My Friend from Cali

So, as I promised, I am following up on the adventures of my Californian friend and I. It’s kind of funny, because I did end up talking to my Hall Director, and much to my delight, she said that it was fine if he stayed with me for that long as long as my roommate was okay with it, so I figured that I was back to not having anything to worry about. I was wrong. When I mentioned it to my roommate, he kind of freaked out and said that it was unacceptable, that he was not going to allow someone that he doesn’t know to stay in the room for eleven days. He was right, really. I didn’t give him enough notice.

Therefore, last week quickly became disastrous disarray. I was stressed to the max, because my friend was coming in a couple of days, and I had nowhere for him to stay. He wasn’t bringing enough money in order for us to stay at a motel, my roommate simply wouldn’t allow him to stay with me for the entire eleven days, and my mom would not allow us to come home and stay there, because she said that she didn’t know Fady, so I was in a bind. I did the best that I could to compromise, but as long as the condition was that Fady was staying with me for eleven days, he remained unwilling.

Oddly enough, though, everything worked to our advantage. Fady’s father gave him more money, so he therefore could have afforded to stay in a motel for two weekends, to which Allain agreed. So, when he got here, that’s what we planned. However, my mom came to visit me Friday, and when she saw Fady, she decided that he was a good kid and that it would be fine if we went home. To make a long story short, she paid for our motel stay that weekend and then allowed us to come home this weekend.

Everything pretty much turned out to be a blessing in disguise, which, considering the fact that only last week, I was freaking out, is kind of ironic. It has been pretty obvious that in the past few days, though, that there has been tension between Fady and my roommate, but we have managed. Now, we are waiting at the Regional Transportation Center in Syracuse for the bus to take us to Utica so that my mom can pick us up in Utica, and this weekend is going to be amazing.

I feel kind of blessed. Something that started out looking like it was going to be a major disaster ended up being an amazing experience. Of course, we have not spent very much time together these past few days because of classes and homework, but we have tried making up for it at night by hanging together. This weekend, I am going to have some homework, but that’s all right. I think that we will be able to find a balance. Anyway, I have to run; I just wanted to update everyone on the situation.

Fourth Day of Practicum

The school is just about as out of control as usual. When I got there, a class that I am assuming was a Study Hall was lined up at the door ready to leave, and a student asked me, “You a student?” I am used to this. Despite my attempts to dress professionally and behave in a professional manner, there is still the occasional student who feels the need to ask me whether or not I am a student.

For my EDU 301 class, I have to conduct an interview between myself and my Practicum teacher, Ms. Patapow, and I mentioned it to her today, saying that I would need to be conducting it very soon. I figured that it would be most convenient for her if I sent her what I needed to ask her via email, but she insisted that she wanted to get it out of the way today, so that’s what we did. I prepared the questions, and we took care of the interview today. It feels great to have one more part of the Final Project done.

During Study Hall, a man came in and administered surveys. The man, who I’m assuming was a counselor, said that they are meant to help assess what each student might want to do after graduation and said that the surveys are “too damn long.” He, too, assumed that I was a student and asked me if I had already taken the survey. I found it funny that so many people made the assumption today, since last week, a student thought that I was thirty. The Study Hall was surprisingly pretty well-behaved, and some of them who are also in Ms. Patapow’s English class did some required reading of John Steinbeck’s The Pearl.

Also during Study Hall, a student complained that she was having trouble reading The Pearl, and Ms. Patapow read it to her. I thought about how during my first day of Practicum, Ms. Patapow told me about how a lot of her students are reading at a third grade level. It therefore did not really surprise me that this student was having trouble reading The Pearl, a book that I read with ease on my own time during my tenth grade year.

It made no sense to me, but after Study Hall, I observed an English class like I did last week. I brought this up to Mrs. Patapow, but she said that it must have been the week before last. I know that it wasn’t, though. I definitely observed an English class last week and have the journal entry to prove it. I remember the class reading about John Steinbeck.

One student walked in late to English, and when Ms. Patapow told her that they were going to be reading The Pearl, the student bluntly stated, “I don’t read, miss.” Then, when the student was asked a couple of minutes later to remove her earbuds, she said, “I can’t read this. It’s boring.” Some of them are very honest, at least. Some of them certainly don’t even pretend to be interested. Some of them, however, do seem to actually be interested, though, which was obvious when the class read chapter two of The Pearl out loud. The class then concluded with a ten-question quiz. Overall, the class went well.

New adventures!

Happy April! Things have finally settled down within Student Association, for the most part! Steven DiMarzo was elected president after a long, hard fight. Some people are still angry but all I have to say to those who are still angry is, why? We’re all here for the same reasons as the end, the students of SUNY Oswego. We all want change, we all want a better tomorrow. So put aside your resentment and come together, lets make things happen. Holding grudges about things doesn’t get anything done, it only hinders the process and the opportunity to create change for an improved student association. I guess it’s easier for some to understand than others but it’s all a learning experience.

On a lighter now, I’ve unofficially finished pledging Alpha Phi Omega, a national co-ed community service fraternity! We had 30 pledges this semester and it has been one heck of a ride! I’ve made a lot of great friends through the experience and hope the relationships will last for years to come! We cross on Sunday, April 11 and I really can’t wait! It’s going to be so excited. Next weekend, we go to sectionals. It’s a leadership conference for APO. I am running for a position on eboard next year, the leadership chair. I think it fits in with my major and minor quite well. Elections are on April 27, a little nerve wrecking but we’ll see what happens!

Also, I recently applied for an internship in Walt Disney world in Orlando, FL and I was accepted! wwoo hooo! However, I don’t think I’m going to take the opportunity. There are just more cons than pros to the experience. I would be gone for 7 months and I wouldn’t really be furthering my education here because the classes I would be enrolled in, I have already taken here at Oswego. So that means I would be a semester behind when I return. Also, I would miss out on my trip to Italy and Student Association. It also isn’t really fitting to my career choice. It’s just a confidence booster knowing that i was accepted into an extremely competitive internship :) I can’t complain. Speaking of internships, I was also accepted into an internship in our Development office on campus. I’m very excited about it. I start in mid-May and will continue right up until I leave for Italy.

It seems as though I talk a lot about my extra curricular activities, you’re probably thinking does this girl ever go to class? Of course I do! I really enjoy my classes this semester. My management class has really got me thinking about what I want to do in the future and only solidifying my decision to look into West Virginia University even more. For my job at Maurices, I was recently asked if I wanted to start the MBA program, is a training program to become a store manager. I was completely honored when my manager mentioned it to me. I really enjoy my job there and the people I work with. The company is so different than most other retail stores. I eventually would like to work in the corporate office in Minnesota. I’ve got a little bit more research to do on that but I’m exticed.

I’ve got a lot going on lately and it’s starting to get a little bit scary. I’m applying for graduation next week. Like REALLY?!?! I have two semesters left and so many more things I want to do! I am still in a little bit of shock from it. I can’t believe it’s almost time for me to move on with my life from undergrad to graduate school. Wow, that’s kind of depressing?! Anyway, I have class in a half an hour and I’m going to grab something to eat quick.

Have a wonderful day:)

Busy Busy Spring Semester

Oh my… I cannot believe how long it has been since I have posted on my blog.  Where did the time go!?!?!?!  I have been so busy with student teaching I have barely had time to breathe.  So I apologize for my absence for a little while from blogging. 

I am in the 3rd week of my second placement for student teaching.  Things are going great this placement.  I have been teaching since my 2nd day in the school and I really love my students.  I am at Fulton Jr. High and my cooperating teacher is incredible.  She is really an inspirational person that makes being in the classroom as a student teacher a great experience.  My students are really warming up to me.  I think it might also be due to my effort in creating very fun and rewarding activities in class. 

I was observed today by my supervisor.  I had a great lesson and he was very pleased with what he saw.  He told me that parts of my lesson was flawless, which is a wonderful complement to a student teacher.  He said that I did a wonderful job and he knows already that i am going to be an extraordinary teacher.  Compliments and positive feedback like this really makes my more passionate about teaching and French.  Not only do I love French and everything about the language, but it lets me know I am successful at what I do, which strives me towards constant improvement! 

It is not all fun and games though.  I am teaching an alternate education class, which consists of students who have difficulties being in mainstream classes, but also students who are pulled out of regular classes due to behavioral issues.  I only teach 4 students and there are always at least 3 adults in the classroom, but last Thursday I had girls jumping out of windows and kicking and breaking windows, I also had students call me every bad word in the book.  I had a student just walk out of class without permission or a pass andI also had a student threaten to hit me.  So needless to say it is a difficult class.  Although, to their defense it was the last day before a 3 day weekend, and they had been behaving very well for the 2 weeks prior to this incident.  At the same time, there should never be an excuse for such terrible behavior.  I was in shock with what I saw that day, it was not my best teaching day.

Although, teaching is not easy, there are always students that have a bad day, which makes teaching difficult.  There are students that come to class mentally not prepared to work.  There are students who come to class not expecting to work and they end up being very disruptive all day.  But there are also classes that make the entire career worth it.  Classes that are focused and motivated and excited to be in school.  Those classes really make up for the more difficult classes because the students show you appreciation for the language and the material from the class.  It is also very rewarding seeing the successes of students.  To see the students learn and grow gradually each day, really makes me happy with the career I chose.  It is the small things that make a big difference. 

Last placement I really enjoyed my students.  They were wonderful and I learned a lot throughout the experience.  My teacher was tough on me, but in a way that really helped me grow by leaps and bounds.  Not everyday was easy, but looking back I know that I really took alot from my experience.  I am grateful for the students that I met that showed me their appreciation for language, and I am also grateful for the difficult students that make my job hard, but gave my the experience to deal with similar situations in the future.  I know that with all the experiences that I do have, that I will really become a great teacher.

This past weekend I went home for Easter.  It was only the second time I have been home since returning from France, so I really take advantage of the time with my family.  The weather was wonderful and I had the opportunity to help out around my house a lot which really helps my parents.  I had a great Easter and it was wonderful to be able to spend the time with my family. 

There is not that much longer until Graduation and I am really looking forward to the culmination of my higher education at SUNY Oswego.  My time here had been precious and very wonderful for me.  I am very sad to be leaving soon, but it is wonderful to be able to move to the next chapter of my life.  I was accepted to Graduate school at Syracuse University last month.  I am very proud of that accomplishment.  I am certain that I am going to enjoy my studies at SU.  I am going for a degree in TELL (Teaching English Language Learners).  I am very excited to start that program.  I know that I will be able to have as much success at SU as I have had at Oswego. 

I will do my best to continue to update my blog more regularly, it has been very difficult due to my schedule, and I apologize again my my absence.  I hope that I can make long posts not to make up for the ones that I have missed.  As always I hope everyone enjoys reading my blog and Happy Easter a day late or (Joyeuses Paques!!!)

It’s all coming together!

I am feeling so motivated, this is my favorite time of the year, the weather is beautiful, the semester is coming close to an end, and I am just happy! I am still implementing all of my plans for the end of the semesters; I only have two more schools to apply to, thank God because Grad applications are seriously no joke! There is something that is so exciting about waiting to see who wants you to be a part of their Grad program, I guest anxiety is not such a bad thing after all. Everything just feels good, I am career motivated, mentally, emotionally, and academically prepared for Grad school. I just recently went for my final interview for Teach for America; I was prepared, confident, and passionate! Therefore, the interview went exceptionally well, and it made me feel so confident and motivated for the next chapter in my life… So for now I will just wait to make the proposed plan for the next chapter.

Third Day of Practicum

Today, I actually observed an English class, finally, instead of just a Study Hall. Ms. Patapow was in a much better mood today than she was last week, but she does seem to yell at her students a lot. I would imagine, though, that with the way that some of the student behave here, you aren’t left with much of a choice, and it has to be really difficult not to yell. She also told me that on the form(s) that she has to fill out, she is asked if she would ever want me as a Student Teacher, and although she did clarify that it was absolutely nothing against me since she does feel that I am doing a great job, she would not want me as a Student Teacher. She said that only once during her teaching career has she ever had a Student Teacher, and it was not a good experience.

The students are incredibly disrespectful. After the first bell rang for Study Hall, less than half of the class was in the room, even after a few minutes. A female student walked in, and for some reason, a reason that I can’t recall, Ms. Patapow needed to know the student’s Global Studies teacher, and the student didn’t know. She said, “I don’t know; I just call her miss.” To me, this is very disrespectful.

During the Study Hall, students were talking about girls who have almost been stabbed, and one girl brought up a girl with whom she is apparently upset, and she said that when she sees her, she’s “gonna do her mad dirty.” What I find sad is that it’s as if these kids have nothing to talk about apart from violence. Additionally, I find something else to be sad. A student asked me if I was a student, and when I explained my position to him, he said, “Well, then, how come you ain’t yellin’?” It’s as if they expect that someone who is not a student would have no reason to be there except to yell at them.

After Study Hall, finally, I observed an English class. The class began with, like Study Hall, Ms. Patapow yelling, but like I said,it must be difficult not to yell; the students simply don’t listen. They talk amongst themselves and continue to do so despite Ms. Patapow repeatedly telling them to stop. They began the class either working on a writing assignment or reading a book of their own choosing, and some of them were listening and trying to work.

When Ms. Patapow’s English class found out that I was observing the class and was therefore not a student, a lot of them looked at me in surprise. “I thought you was a student!” I heard. One of them, however, looked at me and said, “You kidding me? There ain’t no thirty-year old student here!” and I just found it funny, because she was an entire ten years off.

Before beginning work on The Pearl, the short novel by John Steinbeck, Ms. Patapow had the class take out a sheet of paper and write everything that they know about John Steinbeck. A student asked why, which I think is a fair question for a student to ask, and Ms. Patapow said that she was trying to jumpstart them. Then, she wrote on the board, “Tapping into Prior Knowledge/Background Knowledge.” This directly relates to what I have been learning in my Lit 396 class. Ms. Patapow said that one way that we learn is by determining what we already know and then building on it, which is exactly what I have learned in my Literacy class. This is indeed important.

This class, this whole day, really, actually went really well. The students in the English class were actually really cooperative and ultimately read about the life of John Steinbeck and about living conditions during the Great Depression. I had a much better experience this week than I did last week.

College made me a moderate, just for the principle of it all

So in this time of political turmoil, health care and student loan approvals, you have to look at your own views.

I came to college as a conservative. It was shocking, especially since I grew up in such a conservative household. My family wasn’t Amish, but the point of the matter was I was never allowed to watch Rocko’s Modern Life. Now, for those of you born in the late 80s and early 90s, you will know what that is and the implications of me missing it 😉

So I came to college, I went to parties, I went to demonstrations, I studied abroad, I partied too hard, I lived a college life. I got into a crappy relationship, I met friends, I met people I didn’t like, and I met some that I will call friends for life. I got out of crappy relationships and learned the true meaning of life….I don’t know anything about life. So full circle from a conservative to a liberal of a sorts and back. Here I am, still wondering but thinking about trying a bit of moderation to try and solve some dilemmas.

Now after three years of college, I am no genius but I think the point of the matter is that whether your a democrat, republican, conservative, liberal or some kind of hippy in between. I just wish we would all try a little bit of both sides. So I declare myself a moderate for that reason.

I am a moderate on principal today :)

Be Ozzy

Upcoming Visit from a Friend

I know as a fact that I have said this before, but sometimes, college really does drive me crazy. There really is no such thing as a break. Over Spring Break, I did almost nothing but homework, because I had so much that it took me just about the whole week to do it, and on weekends, that’s what I’m doing: homework, so there really isn’t any end to it. This past weekend, I did almost nothing but work all of Saturday and Sunday, and I still didn’t even get everything done. I have some work left to do.

The reason that I am now suddenly complaining about it is because for once in my entire college career, all I want is a relaxing week. I have a really good friend in California (he is, in fact, one of my best friends), and he is coming to visit me this Thursday. He will be staying a total of eleven days, and I am so excited. We have been friends for almost two years now but have yet to meet in person, and now, we finally will be.

Some may wonder why I didn’t plan this for the summer so that we really could enjoy ourselves and have a good time without me having to worry about school work, but the reason that we didn’t plan for the summer is simple. We tried to do that last year, and my mother wouldn’t allow it. She said that she didn’t know Fady (that’s his name) so she couldn’t allow him to be in her house, especially since she had two kids to worry about.

So, we therefore had to plan it for a time that I would be in college. This was the only time to do that. I thought that I had more than just Good Friday off for Easter; I could have sworn that I had a bit of a mini-break, but no, I only have Good Friday off, so we planned it for April. We couldn’t plan for Christmas Break or Spring Break, because you have to go home, and he can’t go home with me.

I even tried again this time. Obviously, this weekend is Easter, so my mom kept asking me if I was coming home for Easter, and every time that I said no, probably not, she would ask me why, so just recently, I decided to tell her about my plans, and to make a long story short, she said that she would talk to my dad about letting Fady come home with me for Easter. What ended up happening, though, is that my dad said that since Fady is a minor, he and my mom could get into trouble for keeping him at the house since he is not supposed to leave home, and he warned me that I, too, could get into trouble for keeping him here.

Now, whenever I tell someone this, they feel the need to tell me that my father is wrong because of A, B and C, and you don’t need to tell me, because I know. My parents have this implicit philosophy that kids don’t have any rights, that they are not allowed to stand up for themselves when they truly are being treated unfairly, because it is the duty of the child to bow down to his or her parents’ commands, now matter how ridiculous. Needless to say, it is not a philosophy that we share.

With that being said, anyway, it would be expected that they would say this. Fady is a seventeen, so they don’t think that he has any right to leave home. Obviously, he is not leaving home permanently; he is merely visiting a friend. Also, he is not leaving without parental permission. His mother knows that he is going, and she knows where he is going. In fact, she is giving him $300 and is even driving him to the airport to see him off. I tried explaining this to my dad last night, but he wouldn’t listen to me. He told me that none of that matters, because it isn’t going to fly if his mother tries to claim that he ran away from home.

Of course, she bought the plane ticket, so it’s in her name, but my dad simply isn’t going to listen to logic. Both of my parents are like that. Once their minds are set on something, it doesn’t matter how hard you work to debunk it with logic, they’re simply not going to listen. Additionally, my mother is very racist; she always has been, for as long as I can remember, so when I told her what Fady’s name is, she asked me what his ethnicity is (although she didn’t say it like that; that’s too big of a word for my mother), and when I told her that he is Middle-Eastern, she didn’t say anything explicitly, but I could tell by her “uh-huh” that she was passing judgment.

As a perfect example, I remember once, quite a few years ago, when my brother had a friend over, and his friend was white, but he had an adopted little brother that was black. My brother was much younger at the time, so his friend (whose name was Paul) stayed for a couple of hours with his mother and with his little brother, and my mother wasn’t home at the time. During the visit, the little boy (who couldn’t have been any older than three) was thirsty and wanted a drink, so we gave him something, and when my mother found out, she said (forgive the bluntness), “You let a little nigger baby drink out of our cups?!” She was appalled that we would do such a thing. Like I said, she’s very racist.
Anyway, though, the point is that most likely, Fady will be staying with me here at Oz even through Easter, and I just hope that he will be able to do that. I haven’t talked with anyone at the front desk of Waterbury yet to find out if there is a limit to how long a guest can stay. Fady will be staying for a ten days, from the first of April to the eleventh, and we can’t rearrange that; it’s too late, so I’m a little nervous. However, my roommate is a Desk Attendant, so he can probably give me the answers that I need. I just don’t know what to do if he can’t stay here, because he has nowhere else to go.

Plus, I am a little worried about money. I’m not 100% sure, but I think that it costs, like, $7.00 to get into the Dining Hall if you’re not a student, and he’s only bringing $300. That is about $14 a day (assuming that we only eat two meals a day) over a ten-day period, which means that at the very minimum, $140 will go to meals, which leaves $160 for trips to the movies, shopping, etc., which may seem like a lot, but if you think about it, it really isn’t. Plus, like I said, that $140 is assuming that we only eat two meals a day; no breakfast or late-night. I’m sure that we’ll work something out, though. I am really excited about this. Like I said, we have been friends for almost two years now, and we still have not had the chance to meet in person, so this will be great. I’ll let everyone know how it turns out.

Second Day of Practicum

Today did not go as well as last time. My Practicum teacher, Ms. Patapow, just got back today from being out sick for two days, and she was consequently in a bad mood. I therefore did not receive the warm welcoming that I did last time. Additionally, I had an uncomfortable experience in the restroom. I was in a stall when approximately five students entered the restroom, and one of them told me to get out of the stall and show my face before he came in himself. I left the stall not too long after and was insulted before leaving the restroom.

Other than that, though, I would say that the day went moderately well. Ms. Patapow had me file graded papers, and I also even had the opportunity to grade quizzes. As I have said before, I won’t be observing an English class every other week, because Corcoran uses a Block Schedule, so every other week, I will be doing what I did today, which is talking to/helping the teacher and sitting in on a study hall. Next Wednesday will be the first time that I actually observe an English class.

Spring Break Was Amazing!

First of all, I must apologize for how long it has been since I’ve posted here.  Life has been outrageously busy!  All for the good though.  My plans for school and work have changed so many times over the past couple months.  I’ve gone back and forth from graduating in December to staying until May 2011.  I have finally decided that I will be staying in Oswego until next May.  I just can’t let go yet!

I attended a conference in Boston this past weekend for ACPA (American College Personnel Association) and LOVED it!  My dream is to work in student affairs at a college or university and ACPA is an organization for student affairs professionals.  I was able to meet other students who want to work in student affairs.  It was an amazing experience.  I never realized how intense my emotions could get when I meet people who have as much passion as I do about where they want to work.  I was able to meet so many incredible people who have experienced graduate school and the beginning of their careers in student affairs.  They were so inspirational and motivating.  The conference was two days and it was called NextGen for next generation, obviously :-)  It was preceding the annual ACPA Convention.  Can I just say SO MUCH FUN!  Melissa and Sean were amazing, they were the coordinators of the program and did a wonderful job.  I learned so much and connected to so many people.  I know I have made so many new friends.

I have decided to stay at Oswego for multiple reasons.  1. I want to be a student for one more year.  I love college and everything that is offered to me. 2. I have the opportunity to take part in a fellowship next year in student affairs.  The fellowship will give me the chance to travel and work at other colleges. 3. If I stay the full year and apply to graduate schools for the Fall 2011 semester then I’ll have more opportunities for graduate assistantships.

I have a lot of homework to do, so I must go now.  Don’t worry, I will be posting much more often than I have been.