Thursday, January 22, 2009

I was sitting in traffic this evening and was paused in the middle of an intersection, and when I looked at the car facing me (we were next to each other) I saw an old friend waving! We've actually run across paths in many random places in the past few months, in fact, our sons attend the same day-care.
Anyway, it made me remember the trip David and I took to Prague two years ago, now...a few months before the birth of our son. We were standing in line at the Tesco and there was a group of younger girls in front of us, with their pile of (much improved from when we were there) groceries...talking excitedly about the dinner they were planning back in their apartment.

Back in 1999(!) I was living in Prague with the above friend and another of our friends, and I remembered that feeling and how it was a feeling I always wanted to have again. Young, excited... we were three girls bumming around an ancient city the best we knew how. There were a few rough spots, but there was so much laughter and fun ... we took every opportunity to have an adventure (most of which ended up somehow with a long walk through scary woods). Waking up in the dark to see the sunrise over the Charles Bridge, finding our hotel in Paris in the early morning with no nothing. Lots of yummy food. Jumping out of a bus in Germany to load up on Pringles. Waking up in the middle of a blizzard in the Alps, getting ready for a Sound of Music tour. Flashing Scots. Want me to go on?
There's a part of soul...that still remains there. I think I'm ready to find her again.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Here's what I think.
The School District of Philadelphia spends too much time and energy on upper grades. I say, call the next 5-8 years a wash and focus energy on grades K-2. Don't you think that with a more solid foundation, inevitably things might improve? Our school is a perfect example of everything that's wrong with city education.
Test scores are low. (Testing starts in 3rd grade) Every year, the school spends months playing catch up with the older grades. As a kindergarten teacher, I can testify that we are completely ignored. Every once in a while someone will pop in unexpectedly, but for the most part? I could really be doing just about anything I wanted with the kids in my class. Set up a tee-shirt factory, for example, or get the kids knitting booties to sell on Etsy. The possibilities are endless.

I'll be honest. I thought Kindergarten was a joke. I had been doing the test prep catch up game in third grade prior to my current placement, and I can now see the real problem. Without a foundation in literacy, primarily, what hope is there? My principal commented on my last report cards, that I too many students on a level "A" and that I should move them up to a level "B". Huh? I asked, "Shouldn't the grades reflect their actual level? Those kids aren't "B" readers yet." I got no answer. And then realized that thanks to No Child Left Behind, one of Bush's so called legacies, low numbers equal no money. Awesome. And so hundreds of children are shoveled on up regardless of what they actually need.
I, a former disdainer of Kindergarten (and early childhood educators in general, sorry) am now thinking it's time to go get a Master's degree and get something done.

Friday, January 9, 2009

The Office and 30 Rock are the only two funny shows on TV.
Top Chef is great, but Project Runway is's hard to feel like you can make an informed decision about who should win when you can't taste the food.
I'm a sucker for the teeny-bopper shows on MTV. The Hills and now The City. I'm a huge fan of Speidy. They are so gross and fascinating. And Whitney is the cutest. Lauren and Audrina can't hold a flame.
We have TV back now and DVR and it's been super fun. Especially since DVR can tape more than one show at a time.
I just read this and thought, "who cares?" and that just about sums it all up.
But I hold true to the first two. They're hilarious.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

So I really love working with kids in the city.
I suppose it started back in high-school when we used to do an after-school program in North Philly.
Anyway, there are many things to love about the job - the kids are hilarious..full of life and love and so hilarious with the crazy things they say and do. Some of them are shocking and a little ahead of their time, but the classroom is Never boring, that's for sure.
Once in a while you get a sobering reminder of how precarious their lives are...why they are grown up beyond their years - just in the types of things they have to live with that no 5 year old should have to.
On Monday I had a student who was picked up Very late...his mom is a little nutso, for sure, but she is definitely prompt at the end of the day. crazy but prompt. Supposedly she showed up to pick him up quite late and quite drunk. She passed out in the school office and proceeded to vomit in the guidance counselor's office. It took all of about 12 hours for him to be taken away from his mother and placed with his aunt. So sad... I guess these are the things that you don't really know what to do with. Picking up your own sweet boy at the end of the day, as does a hot meal and a large glass (or 2) of red wine.

Monday, January 5, 2009

back to work after a thrilling and relaxing vacation with the family.
ahh...the routine. the beautiful routine.
alarm clock, shower, getting dressed....
i've been thinking about trying to get onto deal or no deal.
i've decided that winning money on it is a pretty sure thing.
is that silly?
it beats some of my other get rich quick schemes.
in other news, the van man is growing bigger by the nanosecond.
he had this tremendous growth spurt...not that I'm a big fan of percentiles, but hey...
his vocabulary is pretty funny too...I wish I could record his little voice...
truck, cat, dog, pajamas, banana, what's that?, I touch, juice(for anything in a cup), cheese, crackers, this, upstairs, bye bye, and of course yes and his favorite NO...he imitates about everything...he jogs around the house and climbs onto everything he can ... he has a little stool that he moves around so that he can get up onto chairs and things....
because of delays, he now sees two therapists...a language teacher and his physical therapist. as a parent, I don't like to admit that he's been a little behind, but as an educator, I can appreciate the fact that two days of individualized care at day care is only a good thing.
we finally have the Internet, which is great...but we're watching a movie right now so bye-bye.