Wednesday, October 27, 2010

"Real" real life

It's weird to think about life post-TFA, and going through the steps to fulfill my dreams post-TFA. My principal asked me a few days ago asked me if I was going to stay on past the two years. That question started me thinking about my life post-TFA. The "real" real life.

Recently, and by that I mean since June, I have been so wrapped up in the teaching world, that I forgot there was a world out there that had to do with what I ultimately want to pursue: medicine.

So tonight, after I spent a bit of time planning week 12 and finishing a few worksheets for wk 11 (next week), I decided to open up that good old MSAR book and look at what schools I wanted to apply to. Doing this sort of took me down a reflective path -- I thought about college and what I did, and what I could have done differently.

I loved college. I didn't know that you could "make" a sister out of your best friend, I didn't know you could become best friends with someone who you worried about frequently, and I definitely didn't think you could fall in love with a boy that would eventually become the man you still loved over 3.5 years later. College was a whirl-wind of experiences, both academic and social.

Socially -- I would not change a thing. Academically -- I could have done better my first 2 years in college. But I was finding myself, finding my own study skills, trying to see what would work, realizing that you must "sacrifice for success" to copy SHHS's saying. So it took me those 2 years to learn the self-control I have now, the self-control I pride myself on.

So now I'm going through the MSAR book, looking at the GPAs and MCAT scores that are the average at most schools woefully, but when I step back -- I'm happy with how my life has turned out so far, and I wouldn't trade it. So, I'm taking a deep breath, I'm sure a medical school will accept me based on the fact that it is clear that I will be an excellent doctor, rather than my not-super-stellar numbers.

Good night :-)

Sunday, October 24, 2010

No Sunday Blues

This weekend has been fabulous.

Friday we went to a party at Mr. Butt's home in the KW area. It's a beautiful neighborhood with old houses built in the style of southern plantation homes. The houses are architecturally amazing, with swooping roofs, gargantuan cream-colored columns, and large porches that look out onto perfectly maintained lawns -- it's beautiful, and screams wealthy. Well, Mr. Butt is wealthy, he owns HEB, the go-to grocery store across much of south Texas, parts of north Texas, and Louisiana (I've learned that most things that are in Texas, will be in Louisiana as well -- it's weird). He took a small company located in San Antonio, and expanded it across Texas making it a billion dollar enterprise. Anyways -- he donated a good deal of money to TFA, taking our 2010 corps from 50 CMs to 100 CMs, and graciously welcoming us into the community with a few different get-togethers and parties. Well, the one this weekend was quite fun. He had dinner, amazing dessert (I think it was churro bread pudding), and a great DJ. It's probably a first for me, but I thought the DJ was better than the food! He was amazing, he mixed Poker Face with Smells Like Teen Spirit, and he played all the right songs. It was DJ ChickenGeorge I think? Anyways, we walked home after that.

Saturday I had to go to PDAS training which was mandatory, early morning, and boring. But the leaders were energetic, played games, and interspersed interesting slides into their lecture to make it more fun. However lunch was surprising (or I guess not really in many ways), they had no vegetarian food. The woman said ", I don't have vegetarian options available...OH! I have chicken salad!" So naturally I just went to Sonics. But Saturday night we went to J-'s for a Halloween party! T- and I spent 45 minutes trying to figure out what our costumes should be...I went from Static cling, to tribolium beetle, to alien, to killer static cling, to a box, when finally, I saw T-'s fedora and we decided to be...INDIANA JONES and his side kick Ilsa. The party was fun -- a lot of cute costumes, but we peaced out kind of early, we were both tired...

Sunday was a lazy day, we both woke up at around 10 o'clock (my phone died, and with it my 9AM alarm) but it was nice to wake up late...ate breakfast, watched the Daily Show, took Jacques out for a walk around the Blue Star area, went to T-bell, and HEB, and now we're back at 3:17.

The amazing part of this weekend was that I never once felt like crying, like I was overwhelmed and overworked. I got home tired on Friday, and T- swept me up to take Jacques out for a walk then off to Mr. Butt's. Saturday I got home from PDAS fully prepared to work, but at T-'s suggestion and my own thoughts...I decided to take Saturday for myself, so I read, relaxed, and tried not to think about work at all. And today is Sunday...and I'm genuinely happy.  I am going to get to work after this, but I don't really mind, and I know I'm not going to work past 7:30 or 8. I suppose I never realized how important relaxing was. I always think that if I'm relaxing, I'm doing something horrible, I need to be doing work at all times. And you know what, I would be a better teacher, student, doctor, or whatever if I did work all the time, if I made sure it's all I really thought about 90% of the time. But I wouldn't be a happier person. I wouldn't be a healthy person.

I have one life, and it's so hard to remember that. It's so hard to realize how precious life is when there's so much to do, but it's good to remember it sometimes, like this weekend, take a break.

I really have T- to thank for that. He's made me so much more of a relaxed person, and I love him so much for that.

This was a long post, but its been so good, to not feel like crying Saturday afternoon because "the weekend is almost over"

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

What am I doing?

Sometimes I look around my apartment, my classroom, even my car, and wonder "How did I get here? What am I doing?" 

I never would have thought less than a year ago, that I would be in Texas, teaching high school Biology. It wasn't a dream I've had for years, in fact it wasn't even a thought in my head other than discussions over dinner or cookies about educational policy with Sam and Tyler. I didn't think I would get into Teach For America -- so after I sent in my application, I didn't give it much thought. It's like applying to a good school -- everyone does it, but who thinks they're going to get in? 

But I'm here, I'm an adult. I'm teaching children. They look to me for information -- if I don't teach them, they won't know it, I'll permanently affect their future. I still feel like a child myself though. I suppose I'm being introspective since it's near my birthday, and another year will be added to my age. I promise myself one thing, I might be an adult, but I'll always be a child. I'll always be curious, I'll always want to play, and I'll always be a practical idealist. 

I don't want to be jaded, I don't want to see the world through rose-tinted glasses either -- I want to be happily in between. 

So happy early birthday to me. I might not be where I thought I'd be, but I'm doing It's an experience, and I hope I'm doing something good along the way. All I know is that it's an experience, and it's up to me to make the best out of it, and I will.  But I won't get jaded while I'm doing it, I won't let myself harden in the face of difficulty and fulfilled stereotypes.

I'm a practical idealist woman-child, and I always will be.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Best Banana Bread EVER.

If you're stressed, if you're hungry, if you just want to do something -- MAKE this banana banana bread:

It's amazing. I don't have eggs in the house, and generally I just don't eat eggs period, so this is a GREAT recipe for old bananas that are gonna go bad. I used walnuts and chocolate chips, and it's SUPER awesome. It comes out a little dense...but if you want to change that, just toss in a little bit of baking powder along with the baking'll make it more cake-y :-)



Weekends go by way too fast. Friday night is great because you know you have two day of no work ahead of you. Saturday morning is lazy...sleeping in, enjoying the fact you don't have to get up at 6:15 to go to work...but by mid-Saturday afternoon I'm realizing I have to go back to work in a day and a I've reached the point of no return: recognition that the weekend is almost over. For the next day and a half, I mope about thinking about how I have to go to work on Monday, freaking out at least once about that fact on Saturday and maybe once more on Sunday.

I really need to change that -- thinking about how the weekend is almost over, when it's STILL Saturday. It just increases my stress level and ultimately makes me unhappy. Ergo, I'm turning over a new leaf (something I say I'm doing every Sunday, but this time hopefully I'll hold to it) -- weekends, every second of them, are fun. They are meant to be enjoyed, and even if they're almost over, they're not yet, right? It's my attitude that maintains weekend fun-ness.

Okay, introspection over, back to work/relaxing. At least I'm not AT work doing work and I can sit and pet Jacques while I grade :-)

Friday, October 15, 2010

Parents and Tests

My parents just came from AZ a couple days ago with a bag full of food-like items -- I was very pleased. For the first time in a while I had real Indian food, not the stuff I make, but the stuff my mom makes...oh snap.

I'm giving a test on Eukaryotic cell structures today...I'm nervous for my kids. More so though, I'm worried about myself, lack of sleep is making me so yawn-y.

I'm just excited today is Friday -- end of a long week...and the weekend to begin with wonderful PDAS training from 8 - 3:30....ahhh my crazy life.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

PSAT day

So I haven't really updated the blog in a while, but I came across something that...shocked me, and made me a bit sad, so I thought I'd update.

The students at my high school today, the 10th and 11th graders, took the PSAT. They had 25 minutes per section, used number 2 pencils, and bubbled in information for the college board.

None of them, not a single one in my classroom of 20 students, finished a section of verbal or math. Many of them gave up, and when I gently prodded them to try doing work, they said it was too hard. Some of them fell asleep on their tests. Some of them really tried. But none of them finished a section.

It's amazing to me -- because I remember taking the PSAT, studying for it, working hard, and being nervous about finishing on time, but I did finish on time. So did most of my peers.

This is definitely a glaring indication of the education gap. They are in the 10th and 11th grade, and cannot tell you what the word "exemplary" means. That tells you something about our "exemplary" education system.