Sunday, December 13, 2009

Christmas Newsletter

I have been a little slow at getting my Christmas cards sent this year. Instead of sending my traditional update in my cards I decided to post my message to the world.

In reflection on the year past I have decided to look at it through a few themes--instead of the more traditional chronological recap.

Trips
  • As all of you know one of my favorite past times is to travel. This year took me to: Japan (April), Fort Collins, Colorado (June), Zion National Park (June), Virginia and Washington D.C. (July), Alaska (August), Yellowstone National Park (September) as well as a visit to every one of my brother's houses. Even with as many holidays and days off we get as teachers it still never feels like enough time to spend with those I love the most.
  • Japan was stunning. My brother Scott and I were there during the cherry blossom season which made it all more beautiful. The people are generous and thoughtful and the country is so clean. I highly recommend visiting--you won't be disappointed. Just a few of my favorite pictures...I managed to take around 900.


Golden Pavillion


Shinto shrine in Kyoto


We stumbled upon a couple getting married in all the traditional clothes.


Guard gate to the Imperial Palace in Tokyo


Some of the vibrant blossoms we saw.




More cherry blossoms.

Here are some pictures of the cruise to Alaska










Changes
  • I switched schools this fall and have been teaching at a magnate school in the Northwest part of Vegas. The school is really beautiful and the students are engaged and want to learn--all things that any teacher would be jealous of. I am however, still not entirely satisfied and I find myself going over the same questions that come up every year. Do I want to keep teaching? Would I be happier doing something else? I wish I knew what that something else is. The irony in all of this is--that as conflicted as I am with my career--I still am very ambitions and this fall I have been hired to work as a trainer for three different divisions with our district. I have been incredibly busy conducting trainings and workshops which I enjoy.
  • To save on commuting time, I also moved closer to my new school. I love the new place but miss living in the southwest part of town.
  • I also bought a new car. It gets amazing gas mileage and I don't mind cruising around town in it.

New Skills
  • In my never-ending quest to improve myself and to honor my New Year's resolutions I took a variety of classes to improve my skills. Two art classes - watercolor painting and acrylic painting as well as more cooking classes.
  • I am also working on an on-line degree in photography. As I complete my assignments I will start to post more pictures.
  • Next year I plan on taking classes in mosaics, voice-overs and perhaps some drawing classes.
Horizon
  • I honestly don't know what 2010 will bring. I am trying to keep all avenues of my life open to whatever new directions present themselves to me.
  • I am open to moving, changing jobs and the new adventures in traveling I am sure will come.
  • I am planning a trip to Rome for Spring Break and maybe traveling to China this summer. Keep coming back for all the updates.

I hope this Christmas will bring peace, love and all the blessings from our Heavenly Father your way. Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Rest of November

November sped by faster than I imagined it would. My book project got stuck behind all the other activities, meetings, trips and grading that took place this month. I must sadly report that I did not finish it. This means that I must set new goals as I continue to work on it.

The process of writing this blog has revealed to me that I am far more comfortable writing about myself than I am making up a story. The book that I started is a fictitious account of my journey with cancer and the subsequent recovery. My main character is similar to myself, but she is far more emotional and dramatic than I am. The details and facts about my sickness however are 99% accurate. It has been cathartic writing about the experience.

Highlights for the duration of November include:
  • Midnight showing of Twilight on opening day (November 19/20). I went with my good friend Julie and it was fun to be around all the hype. Even though I am not a big fan I did find the movie entertaining. The biggest surprise was how well I functioned on only two hours of sleep that day at school.
  • I finally managed to celebrate Thanksgiving for the first time in three years. The last two years I was working on school projects. This year I drove down to Tucson to visit my brother Steven and his family. The food was delicious and I had a fantastic time hanging out with them. I must say that my niece and nephews are adorable. I couldn't believe how excited they got over helping me grade homework. The only bad part to the weekend was the drive home. One mile from Hoover Dam the traffic backed up and it took me nearly two hours to drive two miles. Holiday traffic!
I am looking forward to only two more weeks of school until the holiday break. This year I will be heading to Dallas to visit my brother Garret and his family for the holidays. Can't wait for that trip. Now, I just need to finish getting the last couple of gifts and decorating the apartment and I will be ready for Christmas.

Monday, November 16, 2009

November so far...

November is national write a novel in a month, month. I decided to take up the challenge this year (last year I started in December...too late) and I am not as far a long as I would have hoped. I am at 10,000 words and counting, but the book is coming together nicely. This is the second book I have started this month and I like the new direction. Once I have finished the month I will spill the beans about the topic.

In late October I attending a training on incorporating Opera music into your class. I am one of those individuals who sign up for everything I can get my hands on, and as it turned out, I was the only history teacher at the training. Mind you, there were only 4 other teachers present (they were all choir teachers). I thought the training was great and if you attended the training you were guaranteed free tickets to the MET performances that are broadcast nationwide at various Regal theaters. I have seen the commercials for these performances before, but I had never taken the time to see any of them.

I am a novice fan of opera music. I have only seen 3 opera performances in my life, but I thought they were spectacular.

November 7th I took 3 students (2 boys and 1 girl) to see the MET's performance of Turandot. They film the performance live and so the students were a little surprised to hear all the chatter of the opera attendees as they took their seats in New York as we were taking our seats in Vegas. I didn't know anything about this particular opera, but it was AMAZING. I was surprised to discover that my favorite aria was in the third act, Nessun Dorma. The tenor's performance literally brought tears to my eyes. All of the singers and performers were outstanding and now I can't wait to go see the rest of the performances this year. My students were riveted and even though the whole experience was 3 1/2 hours long they didn't seem to mind. Through this program I have three more operas this year that I can take students to see. They are all clamoring for tickets to see Carmen in January. Carmen is one of my favorites and I am super excited to see it as well.

After the performance we headed over to UNLV's library. My AP world history students had done a really bad job on a research assignment earlier in the year and as a result banned them from using the internet for research. I informed them that for the duration of the year, they had to use books. Due to this new initiative I scheduled a time for my students to come to the universities library so I could show them how to do research old school style. In the end most of them enjoyed the experience and even though I kept running up and down floors answering questions I was glad I had decided to do it. Ultimately I had 15 of my 48 students show up which was more than I was expecting.

Between the Opera and the library I was pretty tired when I returned home, but it was worth it. Now I am looking forward to Thanksgiving in Tucson this year with my brother Steve and his family.

October Update

At the end of last school year I applied and was accepted to be a member of the Social Studies training cadre with our school district. What this means is that I present some of the professional development trainings for our school district over the course of the year. I wasn't sure how much time it would entail once the school year began, but I definitely found out in October.

In our first meeting together as a cadre in August we all volunteered and signed up for the trainings we were interested in conducting. Never one to back down and realizing I only get paid for what I present, I volunteered for as many opportunities as I could. Translation, in October I had trainings at least 2 if not more times a week. It was very, very tiring. I really enjoy teaching adults (sometimes even more than teenagers) and the feedback I have been getting from those in attendance at these trainings has been positive--but it does take up a good chunk of time.

With the overwhelming time commitments in October, whenever I had a free moment I was either unpacking boxes or preparing for my regular classes. One of the highlights of the month was Durango's homecoming football game. I decided I needed to see my old school and hopefully run into some of my former students. The game was great and Durango had an awesome team this year. During the first half four of my former AP students (all boys) came and sat with me and we chatted and laughed the entire time. I don't think anyone of us actually watched the game. They kept telling me how glad they were that they had stuck with AP and how much they enjoyed having me as a teacher. While we sat there a number of my other students came to say hi and it was really great to feel their love.

During half-time we watched the homecoming royalty and I realized I had taught all but two of the kids. It was excited to see how they had grown up. After the game more of my students wanted me to join them for yogurt and we headed to Yogurtland (yummy!) for more chatting and laughing. I felt like I was crashing their party, but it was still great to hang out with them.

My car this month was also going through what I believed to be the early stages of death and so I decided to spring for a new car. I bought a 2010 Hyundai Elantra. It is nice car and I have enjoyed cruising around town in it. I love the fact that it has a USB port for my ipod. Here is a picture, although my car is white.



The end of the month arrived with one of my personal favorite holidays (NEVADA DAY!) which is celebrated the last Friday of October. It was a day of resting due to a massive headache.

For Halloween, Scott, invited me over to his friends house who makes really spectacular costumes. This year's theme "Phantom of the Opera." She had decorated her backyard and made costumes for the principle characters. Her friends must really love her, because in addition to posing for pictures in the costumes, they also recreated many of the most popular scenes from the musical (singing included). Scott (played Raul) sounded great as usual and it was fun to see adults letting loose and just pretending.



Scott and Melissa



Scott as Raul



Melissa (playing Christine) and her husband as the Phantom



The Phantom's lair



The Opera house

September Update

September (labor day weekend) my roommate and I traveled to the beautiful state of Idaho to visit my parents and Yellowstone National Park. The weather was lovely and although the trip was short definitely worth the drive.





The rest of September had us furiously packing and cleaning. Since both of us work on the north side of Vegas we decided that we needed to find someplace to live that would save us time and money on our commute. Through a serendipitous meeting with a friend we found a lovely condo just 2 miles from my new school. The place is a little bit smaller than our old apartment but it has an extra bedroom, 2 car garage and hard wood floors throughout.

The move was stressful but we ended up getting everything transferred over to the new address. (If you don't have the address please email me) I finally feel as though I am not living like a college student. Tiffany bought a new couch and bought an entertainment center (sorry Amber, I copied you), dining room table and chairs and hung my favorite artwork. I am liking the cleaner more modern feel of the new place. I am still working on the last few boxes in my bedroom else I would post more pictures.

It had been 5 years since I had moved last and I had forgotten how much stuff I had. Unpacking I have tried to let go of things I no longer use or need, but I realize I am still holding on to too many items. I have four bookshelves in my bedroom and they are straining to contain all of my books.



View from the Front Door looking in.



View from the hallway





I think my favorite part of the new place is I can cook and watch tv at the same time. It has already saved me a lot of time.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Baby Rant

Yesterday, I had a meeting across town that I was not excited about attending. I planned ahead and managed to arrive early and noticed a colleague of mine who pulled in the same time. I was under the impression that he was not attending the same meeting as mine and casually said hi as we entered the school district training offices.

The meeting started on time and proceeded on schedule when twenty minutes into the meeting my colleague enters and apologizes for being late. Now I know for a fact that he arrived and walked into the building 10 minutes before the meeting began and I was silently furious at his rude and unrepentant behavior.

It still urks me because this individual is notorious for being late to every meeting. I get really tired and fed up with people who don't take their professional responsibilities seriously. I am not surprised that teacher's get picked on in the media--with behavior like this sometimes we deserve it.

Virginia and Washington D.C.

Now for the news of my summer travel.

My second destination this summer was to Lynchburg, Virginia to visit my friend Sarah and her husband. Sarah and I became friends teaching at Durango during the 07-08 school year and when she moved east I promised I would come and visit.

Virginia is utterly beautiful and I felt like I had walked back in time as we walked through Appomattax, Monticello and Mount Vernon.

Washington D.C. was a must since I was going to be teaching Government this fall. I was astonished by the bustle and wealth of the city. Although it was hot and humid we managed to drag our poor, sweating bodies to visit the National Mall, Washington and Lincoln Memorials as well as all the War Memorials. We toured the Holocaust Museum, American History Museum, Natural History Museum and the Gallery of Art. Time ran out before we managed to visit the National Archives - so I will have to save that for another trip.



Mt. Vernon - The backyard is incredible. I can see why George Washington loved this home.



Appomattax Courthouse where they Civil War came to an end.



Monticello - home of President Thomas Jefferson



Old mill not too far from Sarah's house.



Sarah was very patient trying to get a half decent photo of me. This was one of my favorites.



Sarah and I at the WWII memorial. Looks like the George Washington Monument is growing out of my head.



Hands down my favorite picture. Sarah borrowed my camera and was willing to sacrifice her body to capture this shot. Beautiful!

AP World History

Last year I was thrilled with the success of my AP students and this year I too had some great results that came in. Two of my students managed to receive a 5 on their AP exams which is the highest score that can be achieved. I was not surprised by their results. These two girls had worked their butts off all year and deserved the just rewards.

I was however overall disappointed by the performance of my students. Out of the 47 students that took the exam I only ended up with 13 students passing. Last year I had 26 take it and 10 pass. The majority of my students that took the exam ended up with a 2 which demonstrates to me that they simple didn't put in enough time to get that passing 3.

My new group of AP students seems to be working hard and I am hoping that I can encourage them to be more successful.

I absolutely adore my AP students from last year, but I desired their success than they did. I good lesson to learn...I can't do the work for them.

Summer School

This was my first summer teaching summer school and I have to tell you that I LOVED it. I enjoyed the fast paced schedule and seeing the kids everyday. The students seemed to get the information easier and could recall it better. My first session of summer school the kids and I had a blast together. When the semester changed an interesting thing happened and the dynamics of the class radically shifted. I kept approximately half of my students from the first session, but the new group of students never really got into the class like my first bunch. We still had a good time and the kids demonstrated that they were learning which is always a plus.

I was informed prior to starting summer school that I would hate it and never want to do it again. I believe the reason why I enjoyed it so much was because I taught it like I teach during the regular year--lots of group activities and student centered learning.

I won't be teaching summer school next summer because of a planned trip to Egypt, but I definitely wouldn't mind doing it again.

French Bistro

The night before I left town to start my summer vacation I took another one of my cooking classes. This time we traveled to France to learn some of the most common and familiar of bistro food.

First course we prepared the delicious French Onion Soup


Second Course was Peppered Steak and Garlic Mashed Potatoes



Final course was dessert with Crepes. I have pictures of two different kinds of crepes.





I am still working on my plating skills, but I really enjoyed all the dishes. I look forward to taking a few more classes this fall. Here is to good eating Bon Appetit!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Update

It has been a while since I caught up with my blog and to my five dedicated followers I do apologize. I have a firm goal to post once a day for the next week to get caught up with my summer activities and the start of a new school year.

Today's post is to officially announce that Tiffany and I are moving closer to our respective high schools and the big move will take place next weekend the 26th of September. Our apartment looks like a bomb has gone off...my room is the worst so I know what will be keeping me busy for the next 10 days. I am excited for the new space. I have enjoyed living in my apartment for the last five years, but my new place is sunny and bright and I think I need to good energy of something new as I continue to make changes in my life.

I have been weeding out my junk and trying to be very diligent in getting rid of the stuff I do not need or use. I am a keeper of crap and I don't want to fill my new space with useless items. The charity centers will be getting some very big donations from me. Once Tiffany and I are moved in I will take pictures so you can see our great place.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Dance

My favorite summer t.v. show is "So You Think You Can Dance." I have watched all five seasons and usually shed some tears with each episode. This year, I have been prepared and kept all of episodes because I love re-watching the couples dancing. The more I watch the show the more I fall in love with dance.

On Sunday I was watching the PBS documentary "The Mormons" and Terryl Givens, an English Professor, on the show described Mormon's relationship with dance and I was really moved by what he said. Dr. Givens expresses everything I wish I could say. Because I am a total nerd I typed out the passage and I have included it below:

“One observer visited the Saints on the prairie and he said it was one of the most haunting experiences to see the vast stretches of isolation and loneliness in the wilderness and then you would hear the soft strains of classical music coming over the hills and there would be the saints gathered round playing music and dancing.


The philosopher Nietzsche once wrote “I should never believe in a God who would not know how to dance.” And I feel the same way. There is in the Mormon faith a kind of celebration of the physical, which I think is a little bit outside of the Christian mainstream.


When the saints moved west to Utah, one observer in the 1850s noted that they had schools in most every block, but every night the schools were converted into dancing schools. He observed with some displeasure that Mormons taught their children that they should go to school, but they must go to dancing school.


I think that there is a connection between the place of dancing in Mormon history and the concept of an embodied God, because we believe that God the Father as well as Jesus Christ are physical embodied beings, that elevates the body to a heavenly status. And I think there is a kind of exuberance and celebration that is in many ways the result of that same collapse of sacred distance that was so central to Joseph Smith’s thinking.


Instead of denigrating the things of the body in order to elevate the things of the spirit Joseph always argued that it was the successful incorporation of both that culminated in a fullness of joy. And so dancing I think is in many ways just an emblem or a symbol of a kind of righteous reveling in the physical tabernacle that we believe is a stage on our way to godliness itself.”

Monday, July 13, 2009

Found It

For the last 3 months I have been looking for the link on youtube for the video of our high school teacher dance squad. We performed at the Battle of the Sexes assembly in April and I finally found the link. Enjoy the video....although the filming is a little shaky I think you can still get the gist of our performance. I am on the far right-side of the screen.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

NKOTB Surprise

As a last minute decision on Friday I decided to purchase a ticket to see the New Kids perform at the Pearl in the Palms. I had wanted to see them, but when the tickets originally went on sale I was flying to Japan and didn't have any extra cash. Ticketmaster still had a few seats available and since I was only buying for one I was able to get a pretty decent seat.

I have never seen any shows at the Pearl before and I was curious to find out how close to the stage my seat would be. I was seated in box 213 seat A-1. Much to my surprise box 213 was a VIP box with only 5 seats in it and a completely unobstructed view of the stage. The seats were leather and very comfortable. Excellent viewing. A few minutes before the show started the stage manager for the New Kids came and informed the five of us that at some point in the program they would need us to stand up and move near the back because some dancing would happen. Having spoken to my friend Chandra about the concert (she saw them perform earlier in the week in Seattle) she told me that the guys came into the audience to dance. I was really hoping that this would be what the stage manager was referring to. I wanted Donnie to be the person to come because when I met the guys last fall he was the only one I didn't get a chance to meet.

The concert opened with the dance crew Jabbawockeez, winners of the first season of America's Best Dance Crew. The guys were amazing. I was surprised at how much they were able to move in the very little stage space that was available to them. They used a fun mix of music ranging from hip hop, pop, slow jams and 80's tunes to work their magic. The crowd became the most vocal during their tribute to Michael Jackson.



The concert was every bit as good as the two times I saw them last year. The staging of this concert was on a much smaller scale than their tour last fall, but even with less theatrics it was still really exciting.





A little more than half way into the show the security guards arrived in our box and told us to move...the time was at hand. Before we knew it DONNIE arrived in our box as the other four guys made their way to various places in the audience to sing their hit song Single. Most of the time while Donnie was dancing and singing in our box we were blocked off by his security team, but nearing the end of the song Donnie waved some of us down and I took the opportunity to come up behind him and dance with him until his security guy tapped my arm and I moved back. It was really fun--I could have groped him excessively, although I didn't feel comfortable being too touchy. I did put my hand on his waist as we were dancing and touched his back a couple of times. Nothing too excessive.





The rest of the concert I must admit was a little anti-climatic. The five of us ladies that had been dancing with him in the box were still a little giddy over what had just happened. The final few numbers were spirited and full of more dancing and great singing. At the very end it really felt like they didn't want to leave the stage they were enjoying it so much. I don't usually scream a lot at concerts, but I decided this time just to let myself go and really get into. My ears and throat are a little sore today from the fun, but it was totally worth it. I have a strong feeling that this will be the last time I see them-so I am very glad at the last minute I decided to spend the money and go.

As always the inner nerd in me took a pen and paper and wrote down the set list:
  • Full Service
  • Summertime
  • Favorite Girl
  • Right Stuff
  • Medley of Didn't I Blow Your Mind This Time and Valentine Girl
  • Please Don't Go Girl
  • Dirty Dancing
  • Games
  • If You Go Away/Stare at You
  • Single*
  • Cover Girl - solo by Donnie
  • Give It To You - solo by Jordan
  • Popsicle and Thanks You - solo by Joe
  • Donnie and Jordan improv thanks to band and audience
  • Tonight
  • Click, Click, Click
  • Loving You
  • One Song
  • Step by Step
  • Hangin' Tough



Thursday, July 2, 2009

1 Down 1 to Go

First session of summer school is officially over today and I have to say that I really enjoyed the experience. My class was small (19 students) and I decided that I was going to teach it the same way I normally teach. Initially I had workbooks and thought I would just have them spend a good deal of time completing worksheets and reading out of their textbook.

During a typical 4 1/2 hour day we would read a story or article, lecture, group project, individual assignment and then some sort of game or group activity.

The students were really successful with my lowest grade being a C. Class average was 83% which is the highest average I have ever had for a regular world history class--usually they are around 62%.

I had four students that are new to the U.S. and they are still struggling with learning the language. I was really proud of how hard they work to understand the information. One of the girls wrote on her final exam essay that she thought this was the funnest class she has ever had.
A very nice compliment.

I look forward to second session to being just as great.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Tour of Italy

Earlier this year one of my resolutions was to cook more and so in an effort to accomplish my goal I bought a certificate to the cooking school I took a few classes at last year. It came to my attention a couple of weeks ago that I have never used any of the credits I prepaid for. Last night I returned to the Creative Cooking School and cooked my way through Italy.

The dishes we prepared were:
  • Bruschetta Toscana
  • Mixed Green Salad with Gorgonzola, Candied Walnuts, Shaved Red Onion and Balsamic Vinaigrette dressing
  • Sun-Dried Tomato Risotto with Fresh Basil and Parmesan Cheese
  • Chicken Marsala served over Homemade Pasta with Roasted Mixed Vegetables
  • Zabaglione with Fresh Berries (I only ate the fresh berries because of the alcohol in the pudding, but everyone else really enjoyed it.)
The class was attended by 10 people and it was the funnest group. Everyone was friendly, talkative and funny. It was a great way to spend an evening.

In a few weeks I will take a class to learn a little about French Bistro cooking and I am super excited about it.


Bruschetta & Green Salad


Risotto, Roasted Veggies and Chicken Marsala

This was my first time eating Risotto and it was definitely my favorite dish of the night.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Before/After

I meant to post these pictures at the end of the school year, but with my trip to Colorado I forgot. I thought you might get a kick out of what my classroom looked like all year and how it looked on my last day.







Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Finished!

Today I flew home from Colorado with an aching brain and blood-shot eyes. Last night we finished reading the last of the essays at 5:00 p.m. and to be honest with you I almost shed some tears of relief. My final total was somewhere around 750 essays. The guy sitting next to me managed to read 1050 (he has done this for the last 5 years). I figure for my first time it wasn't too bad.

In other related news:

Sunday night there was a little meeting where people who had submitted lessons for a "lesson jamboree disk" presented their lessons. I submitted a lesson but had no idea that I was supposed to share what I had submitted. The lesson I wrote about was my shower curtain review. The students essentially demonstrate their understanding of world history on a shower curtain. I did bring a sample to Colorado with me and I gave a very brief presentation about what the assignment included. After the presentation was over a guy named Bill Strickland called me over to tell me that he thought it was "genius." Bill is the unofficial AP World History guru and I was flattered that he liked my idea.

All day Monday as I wandered around people were calling me the shower curtain lady. I guess there are worst things to be called. I am not sure if I will ever get the opportunity to read again, but now that it is all said and done I am glad that I did it. I definitely have more knowledge to share with my students.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

One More Day to Go...

At the end of today's count I have read a little over 600 essays. Tomorrow is thankfully our last day of reading. I can't begin to tell you how sick I am of reading bad essay after bad essay.

Right before our lunch break there was a massive hail storm. It seemed to let off and I decided to walk to the cafeteria to eat. This was not the wisest decision because the hail started back up and even though I had an umbrella I was pelted with hail for the 10 minutes it took to hike to the cafeteria. By the time I arrived my shoes and pants were soaked. I won't be surprised if I have bruises from the hail. When the reading day ended at 5:00 it was sunny skies. Gotta love that Colorado weather!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

200 and Counting

It is the end of day 3 at the AP World History reading in Fort Collins, Colorado and I have read a little over 200 essays. I have to say that the rubric we are using is very generous with the number of points a student can get on the essay. I am grading the compare and contrast essay about racial ideologies between North America and Latin America during 1500-1830.

Although it can get tedious to just read essay after essay it has been more enjoyable than when I sit at home and grade my student's essays. My table leader keeps telling me that day 4 is when everyone hits a wall....we shall see how it goes tomorrow. I just hope that I don't dream about essays again tonight like I did last night.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Saying Goodbye

Yesterday was my last official day at Durango. After 3 years of teaching it was really sad to say goodbye. Most of the day I was so busy hurrying to get the last of my grading finished and all of my paperwork cleared up that I wasn't focused on my feelings. When the end of the day rolled around and I was saying goodbye to the last few students who kept wandering in and as I hugged some of my colleagues that is when the emotions hit me. My department chair told me that in his opinion I was "irreplaceable and will be sorely missed,"--that got me crying. I can honestly say that I am not the same individual I was before I entered the doors of Durango and as much as I have loved/hated my job at times it was an honor working there.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Surprise Gift

With my move to a new school next year I have been frantically packing up my classroom and taking everything home. This transition for my students has not been easy. In fact I have seen a dramatic rise in poor behavior once I started moving out. On the flip side I have also seen more of them telling me how upset and sad that they are that I will be going.

Earlier this week I was packing some boxes after school and one of my AP students named Kevin came in. Kevin is my most brilliant AP student, in fact he helped make some of my podcasts this year and co-directed my study sessions for the AP test. Kevin came in to chat and was talking about how he wasn't going to be at school next week and as he was pacing around the floor he came up to me and thrust this long wood thing in my face. He said "I just wanted to give you a gift before you left." I was so surprised, because this is not his typical behavior. The gift was a beautiful fan from China. (Kevin is Chinese) On the back of the fan he pointed out there were two poems that he and his mom translated. I have typed the translation out below. It was really sweet and once again I was surprised by his display of affection.

The next day as a group of students were helping load a box of stuff into my car, my student Patrick said "I'm really going to miss this class." I am too Patrick.


Front side of the fan.



Poem #1 by Liu Yu Xi
Red birds and wild flowers by the side of the bridge
Their feathers blend into the slanted sunset
Long ago they flew in front of the royal palace
Now they take flight in common neighborhoods

Poem #2 by Li Wan
Travelers in the morning sun sing songs of departure
Thin frosts pass the river in late evening
The geese cannot endure the sadness of the songs
Cloudy mountains bear witness to passing travelers
Bare stone walls and the color of dawn welcome the coming winter
Soft voices resonate throughout private gardens
Is it possible that this may be a place of happiness?
Though their happiness may be meaningless perhaps it eases their lives