Home Again

It’s still really difficult for me to believe that this past semester is over. I went home last Thursday, since I didn’t have any finals, so I’ve been home for over a week now. Usually, near the end of the summer, I start having dreams that I am in school, in class or whatever else, but what’s weird is that I had one last night. I was in school, but it definitely wasn’t Oswego. I remember being outside, and I remember a waterfall. It was a big, colorful, beautiful city. I have strange dreams quite often, and most of the time, I can’t even begin to imagine what they mean.
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Sixth Day of Practicum

What I first did when I arrived at Corcoran High School today was go to the library. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a great deal of time to browse, but I have to say that I am very impressed by the library. There are plenty of books, and it is a very warm and inviting atmosphere. Student artwork is on display on top of bookshelves, and I am very impressed with that, too.

I observed two different classes today. The first was Gear-Up. If I haven’t mentioned Gear-Up before, it is sort of like a Study Hall, except that it is a time for students to take advantage of tutors from Syracuse University. Unfortunately, a lot of students who could use the extra help don’t take advantage of it, though, and that is sad. Secondly, I observed Ms. Patapow’s English class.

Ms. Patapow, before I observed either, was incredibly helpful. I needed a copy of the school’s Code of Conduct, so she gave me that. She also gave me a copy of the new ELA specifications. Although the latter said document is not required for my EDU 301 class, it is still a good resource to have to have. I recall taking the ELA in eleventh grade, and it was two days long with two exams. Now, it is only one day long with only one essay. It is interesting to see such a striking difference. Ms. Patapow is not happy with the change, saying that the more useful of the two essays is the one that was scrapped, and she is also not happy with the fact that teachers were just recently notified of this change, which does not give them very much time to review with their students using the new specifications.

A student during Study Hall was rapping, which Ms. Patapow thought was funny for a little while. However, she eventually grew tired of it, especially when he began to swear. He used the F-word and also used the word “gay” as an insult. Ms. Patapow was not happy about this, which I appreciated.

The English class was, as usual, difficult to get quiet. It started out doing a quiz, and then it reviewed vocabulary. Throughout this entire time, most of the class talked while doing its work as Ms. Patapow waited for it to finish. When it finally did, they went over the vocabulary that they had just reviewed, and then they read the first twelve pages of the final chapter of John Steinbeck’s The Pearl.

Oye! Turtle Soup!

I love my best friends! They are all very different. Two of them are pure Italian, two are from China and the other is full blooded Jewish and I am the Lithuanian-Irish Mut :)

We are living in the village next year and it is going to a culinary festival everyday. Our tour is tomorrow and I am so excited, I will post the photos asap!

My 21st birthday was awesome, they all took me out and we had a blast!

I am starting to feel the pressure of finals, but I am also trying to relax as well. I think it will be a good semester because I have done well in all my classes to the best of my ability. I might get a C in my economics but I have come to accept that no matter how I try to make that prof. happy, he is still nutty. I tried so hard, but I still can’t make it work. In college I have learned to cut my losses with some Professors, some are just nutty and you can’t figure them out in one semester. Being in college is like having five bosses, they all have different needs.

It will be all good though, sometimes I try to relax.

Oh and bye the way you are talking to 1 of 30 Northeastern Regional Target Management Interns. I am happy about it, even though some professors are cryptic at least I have a job for the summer and I found a place to live :)

Be Ozzy

The Summer Is… Almost Here

I know that I recently talked about this in a blog entry, but I just can’t believe how close to the end of the semester that this is. A week from Friday is my first day of the Summer, and it is a major relief. I mean, at the same time, it is overwhelming, because between now and then, I have seven major assignments that I need to complete, including a 2,000 word paper for my English class. You see, I don’t have any final exams; everything that is due is either a final paper or a final project. I am pretty sure that I talked about all of that in my last blog entry, though, so I won’t bore you.

I made a list last week of everything that I needed to do between then and the end of the semester. There were then thirteen assignments on that list, and it’s now down to seven, as I said, so I am making progress. There is a lot due this week, which is something for which I am actually thankful. With so much being due this week, time will be left this weekend to work on my final paper for English, and that is the really big thing; once that is finished, a lot of stress will be alleviated.

I am really looking forward to this summer. Of course, for a couple of weeks, from late May to mid June, I am doing a couple of summer courses, one of them a Science course, but hopefully, it won’t be too bad. I am taking Safe Schools and an Exploration in Natural Sciences course. I am a little nervous about the Science course, but I need it, so I figured that I would much rather take it for a couple of weeks in the summer than take it for an entire semester during the school year. Besides, I am trying to graduate a semester early, so taking courses over the summer will help me do that. Other than that, though, my life has been pretty uneventful. I haven’t been able to do much that is interesting or fun because of all of this work, but I am looking forward to an eventful summer.

Spring break for Student Teachers

So this week was supposed to be very relaxing.  I think I only disappoint myself by hoping for a quiet and peaceful break. 

This week has been very busy and eventful.  I started off my break by going to my end of the year banquet for hockey.  It was nice to see the team again, but it was really sad saying goodbye to my collegiate hockey career.  We watched an end of the year video recapping on-ice and off-ice memories.  It is really wonderful to watch those memories and to have them forever on a DVD, but it is also really sad.  The academic and team awards were announced and handed out.  Then our wonderful Juniors read a letter to each senior, which was very touching and we were presented with gifts from the team.  The last thing was the naming of next years captains.  I think the team next year is happy with the pick of captains, and I wish them all the best.

I spent the next 2 days in Utica with my boyfriend, we didn’t do anything very exciting, it is just nice to spend time together.  I think we are still trying to catch up from being apart when i was in Paris for 5 months.  It is so hard with him working and with my student teaching and being at school.  We haven’t had a nice solid block of time together, which is what I am looking forward to.  I am not sure when, but it will happy eventually. 

I drove the last 3 hours home on Monday and my mom was so happy to see me.  I relaxed at home, got settled in and did a little work.  After that, I hung out with my little niece Hallee, who has been waiting to see me for days.  As soon as she finds out I am coming home, the hope for her paying attention to anything else is nearly impossible.  We played her Wii at her house.  I played a new game “Just Dance” for a while and it was soo cool.  You have to follow the beat and do the correct dance moves, it is like guitar hero but for dancing.  It is so much fun but it is exhausting. 

Tuesday, my mom and I went to Plattsburgh to run some errands.  We had to get invitations for my sister’s wedding to the printer’s and we did some shopping for the bridal shower that I am planning.  I did some school work, lesson planning and I helped my parents at their office.   In the afternoon, I took a trip tomy old high school to see some of my old teachers, and specifically my old French teacher.  Unfortunately, my French teacher was not there because he is stranded in Russia due to the volcano in Iceland.  I stopped at the elementary school to see my old 6th grade teacher, who is now the elementary school principal.  He is the reason I wanted to become a teacher and I have always taken time to go see him.  He has had such a positive impact on my life, and one day I hope to be the teacher that inspires students.  If I can affect and inspire one student the way he did for me, I know that all the hard work I put into teaching is worth it.

Wednesday, I spent the day lesson planning and hanging around my house.  It was quite uneventful, but it was nice to relax.  Yesterday I focused my energy on planning my sisters Bridal Shower.  I am throwing her a Garden Party themed shower, complete with floral dresses, floppy hats, and dainty finger foods.  I have contacted all the bridesmaids and the mothers of the bride and groom.  I contacted friends who want to help.  I got the location confirmed, the tent is rented and I have already assigned most of the food and other responsibilities.  I am trying to get as much done before I leave because I will not have time in the next few weeks to focus on the bridal shower.   When I get home from school there will only be about 2 weeks until the shower.  My hope is that the shower will go flawlessly, the only thing that can hold me back is the weather. 

So yesterday was Earth Day, I spent last week teaching my students about Earth Day.  I was very excited to be Earth friendly, and I did everything I could to help the earth.  Unfortunately it is hard to get older people ( referring to my parents mostly) to get out of their habits they have had forever. (Like using paper plates or printing one sided on papers!)  I do my best to help the Earth as I have become more aware of what I can do to help the Earth!  If each person could just do a few very small things, then we could make a world of difference. 

So my plans for the rest of my spring break are to finish school work and lesson plans, to spend time with my family today and tomorrow and then visit my boyfriend once again before I head back to Oswego for the 3 weeks that I have left at Oswego.  I cannot believe that in 3 weeks I will be graduating from college!  Who would have thought?!

Hope you enjoy and Happy Friday!

Nearing the End

May 6th is my last day of the semester, which is next to impossible to believe. Where has this semester gone? It doesn’t seem like all that long ago that I was at home during Christmas Break, and this semester hadn’t even started yet. Now, it’s almost over, and as happy as I am that summer is almost here, it’s a little overwhelming, because I have a lot of work to do between now and then, with only a little over two weeks to do it. I’m really shooting for all As this semester. Unfortunately, I don’t think that it’s going to happen, because I am pretty sure that I am going to get a B in my English class, but hey, I’ll even take that. It’s better than the Cs and Ds that I usually get in math and science courses.

Speaking of such, shortly after I get out of school for the summer, I begin two online summer courses, a science course and Safe Schools Healthy Students, the latter of which I need to be a teacher. The science course, however, is one of my last Gen Ed requirements, a 300-level science course that deals with Exploration into the Natural Sciences, if I have that title correct. It’s not something that I am looking forward to, but I figured that since I hate science so much, I would get it over with now so that I don’t have to deal with it for an entire semester.

On top of that, my birthday is on May 4th, which is only two weeks from tomorrow. It’s not like I’m a little kid and make a big deal about my birthday, but I mention it because I am going to be twenty years old. I can’t believe that I am no longer going to be a teenager. Where have the years gone? I remember turning thirteen and being excited that I was now a teenager (I was stupid). The funny thing is, though, is that even at twenty, I won’t feel any different. You never do. Anyway, I guess that’s it; I’ll be checking back in soon, I’m sure.

Earth Day, every day

You know what bothers me more than people who don’t care about the environment at all? The people who advertise “going green” one day out of the year, while negatively impacting the earth every other day of the year.

With all of these Earth Day clean-ups going on around central New York and all over the country, the question comes to mind: why, on this 40th anniversary of Earth Day (April 22, 1960), are we still celebrating the earth only one day out of the year? Why hasn’t this evolved?

I feel myself being a bit hypocritical as I am the main organizer for Mother Earth Week. It’s a step-up, true, from Earth Day, being a whole week. But, does it really do the deed of providing lasting, sustainable stewardship to the planet? Not so much.

I spent last weekend catching up on episodes of the show, “The Lazy Environmentalist,” starring Josh Dorfman, a fellow environmentalist, who goes around parts of the country (mostly in urban areas) addressing issues of sustainability and helping people fix those problems.

He shows people how you can be “greener” on a daily basis. Not just once a year. Celebrating the earth once a day, leads people to think that they did something good for the environment. And I agree. The fact that people took some time during their Saturday morning to clean up our area is remarkable. But, why stop there? I think there are many aspects of “greenwashing,” which is defined as the “practice of making a product seem more environmentally friendly than it might actually be” (Greenwashing), that create a sense of accomplishment and success in being “green” for some people.

Companies that give you the impression that what you’re purchasing is “eco-friendly” don’t focus on the fact that what their company does to produce that isn’t so friendly. The Huffington Post refers to several companies who are guilty of greenwashing customers. These are bigger companies that tell you that what you’re doing is actually helping the environment. But, they’re just skirting EPA rules and regulations and feeding lies to trusting customers who don’t see the the truth.

So, before you may or may not plan to do something spectacular for Earth Day, remember that every day should be earth day. If you use a little less water a day in the shower, buy a reusable water bottle instead of the multitude of plastic “eco-friendly” bottles, take mass transit over your own vehicle, use a power strip and turn off your power when you’re not using it, unplug your charger, throw your recyclables in the recycling, pick up a piece of trash daily… if you do all of this, you can be part of the bigger movement which is Earth Day Every Day.

For more information: check out the Earth Day network at http://www.earthday.org/. Or visit the government’s site at: http://www.epa.gov/earthday/

Making Connections

This week has been a very busy week for me.  But when I think about it, this week has had a common theme.  It has been all about connections. 

I created a unit for my students on the environment.  We have been learning about animals, geographical features, the environment and nature.  My students keep asking, “Why are we learning about science in French class.”  The truth is everything is connected.  I am teaching these things to my students for a variety of reasons.  First because it is becoming a very popular topic on their upcoming proficiency exam in June.  Although, it is becoming a popular topic because is is becoming a very important issue in our world today.  It is becoming a world issue because it is affecting the world a lot, especially right now.  My students should care about the environment because what we do now will affect them in their future, if not because the world is coming to an end, because it is affecting their wallets and their quality of life.  

I found that there are so many connections in the information that I teach.  In addition, I was talking about how we are exploiting the earth of its natural resources and we are exploiting certain places in the world, but not only are we exploiting these resources we are also exploiting the people who live there.  The people who are affected by these “searches for resources” are in 3rd world countries where they are already suffering.  We can also exploit people based upon certain characteristic that they possess and we can use injustices against people to exploit them. 

In speaking about exploiting people, my week moved on to having a Graduate Assistantship interview at Syracuse University.  The job interview was at the Office of Engagement Programs, which is an office that works a lot with immigrants and refugees.  As you may or may not know, Syracuse has a very large immigrant and refugee population.  In talking about  the refugees we began a discussion about social justice and injustices that occur towards these diverse groups of people. There is a negative stigma that comes with being a person of color and these people face injustice everyday and sometimes they are exploited based upon their race. 

Regarding race, I filled out my census this week, as they are required of every student going to college, and I was shocked that Hispanic, Latino and Spanish people were all singled out on the census.  I was shocked to see this and I did not understand why.  I did not see the reason to separate the Latino, Spanish and Hispanic population from the rest of the population of the United States.  If we believe so strongly in equality, why don’t we practice what we preach?

Needless to say I have had a very interesting week.  It is true that all of the world is connected in some way.  In just one week, I was able to see connections between many polar opposite events.  I believe that it is very important to understand the world around us and to make connections with the things that we experience, because as a result we will become more understanding and compassionate individuals.

Besides my massive post on social groupings and connections in the world, I am so thankful that I have all of next week off from student teaching as a result of spring break at my placement.  Since I did not gett the college spring break I am very very happy to be able to have a little bit of a break for a week from all of the things that I have been doing all semester.  It is a relief that I will have a little time to sit back and relax.  Anyway, I hope you enjoyed my post and my analysis of connections that occured this week.  Enjoy!

Fifth Day of Practicum

I did not observe an English class today since I did that last week. Shortly after arriving, Ms. Patapow asked me to grade quizzes for her, which I did. I then filed the graded papers for her. At around 1:30, I went to a meeting with her and an English teacher named Cara Greene, if I remember correctly. At the meeting, the two of them were evaluated based on their lesson plans made since the last time that they met. Ms. Patapow said that she and Mrs. Greene do this instead of having an administrator come into the room to evaluate them. It was an interesting experience for me, as it gave me an opportunity to see how I might be evaluated as a teacher.

I made an attempt to visit the library today, since that is something that I’m supposed to do for my EDU 301 class, but the library was not open. I don’t know if or when I’m going to be able to do that. I will have to try to do it the next time that I am there on a day that I only have to observe a Study Hall, as long as it is not closed again. Anyway, it’s difficult to believe, but I only have two more days of Practicum. Next week is Spring Break for Syracuse City Schools (and for most schools, I think), so I have the 28th of April and the 5th of May, and then, I’m done. Granted, I started my Practicum very late, because it took a long time to get placed, but even so, this semester has gone by very quickly.