn't know I have dimples) by a coworker and I got an appreciative wink from the 711 guy when I purchased my hot chocolate. All in all...not too shabby.